Audio distribution ????


Now that the ELK is up and running and HS is almost there, time to start the next project.

I want to distribute independent audio to four rooms that currently have speakers and impednace matching controls (rotary) running to them.

Here's what i have:
The builder wired speakers in the ceiling in the family room, kitchen, master bed and bath. They all tie in to a wall plate in the family room and currently run to the stereo (have them on the second zone audio of an H/K receiver now). I only have speaker wire running to them and the volume controls in each room.

I have HS running on a Dell Poweredge 2800 server in the basement. I also have a SC420 server that has 250GB of music files on it co-located with the main server.

Each bedroom has a J-box IR receiver in it (controlling the Direct TV stuff in the basement now)

USB-IRT is on the way.

HT computer is now in the family room, 2 more computers in the office behind it as well as 1 in each of the bedrooms.

Also have a spare 12" touchscreen going in the family room (end table mount)

If it helps I have a Gentner AP800 I was planning on using for VR

Here's where I want to go:

I want to be able to send audio to each of the 4 sets of speakers independent of each other. Or at least the room besides the master bath and bedroom independent (in other words at least 3 zones). Not interested in rewiring it all for a russound or something right now, though I could extend all the speaker connections from the family room to the basement server area easily now (before we finish the basement).

I want to control the zones using the existing IR network I have as well as through the USB-UIRT and the touchscreens (12" Planars and Airpanels)

I want to be able to send various HS messages to different zones depending on the message or time of day (using HS / girder or whatever to control the zones for messages from Homeseer). All the other music would come from the server in the basement.

What should I use for audio? Buy an M-Audio card and zone through it, or some multi-channel amp and selector?

Any ideas, tips, suggestions? My wife is still onboard here with all of this, but if I have to shell out $2000 for a ready made solution I may lose that battle.
I'm not familiar with all of your configuration issues (I don't use HS or USB-UIRT or touchscreens (yet)) but I'm happy to throw out a few ideas for you...

The M-Audio Delta 410 is a great option for multiple zones. Use JRiver Media Center to support these multiple zones.

I do not know how you would control JRMC in your environment. In mine, I use my HomeVision Pro to keep track of what each zone is playing, and to control JRMC (using AutoIt - windows scripting program, I think similiar to Girder).

As for amplifiers - if you want individual zones, and the ability to have all 4 running at any given time with different source material - you would need four amps. You can look at a single unit with 4 zone amps in it, or buy 4 single amps (such as Yamaha, Onkyo, Sony, etc). These amps are pretty inexpensive since you are only pumping out stereo - you don't need expensive processing power. Unless your IR system is zoned - you would be best off with 4 different brands of amps (so the IR won't control 2 amps at once, etc). If you decide you want all your amps in 1 box, I have been pleased with this companies in-wall speakers. No experience with their amps - but hard to beat their speakers for the price so I assume their amps are comparable. HTD
bfisher said:
No experience with their amps - but hard to beat their speakers for the price so I assume their amps are comparable. HTD
You would recommend these for background music? I had spent $170 for a pair of in-wall speakers from BestBuy > Here <.

They are nice, but I need another 2 pair of them and > These < look very similar, plus I will get stereo in each room (I am only installing one in each room). Right now I have two on my main floor, one (left channel) in my living room and one (right channel) in my kitchen and they sound fine. When I install them in my bedroom I will only have one channel with the BestBuy ones, whereas with the HTD's I will have stereo.

You seemed to have found me a bargain, thanks much,

So M-Audio 410 will do 4 independent zones? Hmmm, I already have J River so that looks like the best way to go.

The IR is zoned already. I have 5 D-TV boxes and 3 use the same remotes so I had to zone it when I installed...or at least it made it easier.

Nice looking 12 channel amp....Now I have to wait until September for shipping, but the price looks good. Thanks.

Yes, all the music was moved to MP3 as I dodn't want to bother with jukebox changers....much more compact and those low end Dell servers are cheap. Heck the dual Xeon 2800 was cheap too with the right amount of sales and coupons.

Any good links to sites about setting up the Delta 410 with J River for zones?
I would run J Rivers MediaCenter on the server which allows you to play independent and synched music on as many channels as you have sound card channels. There is an external control API as well so applications like Mainlobby can control what you are playing and the volume on each channel. Coverart too!

You would then run the audio outputs of the soundcard to volume controllable amps. This could be garage sale IR controllable (or not) stereo throw aways. The volume on the receiver is just setting Max volume for that zone. the PC controls the controllable volume.

Since you already have wiring, you have most of the battle done. For the money you have budgeted, you could purchase Homeseer, MainLobby suite, MLHSPlugin, J Rivers MediaCenter, the amps (used), the sound card(s), and cables to wire it all up.
Regarding the HTD Speakers - I have several pairs of HD-W80's and have been VERY happy with them. They sound very good - especially considering what I paid for them! They used to be less money (~$120) but I will be buying more when I'm ready for them. :D I havent purchased the MP-S65's yet, but will be for our bathroom soon. I have been very happy with this company (I also have their older outside speakers and they sound MUCH better than a more expensive pair of Bose that I want to get rid of. I'm interested in their newer outside speakers when they release them.)

Regarding setting up the multiple zones with the Delta410 card... the hardest part was getting the card to work properly. The problem was the interrupts... My Music Server runs Win2000, and the system wants to automatically control the interrupts. Unfortunately, it assigned it the same as my video card and it caused dropouts in the music.

I had to reinstall Win2K bypassing that "feature", and now it works awesome. Someone else here is using the Delta 410 with XP and said he had no interupt problems.

Setting it up in JRivers is VERY easy. You just create a new zone, and assign a sound driver for it. Each output pair on the card appears as it's own sound card (ie 1/2 and 3/4 and 5/6, etc). You just tell JRiver Zone 1 to 1/2, Zone 2 to 3/4, etc. Very easy...
generally speaking - I run 8" woofers, although I'm considering going to 10" for the master bedroom and skip the sub...
Back to distributed audio...

I have Homeseer and the SeerAMP plugin. I was also running JRMC and NetRemote for the past 30 days (trial mode).

I have 2 amplifiers running two zones straight from sound cards and another amplifier fed music through an external USB box (3 zones total, with the hopes of increasing further). I really liked the JRMC coupled with NetRemote, but I wanted to be able to adjust the audio output from the PC, as the amplifiers do not have IR and I don't want to install volume control boxes in my walls. From what it sounds like, JRMC cannot independently control volume from room to room.

Now, my trial is up and and I don't know what I am going to do. I know that I can set up multi-room with SeerAMP, but I don't really like the interface and from what I can tell, cannot allow me to browse my library as easily as the NetRemote/JRMC option.

Any thoughts or comments?
I will probably post there as well... People here tend to be more "rounded"; i.e. more broader crowd, and not product specific.

have you tried making multiple zones in JRMC? You can independantly control volume in each zone... I don't need to control volume in JRMC (I have volume controls on my amps for each zone). I don't use Girder, I use AutoIt. I assume they are similar so you should be able to control volume with it.