Combining PC speakers with ELK Echo speakers


Staff member
I have 2 sources of TTS announcements: the Elk M1, and my home automation PC. Until recently, I used send the PC TTS announcements to a nice set of PC speakers (actively powered) in the living room. However, I want to add a second set of PC speakers to the mix (bedroom), but last time I tried this, the volume dropped to the point it was unusable.

Now, I also have an unused Elk 800 amp and a bunch of Elk Echo speakers, so I was wondering if I somehow can use the Echo speakers downstairs, and the PC speakers upstairs, to play both the M1 announcements and PC TTS announcements, all without having to do any switching. It's probably going to be very complicated or not possible, but figured I would ask anyways, just in case someone else has figured this out.
I will need to do something similar shortly and have been thinking alot about it. I also was thinking about it in regard to whole house distribution with a Nuvo.

First is the issue of the 2 sources (Elk and PC) needing to make announcements. I think the best way to handle this after talking to alot of people is to use a mixer. Convert the Elk output to low level audio and mix it with the pc. Output the mixer to whatever amp/distribution and speakers you want. I would have liked for the Nuvo to have a paging override so I can output the mixer into the paging override and just use the audio speakers, but I think I am going to to something with relays to control what rooms have announcements, or just try to place the announcement speakers in such a way that they are loud in the areas I am concerned about and soft enough in areas I want off at night.
I was considering piping the M1 output into the PC soundcard, but I do not know how to do this correctly. Even if I can get that part to work, I was also hoping to reuse the Elk Echo speakers I already have.
I created the schematic below to spark some discussion. For my friend's house I used a pre-amp mod of the Elk output and switch between that and the HomeSeer PC sound card output via a relay, then take the relay output to an Elk 800 which then powers four Echo Speakers. The relay defaults to the Elk output, then when I need to do an announcement from the HomeSeer PC, I just "switch" that relay, send the announcement, then switch the relay back (works really slick).

The output of the Elk 800 amplifier can handle a minimum of two ohms so it can handle four Echo speakers in a parallel fashion as shown.

I added electron's request of also being able to add two "PC Amplified/Power" speakers, which take a pre-amp input directly.

The only thing I'm not certain of is if you can actually parallel the pre-amp signal to go to the PC powered speakers and the Elk 800 amplifier.

I was going to use THIS mixer for mixing the preamp signal from the Elk and the PC sound card output, but elected instead of going the relay switch route.

So, how can one combine the preamp signal so it can go to the three items needed as shown below?


  • sound_schematic.JPG
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Does the relay switch fast enough so that the announcement is not cut in the beginning?
Steve said:
Does the relay switch fast enough so that the announcement is not cut in the beginning?
Yes, I tried to look up how I did this, but I just have a bunch of old test scripts so I'm not exactly sure this is correct but here it is.
sub main()
hs.RunEx "my.elk.txt","output_off","3"
hs.RunEx "my.elk.txt","output_toggle","3"
hs.speak "tonight is garbage night, tonight is garbage night"
hs.RunEx "my.elk.txt","output_off","3"
end sub

I do remember tweaking the volume output of the Elk so I wouldn't get a "pop" when the relay switched back. I did THIS post a while ago about this.