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Help me make sure I don't buy redundant audio equipment, please
February 6, 2011 5:22 AM   Subscribe

I just moved and am trying to figure out the most elegant network audio solution. Most of the equipment I think I need is already here [below the fold], and I want to figure out if I need to buy anything else, or if what I have already is enough to suit my needs.

Ye olde list of tech already acquired:
Old tube television (probably getting a Samsung LN40C650 LCD soon)
Xbox
Tivo Premier
One pair of Vandersteen Series 1 speakers
Old-timey receiver that can only take RCA or banana plugs
iPhone
One seven year old Dell PC
Mac and PC laptops that need to be untethered
Cable television and a cable modem
Linksys WRT54GL router running DD-WRT v24
500GB of media needing a storage home

The house has central structural wiring, so everything can be connected via LAN

WHAT I'M TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH:
It seems simple. I want mp3s and an iTunes playlist all stored together in one physical location that can be accessed via the network from any computer. I also want to be able to listen to iTunes via the Vandersteen speakers, controlled via the iPhone remote app. Ideally, there would be only one audio signal running into the receiver so I can leave it alone regardless of whether I'm watching TV, using the xbox, or listening to music.

How would you make that happen?
posted by billtron to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
iTunes playlist shared on multiple computers? Pretty easy. Just run iTunes on all your computers and share your music library from your main computer.

Listen to iTunes via Vandersteen speakers? Connect said speakers to the old-timey receiver. Buy an Apple TV (the new one, $99) and connect to your new LCD TV (won't work with non-HD TVs). Connect audio out from your new LCD TV to the old-timey receiver. Now you can use AirTunes to stream music from your main computer thru the Vandersteen speakers. You also get xbox and TV audio through the same speakers. Your TV must be on when you're listening to music in this configuration.

Alternative: Instead of the Apple TV, buy an Apple Airport Extreme base station (replacing your Linksys) and an Airport Express. Airport Express has the audio-out, both RCA analog and digital, you can feed the analog into your receiver.
posted by dudeman at 8:49 PM on February 6, 2011


I want mp3s and an iTunes playlist all stored together in one physical location that can be accessed via the network from any computer.
Setup a machine that is on all the time to act as the itunes server and has access to all the music (local hard drives, USB drives, or access to network storage). Install itunes on it and setup Home Sharing. The laptops will stream the music from this via itunes (also setup with Home Sharing). You get the audio to your receiver by either an Apple TV or an Aiport Express.
Ideally, there would be only one audio signal running into the receiver so I can leave it alone regardless of whether I'm watching TV, using the xbox, or listening to music.
This is a strange request. Are you really that against switching between inputs? Part of the point of a receiver is to act as a switch. This is even more important as we move to an era where audio is digital and has various encodings. If you audio is all analog, you could go with something like this mixer to combine the audio inputs and outputs them as a single output.
posted by fief at 2:34 PM on February 15, 2011


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