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Multi zone audio addin RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I have been working on a multizone audio addin for my WHS and I was wondering what kind of interest people had in something like this?

    Right now it allows you to create multiple "zones" each mapped to a soundcard and then lets you play your media in any of those zones. So if you had 3 zones in your house you would need 3 soundcards. I was also considering adding support for some kind of wireless device but havent found any I thought were cheap enough. Control is done through a pocketpc application that could run on any WM5/6 device.

    Some of the other features are allowing you to move from room to room and maintain your playlist, and/or playing the same playlist in multiple zones.
    Saturday, January 12, 2008 7:42 AM

All replies

  •  rkalantari wrote:
    I have been working on a multizone audio addin for my WHS and I was wondering what kind of interest people had in something like this?

    Right now it allows you to create multiple "zones" each mapped to a soundcard and then lets you play your media in any of those zones. So if you had 3 zones in your house you would need 3 soundcards. I was also considering adding support for some kind of wireless device but havent found any I thought were cheap enough. Control is done through a pocketpc application that could run on any WM5/6 device.

    Some of the other features are allowing you to move from room to room and maintain your playlist, and/or playing the same playlist in multiple zones.

     

    It's a nice idea but there are two many all in one adpaters out there that allow you to do this and more.

     

    Like Saitek all in on speakers and such.

     

     

    I mean i guess it's nice to be able to play different zones but you easily setup different playlist with these " standalone" devices as well.

    Saturday, January 12, 2008 5:57 PM
  •  JonTheTech wrote:

    It's a nice idea but there are two many all in one adpaters out there that allow you to do this and more.

     

    Like Saitek all in on speakers and such.

     

    It probably depends on what you've got at hand and how much you are willing to spend. An all in one networked device tends to run far more than an extra sound card or two... granted the cheap option still requires some speakers down the line.

    Monday, January 14, 2008 4:53 PM
    Moderator
  • I like the idea and think it is very useful. If you have your WHS setup in a room with your multi-zone audio distrubution system this makes for a great combination. I'm interested to hear more.

     

    I'm not sure what all in one adapters can do this right now. Multi-zone audio is one thing sorely missing from media center.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008 3:27 PM
  •  rkalantari wrote:
    I have been working on a multizone audio addin for my WHS and I was wondering what kind of interest people had in something like this?

    Right now it allows you to create multiple "zones" each mapped to a soundcard and then lets you play your media in any of those zones. So if you had 3 zones in your house you would need 3 soundcards. I was also considering adding support for some kind of wireless device but havent found any I thought were cheap enough. Control is done through a pocketpc application that could run on any WM5/6 device.

    Some of the other features are allowing you to move from room to room and maintain your playlist, and/or playing the same playlist in multiple zones.

     

    I have a HP EX475 and have added a USB sound card to it however HP appeares to be blocking sound cards. The card is seen, and drivers for it are loaded, and device manager says it is working, but "Sounds and Audio Devices Properties" doesn't see the card.   Any chance you would be willing to give some guidance on getting one card to show up?

     

    Thanks

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 2:28 PM
  • Don't take this the wrong way but it is very rude to hijack some ones thread like this. I would make your own.

    Does the sound card come with an executable package to install the dirver?

    If so try changing the compatibily mode to "Run As Windows 2000 or XP" and see if it helps.
    Sunday, January 20, 2008 3:08 PM
  •  JonTheTech wrote:
    Don't take this the wrong way but it is very rude to hijack some ones thread like this. I would make your own.

    Does the sound card come with an executable package to install the dirver?

    If so try changing the compatibily mode to "Run As Windows 2000 or XP" and see if it helps.

     

    I guess it is a question of perceptions. The orignal poster is as I understand it developing software to allow one to use mutilpe sounds cards in WHS, I believe that HP has decided to block the installation of sound cards in their WHS. Now perhaps I am wrong about that, but if I am correct, this will I believe effect who the OP can offer his product to. {Shrug} If the HP WHS can't accept a sound card, they are not going to accept multiple sound cards. I see it as valid feed back to his post. I suspect that the HP version is a fairly large part of the market.

     

    The sound card doesn't need any special drivers, they are downloaded and installed automatic. It works in Vista, it works in XP.

    Sunday, January 20, 2008 3:40 PM
  • I know it's not a limitation of WHS itself, as I have 4 USB sound cards working on my OEM WHS right now.


    So it's possible HP has somehow blocked things, but I doubt it.  Perhaps just a driver issue under 2003?  You may want to open the INF file and look for anything suspicious.

     

    - Ryan

    Friday, January 25, 2008 1:49 AM
  •  

    I think it's a great idea for someone who has audio systems set up in different rooms to be able to send different mixes to each room. This would come in very handy in bars and restaurants.

    The folks over in the WMC forums are looking at the same idea. There are some 3rd party software programs like J.River and Winamp that can already support multiple zones but if having a built in app for WHS would be excellent.

    Friday, May 2, 2008 7:17 PM
  • That would be an excellent compliment WHS, in your addin are you able add other controls outside of WMP? I've been working on something simularand in XP Pro and am trying to get four zones, but after three I run out of buffer. Any suggestions? I'm defintely intereseted in you're development of the addin, please keep me informed. 

    Friday, May 16, 2008 4:22 PM
  • Rkalantari – I would be interested to hear what you are doing

     

    I'm currently working on this project.
    I’m new to WHS and just finishing building a new WHS machine. Built the box last week got the WHS OS yesterday and hope my 4 new 1TB drives arrive today.

    I’ve been running all kinds of NAS’s and RAID’s at home and reading/following WHS.

    Finally decided it was time to build one and check it out and play around.


