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Anybody Using Barix Automation Devices?

upstatemike

Senior Member
I just noticed that SmartHome has a a pretty good selection of Barix stuff and I was wondering if anybody has any experience with these devices? The Barionet looks like it would be an ideal I/O device for use with PC automation controllers like PowerHome and CQC. I was also interested in the Annuncicom which uses TCP/IP to provide 2-way intercom and HA announcement capability. Looks like they also have a simple relay board as well.

I knew Barix made the Exstreamer for playing MP3s but I didn't know they had expanded into all this automation I/O and and voice stuff. Does anybody have experience with using these devices? Are there any plans to support Barix in CQC, PowerHome, InHomeFre, HomeSeer, Girder, MainLobby, XLobby, MisterHouse, or ECS?
 

markthomas

Active Member
I have never seen a need for any Barix stuff. Why assemble an array of external devices at $300-$400 a pop, when a PC can do everything and is cheaper?

Personally, I'd much rather get something like this. Being a full PC in the same price range, It can do what the Barix devices do and much more. PVR, HA control, video server, you name it.

Of course, there's a bit of DIY spirit needed for that...
 

SmartLabsMike

Active Member
I used the Barix Exstreamer Digital for a while about a year and a half ago. The hardware is solid, the setup needed improvement at that time. Just not the most user friendly. I thought it was a decent system. I used commandcubes to run my music management.

I know some of our internal guys have played with the Annuncicom and Barionet but I do not have any experience with them.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
markthomas said:
I have never seen a need for any Barix stuff. Why assemble an array of external devices at $300-$400 a pop, when a PC can do everything and is cheaper?
I guess I'm not following you on this. The Barix stuff would still require a PC based automation system (as best I can tell). The Barix equipment would provide the hard-wired I/O and and also allow Home Automation messages to be distributed and spoken in specific locations or all locations at once.

The Barix stuff replaces a lot of what is currently done with dedicated wiring and speaker level switch boxes by converting everything to TCP/IP so it can travel over your existing data network. How do you get a PC to do all that without some sort of external devices?
 

markthomas

Active Member
upstatemike said:
The Barix stuff replaces a lot of what is currently done with dedicated wiring and speaker level switch boxes by converting everything to TCP/IP so it can travel over your existing data network. How do you get a PC to do all that without some sort of external devices?
Your sig says you have the Slimserver, so you should know that a PC can "convert everything to TCP/IP so it can travel over your existing data network". In the case of the Barix equipment, replace "everything" with "audio." No streaming video, no IR, etc.

I just don't see a use for their audio distribution items, for the home at least. Please enlighten me and tell me what you can do with Barix products that you can't do with other Home Automation products that are far cheaper.

For example, putting together an intercom using Barix products would be a LOT more expensive than, for example, installing a Greyfox Cat-5 intercom system, Russound intercom, etc. You would need an Annuncicom at every speaker. And where would you put it?

(One exception is the Barionet... that could be useful... but it costs twice as much as a Global Cache GC-100)
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
markthomas said:
Your sig says you have the Slimserver, so you should know that a PC can "convert everything to TCP/IP so it can travel over your existing data network". In the case of the Barix equipment, replace "everything" with "audio." No streaming video, no IR, etc.
Correct I do know that a PC can convert everything into TCP/IP but there still has to be something at the other end of the data stream. Something like the Barionet to turn hard wired inputs into network data communicated back to the Automation PC. Something like an Annuncicom to accept a data stream from the Automation PC and convert it back into audio.

I'm not suggesting that this is the cheapest way to do voice announcements but I thought it was interesting because it uses the existing house network so there would not be the dedicated wiring you would need with a Russound system.

I should note that I am not talking about using the Barix for whole-house audio since I already have that covered with the Slimserver. In fact the two areas I will likely never integrate into my automation system are media distribution and fire/security because I have stand-alone systems for both of those that I am happy with.

