Multichannel amplifier, how to control from PC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-06-2012, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for a Multiroom-setup via an mult-channel amplifier. I use the program J. River media Center for my music an a home automation protocol for the rest of the stuff in the house (KNX), i can use the output from a multichannel sound-card to feed the amplifier, but how do i control the volume on the amplifier itself? (via the computer) Some of them seem to have a "bus input", but what bus is it? Some proprietary protocol? Can i control the volume on the amp with IR, something else?
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-06-2012, 08:25 PM
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Which amplifier in specific do you have??? I also have J. Media River along with the iPhone app, it allows you to control volumen for each zone
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-06-2012, 11:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I have no amplifier at all, I'm just doing research concering which to buy. Controlling the volume out from the PC is no problem, but what about the volume-settings on the amplifier itself?
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-07-2012, 12:18 PM
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A common approach is to buy a WMC usb remote control and an AV universal RF remote control.

For example, with my two zone outdoor audio setup, I have my universal RF remote set up to control both my audio receiver and the infrared receiver of this Media Center MCE PC Remote Control and Infrared Receiver. The PC's audio is then controlled a lot like a normal audio component. Once it’s set up, you don’t even use the WMC remote itself; in a way, you're really just buying the IR receiver.

You may find helpful info and a lot of other WMC remotes in this thread. Fwiw, the very inexpensive WMC remote that I have does just great.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-07-2012, 10:49 PM
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It will depend on the AMP, example the niles SI-1230 its a six zone amp, you can adjust the volumen for each zone to 70% and them use JMR to control the input toneach zone
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-08-2012, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a nice setup for controlling the volume one the PC itself. But i would also like to be able to control the volume set on the amplifier itself.(via for instance a PC). Do the multizone-amps usually have an IR-remote, så i can just set an IR-blaster by the multizone amplifier?
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-08-2012, 11:19 AM
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Some do but it will be expensive, Whats your budget???
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-08-2012, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, I don't really have a budget other than "no more expensive than necessary" smile.gif But lets say a guideline of 200 dollars per zone, and 5-6 zones (2*6 channels) (1000-1200 dollars then) if that is a feasible price.
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-08-2012, 08:29 PM
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There are 2 different amplifiers types to choose from here, one is more of a control unit, the other is just a straight amplifier. If you have a straight amplifier, usually you can adjust the gains to match with your input signal, but volume is controlled by the input signal from the computer. (or by volume controls in line with the speakers) The other has built in volume on the amplified outputs and has knobs or IR/Keypads to adjust volume. Unless your looking to confuse yourself or someone else, I'd only use the volume control on one part of the system. (The J.River MC has a lot of good options and I would use that.) Set the amplifier so that it will get as loud as you will ever need it at the loudest Clean volume output from the computer, and then adjust the volume by the computer up and down from then on.

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post #10 of 17 Old 09-09-2012, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
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My setup in my other room is a digital out from the computer and controlling the amplifier volume from the computer. I find that to be working well, however it seems like most multizone-amps use analog input (and most multi-out soundcards too). I normally prefer too control the volume one the amplifer, but if there are few (and/or very expensive) otpions that allows this I might reconsider.
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post #11 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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To try to be somewhat concrete. What multizone amplifiers where the volume of the amplifier can be controlled via a computer (without having to have the whole system from than manufacturer), actually exists.
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post #12 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATWindsor View Post

To try to be somewhat concrete. What multizone amplifiers where the volume of the amplifier can be controlled via a computer (without having to have the whole system from than manufacturer), actually exists.

None that I know of. What you described is a system/controller, not an amplifier. Amps are "dumb" - add the "smarts" and buttons, and you're a controller! smile.gif

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post #13 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, maybe I use the term "amplifier" wrong, but most "normal" stereo amplifiers have buttons, don't they? At least a volume knob?

Anyway, if none of the multizone alternatives have any volume control i can use from the PC, which "normal" multizone amplifiers/brands are usually recommended?
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post #14 of 17 Old 09-15-2012, 03:24 PM
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Multichannel amps are intended to be used as part of a system. Stereo amps don't usually have buttons, either. You're thinking of a "integrated amplifier" as opposed to a "power amplifier". An integrated amp has the pre-amp stage and the power amp together. Those are fairly rare - they were replaced by very mainstream "receivers", which also integrated an AM/FM tuner. But enough history...

Power amplifiers just amplify what's fed to them, it's assumed the level (volume) is set by the upstream controller / pre-amp. You can do this with your computer, and feed the variable line output to the amp. The problem comes in for multichannel amps in that you're sending the same level to all zones. If you have local volume control knobs to attenuate the signal, this can be manageable.

For real multizone 'whole house audio' systems, look at NuVo, Russound, and HTD.com.

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post #15 of 17 Old 09-16-2012, 09:36 AM
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Take a look at AudioControl. The 661 or 861 should fill the bill for what you're trying to do and in your price range.
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post #16 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tip on the Audiocontrol, looks very nice! I haven't seen any prices anywhere though. Do you have a rough estimate of the price of the 861 (or eventuall D3200, which looks nice, but probably is expensive)
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post #17 of 17 Old 09-23-2012, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I got some feedback on the Audioctronl, which unfortantly was pretty expensive even without ethernet. I also checked the other options suggested in the thread. HTD seem to be much cheaper than the alternatives for similar products. Are they an OK brand? Or is there something "wrong" with them? If not they certainly seem like the best alternative from price standpoint.
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