Running multiple Softsqueeze streams from one PC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-26-2011, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been trying to figure out how to run a "poor man's" multi zone audio system and I think I've got a pretty good solution.

 

Edit (24-Jun-12): I just re-installed everything on a new PC and following these instructions was not clear. I've updated them so hopefully it'll be easier. PM me with any questions.

Hardware:
- Speakers in each zone with wiring to central location.
- PC with a soundcard for each zone (or a soundcard like this that supports multiple "virtual" soundcard outputs). The PC needs to be located where ever your zones' speaker wire terminates.
- Amp(s) with as many channels as speakers. For pairs of in-ceiling speakers, I recommend the AudioSource AMP-100.
- Wi-Fi network
- iPhone/Android tablet for control

Software (all free):
- I'm using Windows but Squeezebox/Softsqueeze is java based so platform independent.
- Squeezebox server
- Softsqueeze player

- Java JDK

- Android app (there's an iOS app as well but a regular web browser works too)


Description of final setup:
- The amp for each audio zone is connected to a different soundcard.
- Multiple instances of Softsqueeze software are used to play audio in each zone. Each instance controls a different soundcard.
- The Squeezebox server software acts like iTunes to manage you music collection and to control each Softsqueeze instance / zone. You can also sync all zones, play different music in each, play internet radio and much more.

- Control is via dedicated phone/tablet app or webbrowser (default address for Squeezebox server is http://localhost:9000 for the local Softsqueeze instances or the PC's IP address followed by :9000 from another browser on the network).



LL
LL

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post #2 of 24 Old 07-27-2011, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Detailed instructions:

 

1. Install Squeezebox server and Softsqueeze. It helps to install both in a non-protected directory in Windows 7 (e.g. C:\Non-Admin Program Files). This prevents requiring admin rights to do everything.

 

2. Install Java JDK. This is required to run Softsqueeze from the command prompt.

 

3. Run Softsqueeze from the command window and turn on the Configuration debugging options

- If you are getting an error trying to run from the command line, make sure .jar is associated with the Java JRE by following instructions here (answers.microsoft.com).

- Open a command window to the Softsqueeze install directory and enter the following command to run it: java -jar SoftSqueeze.jar

- Softsqueeze will run in two windows - the command (DOS) window and the GUI. In the GUI hit the Preferences button and go to the Debug tab. Tick the Configuration box. Now any changes you make in preferences will be logged to the command window.

- Again in preferences, go to the Audio tab and change the Audio Mixer. This lists your sound devices. Select each one in turn and the details of each will be logged in the command window. The EXACT text describing each device is used in the next step.


4. Create a batch file that launches a "headless" (i.e. no GUI) Softsqueeze instance with your configuration options. A separate batch file is created for each audio device/zone. Copy the below text into notepad, edit and save as .bat.

Code:
@echo off
start /min "PC Speakers" java -Dserver=localhost:9000 -Dskins=headless -Daudio.mixer="Speakers (High Definition Audio Device)" -Dmacaddress=f7:25:9d:78:9f:66 -jar Softsqueeze.jar
exit

A batch file needs to be created for each sound device you want to use, and put in the Softsqueeze directory. From the above example, change PC Speakers to the device name (e.g. a soundcard connected to an amp powering the kitchen speakers could be called Kitchen), the audio device name to what you got from step 3 and choose a random MAC address (each device needs a different virtual MAC).

4. Configure the device names in Squeezebox server. Run the Squeezebox server and then all the batch files to launch the players. Then, from a web browser, go to localhost:9000 and click on Settings (lower right corner). Under the Player tab, select each Softsqueeze from the drop down and re-name to match the zone. This name will be permanent as it will be associated with the zone's unique MAC address as set above.

5. From now on, just launch the batch files from shortcuts or Startup folder along with Squeezebox server and all the audio devices will be running and configured!

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post #3 of 24 Old 07-27-2011, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Now a question: once this is setup, what sort of amp(s) should sit between the PC and the speakers? Would I get a separate amp for each zone or is there a single device with multiple sources/zones I could use? I'm thinking perhaps 3 zones of 2 speakers each.
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post #4 of 24 Old 08-05-2011, 05:55 AM
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Is their any way with this kind of setup to have the same source controlling more than one zone?

