xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby sharp_1 on Sat Nov 03, 2007 12:19 am

It has hereby been confirmed by Bob Adams over at Calrad that the zone dongles are able to have volumes controlled to each zone separately thru xlobby...YES!!! However, the 4 port USB cable assembly has one kink...as of right now 3 zones can work without issues...the 4th dongle zone is giving Steven and Wes some problems but will be fixed soon.

Happy happy joy joy!!!
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby wesblack on Sat Nov 03, 2007 4:20 am

Vaporware,

Looked in my E-Mail inbox, Trash, etc. for your request, sorry I have nothing. Please resend your request and also CC Steven, let's see if we can get it this time. I have received most of the users E-Mails from the forum with no issues.



Aaron wrote: How about just making this simple and posting the price?
Not possible, I am extending the registered users special pricing and I do not want to cause problems with all of Calrad's authorized distributors by posting figures here.

I did email Wes again a couple of days ago about the audio dongle price without a response. I wonder if it has something to do with their service provider as I used my work (DSL) connection to try to download Xlobby to my new server I am building there and it downloaded an incomplete or corrupt file just like it did at home with my (broadband) connection. I tried several times without success and finally went home at lunch to get a copy from my home machine which worked. Really strange. I only suspect their end as I am using two different internet service providers between the home and work connections.

I will throw out another suggestion. How about a private forum for registered owners of Xlobby so we can ask these questions in private about price without some of these problems.

Tom

Thanks !

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Wes Black \ Calrad
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Aaron on Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:42 am

Wes,
I understand... but I've sent an email and a PM... no response. Please PM me with the price. Thank you.
my setup info... http://livinone.googlepages.com
XBMC, Homeseer Home Automation, Multi-Zone Audio, Paradigm-Parasound-Onkyo-Velodyne Home Theater, Mitsubishi 65" HDTV ... soon XLobby!
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Aaron on Wed Nov 07, 2007 11:38 pm

Wes,
I'm feeling a bit ignored...
my setup info... http://livinone.googlepages.com
XBMC, Homeseer Home Automation, Multi-Zone Audio, Paradigm-Parasound-Onkyo-Velodyne Home Theater, Mitsubishi 65" HDTV ... soon XLobby!
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Jay on Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:02 am

I've requested a price too, but I assume Wes and Steven are tied up in show prep.
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Vaporware on Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:29 am

Hi Jay, Aaron,
I did resend my email to both Steven and Wes and got a prompt reply from both. Steven did not know the price but Wes did respond with a price break down. Although the price was reasonable from an installers stand point and from the point of the installers desire to have a cool and seamless integration (and look) I am not so sure from a DIY point it is cost effective. :shock: Of course I am cheap so that my have something to do with it :lol: . I think I will first try expanding something that I have already done on a two zone approach that is similar to the Calrad Multizone Audio Dongle but more in line with my beer budget :( . In the interest of not hijacking this thread for a DIY approach I will start a separate thread in a few days after I get some more beer budget hardware and time.

later,
Tom :)
Research is the only place in a company where you can continually have failures and still keep your job.

I knew immediately that was where I belonged.
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Jay on Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:49 am

Thanks for the feedback, Tom.
I await the response.
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Aaron on Thu Nov 08, 2007 1:06 am

Tom,
I'm interested in your setup too.

I don't mind spending $ as long as the bang for the $ is there. I hope they take in consideration we also need to add an amp to each channel and then compare the price of the dongles/amp to something we can get commercially that requires zero setup/customization (or close to it)... Russound, Niles, Sonus, M&S, Channel Plus, and many more.
my setup info... http://livinone.googlepages.com
XBMC, Homeseer Home Automation, Multi-Zone Audio, Paradigm-Parasound-Onkyo-Velodyne Home Theater, Mitsubishi 65" HDTV ... soon XLobby!
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Vaporware on Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:15 am

Aaron,
The points you bring up is very valid. The hassle factor is part of the big picture. You indicated requiring an amp.
For instance Wes posted this little piece of Calrad amp hardware.
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=5854&p=40569#p40569
Look closely at this card. All it does is stick in your computer and use the computer power to power an amplifier. Notice the card has no buss so it does not take up a motherboard slot but it still takes up a case slot. This is okay for one or two zones but pretty soon you run out of case slots. All the Multizone Audio Dongle apparently does is provide a USB based computer controlled audio output. No Amplifier included. So to make a four channel Multizone system your would require a fully populated Dongle and four amplifier cards as indicated in the above link installed in your computer. At this point a RS232 controlled Russound type system starts looking like a cleaner solution at least from a controlled amplifier standpoint. Now down the road you might want a audio switcher so you can listen to music A in zone 1 & 5, music B in zone 3 & 4, and radio C in zone 2 & 6. You could either have 6 individual inputs or 3 individual inputs and a audio matrix switcher. For a computer resource standpoint a 6 channel Russound system with a switcher built in starts looking pretty good compared to have the computer driving and syncing 2 sets of audio output devices and a radio. It all boils down to what you want to do for zoning and how you want it sound. There are easy solutions and there are cheap solutions and there are solutions in between. Like I pointed out before I have a beer budget but caviar tastes. I will see what I can do on my beer budget first..

