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Whole house audio with voice announcements

johnnynine

Active Member
I will have whole house audio in my home and would like to use the same speakers for music and voice announcements.

How am I going to mix the two sources, and can I automatically reduce the volume or maybe even cut it off when a voice announcement plays... all on a budget?

If the only answer is "Use a paging mixer", I have been unable to find an affordable minimal mixer. Everything I have seen is overkill.

Or is there a simpler way to do it?

PS: Currently I just have a normal sony stereo receiver to drive music or whatever over the whole house audio speakers.
 

Steve

Senior Member
You have to further ask yourself if your TTS/HA will be just from an Elk, or an Elk and a software package. If both, then you need a way to combine those too and its almost impossible to guarantee one won't talk over the other - depending of course on how much 'speech' you use.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
I also will have a Greyfox Cat5 intercom system. Maybe it would be better to interface with that some how... if that's even possible.

I plan on using CQC to do all the voice announcements.
 

Rupp

Senior Member
Johnnynine,
I'm not sure if CQC offers this or not but using HomeSeer and the Media Player plugin when any other TTS takes place the Media Player automatically pauses, the text to speech, callerID, etc is spoken, and then the Media Player resumes.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
Rupp said:
Johnnynine,
I'm not sure if CQC offers this or not but using HomeSeer and the Media Player plugin when any other TTS takes place the Media Player automatically pauses, the text to speech, callerID, etc is spoken, and then the Media Player resumes.
The main source for audio will likely not be the pc and will be the radio or external dvd, but that is good to know if I create a HTPC one day.
 

Dean Roddey

Senior Member
You could arrange to pause any playback (whatever the playback device, software or hardware) before speaking any text if you want to do that.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
Dean Roddey said:
You could arrange to pause any playback (whatever the playback device, software or hardware) before speaking any text if you want to do that.
Thanks Dean, it sounds like that's the most likely solution and would work whether I used the whole house audio speakers or the intercom.

I'll have to do some research on how to feed external audio into the intercom system.
 

IVB

Senior Member
Check response time on your equipment - i noticed that my Denon3805 takes about 2ish seconds when switching sources, longer if it needs to turn on that zone.

Not a big deal, but enough of a delay to be a PITA. This is the reason I went for redundant $8 Elk speakers dedicated to announcements throughout the house.
 

johnnynine

Active Member
So it looks like these are my choices:

$$$ Pager Mixer through whole house audio
$$ Through Greyfox'On-Q/Legrand intercom
$ Using CQC Switching

At this point I think I might actually prefer it through the intercom. Still not sure how to do it but it looks like it should be doable but a little pricey.
 

nadler1ny

Member
Take a look at this speaker switch. Speaker switch. You can connect 2 different sources and up to 8 sets of speakers. In my case I connected the PC to play mp3s and TSS voice announcements from PowerHome and a Denon 3805. When I have a TSS announcement I mute or pause whatever is playing using a macro in PowerHome and then play the announcement. The speaker switch can be controlled by X-10, IR, and RS232. I tried X-10 but now I use IR as it seems to be 100% reliable. There are many other solutions out there for big $$$. This is the inexpensive version.
 

Rupp

Senior Member
nadler1ny said:
Take a look at this speaker switch. Speaker switch. You can connect 2 different sources and up to 8 sets of speakers. In my case I connected the PC to play mp3s and TSS voice announcements from PowerHome and a Denon 3805. When I have a TSS announcement I mute or pause whatever is playing using a macro in PowerHome and then play the announcement. The speaker switch can be controlled by X-10, IR, and RS232. I tried X-10 but now I use IR as it seems to be 100% reliable. There are many other solutions out there for big $$$. This is the inexpensive version.
I too use this speaker switcher from Ray and it works perfectly using the free plugin for the speaker switcher. There are also 2 other paid plugins that control this device available. SpeakEasy is the best plugin because it allows you to queue speech and or any other input and have it spoken later, if you desire, based on priority.
 

roussell

Active Member
upstatemike said:
I still like old school speaker switching with relays. cheap, safe, reliable.
I'm with you, he could even re-route the main audio through an audio-taper pot to "duck" the volume when CQC was speaking, or cut it all together.

Terry
 

johnnynine

Active Member
roussell said:
upstatemike said:
I still like old school speaker switching with relays. cheap, safe, reliable.
I'm with you, he could even re-route the main audio through an audio-taper pot to "duck" the volume when CQC was speaking, or cut it all together.
Over my head on the "audio-taper pot... :)

I assume that's some kind of potentiometer? How would I control the resistance or is it automatic some how?
 

johnnynine

Active Member
johnnynine said:
So it looks like these are my choices:

$$$ Pager Mixer through whole house audio
$$ Through Greyfox'On-Q/Legrand intercom
$ Using CQC Switching

At this point I think I might actually prefer it through the intercom. Still not sure how to do it but it looks like it should be doable but a little pricey.

Email from On-Q/Legrand:
Unfortunately you cannot use the speakers in the intercom system for this purpose. The speakers are ties into the Intercom functions and if you try to use them with another application, you sacrifice the unit functionality.

On-Q/Legrand claims there is no way to add and external audio source into the intercom... It's a cat 5 system, so I'd have to assume that 2 of those wire are audio out... maybe even line level. So maybe I could hack it.


Anyone have any experience with this?
 
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