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Old 07-13-07, 11:32 AM   #1

Suntower
Since: Nov 2006
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WANTED: New Control Center


Hi,

I'm a musician with a home studio. Or rather, it would be more accurate to say that I have a studio that happens to have a kitchen and a couple of beds.


I have balanced cabling for recording audio as well as Cat-5 wires under the house which basically allow me to record in any room in the joint.

HOWEVER... as time goes by, I'm getting more nuts about listening. I'm looking for a way to -listen- to what I'm working on all over the place. In the back yard. In various rooms. From various sources.

So... I guess I'm looking for some sort of 'control center' receiver. Something CHEAP where I can route at least 8 sources to at least 5 sets of speakers (some of which are self-powered and some of which are cordless).

I'm sure the world has changed a LOT since I bought my last receiver way back in 1991 so this is probably a 'Duh' question to y'all. Although I understand RECORDING very well, I know very little about 'stereos' or 'home theatre' offerings.

I want to be able to route:
1. DVD sound (from my 5.1 Samsung home system)
2. CD player
3. Cassette deck
4. Two turntables
5. FM 'Receiver' (this is what I call 'the stereo')
6. 2 Computer servers

So that's 8 'ins' right there.

I currently have 6 sets of speakers in various spots. Two powered by 'the stereo' receiver. One set is linked to the DAW. Two are cordless and get sourced by computers for MP3 listening. One is the 5.1 home theatre.

I'd love it if I could route any signal anywhere via remote control with universal volume control. My ultimate goal would be to 'rip' all my audio into the computers and get rid of the CDs/cassettes altogether, but that ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

Any recommendations? Places to go learn more?

I know this is a vague question akin to 'teach me how to drive', but I gotta start somewhere!
THANKS!

---JC


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Old 07-13-07, 12:00 PM   #2
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Re: WANTED: New Control Center


Hey there, Suntower, and welcome to the Shack!

I think I understand what you want to do.

Eight inputs isn't necessarily a lot, but it sounds like some may be redundant. With this type of system, I would probably encourage you to get a good start and then build up from there.

Some issues:

Two turntables -- most turntables use either a "moving magnet" or "moving coil" cartridge, and the signal needs to be sent to a "phono" input. Today's receivers may have one phono input, but I don't think I've ever heard of one that has two phono inputs. In order to use the "normal" L/R stereo inputs, you will need to have a phono preamp. Just something to consider. OTOH, if you are looking for background music while you're gardening or tinkering with the car, perhaps vinyl isn't your best option anyway. I, too, have a turntable, and the flipping of the record is too much for me to deal with while I'm BBQing on the back patio and listening to my music out there. For that kind of continuous background music, I'd much rather set up a playlist on my PC and just let it run for hours.

Anything that's officially and appropriately called a "receiver" will have an AM/FM tuner, so I think your clear there.

Computer servers -- I use one PC connected directly to my preamp, and the server sits in the basement. How do you connect these to your systems? Digital or analog? Either way, I think you should be able to connect them to the receiver.

Remember, anything you want to connect to the receiver will have to be located within a decent range of it. Or you will have to run the appropriate wires. It's not that big of a deal, but it's something to consider.

Do you want to be able to listen to two different things at once? That is, would you like to have a friend or family member watch a DVD on the 5.1 system, while you listen to music from the PC in the garage? If so, you should consider at least a two-zone system. Many home theater receivers do this already, but it's usually a step up from the low-end receivers. I use this feature everyday to listen to my "zone 2" in my family room and patio, while "zone 1" is in the living room. More than listening to independent sources, we mostly use the independent volume controls between rooms.

There are a variety of volume controls, but if you really want to be able to do things remotely, it might get expensive. I use a Harmony 890 remote, which is RF based, so I can use it throughout my property to access most everything I need. I also have an in-wall volume knob for the patio speakers. Again, you start to get into implementation complexities here. You mentioned that you have some wireless speakers, so you may be on to something that's more flexible that what I'm thinking. If you can control each of those speakers individually, you may not need these other volume controls. If you wish to control the volume of six pairs of speakers, all at different levels, we'll need to see how it's already set up and working.

Also, if your speakers are already set up and working with other systems, you'll need to consider how to integrate the two systems together.

What is your budget? How much do you care about sound quality?

There a start! Again, welcome to the Shack!


-- Otto

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Old 07-13-07, 12:46 PM   #3

Suntower
Since: Nov 2006
Posts: 16
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I started this thread.
Re: WANTED: New Control Center


Hi and thanks for the reply. I'm typing 1-handed so I gotta be terse.

FIRST: I -hate- the UI on this forum. Is there a way to
a) Change the screen font?
b) Remove the smilies and make the edit window larger?

Onward:

1. Turntables: I have a separate DJ mixer for the turntables so I really don't even need an RIAA input.

2. Blue-skying I initially thought that what I really need is a 'receiver' with:
1. AM/FM Tuner
2. Input for CD player
3. Input for 5.1 sound from DVD jukebox
4. Input from cassette player
5. RIAA input from one turbtable
6. At least 4 -balanced- inputs from the various recording gizmos (these include the computers. I need BALANCED because I'm running these things over distances from 20 - 80ft from the 'receiver'.

