The halls are alive with the sound of muuusic!
October 13, 2012 10:57 AM Subscribe
I would like music in my home, and I'm gadget friendly and very geeky but not in the consumer audio space (more the computers and video gaming and mobile spaces). So I would like some advice on how to do this. Technical details and specific desires below.
posted by kalessin to technology (19 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is in the medium term (6 months to a year) planning stages, but I would like some advice on overall approach and technique, how to design something suited to my needs and what kinds of things I should be considering. I speek geek extensively, am functional in audio geekery but am not by any stretch an audiophile, but I am a gadgeteer, so I can talk about various hookings up.
I already have a bunch of stuff that I think would contribute and make the overall household system strong and flexible, but I also know that I either don't have enough tech or am not using it right.
What I want:
I want to be able to quickly and easily manage a central spot for music and other audio programming (streaming would be a bonus!) where pre-placed speakers (and other audio devices that might make sense) operate near me when I want them to. I do cooking, home improvement and other medium to loud things as well as simply hanging out, petting cats, reading, so the dynamic range would have to be pretty high. As an example, I have an iPad Retina (with iTunes Match, so access to my full library of music), but I find that its speakers aren't really loud enough to overcome kitchen noises (sink, microwave and fry cooking stuff) nor is it really loud enough to be heard over operating a portable drill, but it can be quiet enough for the quieter moments.
Also I have no fear of wireless tech at this point, but find that Bluetooth audio is sometimes sketchy, connecting to devices I don't want it to, sounding staticky or failing for no apparent reason. Also Bluetooth's range does not always reach for me from one end of the house to the other.
I also do occasional entertaining, so it would be good if it were easy to set something up and let it go without constant tweaking and management.
What I have:
- A decent 47" LG HDTV with poor speakers (which I plan to replace with a bar speaker at least, if not a full Dolby 5.1 or 7.1 setup, but which can consume various media services)
- A new model XBox 360 (which can consume various media services)
- An older PS 3
- A Mac Mini from 2011 running OS X Mountain Lion
- An Apple TV that's maybe 2 years old
- An iPad Retina
- An iPhone 5
- An old iPod Touch (attached to an alarm clock built for old iPod Touches)
- A Creative D100 Bluetooth speaker (which works but is kind of a pain to keep track of and to move around with me)
- A new Netgear N900 Dual Band Gigabit network router and WiFi switch (which can provide Media services)
- Approx 20 Mbps/5 Mbps Internet service from Comcast
- A 5 room (plus bathroom) single-level California ranch-style house in Berkeley, CA which I am in the middle of upgrading/maintaining that is about 1800 square feet. It also has a very accessible basement/garage setup, so wiring, if any, can be done that way.
I'm also planning to have pretty extensive electrical upgrades done (there are 3 prong plugs in the house but none of them is grounded and the main board is at 100 Amps when it should probably be at 200 Amps) and I know that traditionally folks who do rewiring sometimes have electricians also do media or network cabling at the same time for the sake of efficiency.
I am not particularly interested in having my music follow me out of the home - or I know the answers I need for those possibilities, this set of questions focuses primarily on what I can do in the home to make my life be filled with music when I want it to be, and how best to make that happen and efficiently control it.
Finally, although I am not possessed of pants full of money, function is more important to me than cost right now, and I can save up if need be for something particularly sweet that will likely last a long time.