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MP3 Zoned Audio

Micah

Active Member
I thought I'd start a new thread here since this is an audio discussion and not so much an automation hardware discussion.

For anyone looking for some background info on what I'm doing, you can find it here.

Well guys, I popped 2 soundcards into my everyday PC and I've got good news. I was able to run 2 instances of Winamp with each copy outputting to a different soundcard and Girder being able to control each one independantly. It's a beautiful thing.

I'm going to break each section on what I did up into different posts and add to it as I go along. I've done everything seperatly, now it's just a matter of putting it all together into one box.

Getting Winamp to Output on different soundcards
--------------------------------------------------------------

First thing I did was installed the soundcards, then the drivers. I didn't do anything special as far as the drivers were concerned. Windows saw the new hardware, asked for the CD and did a reboot when it was all finished.

To get Winamp to output to different soundcards though, you have to go into Options > Preferences. Then from the list on the left select Plug-ins > Output.
The list on the right will then change to show all your output plug-ins. Mine was defaulted to DirectSound, but I had to switch it to WaveOut Output. Select Configure and a new window pops up. Under the Device drop down in this new window will be a list of all your sound "devices". Select the first device listed below Microsoft Sound Mapper. That's your first soundcard.

Save all the changes and exit Winamp. Then go to where ever Winamp is installed and create a new copy of the Winamp directory. I called the new directory Winamp2. Then go into the Winamp2 directory and rename winamp.exe to something else. I called mine winamp2.exe. Run winamp2.exe and follow the same instructions as before for selecting the output device, only this time instead of selecting the first device under Microsoft Sound Mapper, select the second.

If all went well you should not hear the output of Winamp2 on the first soundcard nor should you hear the output of Winamp on the second soundcard. If you do then both copies of Winamp are set to use the same output device and one needs to be changed.
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
cool! I was under the impression that you could run 2 instances of winamp by simply enabling it somewhere in options, or did you do it this way because this is the only way girder can control both? Do you know if you can control these 2 instances using browseamp (http://www.browseamp.com/)?

Btw, if you don't mind formatting the post so it looks like our other how-to's, I would love to add it to our how-to library (with your name of course). Thanks for sharing!
 

Micah

Active Member
Actually I think you need to have "Allow multiple instances" checked anyhow otherwise instead of launching a new copy (even with a different directory and filename) it will just bring the one instance to the top.

The reason for have 2 different copies of Winamp installed with different names is so that Girder can tell the difference between the two. If you just run winamp.exe twice then Girder can't tell the difference between the two and send the same command to both copies. (i.e. a "Next track" command in Zone 1 would cause all zones to skip to the next track) By running winamp.exe and then winamp2.exe Girder can be told exactly which exe to control in response to a particular X-10 command.

As far as using Browseamp, I dunno. This is the first I've heard of it, although it does sound like something worth looking into.

I'll also take a look at your other how-to's and see if I can't clean this one up a bit.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
J-River's Media Center: http://www.musicex.com/mediacenter/ is another great mediaplayer that supports multiple zones in a single instance. It also works with MainLobby, but has some great skins that give you a very nice interface as a stand-alone interface as well.

It also supports every media type known to man. So on my machine, when I click on a media file, it plays in media center, regardless of what kind it is.
 

Micah

Active Member
I'd thought about using Media Center, but I don't want to have to have a computer for every zone. It'd be a sweet sweet setup to be sure, but I think it's bad enough that I've got 4 computers for 1 person, with another on it's way.

The way I'm envisioning all this is to use X-10 keypads next to the light switches and possibly expanding all that later to X-10 remotes of some sort or another. I'm still toying with the idea of mounting a Matrix Orbital display above each keypad, but I haven't gotten that far quite yet.
 

jrfuda

Active Member
Micah said:
I'd thought about using Media Center, but I don't want to have to have a computer for every zone.
You only need one PC, and the software can support as many zones as your processor/soundcard combo can handle.

You can even get multiple zones off one soundcard, as long as the soundcard has unique outputs for each stereo pair.

For example, on my current PC with 1 sound card with front and rear stereo outputs I can have 2 zones, with zone one going to the main stereo output and zone two going to the rear/surround stereo output. If I had another sound card or one of those USB deals, I could add evenmore zones.

Some of the guys over in MainLobby land have 4 or 5 zones running, I think.

I don't know how much each additional zone will bog down your CPU, but I'm sure it increases its workload.

I'm not using the multizone capability right now, I've only played with it, but I plan on running 2 zones when I rturn to the states this summer (My Yamaha DSPAX1 supports two zones as well, that'll be fun!)
 

Micah

Active Member
I guess I don't understand how Mainlobby does multi-zone then. How do you control each zone independantly of the others? Do you use a bunch of extra video cards to display what each zone is doing, or is there only one display that shows what every zone is doing?

It sounds like only one person can use the controller at once and that controller is located where ever the computer with Mainlobby is, unless you use a TabletPC or Airpanel.
 

Joshua

Member
Great article!!!


After finding Vinyl for the pocket pc(thanks to this forum), I hooked up my living room stereo to my computer again and have Winamp running under 2 instances. One for local music playback, one for the living room audio(which I can control with my pocket pc via vinyl). My computer already had two soundcards(one built-in and then my Sound Blaster card). It only took a few minutes to get everything working too ;)

Thanks!
 

Micah

Active Member
Nice! I still need to buy some hardware before I get mine all setup but I'm glad it's working for you!
 
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