3. Now AFA the outputs... I don't need digital outputs really
a The thing should have power for at least (2) sets of 2.1 speakers
b. 1 set of 5.1 outputs to the self-powered home theatre speakers
c. 3 sets of remote wireless speakers (RCA line level?)
d. At least 2 BALANCED 2.1 outputs I can run back to the studio rooms (I'd like even more if possible.) Again, this is for long distances.

4. One remote that could work all over the house (not just within line of sight). Ideally, I'd loveit if I could have more than 1 remote.

5. Multiple zones? I hadn't even entertained that idea. (Entertain--get it? ) If it were possible to have multiple sources going simultaneously that would just be the COOLEST thing since bikinis and penicillin.

6. The 'sound quality' is complicated. Most of these speakers are cheap-o. But the actual signals being routed (especially the BALANCED outs back to the studio should be pristine. The monitors in my main studio are over $2k so I care about sound in those rooms. The 'TV' and patio speakers? Not so much. So I would say that the power amp section doesn't have to be good, but the pre-amp and routing circuit DOES.

So....

Are we getting closer?

THANKS!

---JC

PS: I'd draw a diagram, but it's too hard 1-handed. Sorry. The fact that I just spent 30 minutes pecking this out should indicate however, how important this is to me.


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Old 07-13-07, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: WANTED: New Control Center


Hi there,

I'm not sure about changing the forum format or style. I do know that it's technically possible, but we haven't had any other complaints... Perhaps I've just grown accustomed to it, but I do find it more user friendly than the other forums I frequent.

Before we go into too much detail, I can start to shoot down a few things.

No "reasonably priced" receiver is going to have more than one set of balanced inputs. More likely, they will have zero balanced inputs and zero balanced outupts. I have an Outlaw 990 that retails for $1k, and it has no balanced inputs, and a 7.1 balanced output set (in addition to the single-ended 7.1 outputs). My Cary preamp has one pair (i.e., a single left and a single right) of balanced inputs, and retails for about 3x the cost of the Outlaw. While some of the more high-end HT stuff will support balanced I/O, there usually aren't many inputs.

As to outputs:

Most won't power two sets of 2.1, but they may have amplifier-level outputs for two sets of 2.0, depending on how you set it up. From there, you will also probably have a sub output that would be used for your .1. Depending how it's set up, it may be more of a 2.0 and a 2.1, as the sub out may only apply to one of the sets of outputs. Most of the two-zone stuff that I've ever seen has only a stereo pair out for the second zone (i.e., no sub specifically dedicated to the second zone).

RF-based remotes are available from Harmony and others. Unless you live in a huge house, it should be able to work anywhere in the house. You could certainly buy more than one of these types of remotes, but I must admit that I'm not exactly sure how they would interact -- would they interfere with each other? Would they just work as two remotes that could be used anytime? Would they be considered two totally independent remotes? Not sure...

Two zones is easy to do, so no worries there. If you want more than two, it's definitely possible, but you will need more than one receiver (although I think I have seen receivers that support three zones, I have not seen more than that; not sure which brand it was that did three, but it was a more high-end model for sure, perhaps HarmanKardon?). Multiple zones are cooler than penicillin, but I'm not sure if they are better than bikinis.

Sound quality is subjective, but most of these receivers are pretty dang good, especially considering the price to features and price to performance ratios. Many have excellent signal routing. Since you are supplying your own power, I think you will get good results.

So, I think we're getting closer, but you'll have to consider what to do with the lack of balanced I/O on most consumer-level receivers. Perhaps you'll have to throw a pro mixer in there somewhere. As long as you aren't running all signals at the same time, I think it could get you closer.


-- Otto

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Old 07-14-07, 11:13 AM   #5

Suntower
Since: Nov 2006
Posts: 16
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I started this thread.
Re: WANTED: New Control Center


OK, so no balanced -nuthin-'.

So....

1. Inputs
a. AM/FM Tuner
b. RIAA input from one turbtable
c. Line Input for CD player
d. Line Input from cassette player
e. Inputs for 5.1 sound from DVD jukebox

But balanced or not, I still then need more inputs for the studio stuff (pro soundcards, etc.) It would be better if they were line level (like a musical keyboard rather than a typical RCA), but I'm sure you'll tell me that isn't doable either.

2. Outputs. I misspoke. I do NOT need 2.1. I need. 2.0 NO SUBWOOFER. Never use 'em. Sorry. So...

a The thing should have power for at least (2) sets of 2.0 speakers. They don't need to be very powerful at all.
b. 1 set of 5.1 outputs to the self-powered home theatre speakers
c. 3 sets of remote wireless speakers (RCA line level?)
d. 2 other outputs (balanced or not) I can run back to the studio rooms (I'd like even more if possible.) Again, this is for long distances.

3. 2 remotes. One for me; one for wife.

4. 2 zones

AFA the bal/unbal thing---I can purchase level converters; it's just that they're expensive.

Now what?