Normally I would like audio to be independant in the kitchen, Lounge and family room but if I have a party I would want the sound to be the same in the kitchen and the lounge but with the family room playing something different.

Is this kind of thing possible?
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post #5 of 24 Old 08-12-2011, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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With the squeezebox server you can set it to synch all the software players which would do what you're asking. Its a button on the standard web interface. I would suggest installing it and having a play around as its all free. To test the different outputs, just use PC speakers and headphones.

Edit: actually you can see the button in the screenshot above. Its in the dropdown menu for selecting different software player instances.
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post #6 of 24 Old 08-18-2011, 07:38 PM
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ljo000, great thread. How did you end up powering the audio? I have 5.1 Onkyo that does not have hdmi and am thinking of using it for 2 zones in the main floor(kitchen and bedroom). I am not sure how to do the automatic source selection if I am pumping two different audio streams.
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post #7 of 24 Old 08-19-2011, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I haven't got to that bit yet in practice but I was thinking a 7 channel amp to power 3 sets of 2 speakers. Something like the Emotiva UPA 7 would be perfect if I can find a used one. I don't need extreme power as I'm doing 3x2 in-wall speakers (max 120w each channel).

As for source selection, as long as each soundcard is outputting to a pair of channels, the amp just has to power the speakers and leave the computer to handle everything else.
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post #8 of 24 Old 08-20-2011, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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And for control - just nabbed 2x HP Touchpad 16GB WiFi for $125 each shipped. If I use them for nothing else but home cinema remotes it'll still be a good deal!
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post #9 of 24 Old 08-25-2011, 01:40 PM
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Did you receive them yet?
I have an iPad to use but the web control doesn't give me any scrollbars???
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post #10 of 24 Old 08-25-2011, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Haven't got them yet so I can't tell you either way. Are you using the Touch skin? If so you should be able to swipe scroll
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post #11 of 24 Old 08-25-2011, 07:24 PM
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The touch skin is for Softsqueeze, which I absolutely could never use to control my music. I was looking for something to work with the server web control feature.
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post #12 of 24 Old 08-25-2011, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant using a plugin to get touchscreen browser optimised web interface. That or you can get an app to bypass the web interface altogether.

For example: iPeng plugin or Squeeze Commander

Unfortunately, Logitech has dropped support for the Handheld skin which was quite nice for some older devices.

Edit: Just discovered a free, official Logitech android app! That makes things a lot easier.
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post #13 of 24 Old 01-12-2012, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant using a plugin to get touchscreen browser optimised web interface. That or you can get an app to bypass the web interface altogether.

For example: iPeng plugin or Squeeze Commander

Unfortunately, Logitech has dropped support for the Handheld skin which was quite nice for some older devices.

Edit: Just discovered a free, official Logitech android app! That makes things a lot easier.

I am working my way through a similar setup, and so far have found a few hiccups, but your post has been very helpful, and now i am planning on multiple soft squeeze instances.

the biggest 2 problems i have right now are syncing and volume control.
my plan is to replace some xantech in wall touch screens with some 7 or larger android tablets.
the problem i have is that the logitech android app, which is the best IMO, does not have the "synhcronize" option in there like the web app and ipeng do

I would prefer to have only 2 or 3 instances of a squeeze player, but then if i play one squeeze in more than one zone, the app's volume control will control all of those zones. If i have to put a softsqueeze for each zone, that may be an option, but then i am looking at 7 or 8 instances, and that could get sticky

what i really need is a way to overlay some custom buttons on the interface for the logitech app....but i haven't found anything that can do this very well

anyone have any suggestions?
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post #14 of 24 Old 01-13-2012, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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What were you going to use for amplification? Perhaps you could control volume on the amp with a different app depending on what you're using? Also, what about just using the web interface on the tablet for vol and sync control?

Whatever you do, please post your solutions in this thread as it would be good to have some suggestions for alternative setups. From my research, this is the cheapest, easiest way to do multi-room audio with a pc as the source so it would be good to work some of the bugs out.
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post #15 of 24 Old 01-13-2012, 09:12 PM
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well my choices for amplification are several:
right now i have a xantech mrc88 multi zone controller. I like this because i can use it to switch one squeeze player form zone to zone or into several zones. I would prefer to keep things this way, but may need to replace it if i have to.