Later,
Tom :)
Research is the only place in a company where you can continually have failures and still keep your job.

I knew immediately that was where I belonged.
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Vaporware on Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:27 am

I believe I misunderstood the Calrad amp Hardware
viewtopic.php?f=21&t=5854&p=40569#p40569
It actually has the function of a one segment Audio Dongle and an amplifier all on one card. So instead of 4 amplifier cards and a four segment port dongle you would only need 4 amplifier cards as these amplifier cards have USB digital input. Of course you would need either a four port USB hub in the computer or use all your motherboards built in USB ports to drive 4 cards. It looks like the amp cards are not ready for sale yet so I doubt a price has been established. The output of the card (16 watts / channel) appears a little weak if you like to crank things up but it looks to be a useful card.

Later,
Tom :)
Research is the only place in a company where you can continually have failures and still keep your job.

I knew immediately that was where I belonged.
Vaporware
 
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Aaron on Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:41 am

The amp cards look like a better solution. If they are using a Tripath chip, 16 watts should be fine. I'm planning on using a Tripath based amp anyway... have one now and it is easily enough for room-audio and basic home theatre.

<soapbox>

IMO they need to do a few things to those cards...
1) make them AT LEAST 2 zones per card... we will run out of slots even on full size cases
2) get rid of that crappy custom USB cable connection and use a standard USB connector so a standard USB cable can be used.

Better yet... make an external 4 zone all-in-one box and be done with it! Internal cards "seem" nice but at one zone per card it is just not realistic for a custom intall. My guess, and Wes & company please correct me if I'm wrong... they probably never ran the design by anyone who actually puts systems together for a living.. or at least more then a few. And definitely not anyone on this forum that would have told them "great idea... bad implementation"

Not trying to knock Calrad but just like most companies I've worked for (Microsoft, Dell, etc) or 'with' as a consultant (too many to list), they rarely find out what is really needed/wanted before developing something and putting it in production.

So Calrad and company... if you have not finalized that design please take some advice... don't build it as a single zone!

</soapbox>
my setup info... http://livinone.googlepages.com
XBMC, Homeseer Home Automation, Multi-Zone Audio, Paradigm-Parasound-Onkyo-Velodyne Home Theater, Mitsubishi 65" HDTV ... soon XLobby!
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Vaporware on Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:22 am

I totally agree with Aaron on this one.

Tom
Research is the only place in a company where you can continually have failures and still keep your job.

I knew immediately that was where I belonged.
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Vaporware on Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:30 am

I think a more useful product would be to take 4 of these
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4969110/
and put them in one box and add a little more power. Ten watts/channel
is a bit weak. Still the concept is sound and is along the lines
that Aaron and myself are thinking.
I see the place of the Calrad Multizone Audio Dongle as being
the front end to an already established house multizone
amplifier system that needs a front end feed.

Tom :)
Research is the only place in a company where you can continually have failures and still keep your job.

I knew immediately that was where I belonged.
Vaporware
 
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Aaron on Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:00 am

It official, Wes is ignoring me.

Not sure if he's upset at my post or what but I've emailed him twice, PM'd him twice... no response at all.

I'm interested in purchasing equipment and he seems to refuse to give me the information he asked us to solicit him for... defies logic. :shock:

Unfortunately, this does not instill any confidence. :?
my setup info... http://livinone.googlepages.com
XBMC, Homeseer Home Automation, Multi-Zone Audio, Paradigm-Parasound-Onkyo-Velodyne Home Theater, Mitsubishi 65" HDTV ... soon XLobby!
Aaron
 
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Re: xLobby Multizone Audio Dongles (Sneak Preview)

Postby Marbles_00 on Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:14 pm

Aaron,

Have you looked at the Calrad site for a distributor within your area? Some of them have webpages where they post pricing...or in the least you could call them to get a price. I understand though that you would like to avoid the "middleman", but I don't think that would be in Calrad's best interest....gees, I'm actually defending them :?: Now how ironic is that :D
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are all discussed.

Xlobby Free Zone
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