Announcement options


What are the good ways to insert announcements into whole-house audio? We're building a new house and I'm leaning toward the Elk M1 for security, UPB for lighting control, and the "inexpensive amp/receiver for each zone" solution for powering the audio.

Our input sources will be audio from a PC archive, Internet radio and local radio. We don't own a TV but we listen to lots of radio. I realize that the receiver for each zone can be used for local radio, but then how would I turn it down to play a system announcement? I could use a tuner card in the PC but most of those don't do AM and I want the option of having different zones on different stations.

On a related but lower priority topic, I'd like the option to schedule and record radio (Internet or local) for later playback. Anybody doing anything like this who can explain what they did?

regarding announcements...

I assume M1 can control IR (I own HVPro so I don't know M1 functionality). If it can, then you just have the M1 send the IR signals to the amp to switch inputs to your PC which makes your announcement for you.

The downsides to this approach:
- time - announcements won't be instantenous. Big deal? depends on your needs.
- power - not all amps will always be on (I assume), so you might turn on an amp for a 5 second announcement and then turn it back off. Probably not a good thing for the life of the amp.

The other way to do this project is to install some Elk single gang speakers (Elk-73 if I remember part number right) anywhere you want announcements. Tie them all to one small amp. Run your announcements through this - much easier to manage. Again, if radio is on when you need to do an announcement, you can have the M1 send IR to the right room amp to lower volume before the announcement plays.

Hope it helps
I haven't done this myself yet, but I would think you could split the PC output to each zone's receiver and use the local receiver in each zone for AM/FM. Then you could split speaker-level outputs from the announcements to each zone and use an automatic speaker-level switcher to switch between the announcements and the receiver. A variation of this would be to use something like a Slimserver in each zone instead of splitting the PC audio output; or something like the Yamaha receiver which does AM, FM, and streaming audio / internet radio all-in-one.

There's probably a better way of doing it but that might get some thoughts going.

Then there's what I did and just wired separate Elk speakers wherever I wanted announcements.