Multi-room Home Stereo Wiring - What Are My Options?

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by rave0035, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Plug an Echo Dot into the Connect's analog input. That will give you voice control of Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn and a couple of other services right now, with the ability to play on any or all your Sonos devices throughout the house, until Alexa is fully integrated into Sonos (Google and Apple voice control coming, too, per the CEO). It will also provide Bluetooth, in case you don't use one of several podcast services already in Sonos, or the Audible service in Dot (and soon, Sonos itself), or the podcasts saved to your phone/tablet/PC/NAS, which the Sonos app will play if they're not DRM protected, or any of the millions on Soundcloud, etc. Way too many sources, lol. If there's a service that hasn't already integrated with Sonos (it's the only multiroom system that has all the big players already), point them to Sonos' partner API, which is open to all services, and simple to integrate. They also have a casting API, which Spotify and Google currently support, Pandora soon will, and any other service provider is welcome to use.

    Not a huge demand for podcasts through a high quality music system (I don't recall ever finding a need), so a cheap bluetooth speakers will work, as well.
     
  2. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I would recommend the Dot for that type of setup as well. The pairing with the iPhone is as simple as telling Alexa to pair it ( after the initial setup). When your done, just tell her to disconnect. Can't get much easier than that, and as you said, for podcasts the sound quality is fine. I use my Dot (plugged into an AirPlay speaker) that way on nearly a daily basis.
     
  3. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Am I correct that the Sonos Connect input is where you could connect the Tape Monitor output from an integrated amp (or receiver), in order to broadcast via wi-fi the music that is playing from CD or LP? Am I correct that another Sonos Connect (or Sonos speaker) could receive such music? But not a $35 Chromecast Audio?

    Is there a wi-fi product that has an analog audio input, and is compatible with a Chromecast Audio device (or comparable $35 gizmo) as a receiver?
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  4. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    No Chromecast compatible devices I'm aware of with analog inputs in that price range. The true Sonos competitors are all priced very similarly to Sonos, because they offer more than the basic Chromecast functionality.

    With the new Timesync WiFi standard, though, it's possible for companies without the expensive networking experienced engineers to build synchronized devices, so I would expect innovation to ramp up.

    http://www.fiercewireless.com/tech/...ertified-timesync-for-precise-synchronization
     
  5. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I think there would be some market potential if Google would develop a Chromecast Audio "Transmitter/Receiver" that has TosLink and analog audio inputs, and outputs. What I have in mind is that a person could be playing a CD on a CD player, or an LP on a turntable, and audio would be fed from the hi-fi amp's Tape Monitor output into the Chromecast Audio Transmitter/Receiver. Then via the Google Home app, cast from the Chromecast Audio transmitter to any (or all) Chromecast Audio receivers. And it would be really great if such a Chromecast Audio "Transmitter/Receiver" had a retail price of $50. This is a solution that I could heartily recommend to family and friends who have traditional hi-fi systems and want to enjoy all of the benefits that Chromecast Audio provides, but don't want to copy their LPs and CDs to a computer drive.

    Am I correct that the next best thing for CDs would be to play the CD on a computer and use something like Rogue Amoeba Airfoil to cast from the PC? (Windows support is coming soon for Airfoil -> Chromecast Audio.) What other Windows 10 PC software could cast music playing from the computer's CD drive to a Chromecast Audio? JRMC?

    It would also be useful if Oppo enabled their Sonica DAC to act as a "casting transmitter", enabling any source of music that the Sonica DAC supports to be cast to a $35 Chromecast Audio (or comparable Oppo device). For example, the hi-fi system that is used for serious listening is in the living room and employs a Sonica DAC, and music could be cast into the kitchen, dining room, and bedroom systems with good sound quality at the now-established $35 price point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  6. smurfer77

    smurfer77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have dropped the digital streaming solutions recently and gone backwards to an Fm transmitter in each room and all sources conencted to it, including tape decks and vinyl. If you have a good transmitter and good tuners the quality can be fine for multiroom. I even forget it is FM sometimes.
     
  7. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Except for the minor issue that there really isn't much of a market for it, as music consumption is very quickly and dramatically shifting towards streaming.
     
  8. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    Also, there is a huge inconvenience to having your vinyl streaming to the basement and when it needs to be flipped, you would have to run upstairs to flip it. I think the market for all over the home streaming is small anyway and this market is even smaller.

    I mentioned the Dot being a decent option to pair with the Connect above, but on second thought, you have to be in range to pair with the Dot. That could be a problem, as well.

    The Yamaha mentioned earlier has the most options (analog/USB/optical inputs), but it costs the same as the Connect and I have no idea if MusicCast is as robust as Sonos for multi-room streaming.
     
  9. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    It's a large enough market for Sonos alone to do $1.2B in annual revenues, and for Yamaha, Denon, Samsung, LG, BlueSound... everyone and his brother, to have entered the market.

    Given the new mesh routers, there's no doubt the Yamaha will be able to achieve Sonos-level stability. Not with the $69 routers most folks have, though.
     
  10. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    What we don't know is how many Sonos users actually use it for multi-room versus having a Sonos speaker (or set of speakers) in the kitchen or bedroom for one-room reliable streaming convenience. Even if half of that 1.2 billion is for multi-room streaming, it is still a very small market given the lack of current competition. As you said, now we have "everyone and their brother" going into the business, but I still think most people will be using these devices for one room streaming.

