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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi-


About to embark on my first HTPC construct after having finished my first barebones construct and realizing that it does about 10% of what it COULD do.


I would like to have audio thoughout the house. At this point it could be the same distributed sound, so no need for zones, but i am not against future proofing. I would like to find a sound card to put in my new htpc that has enough (8-10)outputs for stereo sound to each room. I would like to be able to control volume and speaker selection (turn off kitchen, turn on patio, etc.) from windows interfaces, either the htpc itself or (pocketpc via bluetooth wifi). A "nice to have" would be the ability to also have an optical out so i can have dolby digital outputs out of the same card (but only needed in one room), but this is not necessary

Is this what I need?


I am not well versed in the audio side of things (can you tell?), but I am assuming this would also require an amp? Even better would be a card that would get me around that, so I can have fewer boxes, but it seems like that would be asking too much of the htpc.


BTW, this is the very first thing i've been looking intom for this project, haven't even purchased a media center case yet.


tia
 

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It's an question which takse a lot of explaining to give a satisfactory answer, hence why someone else hasn't bitten. My PC is slowed to a crawl at work atm so I'll try and cover some of what you ask.


The M-Audio delta cards can output stereo signals via analog pairs, the 1010 has 8 outs so 4 pairs as does the 410. So you can have 4 zones. You can then add a second card if you want 8 zones. Then you'd need to have as many copies of your media player as you have zones. E.g. if you use winamp/foobar2k and have 4 zones you'd have winamp_z1... winamp_z4 or something like that and each directory containing winamp will point to a different zone. Then you would use something like Xlobby which can handle multiple zones and multiple clients and multiple servers to set it all up ... go to www.xlobby.com


Each stereo pair would require amplification. So separate power amps is required. An alternative would be a product which I can't recall but is essentially an external soundcard connected via USB to your computer that has 20w x 2 amplification built in. More zones = more sound cards you buy. (I believe they were about 100USD or so).


It can be a very daunting task what you hope to achieve and there are likely going to be frustrating moments along the way if you even get it to work the way you want it to. Xlobby being the only program I know of that can handle multi zones with multi clients and multi servers is free and almost always in a state of continual development.


If you can get it all working (I intend to attempt this some day when we move as I don't feel our current place is large enough to warrant the need) it will allow you instant access to your media server anywhere in your house.


Cheers...

Duy-Khang Hoang
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
just wanted to say a quick thanks for the info, been playing with xlobby for a few days now. so do people literally have a stack of amplifiers, or is there a way to have one aml to power differetn channels?


thanks again for the great info, hope your work pc is healthy again!
 

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One option would be to get a 6.1 receiver that has multi-channel inputs. You can then seperate the 6 channels into 3 stereo channels. You would need to just leave the receiver turned up and control volume from the soundcard.


The M-Audio cards are an option. I don't know if Xlobby will control multiple different soundcards. If it did, you could get 3 or 4 chaintech 710's for about $25 a pop.


You could also try and use Girder to run seperate instances of winamp (vs Xlobby), but the setup for that would probably start to get quite complex.


-Suntan
 

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@Suntan

4 chaintech cards would take up 4 PCI slots and only provide 4 zones, a single Delta 410 can do the same with better analog output capability. The Delta cards (correct me if I'm wrong) can separate out the analog outputs into stereo pairs, I think you can even have 6 channels for a 5.1 setup and the remaining 2 for a separate zone. I'm not sure if you need a special ASIO driver or if the drivers that come with the soundcard will do. In any case each stereo pair will show up in winamp/foobar2k as a separate device and so you just need to point to each instance of winamp/foobar2k in Xlobby to determine what gets played in what zone.


Cheers...

Duy-Khang Hoang
 

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Not saying my idea was any better or worse. Just giving another option.


I would probably prefer the 410 over 4 chaintechs myself.


-Suntan
 
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