Whole Home Audio - Sources and Suggestions

I’m upgrading from a dying receiver connected to four in-wall speakers with music coming from Pandora running through Pianobar on a RPi. On its way is a 6 Zone MonoPrice amplifier kit which I plan to control through OpenHAB using @bartus example. My servers and amplifiers are in a server rack in my basement so I’d need to control everything remotely using my phone and eventually devices dedicated to HABPanel. At this time I’m not sure if I will install the control panels that come with the MonoPrice amplifier kit.

What are some suggestions on what I could use as input sources?

  • My #1 priority is to have access to Pandora with full controls. I have a paid Pandora subscription and the Pianobar on the RPi worked great but that isn’t integrated into OpenHAB.

  • I did recently setup Max2Play on a RPi with a HiFi Berry DAC. I plan to keep it as an input source but it seems, at least through the web and android interface, that some key features of Pandora (skip, thumbs up/down) are not available. Am I correct in assuming the OpenHAB binding doesn’t add any of these Pandora functions?

  • Would ChromeCast audio provide better integration of Panora and other streaming media services than LMS/squeeze on Max2PLay?

  • My family has three FireTVs which we use mainly to play Plex. Would a “headless” FireTV provide more/better audio options? We also have three echo dots and I could try to re-purpose one as a source device.

  • I don’t (yet) have a music library but I could see Max2Play or Plex audio being good if I rip CDs and put the files on my FreeNAS server. Are there other features of these devices that I’m missing?

What other options are there?

Thank you,

Hi! Thanks for tagging me - always happy to see my small contribution being used by others! :slight_smile: I’m sure you’ll be happy with the MonoPrice amp, it’s a beast and it’s served me well for over 3 years now…I’ve got mine paired with MP’s 2-way and 3-way in-wall speakers, and the amp has plenty of power to make my house bump…

So, I have four sources connected to mine:

  1. By far the most used, Chromecast Audio. It just works with everything I throw at it. It integrates well with Pandora, though I only use a free account. I’ve mostly resorted to using it with my Google Home (“Hey Google, play ____ on Basement”).
  2. Bluetooth receiver in my Office - for those few apps that don’t support Google Cast natively.
  3. A JVC 200 CD changer, that just plays my old collection of CDs constantly, on random
  4. Turntables (via mixer) for vinyl…

I could go either way on the remote control panels…I do use them, and I still like the “tactile” feedback of having control over my sources, volume, bass/treble, etc…but I mostly use my Google Home, Habpanel or OH app on my iphone to control the amp these days…

I have multiple AV / Audio receivers bridged using a multiport HDMI splitter and simply use a dedicated audio source at as the input for these.
I have in the past used an old Android TV, a Chromecast and an Amazon Firestick, but since my AV receiver currently has Spotify onboard, I now use Spotify.

As an added bonus, I have ascript polling my Spotify account to see if I at any point start Spotify on one of my Alexa devices and if I do (e.g. Alexa, Play me that new song by XYZ), the code determines where I fired the request and then shift the music to the AV gear for that room, using the relative bindings and some rules (Yamaha AV binding and Onkyo Binding in my case)

I pretty much never manually control my amp anymore - everything is rule based.
The only tactile input that I do use is a Xiaomi cube controller - which has a rule attached to allow volume control and ‘skip’ (since when the volume is too loud, Alexa can’t hear me tell her to turn the music down) - Previously I just had an Amazon dash button hidden out of site to mute the music in the most common locations

Well I’m into it deep now. I removed my old amp, plugged in the MonoPrice, stripped the banana plugs and put the speaker cables into the screw in blocks. I tested with one input source and so far it works. I needed to hook up the keypads as I currently have no other way to control it. I have a USB to DB-9 coming tomorrow. Am I correct that I just plug that into my OpenHab controller (Pine64), make sure It shows up and and is “/dev/ttyUSB0” or change the items file accordingly

I really wish the controllers which came with the unit could control more than one zone. For now I think I’ll just mount the controllers in gang boxes and make them look nice in my server rack. Maybe later I’ll put one or two in my zones. For now, it’ll be good to have them as a backup in case something goes wrong.

Do you just keep the amplifier’s main power on all the time? I’m trying to determine if it’ll make sense to have a z-wave outlet turn it off when not in use and turn it back on when I turn any zones on.

Glad you got it set up already, what do you think of the sound compared to your old amp?

Yes, all you’ll need to do is make sure your serial/USB device shows up on the port that’s defined in the serial binding path, and you’ll want to modify the mappings/item/sitemap descriptions to match your zones. Other than that, it should work right off the bat.

One bonus the controllers give you is IR passthrough, though I don’t use it myself - the only thing that I could control would be the CD changer, and I lost that remote years ago…

My amp stays on as long as the rack has power…I don’t see a need to turn it off…


Status update: I’m including details in case others try something similar
I was able to work on it a bit more tonight. I received a USB to RS-232 DB9 Male FTDI cable from Amazon today. First I installed the Serial binding. Next I opened a terminal to my openhab and went to /dev and did a “ls”. I didn’t see any ttyUSB0. I then plugged in the USB to RS-232 in to the Pine64 (same would happen with RPi) and looked in dev again and I had ttyUSB0. Next I copied exactly your items, sitemap and rules into my respective files and so far everything seems to work great.

I’ll be testing more soon, but I’m really happy how I was able to make such great progress so very quickly. Anything is possible when standing on the shoulders of giants.

More to come!

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