Monthly Archives: January 2015

My Whole House Music System

My Whole House Music System

I’ve long been interested in the concept of whole house music systems. Basically, you can start a playlist, streaming radio station, whatever, and have it play throughout your home. The music is syncronized and you don’t have to blast one set of speakers just to hear it. Why would you want this? Imagine if you were throwing a party and had people hanging out in the living room and on your back deck, or your upstairs living space and downstairs recreation room. If you want to play music, but don’t want to run speaker cable all over the place so everyone can hear it, a whole house wireless audio system is the answer. You can even let your guests browse your collection and add music to the playlist. With some systems, they can even play songs from their phones that you don’t have. there are other scenarios for this. Playing music while you do chores without having to wer headphones being one that comes immediately to mind.

You might have heard of systems like Sonos, or the Bose SoundTouch Wi-Fi Music Systems, these are great systems, but didn’t quite do what I wanted for a couple of reasons:

  1. They’re kind of expensive. At a cost of several hundred dollars per room.
  2. At least in the living room, there’s already a sound system connected both to the media PC and the AppleTV. I didn’t really want a solution that would require either a new receiver or another random speaker hanging about. Sonos does have a Sonos receiver that connects to an existing amp, but it’s $350.
  3. I had the idea that this is something that could be combined with a home automation system and the whole house audio could be used for providing alerts from your security system, IP/landline phone, etc. You could even tie it in so when a certain scene is started in your automation system, the lights dim, romantic music starts playing, and the fire in the fireplace turns on ((depending on the extent of your automation system).

For people who want a system that’s set up and go, these are great systems. I’ve played with the sonos and think it’s absolutely wonderful. I figured though, that there was likely a way I could build a similar system with parts I already had, or could obtain pretty inexpensively. Plus, the extensibility and integration mentioned in #3 above.

Warning: the following is extensively geeky, and you might not want to read it if you don’t care about such things. 🙂

Discover how I built a whole house audio system