My "Cheap" 10 Zone Audio Distribution - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I know I am not the only one that doesn't want to shell out $1000 and up for audio distribution so I did quite a bit of research in what alternatives there were and decided on this setup.

I have 10 zones of audio in my house and my hobby is house electronics so I went with the following solution:

2 channel amp per zone: 10 x $18 = $180

USB soundcard: 10 x $9 = $90

3.5mm Male to Male: 10 x $3 = $30

10 port USB Hub: 1 x $20 = $20

Software is Jriver Media Center: $50

JRiver allows you to set up zones so each can play there own music or all be linked and play the same thing. They have a very good Android app called Gizmo that allows you to control any zone. Not sure on the iphone app since we are an android household. I also use Jriver as my video media server software and it can send video to each TV that is on the network.

I have a dedicated media PC so it is on constantly and has the software installed and usb sound cards attached.

For 10 zones of music it costs me $370 which is an excellent price.

In each zone, I have 14/2 speaker wire ran from each speaker to a spot on the wall for volume control, then from volume control I have a 14/4 speaker wire ran to the media closet. I also have a Cat5e cable ran with the 14/4 for future volume controls. Right now, I have tied the ends of the 14/2 and 14/4 together since I do not have wall mounted volume control. The Jriver android app takes care of the volumes in each zone.
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olag00 View Post

...
2 channel amp per zone: 10 x $18 = $180
...

The reviews on that amp are 'mixed'--how do you like it?

Craig
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 02:25 PM
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I looked into this feature with JRiver also, and while JRiver can separate out the ch of a multiple sound card for cheap zones,.....

Really interested if you can you confirm that you can have the same song playing simultaeneously in every zone, AND that the gizmno app also control and sync the zones?


I posted on forums and even email teh owner and no one seemed to give be a definitive answer

derek

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post #4 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 02:57 PM
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That sounds pretty good, but you should probably add the cost of a dedicated PC to your total price.

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-04-2014, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
The reviews on that amp are 'mixed'--how do you like it?

I have had no problems with the Amps and been running for almost a year now.

Quote:
Really interested if you can you confirm that you can have the same song playing simultaeneously in every zone, AND that the gizmno app also control and sync the zones?

I can confirm you can play one song in all zones or different songs in each zone. The one thing about the Gizmo app, is as of right now, you can not link and unlink zones. The linking has to be done on main computer. In the past, I have had issues with the syncing, but today I tried it and no problems. Its not a big problem with syncing since usually you stop all the music and then press play again and it corrects itself.

To test, I started playing one streaming radio station in kitchen, then changed zones to the family room and played the same stream and no problems with syncing.

Also, once the zones are linked and you have something playing, you can use the Gizmo app to change volume per zone so the volume control are not tied while they are linked.

If this didn't answer your question, if you could give me a scenerio and what type of action you want to carry out I can tell you if it works or not.

They also have a WebGizmo where you can log in remotely but it is similar to the app in that most of the major control comes from main machine but you can select zones and select what to play.



Quote:
That sounds pretty good, but you should probably add the cost of a dedicated PC to your total price.

That is possibly true. I didn't really think of that since I am using an old machine as the server.





I also forgot to mention the cost of the speakers were not included in original post but I used the Pyle PDIC60 for $35 a pair = 10 * 35 = $350

So total is $720 for 10 zones of audio which still isn't too bad.
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-07-2014, 02:35 PM
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Intriguing setup...

But you also forgot to mention how you are powering all these 12V DC amps. Could you clarify?
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-08-2014, 02:02 PM
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more or less answered the question,
more specifically I was asking about playing the same song in multiple zones, in sync, and be able to control volume, and the zones you want to link, from the Gizmo app. ie just like sonos. Sounds like you can't. Sounds like you can only link the zones on the computer running Jriver, and then be able to control the volume in each zone from the app, however, I believe that the syncing is unreliable as I wasn't able to find anyone doing it, but happy to be proved wrong.

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-08-2014, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucasHT View Post

Intriguing setup...

But you also forgot to mention how you are powering all these 12V DC amps. Could you clarify?

I am using something similar to the pyramid ps14kx 12 amp supply. Currently $70 on amazon.

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more or less answered the question,
more specifically I was asking about playing the same song in multiple zones, in sync, and be able to control volume, and the zones you want to link, from the Gizmo app. ie just like sonos. Sounds like you can't. Sounds like you can only link the zones on the computer running Jriver, and then be able to control the volume in each zone from the app, however, I believe that the syncing is unreliable as I wasn't able to find anyone doing it, but happy to be proved wrong.

Your assessment is correct . I didn't want to pay the $400 per zone for sonos so I was willing to accept the nuances that come with the build.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-08-2014, 02:49 PM
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The lack of remote linking is kind of a deal killer.

The rest sounds interesting.

Thanks.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-08-2014, 03:45 PM
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same here,
lack of remote linking and syncing is a deal breaker. Also you don't get streaming services thorough the Jriver either. I was using the Spotify Remoteless app on an ipad, communicating with the Remotless service running on a PC, which communicated with Airfoil, also running on the PC, to grab the audio stream from spotify or Itunes, to send audio to airport expresses. Way too many apps running and it was always dropping the airports. Was hoping to use airports as they are also cheap for multi zone. They will work fine if its just the ipad to itunes to the airports, but no streaming services 9deal breaker) and only one stream to on or all zones

Its a real pity that Jriver doesn't expand it's audio functionality to include zones linking and streaming services as its got a great following for audio playback quality and file management.

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post #11 of 13 Old 04-08-2014, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Not getting streaming services like Pandora is a real turn off. Supposedly Pandora wont return their calls to figure something out. I do stream radio stations through JRiver but it isn't anything like what you get with Pandora. I set the online stations (From ShoutCAST) on Playlists and select whatever stream I have saved to play in all or specific rooms. If you can find a channel you like on Shoutcast then it isn't too bad.

I actually use JumpDesktop to remote in to my HTPC in case JRiver crashes because it is known to do that. It happens maybe once a week. I just have to close it and reopen it which is frustrating but again I am willing to do this for the price. JRiver does allow you to install the software on other computers and as long as you have the main computer's library connected you can link and unlink the zones from the remote PC.
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-08-2014, 05:03 PM
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I think I would make a different compromise and go with 10 Sonos Play:1 units - somewhat more then twice as much but with none of the limitations.

Still what you put together is pretty good for the money.

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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post #13 of 13 Old 04-09-2014, 11:08 AM
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Jriver crashing, no streaming services,..guess there's a reason why sonos is so popular, even with its shortcomings (restricted to CD quality, far from cheap, closed API(mostly), but eh ..it works and works well.

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