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Streaming music to multiple rooms from one source

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by U187146, May 10, 2005.

  1. U187146

    U187146
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    Okay audiophiles - help required please !!

    Assume I have got myself a Media Center PC with ethernet connection to a couple of other PCs located in other rooms and I also have wireless network, what is the optimum set-up for being able to send output to local Amps and speakers set up in different rooms.

    This topic is new to me and I don't currently have a network at home, so can't get my head around how you can "push" music to a different room from a single source PC.

    Presumably I will need a PC in target rooms where I want music to be played, or Sonus or similar...(I have seen a load of stuff searching on the web and am now completely confused).

    Basically, my ideal would be to pick up a wireless device, say a remote or even a PDA in any of the rooms equipped with an Amp and Speakers and be able to choose a track or album without getting out of my seat (ideally not even to have to turn on the Amp or the locally networked PC).

    Would really appreciate some guidance. Assume minimal knowledge on my part.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  2. U187146

    U187146
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    Forgot to ask - besides Sonos, are there any other wireless devices can incorporate an Amp that could just plug into speakers ?
     
  3. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    Roku Squeeze box Musicast? see the "best MP3 player" thread for some ideas
     
  4. hinesle

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    U187146 ,

    I don’t know about ‘pushing’ music to all rooms put you can certainly ‘pull’ music from all these devices independently.

    The squeezebox server software may be able to push music to all devices i.e. be able to control what is playing remotely but you will have to check this (the software is freely downloadable).

    When it comes to synchronisation (all devices playing the same music at the same time) I know the Roku currently does not support this (although they are planning this for future firmware releases). The squeeze box does support this but there may be a slight timing issue (the manufactures site forums for both these product are good) and finally I don’t know about the music-cast.

    None of these product incorporate an amp but you cam simply plug in some powered speakers to achieve this.

    And finally who believes these type of devices deserve a “new thread” at the root of A forums as they don’t fit the “MP3, IPOD or other digital music” section??
     
  5. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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  6. U187146

    U187146
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    The Xiva sounds interesting. Does this require their Network Audio Player, which essentially sounds like an Amp and display in order to select what is played. If you can do the latter using a PDA, which sounds sensible, then if it could be possible to get an Amp with a eithernet connection or wireless connection to pick up the digital info from a centrally place Windows media center (which I assume is akin to a Music Server). Not sure if such an Amp exists - though presumably this is what the Network Audio Player is for ?? I'll also take a look at "Squeezebox".

    I agree a separate forum would be a good idea as I would think many people are now trying to do this given the increasing acceptance of MP3 devices and storage of music on a PC (saves having to locate CDs all over the place).

    Keep those ideas coming. Anyone know how to set up a new forum ??
     
  7. hinesle

    hinesle
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    The Xiva does require the Network Audio Player (the server) however I have spoke to Imerge directly and thay have told me that they currently developing a "client" that can stream from a UPnP server eg Windows Media Connect.

    A point to note Windows Media Connect IS NOT the same as Windows Media Centre and I believe they are both incompatible (I.e. can not be run from the same PC – although there may be a fix for this now).

    If its Windows Media Centre and its functionality you wish to use then take a look at Media Centre Extenders (Linksys do one) but I don’t know whether they are available in the UK yet.

    As horny has said take a look at the ""best MP3 player" thread and this will give you more ideas of what to look for when choosing a "server".
     
  8. Northern Monkey

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  9. AMc

    AMc
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    I have an MP101. It's nice but not without some issues. The included media server is supposed to be unreliable and can be destructive - it's picky about signal strength and can drop out at quite decent data rates.

    After a lot of research I use the free UPnP music server from www.twonkymedia.de and never used the Netgear stuff which is (apparently) unreliable. Main reason was that it can read the iTunes database to find music and playlists which simplifies things with our music collection and my partner's iPod. It also runs as a Windows service so you don't need to log in on the PC.

    I connect via a repeater/bridge - mainly because it sits next to the HiFI anyway and it supports g speeds so the Netgear doesn't impact network performance for everything else.

    Using Twonky you can't set the set a server to play and have all the clients synched up - I don't think the Netgear software will do that either. They work by 'pulling' the music from the server and they buffer the data so synching would be tough. It has internet radio support so you might be able to set up your own 'station' but control would need another method to control what that outputs?

