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How to distribute Audio / Microphone?

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    How to distribute Audio / Microphone?

    I am a newbie, and I have searched the forums so please redirect me if this has been posted, but for the benefit of all newbies... exactly can you

    1. Distribute the audio throughout the house to be able to hear HS announcements?

    2. Distribute microphone throughout the house to be able to speak commands.

    Sorry if this is a basic question.

    I have seen several references to this subject on the board over time so keep searching for others ideas - In the meantime I give you my approach which I haven't posted before.

    First, for audio distribution. I have a HS server machine which also is my MP3 server, so my first step was to add a second audio card that I have dedicated to HS speech (I use a Soundblaster Live for this). My main audio card is a SB Audiology and it is set as the default for wave and other audio. The Audiology card is hardwired to my stereos in the house. For HS speech output I take the output of the SB-Live card and have it connected to one of those wireless audio senders (I use the Jensen Matrix models which are often discounted on Ebay). I then place the wireless receivers around the house connected to a small powered speaker.

    To get exotic I could put appliance modules on these speakers and trigger them by room occupancy but this currently isn't an issue for me and I really don't get any extraineous noise.

    It's no problem using multiple receivers/speakers as long as the receivers are the same brand (i.e all jensen) and tuned to the same frequency. I also don't really care much about potential eavesdropping on my HS voice responses if that is much of an issue.

    Now on to my rube-golberg VR approach...

    Basically I use intercomms with some modifications. I use Novi intercomms that are normally designed to work over the powerline; however the noise and X10 issues are significant. There is a post on the hometoys website that describes modifying these types of intercoms to work on phone lines rather than the power lines. I did this mod and have the intercomms communicating over my 2nd pair of RJ-11 wires in the house. These intercoms become very well behaved with no external noise with this mod.

    On the intercom next to the HS server I have a mic taped to the unit over the speaker and place the intercom and mic in a "soundproof" box made from a rubbermade shoe box and packed with non-flammable foam from a craft store. I did this step to eliminate local noise sources (from the furnace/AC) and to reduce any echo that would occur in the box.

    For the "sender" intercomms, they are all set to the same channel and have the "speak" button locked on. The intercomms do have to be connected to appliance modules and triggered individually to avoid interference from each other. In my case I have the kitchen/FR unit always on as the default and the other (bedroom/basement den) only triggered if occupancy is detected in these rooms.

    I find the sound sensitivity to be pretty good with these units and did the SAPI voice training over the intercomms by remoting into the HS server with my laptop and sitting on my couch reading the training sessions over the intercomms.

    I know this has been kind of long - but hopefully some will find it useful to spark thier imaginations on how to take simple problems and make them complex...


      Thanks algol... you have sparked my imagination! I will keep searching.... maybe I am using the wrong keywords or something. In any case, thanks for taking the time to respond and for the sugesstions!


        Would you mind if I come back and bug you for some details on your jensen distribution when I am all set?


          Use "Whole house audio" in your search string and you'll get a ton of hits.

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            Thanks Rupp. Got it and there are some great ideas out here!



              I'll be glad to help if I can - I'll also take any improvement ideas you can come up with.


                I haven't gotten my WaytoCall USB phone switch yet but...

                Can you use homeseer phone and any corded/cordless phone for the microphones to communicate bace to Homeseer?