    Here is my setup, problems and targeted solution, this might get long.
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    Currently
    I have an older Russound Multi zone system (CA6.4i), I currently use Twonky and a old Roku to stream music (mp3's) to rooms around the house and use an IR controller (Pronto NG) to select playlists off the Twonky server. On my server I have > 100K mp3 files most all with cover art.

     

    Problem/Goal:

    These older multi zone systems are not smart and have no communication from the source to the distribution system. My IR control is ‘blind’ and just send commands that the Ruko can read as ‘Play playlist named …’ and that playlist must be avalible on the Twonky server or the whole thing craps out, quite a mess.

    I would like to be able to select ‘artisit, album, playlists, songs etc…’ from the server (WHS I hope) and have them play in the rooms via a source selection.

    Now I could go out and upgrade to a new Niles system or the like, but what fun is that?

    The goal is to have a web site running on WHS that is similar to music streaming sites, nothing realy new here, the twist is to have the music, playlist etc. selected from the web page, play on the server and output directly to the Russound via the sound card on the WHS box.  This IIS Site will be setup as an Intranet on the home LAN and can be controlled from any web browser on the LAN (iPhone is what I’m talking about, but any browser will work) could probably open to the Internet and let outside people DJ, HA.

     

    Solution:

    What I am doing.  I have built a web site using .NET 2005 running on MS Server 2003 with IIS.  The site is full featured and allows for selection via artist, album, playlist, genre etc. it also allows for building playlists, also displays album art and the all the goodies a good music player does.  The system builds and maintains its DB to the sound files on the disk. This part is complete and works great, but once again not really breaking new ground yet.

    TBD – write the code to bridge from the web site to the sound card, so instead of streaming to the browser for playback, play on the sound card on the IIS server.  IIS tries to segment the web from the machine so it should be some fun. Have just got started on this part, so any ideas would be great.

    Also will need to work on the site to detect the browser so that it formats pages for the device, probably have multiple CSS or something for iPhone Safari, IE, maybe windows mobile this will make it look good and up the wife acceptance (we all have iPhones at home so why not select your tunes via Wifi?)

     

    So I’ll probably need to spend a few days getting WHS up and running and get a bit familiar with its architecture. Before I dig into the last and admittedly most unknows parts.

     

    I’ll keep you posted.

     

     

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008 7:59 PM
  •  Mike123D wrote:

    ...

    TBD – write the code to bridge from the web site to the sound card, so instead of streaming to the browser for playback, play on the sound card on the IIS server.  IIS tries to segment the web from the machine so it should be some fun. Have just got started on this part, so any ideas would be great.

    ...

    Create a service that drives the hardware, and call that service from your web software.
    Tuesday, June 10, 2008 8:59 PM
    Moderator
  • Has there been any progress on this?

    It would be cool to integrate this into XBMC... IMO the best Media Center out there... just missing Multi-Zone Audio control!
    Tuesday, October 14, 2008 6:51 AM
  • so this is dead???
    Thursday, November 27, 2008 2:27 AM
  • Will be great to hear from the Original Poster, its the project finished? i would like to see this add-in in action!
    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 6:54 PM
  • I got maybe about 1/3 finished with my implementation of this before I had to move onto something else.  I do plan on going back and finishing it at somepoint in the near future now that my book is done. ;-)

    http://www.amazon.com/Building-Massively-Scalable-Components-Solution/dp/0470428996/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235428695&sr=8-1

    Where things were getting complicated was when I started integrating remote IR and Insteon control.  Right now it will simply enumerate all of the mp3 or wmv files in a directory and play them on a loop, and you can point each audio device (ie zone) at a given directory.  It's really braindead at this point.  All the add-in UI exposes is a list of enumerated audio devices, and you can point them at a directory, and start/stop/pause within the add-in.   There is no external control at this point, and it's not even smart enough to pick up new files placed in the directory.  In short, it's a minimalist prototype. ;-)

    Ryan
    Monday, February 23, 2009 10:54 PM
  • You may want to take a look at Premise Software - a full HA solution originally from Motorola; now largely 'open source'...hit CocoonTech and search for Premise....

    I've been running Premise on WHS since the pre=RTM version of WHS, with nary a problem...Premise provides for integration with a number of components, such as Lutron, Xantech, X-10, etc.  Additional drivers have been developed for some of the latest and greatest, like Insteon...

    Multi-Zone is outta the box, using either on-board, or integrated with something like a Xantech ZPR68-10.

    The only thing missing is WHS console integration...I don't think its that necessary.......
    Thursday, March 5, 2009 3:56 AM
  • I got maybe about 1/3 finished with my implementation of this before I had to move onto something else.  I do plan on going back and finishing it at somepoint in the near future now that my book is done. ;-)

    http://www.amazon.com/Building-Massively-Scalable-Components-Solution/dp/0470428996/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1235428695&sr=8-1

    Where things were getting complicated was when I started integrating remote IR and Insteon control.  Right now it will simply enumerate all of the mp3 or wmv files in a directory and play them on a loop, and you can point each audio device (ie zone) at a given directory.  It's really braindead at this point.  All the add-in UI exposes is a list of enumerated audio devices, and you can point them at a directory, and start/stop/pause within the add-in.   There is no external control at this point, and it's not even smart enough to pick up new files placed in the directory.  In short, it's a minimalist prototype. ;-)

    Ryan
    Ryan,
    Any update?
    Monday, October 26, 2009 6:07 AM
  • Hello,

    Just came accross your thread and wondered if you ever made any progress.

    Thank you and good luck,

    Hal

    Sunday, May 9, 2010 12:07 PM