Originally Posted by smoothtlk
"The system as built sounds great, and "works", but for obvious reasons of usability/ergonomics, I rarely use it . And forget trying to explain to my husband how to use it. I use it so infrequently myself that sometimes I have to look at the wiring on the back of the receivers to get the right source & sound to a particular room "
Don't forget about that goal
I have not forgotten !
I have actually used it quite a bit this week already, mostly with the Tidal music app.
No more looking at the back of receivers, since the Chromecasts are labeled and show up on the phone/tablet with the room name.
This is quite an improvement in usability already.
I have 3 kittens in the house and they are a little freaked with the music in the shower.
The parts of usability that still need work/improvement are :
1) remotely turning power amps (receivers) on/off
2) playing files from local library on NAS instead of Tidal app . By using Tidal, I have found that a lot of content is in my local library but not on Tidal.
3) playing audio from analog sources.
4) playing audio from Dish Anywhere TV app on iOS
On the subject of power amp remote control :
a) remotely turning the power amps (old receivers) on/off. I used a kill-a-watt to check, and they each use about 60 Watts idle even without any single. Times 5, that's 300 watts, or 2628 kWh per year, or $788/year in power at 30 cents/kWh marginal cost in California with tiers. I have solar PV but also have 2 electric cars, and the solar doesn't cover everything anymore. So, definitely have to have a solution to turn those amps off.
b) Turns out the X10 PLC signals really can't travel across floors in my home. The single board computer downstairs can turn off the amps downstairs via X10 PLC, but the amps upstairs stay on still. I could put a second single board computer upstairs, with a second X10 serial interface, but that will be harder to automate. So, I have to abandon X10 for the purpose of turning off the amps.
I didn't want to get into Z-wave yet, so I ordered a couple of TP-Link Wifi smart plugs, and they got delivered today. Still packed.
c) My oldest receiver (Yamaha RX-V995 from 1999, bought new) no longer retains its settings when power is cut off and restored, for example with X10 relay. But this would apply to the Wifi smartplug, too. One needs to physically press 3 buttons to restore sound : Power/standby, Speakers A (otherwise, no speakers are on by default!), and "Ext decoder" for the input. This is not automatable for remote control, unfortunately. Even though it sounds great, I think I will have to give up on that receiver and buy something else, probably from craigslist for about $100.
d) I have yet to settle or even try any home automation software package. But definitely want one of those running on either my Raspberry Pi or Odroid XU4, for reasons of power consumption. I have my eyes on a few of them, Domoticz, Homeseer, OpenHAB, maybe others. Again, not decided. Still using SSH + heyu right now with X10.
On the subject of playing local library files :
a) There is a bunch of content that's in my local library and not on Tidal, though. I have a little bit more work to do to get that to work nice and easy.
Everything works great with Bubble UPNP server and JRiver media center running on my PC, and Gizmo app on the smartphone.
I don't want to keep the PC running 24/7 for this purpose, though. I already have my Odroid XU4 working with 6TB USB 3.0 drive and gigabit NIC.
Unfortunately, when I copied my 50000 files/1.1TB library to this drive (from my PC, over gigabit LAN!), then imported the files in Media Center, on the ODROID Jriver claims to have loaded all the files in the local library, but afterwards only shows 5000 files (10% of the library
I shared the drive by Samba from the ODROID to my Raspberry Pi, and ran JRiver on the Pï too, and same exact problem. I have sent a bug report in JRiver forum. Maybe those single board computers are not up to the task of my library size
I hope it's just a bug they can fix. Hopefully so.
b) I have installed Bubble UPNP server on my Odroid but have not yet tested it to see if it performs well enough there, as opposed to when running on big PC.
c) I will have to make a conversion copy of all my SACD ISOs to 192 kHz PCM files for use with JRiver. I have figured out how to do it, just need to run it on all the ISOs. The single board computers definitely can't handle on the fly DSD->PCM conversion. This will take more space, but space is cheap nowadays.
On the subject of playing analog sources :
This is no doubt the most difficult part. I think this is likely going to be one-time work, though. With analog sources, there is always some amount of manual work (insert disc, tape, etc), so automation is less critical. Basically what I need is to build a streamer that takes analog in and presents the stream as DLNA server . Right now, it works on PC, but not practical. Too complex to use, and power consumption is too high. I will probably want to use a Pi or other SBC computer, and cheap A/D. Latency should be no more than 2s as a goal - the current 4-5 is too high. And once I have one such device going, I may setup 2-3 throughout the house since we have so many analog devices. This should be pretty much "set and forget". Boot it up, hookup receiver/device analog out to A/D, and that would be it. Probably not even ethernet, Wifi should be fine for one a single audio stream. Hardware cost will likely be over $100 per device when all is said and done, account for a Pi, SD card, and USB A/D. For control of this and output selection, I think the BubbleUPNP Android app will work, assuming the analog source is presented as DLNA server with pulseaudio and pulseaudio-dlna.
On the subject of Dish anywhere TV app on iOS :
Sad that this app can't cast to Chromecast audio, when Dish actually advertises support for sticks. But I guess this is only for the video sticks, not audio sticks. The Android TV app works with Chromecast audio - if you cast the whole device's audio. But my Android phone is 5.7" vs the iOS tablet 9.7". There is software on the Raspberry Pi to receive an Airplay stream.
However, that just sends the output through the Pi's D/A - not to a Chromecast. Don't know if that can be pieced together in software.
But if not, it should work in conjunction with whatever the solution is for "playing audio from analogue sources", though this would be quite silly to have that extra D/A and A/D intermediate step (especially if it's all on the same device, D/A going directly to A/D !) .
It would certainly be fun as a project to build an Airplay -> Chromecast audio converter this way, but at some point, I will get rid of that old iPad 2 tablet, and that is the only Airplay source in my home.
Looks like somebody has done this before without the need for any A/D :
I am going to have to try this.