[Tutorials] How to create a multi-zone WinAmp based whole house audio system


Staff member
Hardware discussion and overview

First thing we need to look at is hardware. The Audio PC (APC) is a single computer that runs multiple instances of Winamp and is controlled via X-10 keypads.

The easiest place to start is the APC’s hardware. In order for all this to work, you’ll need a motherboard that has at least as many PCI slots as you want Zones +1. The idea is that there will be a single soundcard for each zone plus an additional card for synched play.

The APC doesn’t need to be a super powerful machine. All it needs to be able to do is run as many instances of Winamp as you require, plus Girder. I’m using an old Soyo K7VTA-Pro with an AMD Athlon 1.2GHz and 1 gig of RAM. This is probably over kill but it’s what I had lying around to use.

Video doesn’t matter because we’re not outputting to any monitor. If you have a motherboard with on board Video, you’re set. Otherwise any generic AGP card will do.

I ended up buying a 40Gig HD, the cheapest full ATX tower I could find and 5 Aopen AW850 soundcards to finish off the set. Again, this doesn’t need to be a powerhouse. All it will do is play music, nothing else.

To interact with the X-10 keypads you’ll need either a CM11A or CM12U module. I don’t believe there is a Girder plugin for the newer USB interface at the time of this writing. And for X-10 Keypads I’m going to use a single 8 key KeyPadLinc keypad for each zone.

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