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Multiroom Amplification

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by paublo, Feb 27, 2004.

  1. paublo

    paublo
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    Hi Everyone..

    I am planning a PC based multiroom sound system based around winamp/Xlobby.... an interesting project..

    One are where I am having trouble is with the amplification - I would like to have 8 independant stereo pairs running from a central location, all around the house to in ceiling speakers. The PC and remote side of things is all worked out...

    I dont want a £££ Linn multiroom type solution and have considered car audio amps i.e. 8 small stereo amps or should I consider sub £100 sony amps from Richer Sounds etc... There must be a neater solution... A professional Russound solution has keypads with minuate amps build in, can you buy these tiny amp seperately anywhere.?

    Any suggestions gratefully received.... thanks in advance..

    Thanks
    Paul.
     
  2. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Power amps like HK PA4000? or use a couple of basic stereo amps like Cambridge Audio from RS
     
  3. ultraman

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    i'm planning to use several slimp3 systems around each room, all connected via ethernet or wireless ethernet.

    the good thing about this setup is that you can simultaneously play the same music in all rooms or play each one individually.

    this device comes with optical out, or stereo outs, so you can connect them to anything, really.
     
  4. JohnS

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    Not really related to using xlobby and winamp or using centralised amplifiers. I dont see your point:rolleyes:

    Paublo,

    I'm in the same position with trying to find suitable amps for a multiroom xlobby setup with pda wifi control, its a very cool way to go:cool:

    There is a Rotel amp which provides 6*60W output that appears to come up secondhand from time to time but I'm looking too;)

    What soundcard are you planning on using, I'm thinking a Delta 410 may be the one.
     
  5. paublo

    paublo
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    Apologies for launching a thread and then not being around... guests here over the weekend..

    Thanks HornyDragon.. I would really like 8 small 25-40w poweramps driven directly from the PC with a the volume being decided by winamp... simplicity... Hence the car audio thoughts? much more compact etc.. to have 8 small pre/pro amps in a rack under the stairs seems like overkill and to get 8 stereo pairs from a single amp looks $$$$$$$$$$sive...

    John, I like the Delta 410, but it can only support 4 zones (with a single card), so I was going to push for an RME... a lot more expensive as I a have found the 410 for just less than £150...

    How far have you got?... Is there a better sub forum for talking about multiroom.... I would like to start discussing RF/IR control, video distribution etc... I am working on the premise that most bedrooms and living areas have a tv or monitor so I plan to distribute an Xlobby menu via RF and when you want to play music, you just change to channel 9 and you can select your album and track with full controls over volume etc... With pronto's or simple RC5 control in lesser rooms... A gyromouse would be ideal.. but again £££...

    thanks chaps..

    Paul.
     
  6. JohnS

    JohnS
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    Hi Paul,

    I've got as far as ripping my entire music collection to harddrive and finding, scanning all the cover art. I have a PPC with wifi card which can control any machine running xlobby.

    My setup is to comprise as follows:- My server machine is in a rack in the integral garage, this is my file/print server and currently runs xp pro although that may become w2k3 server. This machine will probably have a delta 410 to provide music for my upstairs, office, main bedroom, gym and bathroom. This machine has a small touchscreen that is in the adjacent hallway. This is one way it could be controlled but most likely will be controlled from the ppc in the gym, bedroom and bathroom. In the office there are other PC's which can run the remote connection software so that is probably the most convenient solution.

    In the living room is my HTPC with RME PST card which is connected to both a HS10 and small tft monitor. This is mainly contolled by Pronto via usb uirt and girder. This room has extra speaker cables in place that run to the adjoining dining room, I'm waiting for an amp to turn up on monday which will allow me to try out the second zone. I will probably end up adding an analogue out board to the RME which will allow me to add speakers in the Kitchen and a pair for occaisional outside use.

    Control for this machine could be via the PPC or via a remote instance run on the server via the touchscreen in the hall.

    This setup has been chosen partly for convenience due to some existing cabling and the posssibility of having the ground floor in sync for party's etc.

    The newest version of xlobby that is still experimental at the moment, allows control of the usbuirt to send ir signals to other devices. I haven't played with it much yet, as it seems to be changing at quite a rapid pace while its still in alpha. This should link up nicely to overcome the problem of repeating ir around the house.
     
  7. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Car amps would work but then you need 12V transformers everywhere etc. A big multi channel poweramp is what is normally used.
     
  8. JohnS

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    The biggest problem with car amps is the size of the transformer required, they draw a massive load in amps, the normal plugin type transformers only tend to put out about an amp at 12v, woefully inadequate for an amplifier.
     
  9. KW1816

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    I've just set up a system along similiar lines .... Central server with touchscreens running Mainlobby/Musiclobby .

    For the actual amplification and room control I couldn't find anything that was a decent price and had the features I wanted in this country.

    A quick look across the pond and there are lots of systems available, have a look at the Russound systems for a start.

    In the end I bought a Xantech system (this one ) , mainly due to the WAF of the keypads :D :D

    I have it running of a step down transformer at the moment but when I get a chance I'm going to have a look at converting the PSU.


    Very pleased with it - it'll be even better when it's installed :D :D

    Cheers
    Kevin.
     
  10. dealmaker

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    Paublo,

    I'm doing something similar but I'm using one of these:

    http://www.lektropacks.co.uk/product/technical.asp?dept_id=10&sku=263

    to distribute low level audio signals to each room. (they can be daisy chained if you need more than 5 rooms)

    at each room I'm going to install a separate powered sub/sat system - so the level of music can be switched on and off and volume controlled in each room.

