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Which Music Server Should I get For My New Home?

824 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  IVB
I'm building a new home, and heres what I have so far. 3 seperate zones where I want to control source and volume via inwall touch screens. Music sources will be either tuner or digital music server. I'd like to be able to have a server that will play multiple zones at the same time. Currently I've been looking into the Elan products (server, multi-zone amp, and touch screens). I'd like touch screens that will also control security and climate. The zones I have are as follows;

Zone 1 - Kitchen and Great Room

Zone 2 - Study

Zone 3 - Master Bedroom and Bath

What would you go with if you were doing this similar set up?
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I opted to build my own HT/HA system using a HT/HA software platform & a PC, as the pre-canned products were too expensive and offered too little functionality. Plus, this way I could pick the hardware that I liked, integrate them with the HVAC/security/irrigation/camera/lighting of my choice, design my own interfaces to do what I want them to do, in a way that made sense and were attractive to me.

I used a Fujitsu 3400 P3-400 touchscreen tablet PC for $200 off eBay, added a wifi card, and now have a roaming remote. I know folks that have opted to get several 3400's and put them in each room.

here's what it looks like. I haven't yet buried the A/C cable, but that's happening within a few days.


And, the main screen it renders.


I can't seem to find my HVAC screen right now, but here's the irrigation control to show you that this is a live fully functional system.


Here's the DRAFT version of my security controls.


Here's what another dude using the same software engine is doing for security & music:



Finally, here's a 3rd completely different look&feel that another dude has chosen.

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We are building a house and want to do something just like this, IVB. Very impressive! What software did you use to tie everything into the tablet? X10 for the home automation and then what for streaming music/photos/dvds? What hardware did you have to put in?
I use CQC, Charmed Quark as the software engine on my PC, communicating with all my devices over RS232 or ethernet. It is both a "back-end" controller, directly controlling devices, and a "front-end", allowing me to custom paint a UI that works for me, not some mass-market crap.

Plus, it's CHEAP as heck. $300 for the CQC package, and whatever I personally find on eBay for hardware controllers.

For hardware, I use:

HVAC - Aprilaire 8870 thermostat->Aprilaire 8811 RS232 adapter->COM port on PC

XM - Polk XM->COM port

Concurrent CD streams: Delta 410 multichannel audio card in PC->Xantech ZPR68 preamp (many use the Russound CAV66)

Irrigation: RAIN8 controller->com port on PC

Security: Elk automation panel->ethernet cxn to network

DVDs: all ripped to HD, but if i had to do it all over again i'd get a Sony 777 RS232 controllable changer

TV: Hauppauge PVR250 card->SageTV software->linked within CQC


Camera: Kodicom DVR card->their software->embedded in a web widget in CQC

Lighting: zWave into Elk automation panel->ethernet cxn as above

Physical location triggering (i.e., when I'm close to home do something): SMS via SMS modem using Cingular SIM Chip

Photos: CQC will handle this natively in the 1.7 version, which will probably go beta in 4-ish weeks.

BTW, In my entirely personal opinion, X10 is quite horrific for my purposes for the following reasons:

- Too unreliable as it's a power-line protocol

- Highly flaky if you have 240V appliances. I have an electric stove & dryer.

- Multiple concurrent X10 signals will cancel each other out, and I have a variety of devices that I want to control.

- House wiring is old, doesn't always have a 3rd pole (ground)

- Too slow [commonly 1second response time on polling, if you had many devices, everything could slow down]
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