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post #1 of 11 Old 04-18-2019, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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WHA and Google Assistants

Does anyone have experience (and success) integrating Google Assistants into a WHA setup? I am having a new house built and intend to install (initially) a 6 Zone WHA system. I do not want any wall plates or keypads and plan on controlling the sources (stream and TV only) and volume through VADs and/or phone/remote apps. I rarely will need to play separate sources simultaneously, but the flexibility would be nice. The only other main feature I would like to have is the ability to play TV audio throughout multiple zones so I’m not blasting my 5.1 system across the great room so I can hear it in the kitchen. From what I have read on these forums, it appears that the main disadvantage of using Google Assistants is that since they lack an audio out, voice responses are played only through the VAD itself as opposed to through the WHA speakers. Is that true, and is there a workaround? (I initially had planned on a system using Chromecast Audio pucks but those plans have been ditched with the discontinuation of the CCAs themselves.) Also, I have seen the popularity of the Universal Devices ISY 994 and wonder if anyone has success integrating that item into a WHA system. My desire is to use a Monoprice or Dayton Audio 6 zone amp but will consider HTDs Lync system if I can get some positive feedback on it. Any opinions out there regarding a basic 6 zone amp vs. HTDs more automated (expensive) Lync system?
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post #2 of 11 Old 04-19-2019, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Ooops

In my original post I referred to Google's VAD as 'Google Assistants' when I should have been calling them Google Home Minis. Sorry about that. I've also stumbled across a few threads with references to integrating Chromecast Ultras into their WHA setups. So, I might be back to my original plan of using Chromecast or CC Ultra devices for audio transfer. Still looking for opinions on using Google-tech in a WHA application.
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post #3 of 11 Old 04-19-2019, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prideb4thefall View Post
In my original post I referred to Google's VAD as 'Google Assistants' when I should have been calling them Google Home Minis. Sorry about that. I've also stumbled across a few threads with references to integrating Chromecast Ultras into their WHA setups. So, I might be back to my original plan of using Chromecast or CC Ultra devices for audio transfer. Still looking for opinions on using Google-tech in a WHA application.

You can use the regular Chromecast in a WHA setup.


The Ultras are overkill for a WHA setup.



Google updated the regular Chromecasts in Oct of 2018 so that one could cast music to them and group with other Chromecasts.


I've done it in my setup and it works very well.


I have a 12 zone Chromecast system with 6 zones of Chromecasts connected to a WHA amp which is connected to in-ceiling speakers and 7 zones which contain speakers with Chromecast built-in.


In the thread in the link below I laid out several steps one should follow to create a WHA using Chromecast.


https://www.avsforum.com/forum/36-ho...id-tablet.html


I have Google Home minis in each room in my home including the master bathroom as well as a Google Home Hub in the kitchen.


All of the Home devices work very with Chromecast in terms of controlling them in a WHA setup.


I'd go one step further and say that using Routines in the Google Home app to create scenes or automations that involve Chromecasts in a WHA setup is very good.


I created a Good Morning scene that turns on certain lights, the living room AV system and starts a Spotify stream in all 12 zones of a Joyce Cooling jazz radio playlist I created in Spotify.


You can set a specific day and time for the routine to be ran, but you can also use your voice to kick off the routine by asking one of the Home devices.


When Google enables the ability to control window blinds in the Home app, add my window blinds to the Good Morning routine so that the blinds will open at the same time that the other things are taking place in the routine.


I also have a Google routine that will play music in all of my zones including the two outdoor zones when I'm out of town. The music turns on and off at certain times on different days.




Try it.

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Last edited by ahard; 04-19-2019 at 08:24 AM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 04-19-2019, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Stellar

Thanks ahard. Where are your Minis located (wall, desktop, ceiling, etc.) and most importantly, how are your Minis powered? I intend to ceiling mount them and do not want to run electrical outlets into my attic. So, I'm looking at PoE switches (TP-Link TL-SG1008PE) or injectors (WiFi Texas WS-GPOE-6-48v60w) and running CAT-cable to each Mini. What do you think of that idea?
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post #5 of 11 Old 04-19-2019, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prideb4thefall View Post
Thanks ahard. Where are your Minis located (wall, desktop, ceiling, etc.) and most importantly, how are your Minis powered? I intend to ceiling mount them and do not want to run electrical outlets into my attic. So, I'm looking at PoE switches (TP-Link TL-SG1008PE) or injectors (WiFi Texas WS-GPOE-6-48v60w) and running CAT-cable to each Mini. What do you think of that idea?
My Minis on located on a counter top, bookshelf and bedside tables. They're powered via a wall outlet.

