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Multi room audio using Windows ... help!

Posted on 2008-06-23
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Last Modified: 2013-12-07
I would like to set up a simple Multi-room audio system that is PC based. I want to be able to independently control audio in three different rooms. I only want to play back CD's or MP3s that are currently stored on my computers hard drive. I would also like have small LCD Pads in each of the three rooms for control of the music, play list and volume...? I know you can buy expansive systems that are designed solely for this purpose but is there any way to do this with MS Windows and some reasonably priced software and hardware. Any suggestions would be great, thanks!
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Question by:mclarence
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by:Merete
ID: 21852239
mclarence, please do tell>> I know you can buy expansive systems that are designed solely for this purpose/
I dont know of such a system that uses one host PC?
(a)
want to play back CD's or MP3s that are currently stored on my computers hard drive.<< no probs
(B)
I would like to set up a " simple"
 Multi-room audio system that is PC based.<<  have you considered the wiring? wireless?
(C)
want to be able to independently control audio in three different rooms<< you're running out of luck here
(D)
have small LCD Pads in each of the three rooms for control of the music, play list and volume<< Don't know of such a system
What you're asking for here is is pretty unique and complex if even possible.

Ipods is one option.
http://www.mobilewhack.com/reviews/logitech_wireless_music_system_for_ipod.html
D lounge Media lounge servers
http://www.dlink.com/products/?sec=0&pid=318
http://www.dlink.com/products/category.asp?cid=127
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bluefezteam earned 250 total points
ID: 21856694
the problem you have, is that a PC sound card has out put for 1 chain of sound - be it 2 speaker or surround sound, it's still the same focused out put.

If it were possible to install 'many' sound cards into a PC you could in theory direct different music files to each sound card which has cabling to run speakers in dif rooms - how you would control that is another thing - youd have to have some form of remote that allows you to control a room.

The best solution (outside of a custom kit) is to use windows media center.

This is a PC running windows MC and acts as a mass storage hub, it can hold pictures, songs and videos, while also allowing you to watch and record tv.

given you have 1 PC as the hub and heart containing all your song, you can then purchase media centre extenders - for example the XBOX 360 is one such device. you use these extenders to control the central hub and interact with it by a remote and an output system - eg a tv or AMP in your other room.

My setup allows me to have teh hub downstairs controlling my TV, music etc and while my wife watches tv downstairs I can listen to music or watch other tv channels through the extender upstairs. All the songs and TV channels/movies etc are streamed from the hub.

the more TV cards I put in my hub the more channels we can watch around the house - that aside, by having an extender in each room you can listen to as much music as your network can stream around the house (meaning wifi can become slow if lots of streaming happens)

Do a search for windows media center - its really changed my life, its a music, pvr, inetrenet and gaming device for the entire house.
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Author Closing Comment

by:mclarence
ID: 31469963
Thanks, thats what i needed! Just a push in the right direction.
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21868145
Thanks for the points, just so you know, Windows Media Centre comes pre built into windows vista (except the basic vista) so you are ready to go.

As I said XBOX 360 is an MC extender and as soon as I switched mine on it found the central PC in my network and now I can watch DIVX, DVDs, TV and Music around the house.

I got my components from www.quietpc.com and www.silverstonetech.com

Hope the research goes well.

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Expert Comment

by:Matsco
ID: 33199914
Sort of inacurate....
There are solutions like jriver that allow you to do multichannel off of one sound card.  That have been out for years. Would need a dedicated app in this senario and a soundcard like an audigy.
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