The amp is pretty versatile as it will let me set a certain volume level for the zone when turned on, or adjust the volume of each zone independently. it will accept RS-232 input, which i can interface with a PC connected to it if i need to.

I am hoping to wall mount the tablets with a nice frame which would obscure the hardware volume buttons, so i don't think those will be an option.

I think i can accomplish certain tasks without too much trouble, such as when i launch squeeze control on the tablet, it will power the zone on. what i really need to figure out is how i can send events to my amp from WITHIN the squeeze control app.

for instance, say i want to put the music i am listening in my bathroom, and transfer it to my living room. my amp provides a way to do this, but how can i send that event without having to hit the home button on the tablet and use some other app and then go back to the squeeze server?

i need to add 3 or 4 buttons in the android app. I think if i could do that, life would be pretty easy, i could have :
volume up
volume down
play music upstairs
play music here only

i found that button savior app for android that will give me several soft buttons overlaid on the logitech app, but they are pre-set buttons, (home , back, menu, etc)
even if i could change the functions of the buttons, i need to change the icon for the button as well, and as far as i can see there is no way to do this.

I have found an interface for eventghost that will respond to volume events from squeezeplayers using the "zoom player" plugin. I think that will accomplish some of what i need to do, but not everything....

I feel like this should be a LOT easier...i am so close, yet not close at all :-)

if there was a squeezebox widget that was ALMOST as big as the entire screen of my tablet, that would work. but there isn't



will post any additional findings as they come along.
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post #16 of 24 Old 06-23-2012, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Just a heads up - after having to reinstall windows, I went back to this thread to follow my own instructions for setting up squeezebox and had a lot of difficulty following them. I've gone back and edited the instructions so hopefully they should be a lot easier to follow now.
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post #17 of 24 Old 06-24-2012, 10:52 AM
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You can get multiple streams out of a Vortexbox, I am not using any audio out of my Vortexbox but I have seen where people run multiple soft squeeze players on them.
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post #18 of 24 Old 08-29-2012, 12:00 PM
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Hi ljo000
is the reason for running a copy of the softsqueze for each zone because the squeezebox server software is not able to access the individual sound cards, or the indiv. outputs of a multiple output soundcard?

With running multiple copies, is the system stable?

thanks

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post #19 of 24 Old 08-29-2012, 12:01 PM
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can you rename the softsqueeze players to ligving room, kitchen etc?

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post #20 of 24 Old 09-03-2012, 08:51 PM
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This is a great solution. I have been testing it on my laptop for the past couple days and now need to get some sound cards for my htpc so that I can put this to use.

Have you made anymore progress with your setup?
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post #21 of 24 Old 10-04-2012, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Just to answer a few of the recent questions...

- Softsqueeze player is what actually plays the music on whatever hardware. The server side keeps track of the library and streams the files to the player. For this reason, you use multiple instances of the player so that you have independent zone control. If you were only ever going to play the same music in all zones, you could run a single instance.

- The system is stable with my setup but it will depend on your hardware and the number of zones. My two test setups were:
---Windows 7 x64
---3 zones
---PC1: Core 2 Quad Q9550, 8GB RAM
---PC2: Sandybridge G630 dual core, 8GB RAM
---For soundcards, I use 1x HDMI to receiver, 1x internal analog audio (green connector on mobo) and 1x USB cheapo card

- You can rename the zones. This is done in the web interface through a browser.
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post #22 of 24 Old 08-26-2013, 04:01 PM
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Hi

Firstly, great post thanks....

I am trying to replicate this with a unused PC and am struggling to get my head around this bit,

- Open a command window to the Softsqueeze install directory and enter the following command to run it: java -jar SoftSqueeze.jar

Apologies if this is something easy but could you explain a little further how you do this?

Many thanks
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post #23 of 24 Old 08-28-2013, 07:52 PM
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Just a heads up, you can do the same thing with 'squeezelite' on a $25 raspberry pi

I'm working on my setup right now. Raspberry pi with USB hub and multiple USB dac audio cards. The first batch of usb dacs I ordered were crap so I need to try another brand.

Looks like I'll be able to build a 6 zone system for < $100 (without the amp).
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post #24 of 24 Old 05-26-2014, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 
First thank you for tutorial
How can I control different Softsqueeze players from external program by http request?
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