On the other hand, I will always need my HA system to handle lots and lots of hard-wired I/O and lots of voice announcements. (and lighting and HVAC)

I just don't see a use for their audio distribution items, for the home at least. Please enlighten me and tell me what you can do with Barix products that you can't do with other Home Automation products that are far cheaper.

For example, putting together an intercom using Barix products would be a LOT more expensive than, for example, installing a Greyfox Cat-5 intercom system, Russound intercom, etc. You would need an Annuncicom at every speaker. And where would you put it?

(One exception is the Barionet... that could be useful... but it costs twice as much as a Global Cache GC-100)

As far as what you can do, I don't know. It looks like you can easily direct HA announcements to any location or group of locations and it looks like it will scale far beyond the limits of what you can do with a greyfox system which I believe is limited to around 20 locations. I'm not saying Barix is a good way to go, I am asking.

It seems like it is hard to scale announcement systems with PC based HA controllers and I thought this might be a way for a PC system to deal with directing HA announcements to a lot of different areas.

I don't really know how to compare Barix to Global Cache. Barix adds hard wired inputs in increments of 12 for at around $23 per input so sure, you will be up around $1400 for 60 inputs. I'm not sure how you even configure Global Cache to accept 60 hard wired inputs so I don't know how to calculate the cost difference.
 

FrankMc

Active Member
Upstatemike

FYI

Tony ( Medianet developer) was one of the main xPL Developers but now concentrates on Medianet ....which previously was xPLRIONET.....

This of course means that Medianet has xPL support.....

I can for instance display the current artist / song on my little xPL-LCD prototype etc... ;-)


Frank
 

markthomas

Active Member
Upstatemike,

I'm just trying to figure out why there is interest in the Barix products. It seems that they might be good in a multi-location business, but what good is it if I can send an announcement to your home? :)

You're right that they can scale infinitely but then again, so do the costs. I just don't see the value proposition. Even the $1400/60 inputs you mention--the 18 input GC-100-18 goes for $200-300 which is cheaper per port even without factoring in any expansion cards. And it's probably cheaper still to use Elk (or other HA controller) I/O expanders.
 

damage

Senior Member
hey mike,

if you want announcements & have pcs all over the house you can use xpl_tts. you can see tts announcements to all or any of the pcs on your network. sapi compatible too.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
Now that we are moving on full steam to having our own media repository, we'll definitely be making the move soon thereafter to having our own streaming server. The Exstreamer would likely be a fairly straightfordward device to support streaming to, other than it probably only takes MP3 so it'll require an on the fly conversion to MP3 I guess. I guess it would probably also accept PCM but that's a lot o' extra data to be pushing over the network that you'd probably not want to have to. It would be nice if it supported a lossless compression format.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
I think I need to clarify my question. I'm not interested in the Exstreamer or using Barix stuff for any type of media streaming. I am only asking about the newer modules for I/O and intercom/voice announce.

Thanks for the suggestions about using Xpl for TTS but I'm not sure I want to keep a lot of PCs running all the time. I have to think about that one some more.

I didn't know the GC units had 18 inputs on them. I'll take another look at those as well.

Finally, I'm not saying that Barix is a good way to go... I'm just asking if anybody is using the new modules.
 

damage

Senior Member
i also use medianet to send tts to the 5 rio receivers i have around the house allowing zoned tts announcements. medianet works w/ slimp3 (not squeezebox...yet), but the cool thing about the rios is they have their own amp so they're always ready to play tts.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
damage said:
i also use medianet to send tts to the 5 rio receivers i have around the house allowing zoned tts announcements. medianet works w/ slimp3 (not squeezebox...yet), but the cool thing about the rios is they have their own amp so they're always ready to play tts.
I wonder if I could do the same thing using SliMP3s and powered computer speakers? I have lots of spare SliMP3 players that I have replaced with newer Squeezebox units and I wouldn't mind dedicating them to HA announcements.

I could even point them to a different instance of Slimserver that is dedicated to HA messagaes... How do you interface with Medianet to trigger your TTS messages? Just xPL commands from a batch file like with the SliMP3 text display?
 
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