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My house has 2 bedrooms, a living room and a studio (Room for a computer, shelves, etc., don't know how it's called in the US), each one with a RJ-45 connection (LAN, Internet). I want to install speakers in the living room and that they could accept input from every one of the rooms. How can this be done?

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migrated from diy.stackexchange.com Oct 1 '12 at 14:56

This question came from our site for contractors and serious DIYers.

    
So you want to only have speakers in one room, and be able to play music in that room from any other room? What's the rationale for that setup? I would've thought you want it the other way: speakers in every room, playing from a single source. –  Henry Jackson Sep 29 '12 at 18:18
    
My house isn't that big, so speakers in the living room is enough to listen in the whole house. But The reasoning is that we have three computers with music (one in each bedroom and another in the living room), each with different music, so this means no moving the computers around. –  alvinbaena Sep 30 '12 at 11:20
    
Since this question is about connecting the speakers and computers, rather than running the wiring, it's a better fit for Superuser. Migrating. –  BMitch Oct 1 '12 at 14:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Wireless Speakers

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They vary in price, shape and sizes. If you want to build them into the ceiling then you might find some wireless audio trasmitter/reciever packs.

  • Receiving speakers just need power
  • Transmitter needs to have an audio input and powered. Best places somewhere centrally or within full range of your house.

There are a range of stand alone products available

Some tips

  • sub gigahertz (<900mhz)(AM/FM <100mhz; 100mhz <> 700mhz CB radios, atom time keepers, police frequencies,) 900<>1ghz Cell phones) use a mixture of analog/digital signal, stereo at 44khz- the range depends on the output power of the base system
  • 1ghz <> 2ghz - Reserved for military use or other industrial devices - for example GPS or HSDPA for cell phones, Sattelite TV, etc- You wont find products in this range.
  • 2.4ghz will most likley take HDMI audio and stream it in HD quality 48khz, including DTS, and multi channles like dolby surround. The range is as good as a internet 2.4ghz router.
  • 5Ghz the same as 2.4ghz just the range is improved and can penetrate difficult materials easier.

Ordered in by price. Where the first is the cheapest.

Analog or Digital?

Age old question. If you can find a very strong base emmiter. More than 0.5mw then your analog signal should be good, but neighbours will pick it up on their stereos? and is susceptible to noise from microwaves, CB radios and some other weird things. Digital giver better overall quality, is isolated so neighbours cannot easily access it. But can be choppy if the receiving end is in a dodgy/flaky area.

Since this was migrated to SU ...

... it is only relevant to expand to the software side of things involved in using IP speakers.

You can try and look for Network speakers that plug into your network or use your existing Wifi. This will require a server to run at all times(or when you want to listen to music-like a separate computer). And software to handle everything, for example iTunes server or Winamp server with the software that will send data to your speakers.

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0.5mw? Surely you mean 0.5W? I think the lowest power wireless device I have is 100mW... –  Rory Alsop Oct 1 '12 at 15:17
    
Oh, and 5GHz has less penetration through most materials and a lower range than 2.4GHz in general... –  Rory Alsop Oct 1 '12 at 15:17
    
In most countries sub gigahertz frequencies are illegal if they use more than 0.5mw (yes milliwatts- if you want to use more you need to have a commercial license because you can cross transmit with legitimate stations,military equipment, police frequencies or atom time keepers) Check your country. Gighertz can be boosted to use watts because it uses a dedicated public band- and the signals are isolated so no cross communication can occur! Yagi antennas can use up to 5watts,10w or 50w if you want. –  ppumkin Oct 1 '12 at 15:26
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I agree on the subgigahertz stuff. For >1GHz, in the UK even with a Yagi you can't legally use more than 100mW and 3dB overall gain. You just get to have a lot of gain in 1 direction (so you can get up to 11dB - ish - with a tightly focused antenna) - and this goes for the 2.4 and 5 GHz unlicenced bands. –  Rory Alsop Oct 1 '12 at 15:37
    
Very good answer, very complete. I like the network speakers approach though. Can you expand a little bit more on that? I'd appreciate it. –  alvinbaena Oct 1 '12 at 17:44

It sounds like you're mainly interested in playing audio from computers, in which case I would recommend an AirPlay device like Apple's Airplay Express, Apple TV, or one of the newer receivers that support Airplay (like Denon).

With AirPlay, you can stream music from a Mac or PC to the AirPlay device:

  • Stream audio from iTunes on either a Mac or a PC
  • Stream audio from any application if you have the latest Mac OS (10.8 "Mountain Lion"), or with older Macs or PCs using third-party software such as Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil.
  • Stream music from an iPhone, iPad, etc. (if you have one).

If you get an Apple TV, you can also stream video to your TV from an iPhone or new Mac.

There are also other non-Apple streaming devices such as Roku, although I haven't used that device so I can't speak to its exact functionality.

Any of these network players will require all the devices to be on the same local network. If you've already got house-wide WiFi or a wired ethernet LAN, that's enough. Otherwise, you'll need to set up a network. The Airport Express will create a wireless network, or you can get another router and set up a wireless network or a wired network using your existing ethernet connections.

(A wired network is faster and more reliable and if you already have the cables in place it would be relatively easy, but it sounds like your house isn't huge and a WiFi network is the easiest solution, especially if you get the Airport Express which can do double duty as a wireless router and the AirPlay receiver.)

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This is a really good option, the only problem is that no one in my household has an apple device. –  alvinbaena Oct 1 '12 at 17:42
    
While AirPlay works great with Apple products, you can also stream from iTunes on Windows or from any Windows computer with Airfoil (3rd party software). –  Henry Jackson Oct 1 '12 at 17:49

This is actually very easy, but depending on what you want, you can spend an awful lot on it.

Having ethernet means you can easily use solutions like Squeezebox or other networkable/multiroom solutions like Sonos, or even Microsoft's media centre. I use the empeg solution for this, as it works in my car, across my home network and through my PC's and PS3.

For the way you want to do it, simply set up an amplifier in the living room that can accept input over ethernet, and have it connected to the speakers. Then all you need in each room is an equivalent sending device.

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