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Old Nov 28, 2012, 07:19 PM   #1
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Multi-Room Audio Using iTunes and ??

My ~10 year old Russound System just got fried by a lightening strike and I'm in the process of replacing it. (All the wiring and built in speakers are fine.) My system has 6 zones plus 4 more A-bus zones. I have already purchased amplifiers for the zones and am now contemplating how I provide source audio to them. (All the wiring runs to one central spot).

I have all out music on iTunes, but I am FAR from an expert on how to use iTunes, and associated stuff like AirPlay, AirPort Express', etc. Anyway, here's two options I was thinking of and wanted to get your feedback.

Option 1: Use a dedicated iTunes PC/Mac and add a multi-channel USB output card and connect each output to one of the inputs of the distribution system. I *think* that iTunes can be controlled to stream content to different speaker outputs, but am not sure.

Option 2: Use multiple airport express' to do the same thing.

I'm not sure if either of these make sense - any feedback is much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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I think the way to go would be to get amplifiers that have inputs that have their own outputs, as opposed to amplifiers with one stereo input and multiple outputs. If you get a multi-channel amp like this, you could then plug an airport express in for each zone. Add an ethernet switch and hard wire those suckers, and it should work very very well.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 08:27 PM   #3
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Thats the kind of amp I have - 6 stereo channels with a dedicated input for each dedicated, amplified output. so basically, for the approach you mention, it would be about $100 per channel for the airport express.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 10:35 PM   #4
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In my case I have my home office with surround sound, my living room, 3 bedrooms and patio with appletv's and garage with an old iMac.

I can simultaneously stream to all sources as well as any iOS devices on my network from my main iMac and iTunes using a program called AirFoil.

You can actually stream any audio through it, I use a Sirius satellite app on my Mac to stream the same station throughout the house so I don't miss anything.
So you could "AirPlay" Pandora, Spotify, YouTube... really anything.
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Old Dec 6, 2012, 01:33 PM   #5
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Update - Multi-Source Audio Work Like a Charm!

Thanks for all the suggestions.

(Note - I use iTunes Match so all of our music is available on all of our iDevices)

1. As I said, I have a 6/12 channel amp powering my zones, plus a couple more abus zones.

2. I purchased 2 Airport Express from ebay for $65 each and hardwired them to my network.

3. I can stream audio from the same library (via iTunes Match) to each airport express (currently one for inside the house zones and one for outside zones). Note that I can stream different songs to different airport expresses because I have multiple music sources (iTunes via iRemote on desktops, or straight iPods, or iPads, or iPhones.)

4. Because of the way airplay works, I should be able to subscribe to rhapsody/spotify/etc and stream that to either set of speakers too - not sure if I can send different streams to each tho.

Anyway, thanks for all your help - this is a great solution for me, and compares well to Sonos, etc.
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