    As I have mentioned, I mainly use Airplay and I do use a laptop/desktop enough that I have the ability to send audio all over the house with ease, but the only time I really ever use that feature is when we are entertaining. I mainly listen to music in one room when I am home or just carry my phone into the room I want to hear music and switch the device that is receiving the signal. I guess I am not moving from room to room and needing music/podcasts playing all over the house most of the time. I don't live alone, so often when I am listening to music, I am the only one that wants to hear it....not to mention my tech podcasts that my lady would find boring beyond belief...though, she has heard me sing the ATP theme song.:D

    As a side note, Airfoil now works with Bluetooth and Chromecast and other Casting devices, so I could literally stream to 15 or more devices at any given moment, but I have never even tested the Casting feature because I have so little need for it. However, it would fill in some of the limitations of Casting.
     
  11. smurfer77

    smurfer77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I had a good run with airplay when using only one device but then i bought 5 and gave up on airplay because it craps out when I run more than about 2 at once, sound cuts in and out every now and again. Same for my two buddies who run 3 airport expresses. Have you tried streaming to multiple chromecast devices yet? I am interested in it if it works well for many units at once.

    PS to OP: The C Crane FM Transmitter 2 is excellent
     
  12. chicks

    chicks Lunatic Member

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    Depends mightily on the coverage and bandwidth of your router. Sonos' advantage for years was its built-in mesh networking, which is rock solid. New mesh routers on the market allow everyone else the same advantage, but at addition cost compared to Sonos. If you already have solid network, though, the cost advantage is moot.
     
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  13. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I haven't tested it in a while, but I just used Airfoil to send audio to 5 Airplay devices (Airport Express (one of the old ones where the receiver is in the plug) on wifi, Yamaha WXC-50 on wifi, Denon X4200 on ethernet, and Onkyo TX-NR646 on ethernet, and an iPhone running the Airfoil app). I have played the music for about thirty minutes without a drop out (still listening, so I will post if something changes). Not sure what is causing your issue, but it works perfectly with my setup. I should also mention that I am sending the signal from a laptop on wifi, rather than my desktop that is attached directly to ethernet. My source is Apple Music, so it is streaming to the laptop and then out to all of my devices.

    That being said, I also tested Casting from Airfoil to my Nvidia Shield and their were drop outs. I run an Airplay app on the Nvidia, so that could be getting in the way of the Airfoil Casting...not sure.

    ( I should mention that I was using a Google On Hub for wifi and it provided a great wifi signal over the house, but it stopped working after we had some power surges recently, so I am back on my older Linksys router and still haven't had issues)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
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  14. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    The upside to updating the network is that it helps everything that uses wifi in the house. Getting a Sonos to fix the problem only helps with audio. That being said, updating a router is about as much fun as a root canal, so I can see why people would try to work around the router issue rather than fixing it.
     
  15. rwartner

    rwartner Super Member

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    I use AudioEngine W1. 2 dongles sender/receiver. An alternative, works fine.
     
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  16. rave0035

    rave0035 Disassemble first, ask questions later.

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    I just pulled the trigger on a Sonos Connect through BT.

    I'm excited to try it! In concept, this has a high WAF, so that is a plus.

    Mike
     
  17. jhoyt

    jhoyt Incomprehensible space llama Subscriber

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    My strong suggestion, if it is not already moot, is the Denon Heos 4-zone amplifier. It is a very impressive unit, and can matrix analog and digital inputs from four zones, as well as power speakers in those respective zones. I have used it in distributed audio installations with success. I have no problem whatsoever recommending it highly. There is also a single zone amplifier, and even a zone preamplifier with the same digital and analog inputs.
     
  18. tom1066

    tom1066 Chum is Fum. Subscriber

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    I have been going thru all the different motions mentioned here - first tried multiple chromecasts in different locations in the house but they would drop the signal or have pauses at start up due to whatever (usually lack of wifi signal); I then went to multiple sonos connects and it worked better but as mentioned above the main culprit for all of it is as Chicks stated "the $69 router" or in my case the free one that came from my cable company.

    So a couple of mos ago I purchased the new Google wifi node system. It was a breeze to install - honestly took less than 5 minutes and everything since has worked perfectly. I just named the new Google wifi network the same as my old with the same password and everything was good to go. I think now I might could go back to the chromecasts but I already have the Sonos connects in place and have really come to like them and the interface.
     
  19. uofmtiger

    uofmtiger Super Member

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    I had a Google OnHub until it stopped working properly after a power outage (I guess it got a surge or something, even though I had it plugged into a UPS). Anyway, I like the way it worked with IFTT. You could link together "the internet of things". I am hoping I get one of these new systems to review, but I may eventually buy one if I don't.

    Did you get the package with 3 nodes?

    Note: The old routers are definitely the cause for most issues with streaming. I hope that eventually changes with all of the new mesh systems that are hitting the market. However, it will probably be a while before most people will buy them because of the price and the fact that they can be a headache to setup.)
     
  20. Killer Fox

    Killer Fox AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I went with 3 Google Chromecast Audio devices, one on each level hooked up to a vintage system. I just decided to use multi room for streaming only and keep the vinyl on my individual basement system for "sessions". I'm not really actively listening much when I want multi room music anyway. It's more for background music.
     

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