    Subject to speaker loadings I might add additional in-ceiling B&W speakers in adjacent rooms also.

    Track selection can be made from key "control" rooms where I will have a TFT screen operating over a KVM console extender back to the main PC over CAT5.

    I guess there are several ways to skin the same cat - depends on your existing set up, room layout and control preferences.
     
  11. Coaxial

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    Harman have a sort of basic multiroom effort - the PA4000 is 8 x 45 watts, 750 squid, then control boxes are 20 quid apeice (i.e get 4). That way, you have volume control, and on / off, but no more for cheaper than linn etc money, but of couse you lack the multi source functionality you'd get elsewhere.
    horses for courses i spose.
     
  12. paublo

    paublo
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    Hi Everyone,

    I have been away on business again this week with no access to the web... sorry..

    Thanks for all of the thoughts, the news regarding the 12v car amps is dissapointing, I too have searched high and low for reasonably priced amplification.... time for a rethink..

    In my current house I have a Russound ABus system, which is adequate, with CAT5 runs to keypads etc, the amplification is very clever with mini 25w amps inside keypads ... controlled via pronto's scattered around the house...

    The Russound centralised AMPs looks more interesting? KW1816 - where did you source the Russound kit, I assume you hunted around for dealers who would send to the UK etc....

    Coax - I have looked at the Harmon and other amps approach the 1k mark, this is a fall back position mainly due to funds being allocated to other items such as roof tiles etc :).... part of the fun is doing it on a budget...

    Everyone keep in touch, I plan to spend more time researching htis weekend..

    Cheers
    Paul.
     
  13. paublo

    paublo
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    Hi again,

    KW1816 - the Xantech system looks excellent, thanks for the link - which supplier did you use?.. any other suggestions?

    Thanks
    Paul.
     
  14. KW1816

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    paublo,

    I don't actually have any of the Russound kit - it was one of the options I was considering before I went for the Xantech.

    I bought the Xantech from a bloke on ebay :eek: who sells them brand new every now and then.

    No warranty as Xantech only give warranty if you buy direct from one of their distributors - I have an electronics background so I'm not bothered - if anything goes wrong I'm fairly confident at fixing it.

    The system is actually far more powerfull than I imagined - Think of it as a combined IR distribution/Pronto/Audio controller :D
    It's programmable by PC using their own software (Dragondrop)

    At the moment I haven't had a chance to really program it so it's just running is normal whole house audio mode - 4 zones, you can link another unit to make 8.

    Sound is fine - it's only rated at 25W per channel but in this application that's more than enough - it also does video (composite) switching which I don't plan to use.

    Cheers
    Kevin.
     
  15. paublo

    paublo
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    The level of control of the Xantech, especially when combined with an Xlobby/RME combination should be awesome... The price is also very appealing, I will have a look at ebay... thanks..

    For John etc - what is the best price for a touchscreen LCD, what models have you considered etc... I had planned to distribute an xlobby screen via a radeon based tv out - then route via RF (loftbox), the big gap is the control element...

    I have a couple of pronto's, touchscreen LCD's I fear will be too expensive... is there a middle ground... as discussed previously, a gyromouse is a bit expensive..

    Thanks
    Paul.
     
  16. JohnS

    JohnS
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    I picked up a 13" svga touchscreen in the classifieds for £130, I dont know whether or not it was a good deal but it works well.

    Equally I got a secondhand Dell axim + a wifi card for £135.

    Not breaking the bank exactly.

    In my lounge I have a tft and hs10 and the htpc has pronto/girder/usbuirt control. Haven't integrated Xlobby with it yet but working on it.
     
  17. paublo

    paublo
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    The touchscreen is a bargain... landed on your feet there... :)

    Not sure about the PDA thing, I have arranged to borrow one of my mates for a trial....

    In my main room - I have a Barco 808S with second 15'' LCD for displaying Xlobby ISO's.. It works well.. I just end up running out of disk space and deleting something... it always sits with around 20 movies on it.....

    As for Xlobby, I have posted a number of requests that may help our multiroom solutions - lets see what the developer does with them.. good luck..

    Paul.
     
  18. oreoboy13

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    Why would cheap integrated amps from RS not be a good solution. Just set the max volume you want on the amp and the forget and control the volume with winamp from then on via PPC and Wifi.
     
  19. paublo

    paublo
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    Thats the route I was planning to go down.... the problem is when I had to purchase 6 of them and then store them somewhere - under stairs cupboard etc... Then add the Tivo, Tuner, PC, dvd etc....

    In the end I have just ordered a Russound 6 zone system with 6 keypads... relatively powerfull.. ... Wife Acceptance factor is very high and a sound foundation to enable further development of the PC, from MP3's to Mpeg etc via standard RF around the house....

    You could spend £80-100 per amp, or spend say £800 on a good Russound setup from the states... How much of it is a project and how much is you want to be able to listen to music and watch PC/Dvds in various rooms? KW1816's earlier posts, just grounded me a little and brought me back to reality...

    Enjoy..
    Paul.
     
  20. KW1816

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    That's the first time I've been accused of that :D :D
    Made my wife laugh as well :laugh:

    Which Russound system did you go for ? A-bus or the CA stuff ?

    Cheers
    Kevin.
     
  21. paublo

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    I am just about to order the CAV6.6 from the states... the keypads made all the difference, the Uno S2 look nice.. I still plan to intergrate the PC fully into the system... with multiple zones of audio and video...

    Regards... ;)
    Paul
     

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