Unless the wifi is poor in your home I don't know if you need to do a CAT cable to each mini.

My minis are running off the wifi in my home, but I have a Netgear Orbi setup, so the wifi is fine.

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post #6 of 11 Old 04-19-2019, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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My Minis will be ceiling mounted and the power will be routed through attic space. Rather than install 6 outlets for 6 Minis in 6 Zones in the attic (overkill), instead I am considering powering the Minis via CAT cable. For that I will need some type of injector or PoE switch and an adapter to plug each Mini into.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-20-2019, 02:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prideb4thefall View Post
My Minis will be ceiling mounted and the power will be routed through attic space. Rather than install 6 outlets for 6 Minis in 6 Zones in the attic (overkill), instead I am considering powering the Minis via CAT cable. For that I will need some type of injector or PoE switch and an adapter to plug each Mini into.
I wouldn't recommend mounting them on the ceiling, but if you' really want to try and do that, this homeseer thread has pointers to everything you need: https://forums.homeseer.com/forum/ho...-mini-with-poe

Good luck,
Mike
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-20-2019, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello MikeSM. Thanks for the reply. I read your 'Modern Approach' thread and it's one of the reasons I'm so intent on using CCA and voice control. I have never used Alexa or Google Assistant, but believe that is the direction for home-automation. Why do you not recommend ceiling mount? It seems that you would want the most unobstructed path to a VAD. Additionally, they would be out of the way and not taking up a receptacle.
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post #9 of 11 Old 04-20-2019, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Prideb4thefall View Post
Hello MikeSM. Thanks for the reply. I read your 'Modern Approach' thread and it's one of the reasons I'm so intent on using CCA and voice control. I have never used Alexa or Google Assistant, but believe that is the direction for home-automation. Why do you not recommend ceiling mount? It seems that you would want the most unobstructed path to a VAD. Additionally, they would be out of the way and not taking up a receptacle.
Well, a few reasons. I don't think they look that good in the ceiling. They are not designed for ceiling mount, though it would probably work ok. Also when googler comes out with a newer better version in a year or two, and you want to upgrade, then all the mounting brackets etc... Will change. Things like wireless APs that are meant to go on the ceiling are designed tohave common mounting brackets so upgradingvrequires no new holes etc... The new form factor will almost certainly be different. If you are ok with having to do upgrades in 5 yrs or so when minis probably get no more updates, then go ahead..

As for outlets, those triple cube taps mostly fix that problem, and other home devices like the insignia one has a clock on it also serve other functions. The Google home ecosystem is growing so you'll have a lot more options every year. I think Google's ecosystem works way better for music than Amazon's. Hopefully we'll have a Chromecast audio replacement soon. I really like the DACs used in the old CCAs.

If you thinking it through, and understand the tradeoffs, go ahead. Clearly others are doing this else you won't have those products being made that are referred to in the thread.

And in any case, come back and share your results for everyone else to learn from them!

Thanks
Mike
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-22-2019, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Bought a couple CCs and a Google Mini this weekend to play around with. Had a 2-zone system using existing (old) audio equipment up and running in about 10 minutes. Seems like Google Minis & Chromecast are the way to go: easy to configure, easy to use. My only frustration is the lack of an audio out on the CCs and the requirement to use extractors to separate the audio. But, I think I'm headed in the right direction.
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post #11 of 11 Old 04-22-2019, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prideb4thefall View Post
Bought a couple CCs and a Google Mini this weekend to play around with. Had a 2-zone system using existing (old) audio equipment up and running in about 10 minutes. Seems like Google Minis & Chromecast are the way to go: easy to configure, easy to use. My only frustration is the lack of an audio out on the CCs and the requirement to use extractors to separate the audio. But, I think I'm headed in the right direction.
Buy some Chromecast audios on eBay and avoid the HDMI audio extraction hassle...

Thanks
Mike
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