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Whole house audio with only a HTPC?

politics123

Active Member
Yes, I'm a lurking newbie, but I've been researching for quite a while.

I just finished building a new house, prewiring it for whole-house audio (either through home-run speakers or an ABUS/cat5 distribution model).

I've looked at Nuvo, Russound, Niles, Zones, etc. What I'd like to know is: is there a way to distribute whole-house audio without the multi-zone amp and controller.

Is there a multi-output sound-card or software that allows one PC to power multiple zones?


Michael
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Yes, now there is.

www.cinemaronline.com/servers.html
and
www.cinemaronline.com/hardware.ampsolutions.html
controlled by
www.cinemaronline.com/musiclobby.html
 

bfisher

Active Member
Another option is to use a sound card with multiple outputs. I (and several others here) use M-Audio Delta 410. It can drive 4 unique zones effectively.

Remember though, this is line level out - you still need to power it with amps. I (and several others here) have purchased low cost stereo amps. This works quite well and creates a very flexible zoned system. I use my HVPro to manage everything.

If you follow my link (in my signature), it will take you to my "cocoon". Scroll down a bit and I cover how I handle multizone audio. Sorry - it's a bit dated, but still essentially true (basics are all there, but I've added touchscreens to control, etc.)
 

DavidL

Senior Member
bfisher, the MusicLobby solution is just that. The AMP152 hardware is an amplifier to take line level (sound card) output and amplify it to speaker level output. You cna use the M-Audio Delta with this setup as well (or the 10/10 for 5 zones).
 

IVB

Senior Member
Interesting concept DavidL - using the PC's power supply to power an amp? I haven't heard of that before.

politics: If you're interested in keeping it cheap and getting more power, back when I first started out I just used a $200 5yr old 6ch 75wpc Rotel amp off eBay with the line level out plugged into that. You could go even cheaper, but given that I scored that Rotel cheap I was cool.

You could get JRMC, the M-Audio Delta 410, and a cheap amp and be done with it.
 

MBrew

Member
DavidL said:
Yes, now there is.

www.cinemaronline.com/servers.html
and
www.cinemaronline.com/hardware.ampsolutions.html
controlled by
www.cinemaronline.com/musiclobby.html
I've been expecting t type amps for PC's for quite awhile. I'm a little surprised that MainLobby is the first to offer them,. It looks like y'all have come up with a couple of interesting pieces of hardware lately.

Any chance of seeing more than 1 zone per card? Got any more surprises in store?

Take Care,
Mike
 

roussell

Active Member
Have a look at XLobby. It's free, powerful, and more than capable of running multiple zones of audio in your house. Search the forums there and you'll run across a driver that many use to get multiple independent channels of audio from a single 5.1 or 7.1 creative sound card. You'll also find posts where people have been using a low cost ($20-$30 if memory serves) 6 channel amp from eBay

Terry
 

bfisher

Active Member
Interesting DavidL, I hadn't seen that before. I guess I'd have to hear it to believe it :) Nice to know it's there though - it's a good solution for some situations I'm sure.
 

Mike C

Member
I have had good success with the m-Audio hardware. I use this with J River Media Center for 4 Zone output into a Russound distribution system. Combined with NetRemote, I have complete multizone control of audio throughout our house.
 

politics123

Active Member
Thanks all for the recommendations. That card certainly looks interesting.

I can see the one-source, multi-zone solution, and even a multi-source, multi-zone solution (when splitting/crosswiring cheap external amps).

But what about the HTPC driving multi-source/multi-zone?
 

IVB

Senior Member
politics123 said:
Thanks all for the recommendations. That card certainly looks interesting.

I can see the one-source, multi-zone solution, and even a multi-source, multi-zone solution (when splitting/crosswiring cheap external amps).

But what about the HTPC driving multi-source/multi-zone?
directly powering speakers without an external amp?

how many speakers? I'd be concerned that I'd fry the pc power supply, and taking out memory or hard disks in the process.
 

mdesmarais

Active Member
politics123 said:
Thanks all for the recommendations. That card certainly looks interesting.

I can see the one-source, multi-zone solution, and even a multi-source, multi-zone solution (when splitting/crosswiring cheap external amps).

But what about the HTPC driving multi-source/multi-zone?
Not sure which card you are talking about. . .

I am in the process of setting up multi-source/multi-zone using a single PC and m-audio cards, running winamp, and controlling it with HouseBot.

Winamp sees the m-audio as 4 separate soundcards- so I can run multiple instances of winamp, each one driving a different soundcard.

Each pair of outputs of the m-audio goes to a separate amp which drives a single zone.

So I am doing multi-source and multi-zone, as long a multi-source is defined as "audio that is available to played by winamp"--- ripped stuff, internet streams, etc.

Each m-audio (I'm running two) also has an input pair that can be routed out. I haven't played with it yet, but I expect that I can put it out more than one soundcard pair at a time. If so, I may use it for a tuner input, or for intercom/announcement functions.
 

politics123

Active Member
Sorry, I should have been more specific. Streams + ripped music are cool, but I also wanted to distribute Sirius (and maybe, much less importantly, AM/FM/WeatherRadio).

Sirius does support streaming... but that might get the sound to one pair of speakers, not in multiples.
 
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