multi room music set up?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by mrpinkeye, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. mrpinkeye

    mrpinkeye GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Mar 26, 2011
    hi all

    if i had a large hdd (1tb+) with mp3s on, what would be the best way to have a wireless multi room speaker set up? i would want to change track and which speaker is playing via a remote and have one main hub to attach hdd. whats the cheapest way to do this? what device do i look for?

    thanks in advance
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    The way I see it you have three broad options, most of this will be for 2 speaker sets although 3 is not so hard to adapt to but more than that and things get a bit more tricky.

    1) Several networked devices with your hard drive as a server/drive share. I have done such things with XBMC although basic networked media players are not that pricey these days.
    2) The basic remote speakers via a "Speaker Selector"/"speaker switch" and run a set or two of wireless speakers (or some speaker wireless bridges) off those.
    3) The third possible way that I do not like so much is to get the dock and have it feed a set of speakers next to it but with those having a shuftoff option and then have a remote set transmitting from the same place also with a shutoff option before figuring out a way to have a remote control work from the other room.

    Some hifi systems will come with speaker selectors built in but I am not sure what the state of the art is here as I usually get to build from a nice old hifi and build an HTPC around it.

    Remotes make things a bit trickier if you want to control speakers as most selector boxes are little more than boxes with a switch on and maybe a signal boost for some of the better/powered modes with most of the hifi systems I see it on still having it as a manual switch*. Assuming you are using speaker selectors and are not using a networked remote (XBMC features several remote control options via network with it being built into mobile phones among other things) then you get to see if there is an IR rebroadcaster/external receiver available for the device as I do not have the nicest things to say about generic rebroadcasting toys.

    *I have been known to abuse surround sound and effectively turn things into dual channel here.

    My personal preference is for 1) (especially built on the back of an HTPC) but if you have not got some of the gear in place it could get slightly pricier so the potentially more annoying option of 2) becomes more viable.

    Afraid I am going to have to do the ultra annoying salesman technique and ask "how much are you looking to spend?", £200 or thereabouts assuming you have speakers and the hard drive already will probably get it done almost no questions asked and it can go a lot lot lower (considerably less than £50) but that will require either you relaxing your requirements a bit or a bit of thought as to what you are going to try doing (wireless everything with remotes unless you are doing it with computers gets tricky quite fast).

    You will probably want
    A docking station that can take the hard drive. I tend to employ a proper PC as a HTPC (or otherwise have a home server) or have a NAS/router that can handle it here but simple standalone devices that can take some flavour of USB are not that hard to sort although whether it will work well on things like playlists and support for NTFS is a different matter entirely. They are quite common and remotes are also common here but basic searches on amazon are failing me at this point.
    If you are not doing something like a XBMC setup then a switch becomes necessary. These range from big boy toys like that cost a little bit to which cost somewhat less. This is where the remote stuff might be tricky depending upon what wants to be done.

    I will also note you can build a nice htpc thing with a zacate motherboard (which comes with a CPU and all the trimmings save ram and hard drive), some ram and a case for about £150 or just stick XBMC on an old xbox and get a remote for that for next to nothing.

    Edit- forgot to address ideas like walking from one room and having the track pick up there- can be tricky with basic networked stuff although proper stuff is not hard to have that with and the later options kind of do it by design.
    EZ-Megaman and mrpinkeye like this.
  3. mrpinkeye

    mrpinkeye GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Mar 26, 2011

    wow what an amazing answer! gonna take me a while to process it all :s thankyou very much