THANKS!

---JC

PS: The thing about the edit window is
a) The font is ---way--- too big
b) The smilies take up 1/3 the window
Between the two, they make it hard to see what I'm woking on with these novel-length messages.


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Old 07-14-07, 11:34 AM   #6
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Since: Apr 2006
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Re: WANTED: New Control Center



Quote:
So... I guess I'm looking for some sort of 'control center' receiver. Something CHEAP where I can route at least 8 sources to at least 5 sets of speakers (some of which are self-powered and some of which are cordless).

I'm sure the world has changed a LOT since I bought my last receiver way back in 1991 so this is probably a 'Duh' question to y'all. Although I understand RECORDING very well, I know very little about 'stereos' or 'home theatre' offerings.

I want to be able to route:
1. DVD sound (from my 5.1 Samsung home system)
2. CD player
3. Cassette deck
4. Two turntables
5. FM 'Receiver' (this is what I call 'the stereo')
6. 2 Computer servers

So that's 8 'ins' right there.
I’m a little unclear – do you want to send a feed from your studio to your home theater receiver, which would be the “central hub” for distribution around the house? Or are you wanting something in your studio to act as the “central hub” for all this, which would also include a feed from your home theater? Item #1 seems to indicate the latter, since you said “from my Samsung home system.”

P.S. I put in a request for some of our "techie" members to help you with the UI problem.

Regards,
Wayne


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Old 07-14-07, 12:04 PM   #7

Suntower
Since: Nov 2006
Posts: 16
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I started this thread.
Re: WANTED: New Control Center


-I'm- a little unclear on this!

I'm typing 1-hand so I'm sure I'm leaving things out.

OK, I want the 'theatre receiver' to be the hub. In every day work, I listen to recordings directly through the studio monitors. BUT... I want to be able to feed that signal over to the 'theatre receiver' if I want to listen to stuff in other parts of the house.

I -also- want to be able to feed sounds from the 'theatre receiver' back to the studio. Eg. if I wanted to take some audio from a cassette or turntable and send it into the studio recorder.

But it -general- the 'theatre receiver' is the hub; it's mainly for my wife and I to be able to flip a button on her remote and switch from (for example)
a. An MP3 on a computer
b. A CD
c. Some audio from the studio
...and play it either on
a. The patio speakers
b. The living room speakers
c. The kitchen speakers

...alll with the remote of course.

We can do -some- of this now using our cheap-o 1992 receiver BUT we have to use 4 remotes and we can only use 2 sets of speakers and we don't have nearly enough inputs.

So my dream system would be a lot like what we have now but with LOTS more inputs and LOTS more outputs and 2 zones and a single remote. Oh, and CHEAP too!

Ideas?

---JC


Quote:
Wayne A. Pflughaupt wrote: View Post


I’m a little unclear – do you want to send a feed from your studio to your home theater receiver, which would be the “central hub” for distribution around the house? Or are you wanting something in your studio to act as the “central hub” for all this, which would also include a feed from your home theater? Item #1 seems to indicate the latter, since you said “from my Samsung home system.”

P.S. I put in a request for some of our "techie" members to help you with the UI problem.

Regards,
Wayne


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Old 07-14-07, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: WANTED: New Control Center


Quote:
The thing about the edit window
Fairly easy to make the edit window as big as you like with the edit window size adjustments....

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With Internet Explorer you can choose any size that suits you. Big or small.

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Views: 157
Size:  36.3 KB

brucek


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Old 07-14-07, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: WANTED: New Control Center


Quote:
Suntower wrote: View Post
FIRST: I -hate- the UI on this forum. Is there a way to
a) Change the screen font?
b) Remove the smilies and make the edit window larger?
Quote:
Suntower wrote: View Post
PS: The thing about the edit window is
a) The font is ---way--- too big
b) The smilies take up 1/3 the window
Between the two, they make it hard to see what I'm working on with these novel-length messages.
Unfortunately no one can make a forum that is going to be 100% satisfactory to every user, therefore we try to please the majority, which I think we do a very good job of.

If we change the font on our end, it will be so small that most users who have the font on their end set to a normal viewing size will not be able to read it. You can adjust the screen font on your end via your browser. How that is accomplished will depend on your browser. You might check your browser help section for instructions. That would definitely solve your font issues. If you are using Firefox you can adjust it by going to Tools >> Options >> Content >> Fonts and Colors section... and change the font size to something smaller. In Firefox you can also hold down the Control key on your keyboard and use your mouse scroll to increase or decrease the your source view, which will decrease your font and allow you to see more of your posting area at the same time, that is once you make the adjustment described below.

To make the message posting area bigger, we have an adjustment option for this. You can adjust it to take up your entire screen if you so desire... similar to what you see below...



Hope this helps...



Sonnie Parker
Customer Service Associate
SVSound
www.svsound.com
custservice@svsound.com

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Old 07-14-07, 01:06 PM   #10
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Re: WANTED: New Control Center


And brucek is quicker to the draw than I...



Sonnie Parker
Customer Service Associate
SVSound
www.svsound.com
custservice@svsound.com

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