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Source Discussion for Monoprice 6-Zone

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    Source Discussion for Monoprice 6-Zone

    This is a dedicated spin-up for some current Monoprice users to share their setup and any suggestions or ideas they may have, as discussed over in the awesome plugin thread. I've already heard a little from Dekirts and happnatious1 but if either wanted to repeat what they said here please feel free.

    As a quick level-set, we're starting our system with one Monoprice to cover our main floor and will add a second down the road for basement and exterior zones. I realize that only the six initial sources are active though regardless of how many zones you upgrade to.

    We have never centralized our audio options through a single unit like these multi-zone systems before, I am a mental over-planner, and in a couple weeks I'm going to be running the network, speaker and security cabling through our home before they start sheetrock. So I'm trying to make these final decisions now while it's relatively cheap. Here's what I'm dealing with:

    Where is the music coming from:
    • I want to be able to play HomeSeer announcements over the one source here.
    • In the living room I'm installing one of the Monoprice wall-mount blue-tooth receivers so that anyone of us can choose to stream from our source two here.
    • Currently we have well over 1000 CDs I own which have been ripped to MP3 on a portable HD. Currently I plug this into my computer for personal music. I'm moving all of these onto a WD MyCloud with a Plex server shortly after we move in.
    • We use Spotify, Pandora and YouTube (may add Amazon soon) as traditional streaming sources. Right now we often have two people listening to a different stream (but both may be Spotify, for example) in a different place via their phone or computer. I want to be able to instead do this thru HS/Monoprice.
    Controlling the Monoprice

    Since the HS-SEL box does not come with a seriel port (ugh!), if I don't get my own box to run it on I was just going to get a basic seriel-to-ethernet unit such as this to expose the Monoprice to HS via my network. But any personal ideas or suggestions here otherwise?

    Physical Home

    The electronic closet is in a corner of the basement. Our feed for phone and internet (initially just DSL but we should have fiber to this part of the mountains in late 2020) will enter here. A rack in this space will house Ubiquiti gear, one or two Monoprice six-zone amps, a NAS, the modems, HomeSeer SEL-Pro and potentially a R-Pi or two. Except for anything sitting in this closet it's pretty far away from all living parts of the home so direct wire of RCA inputs are not an option.

    I am familiar with Plex and Kodi from a lot of reading and some video tutorials but I have not yet had the time or place to install and try them out. I did mess around with a MythTV setup on a Linux box around ten years ago and none of this is scary or's just a matter of decision making without much experience. :-(

    It looks like a Kodi front-end can easily be a source for any of my streamed music or the CDs behind the Plex and I know about Spud's Kodi plugin so I figure I can run Kodi on an RPi, plug that in as a source, and set up some screens in HomeSeer to manage the Kodi instance (yeah, it's all going to be THAT easy ). I'm going to ask over on that plugin's page if I can control more than one of these though via the plugin, thinking that perhaps I have two RPis setup like this ( Kodi-1, Kodi-2 ) and each as a Monoprice source and independently controlled via HS, but not sure yet.

    My personal computer will be located in my office, pretty much oposite corner from the electronics closet, but I am considering one of the RCA-to-Ethernet options to be able to source from that as well. The box to convert back from Ethernet to RCA (required for the bluetooth wall plate) supports two connections anyway so I already have most of what's needed here.


    Planned Source List
    1. Input from HS ( either SEL or another Linux-based instance )
    2. Monoprice Blu-Tooth unit in living room
    3. RPi Running Kodi
    4. ???? Second RPi with Kodi to give some flexibility to the family
    5. Office computer via RCA over Ethernet.
    6. Open for future if nothing cool comes up here...

    Any issues, learning experiences or suggestions from this?
    Anyone already try controlling multiple Kodi clients via HomeSeer or can offer alternatives ways to stream various local and remote sources and control them via HS?

    I also just get excited and geek out over seeing what other people have done. I love the HSTouch screen threads and reading everything around here for years now so if you're using one or more Monoprice I really do like to hear how you have things set up even if it's not a "suggestion" specifically.

    I am really looking forwrad to sharing details of my own soon!!!!

    Hi, Beowulf.

    Instead of the serial to ethernet unit, why not just get a usb to serial cable?

    With regard to sources, it seems to me that the key would be your ability to control the source via HS. Spud makes great plugins. I have not tried his Kodi plugin yet, but I would be curious what the user interface would look like to control the music (e.g., viewing album art, selecting songs to make a playlist, viewing the playlist, etc.). Unfortunately I have been rather disappointed in HomeSeer's music capabilities.

    For my sources, I tried using Raspberry pi's with Hi Fi Berry hats, JRiver's idPi software, and the MediaController plugin. Unfortunately this setup was ultimately fairly frustrating. I have limited tech knowledge with regard to some of this, but from my perspective where this setup ultimately failed concerned the Raspberry Pi's continually going offline, without any explanation. I suspected a DLNA issue, likely on JRiver's end. I spent a huge amount of time trying to troubleshoot this, and was unable to figure out the problem. in fairness, I did not post questions to JRiver's forum, so it could be user error too.

    The setup I am on now that has been working really well is actually outside of HomeSeer. I have been running roon, which is fantastic from my perspective, and provides a qualitatively different music experience. roon was expensive, but ultimately worth it to me because I am a huge music fan. I run roon on a windows 7 machine which also runs HomeSeer, with four raspberry pi's with the hi fi berry hats (DAC +/- pro, i think), with the pi's using the ropieee roon software. My prior issues with the raspberry pi's have gone away completely, they are always online and always reliable. I'm not there yet, but my understanding is that I can connect homeseer to roon via mqtt. This would be my mechanism for ultimately tying these things together. Even if I was unsuccessful in doing that, at this point there is no way I would give up roon. Sound quality is excellent, and the user interface IMHO is without equal.



      DaveW42 It's funny you mention Roon. I've been trying to see if there's any interest in getting a Roon plugin written for HS3. The Roon app is great, but it would be nice to have some centralized functions like volume, next/prev track, and some limited album selection/zone selection in HS3.

      I'd be putting this on a HStouch custom page with my listening room lights, heat pump control, motorized projection screen control and projector controls.


        Hi, Seatrope. I'd love to see a Roon plugin as well, for the same reasons you mention (basic navigation control).

        In the absence of a plugin, my next step was to try to approach this via MQTT and a corresponding Roon Extension that you can see here:

        I was previously unable to get past installation of the extension via the Roon Extension Manager (the extension wouldn't connect to my MQTT broker). I see now that the issue was that the extension tries to connect to the broker anonymously, whereas my MQTT broker requires a password.

        Again, this would be much easier with a plugin!



          I would love to see aan Roon plugin as well, so we can use hardware buttons to control play, pause, next, ...
          I'm new to Homeseer and planning to set everything up in the next few months. At the moment I'm a smartthings user.


            Anyone know how much power the amp supplies to the keypad? Would you be able to power a tablet off it? Was thinking that would be a super easy way to add screens around the house since i already have over 20 keypads install.
            If it has enough power maybe put a transformer at the keypad and put a tablet mount in...
            then again I could always put a poe next to the amps to charge a tablet