    Check out http://www.media-servers.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=7

    I know that the squeezebox does have the option to play the same tunes all over the house www.slimdevices.com. The Squeezbox isn't a UPnP client so if you go down that route you are locking into their stuff - but their stuff is supposed to be brilliant if you can afford it. It's still a heap cheaper than 'true' multiroom HiFi.

    You might also want to look at www.streamium.com and http://www.streamiumcafe.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php as they have some good products.

    I got my MP101 from PC World for £60 a couple of months ago.
     
  10. mick's cat

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    Anyone thought about the Apple AirPort Express? iTunes on any computer on the network can then stream to it.
     
  11. Northern Monkey

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    Right have now got an MP101 and after 2 days use been v pleased with it and certainly seems to meet most of the requirements of the original poster and is a cheap solution. Mine is positioned in a room which is notoriously bad as far as losing wireless connectivity for my laptop is concerned and so far (touch wood) no problems with it dropping the connection. Has both 3.5mm lineout and L/R phono so connects easily to either powered speakers or my AV receiver. (both cables supplied incidentally)

    Q for AMc (or anyone else) there does not seem to be an option on the remote to browse by album which seems to be a problem if you want to play a compilation album as can only browse by artist/ Genre/ playlist or track. So no problem selecting an album by one particular artist but cannot sus out for compilation album. Are there any workarounds other than creating playlists for all of my compilation albums?

    Also can you use it for internet streaming- the supplied Rhapsody trial software does not apparently work in the UK?

    Cheers

    NM
     
  12. AMc

    AMc
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    RE: Album playback. There is not a hot key on the remote, but if you press the 'home' button and then choose "Browse Music" there is an "Album" menu. You will have to choose by name not artist though.
    Personally I think this is a bit failure of lots of MP3 players inc. iTunes. I quite often leave everything on shuffle but when I hear a particular track I think "Hey let's listen to that album" you'd think that'd be easy - but it usually needs several selections to get to the album listings.

    RE: Internet Radio. I just pressed the 'net' button and get a list of stations to try - filed under genres and universally awful! I have to admit to being completely uneducated as to where the lists and stations come from apart from 'the internet' :). I use www.twonkymedia.de MusicServer for all my MP101 needs so maybe it's supplying a list. If I get a chance I'll see if it still populates with the music server off - maybe the MP101 is just talking straight out to the Internet - I know some of the Philips Streamium clients had that capability but I doubt the MP101 is clever enough. If you're using the supplied music server have a google on it. I read that it can crash and damage your MP3 tags but that could just be conjecture. I can recommend Twonky - the interface with iTunes is good and it can run as a service which means anyone/no one can be logged in upstairs and the music still plays.
     
  13. U187146

    U187146
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    Thanks everyone, been away in the US (very tempting to buy all my kit and stash away in luggage - but not sure what to get....). I am getting a little confused. The MP101 pulls digital music from stored media say in another room and then presumably plugs into an Amp & speakers. What is Twonky ? Sounds like software, rather than hardware. Best solution would be to have something like the MP101, but which combined with a decent Amp.
     
  14. AMc

    AMc
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    Yes, Twonky is Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) media server - it is software - it can run on windows and a variety of other sources including some Network Attached Storage devices. It indexes the content (music + pictures and movies if you go for the Media Server version) and allows one or more clients (like the MP101) to request files and search the database. It can form the hub of a very complex multiroom audio and video solution - if you want.

    Something like the MP101 with a decent amp and speakers would work. The real attraction of the MP101 is it's about 1/2 the price of the other solutions I saw (ROKU, Squeezebox, Philips Streamium). It is not the greatest device but for around £60 it fitted my needs.

    RE: Net radio - I tried the MP101 with the server switched off and it found nothing so the list of net radio stations is being supplied by Twonky.
     
  15. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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  16. AMc

    AMc
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    That looks interesting - having the display on the remote and having RF not IR control certainly make it a prettier solution if you want hidden multiroom a la custom installs!
    It also supports the g standard of wireless which is faster than the b varient the 101 supports. Not a problem for the unit but a drag on network speed. Mine is connected via a g bridge so it's not a problem for me anyway.
    I suspect that the price of these gadgets is about to drop as there are many more about now - as wireless home networking becomes more popular the target market moves from geekdom into the mainstream early adopter.
     

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