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Thread: Multi Room Audio

  1. #1
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    Default Multi Room Audio

    Hey All!

    I've read a few posts on here about multi room audio but I haven't found anyone using the approach I want to use...

    I'm looking at building a budget x-10 system that I can add to as and when. With this I'll have some wireless speakers in 3 of the rooms. Using a PC, x-10 and wireless speakers I can have the music playing in each room or selectively by turning the speakers on and off (via an x-10 command).

    The issue I have is what if I wanted to have different audio streamed from my PC to different rooms (i.e. Jazz in the kitchen and Rock in the front room).

    Can anyone suggest a solution?

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member Ad's Avatar
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    You can run multiple sound cards on one PC which is one route you could go down, windows can be funny about some of them and may be OK with others...you can then run multiple instances of some audio applications (winamp I think is one), which you can then map to the sound cards. Ergo multi room audio. Some sound cards (the on board one on my PC) can also turn surround outputs/line inputs into second outputs.

    Its a cheap solution most definately but not necessarily reliable and possibly not that easy to control - if you take a look at the HomeSeer message board a few people have done similar.

    I've not looked too deeply into it but I believe J River Media Center is one media app that can run multiple zones, how easy that is to use/configure I don't know but may be somewhere to start...

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Have to agree with AD on this. Also its better if all the sound cards are exactly the same type. Win amp I think can cope with multiple sound cards.
    Something else, how will you connect the sound card to your wireless speakers. And if they can take multiple sound inputs how do you intend to switch between them. And if you have different audio in each room then decide you want the same in each room how will you achieve this.
    While rolling your own can be great fun, it can also be a lot of hard work.
    Also have a look at the AVS forum as well
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    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Certain Soundblaster cards when used with "kx" drivers (http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/) allow multiple outputs from a single card. This is what I run via xLobby (free version) and multiple instances of WinAmp. Not all creative cards have the right chipset so check the compatibility list on the kx project website.

    Foobar is another option for playback and I will look at this as an alternative as 3x WinAmps use most of my CPU power (P4 2.6Ghz). More RAM would probably help though...

    xLobby (www.xlobby.com and http://sites.google.com/site/xlobbyfree/Home) allows zoning and either separate music to each zone or playback of a common track to all zones (party mode). Originally free, xlobby is now a paid-for product but the extensive forums still have information relevant to the last free version.

    As a plus, xlobby supports X10, as well as xAP, so you can have a common interface etc. xlobby does need some time spent to tweak it to do just what you want, but it is very capable.

    If you want something just to plug in and play then you're probably better off with Sonos

    HTH,

    Tim.

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimH View Post

    If you want something just to plug in and play then you're probably better off with Sonos

    HTH,

    Tim.
    And its still the Gadget Show's Favourite.
    Was it sound blaster that did a multiple output sound card. I say sound card it was more a card and then a small box that plugged into the card. I think it had about 4 stereo outputs.
    I wonder if a PC controlled mixing desk could be another option.
    Have a look here
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  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    And its still the Gadget Show's Favourite.
    Was it sound blaster that did a multiple output sound card. I say sound card it was more a card and then a small box that plugged into the card. I think it had about 4 stereo outputs.
    Yup, definitely a card in the conventional sense as I have one (sort of) working
    They're sold as 5.1, 7.1 etc. surround sound cards but the kx drivers allow you to access each pair of outputs independently, i.e. a 5.1 card has 5+1 = 6 outputs, so 3 pairs.

    The PCI version is internal but there are also PCMCIA/Cardbus card for laptops where the connections are on a separate box.

    The compatibility list for cards which will work with the kx drivers is here: http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/faq.php?language=en#Q15

    Cheers,
    Tim.

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    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    What I am talking about was probably before 5.1 was even thought of for computers. As it was still in the realms of tens of thousands of pounds to have it in your home.

    While googling to see if i could find it I came across these links
    Multiple Sound cards
    Another MUltiple sound cards thread

    Found something very similar To what I was talking about. The 66 model has SPDIF input and output as well. Or this model. Click on the close up view to get a look at the connectors etc.
    Last edited by toscal; 18th September 2010 at 11:48 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info guys!

    I'll look into all the options mentioned and post my results...

  9. #9
    Automated Home Sr Member MrFluffy's Avatar
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    I can suggest a non remote pc solution after imagining the pain of all that configuration and things going wrong...

    Just buy 3 Asus musicpal's or the like, and put a upnp media server on the pc.
    Serve media to the individual music pals from your media server. We have 3 dotted round in the rooms that have no pc's, two hardwired with cat5, and one wireless and they work perfectly, just switch them on and bing. I quite like listening to radio1 in a kitchen in france at breakfast time, so even the streaming remote feature is ok, even if the **** at the bbc force me to setup a vpn to a uk pop to get their content.
    They even have 100% WAF here, which is a miracle for any technology after suffering extensively at the hands of X10.

    If your feeling really hip, you can log into the individual musicpal's via their http interface and set the playlists etc from the comfort of the pc.
    They have a little power button on them which works really well, and you can buy a remote control that lets you do all that anyway that you can leave in the appropriate room.

    Our media server is a mythtv backend, so all the media's on there already and it has the right streaming server out the box, although I did run for a while using mediatomb under linux.

  10. #10
    Kemik
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    Quote Originally Posted by qu1ckdry View Post
    Hey All!

    I've read a few posts on here about multi room audio but I haven't found anyone using the approach I want to use...

    I'm looking at building a budget x-10 system that I can add to as and when. With this I'll have some wireless speakers in 3 of the rooms. Using a PC, x-10 and wireless speakers I can have the music playing in each room or selectively by turning the speakers on and off (via an x-10 command).

    The issue I have is what if I wanted to have different audio streamed from my PC to different rooms (i.e. Jazz in the kitchen and Rock in the front room).

    Can anyone suggest a solution?

    Thanks for any help!
    Can I ask why would you want to have PC's and speakers in each of the rooms? Why not just buy a logitech squeezebox for each room - job done? and they can be controlled via something like iPeng on iPhone

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