Remote App Question - Multi-zone stereo?

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by radwolf89, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. radwolf89 macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    Found the Remote app. Impressive, but...

    How can I use it (or something else) to control my multi-zone home stereo? I have multiple speakers wired into the house but no stereo system for it yet, just the other end of speaker wires gathered into an empty stereo cabinet. So I'm basically starting from scratch.

    I could put a dedicated computer into the system with the iTunes library but how do I control the zones? Ideally I'd like to have complete control (power, volume, zone selection, etc.).

    If this just doesn't exist, I would settle for a scaled down version if I could do it on the cheap and hopefully somebody will develop my dream setup soon. For now, a computer driving 3 or 4 sets of speakers as one zone. What's the best way to hook a the PC to amp?

    If I could run Pandora over the system via my phone would be nirvana.

    Your help is very appreciated.

    Feel free to email me if you'd like: radwolf89 -at- yahoo -dot- com
  2. Jelite macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    You'd want something like Airtunes i assume. One in each room linked to speakers that use your itunes library over a wi-fi connection.
  3. jamesarm97 macrumors 65816

    Sep 29, 2006
    I think the only problem with the Airport is that all rooms have to play the same music at the same time (or just one room), not really zones.
  4. dustobub macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    Playing audio from your iPhone to your house stereo will probably have to be an Apple application that uses the existing AirTunes framework. However, I feel that the combination of a Jailbroken iPhone and PulseAudio would be a very interesting idea. Pulseaudio is also developing support for Airtunes as audio sinks. I'd imagine a program that you could launch a Pulseaudio program and it would show all available sinks, you would choose one or many, and then you would play your music in the regular ipod app. I will suggest it over on their dev mailing list. However this doesn't solve the Multi Zone issue, although I doubt the iPhone will ever be able to stream multiple sources to different zones, that just seems too taxing for the iPhone.

  5. radwolf89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks for you thoughts so far.

    I doubt I'll jailbreak the phone so I'm looking for an App Store solution. Frankly, I'm scared to try the jailbreak.

    One note. When the Remote app runs, the clever part is that it's not streaming to the PC. It just gets the PC iTunes rolling. This is nice because you can shut off the Remote program and access other parts of the iPhone and the PC just keeps following it last command. Also good for the iPhone battery.

    Perhaps what I want doesn't yet exist but surely there's a market for it.

    Any other thoughts?
  6. dustobub macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    Yeah I have one more idea. How about just running multiple instances of iTunes. Within the Remote app you can tell it which speakers to play on. So if you have multiple iTunes libraries, you could connect to each one, and tell each to play in different zones. Should work fine, although getting iTunes to open multiple instances might be an issue.

  7. radwolf89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    I wondered about that. In the Remote settings it asks which library you want. Right now I only have one library and I'm not even really sure how I'd create more or how I'd direct them to different speakers. And how I'd combine all speakers if I wanted to run the whole house.

    I'm going to go look at the stores today and see about buying:
    1. Cheap PC with WiFi dedicated to holding a copy of my MP3 library, running iTunes and feeding the signal into an amp.
    2. A cheap amp that can accept the PC output.

    With this, I could at least have 1 zone (say combined kitchen & deck) which is most important to me. One problem, is that the amp would always be on (unless I ran downstairs to turn it on and off). I wonder if that's a problem, to have the amp on 24/7 even when no source is there. The other issue is I'd probably have to keep the computer on 24/7.

    Maybe the solution is to lobby the Sonos company ( to create an iPhone app that can control their system. They have the infrastructure of amps, zones, etc. I think their stuff is overpriced, frankly, but I'd consider it in this setting. It also gets me the Pandora.

    I keep thinking there should be some way to use AirPorts (even if I had to use one for each zone) as inputs into a multizone amplifier. I think I could run this from the PC but the goal is to put all operational control into iPhone. Sort of a poor man's or do it yourself Sonos.
  8. dss macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Sonos, while at the higher end of the price range, is absolutely the proper way to set something like this up. I couldn't be happier with my system... The only thing I really want is an iPhone app for controlling my library. That being said Sonos has a healthy business selling their own controllers but at some point hopefully they will wake up and realize either they need to do this or a third party will (cliqlabs already has a very rudimentary sonos controller available for the installer crowd).
  9. radwolf89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    Yeah, I suspect I'd be happy with Sonos, too, if they offered the iPhone app, I'd probably buy it today. You're right, the bottom line comes down to lost controller sales vs. new iPhone customers.

    How well does Sonos play Pandora? Is it as easy as playing it on the PC? Or as easy as playing your MP3's on Sonos?
  10. dss macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Sorry, but i'm actually not much of a pandora user so it's hard to answer that. There is a sonos discussion forum that has some excellent experts that I'm sure could answer every thing you ever wanted to know (and more).

    All I can tell you is even with the notable lack of an iPhone controller (which I think is coming), Sonos is one of the single best purchases/investments I've ever made. They have the best customer support I've ever had to deal with, and they also have a 30 day money back deal so if you get it home and it isn't for you, no harm done...
  11. markfiona macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2009
    Sonos vs Apple

    Has anyone had a go with a Qnap as a Server. It uses TwonkyMedia & Sonos

    I hope it could manage multiiple ATV's at once with 4 zone support (4 separate sources simultaneous).
    Is the iTunes Server capable of doing simultaneous playback of 4 different zones each - eg. the same song at 4 different start times.
    Basically any 1 of 4 sources to any output(s).
  12. michael gavriel macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009
    play iphone music over airport express?

    hi everyone,

    not sure if this should be it's own thread, and probably it's just impossible, but i thought it might belong here ...

    is there any way to play iphone music over airport express speakers?

    i understand that the remote app plays itunes music on a computer over the airport express...

    but i want to play music directly from my iphone over the airport express. even though the music is often the same on my iphone/computer, say i walk into my apartment, but my computer is off, i can't just take my headphones off, change output to airport express, and keep playing whatever song im listening to. i would have to turn on my computer, turn on the remote app, find the same part in the song i'm on, make sure my computer is set to output to airport, etc, etc.

    i think you guys get me. let me know if i should elaborate more on what i'm lookign for, and if there's any way to do it. thanks!

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