Zoning help

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Zoning help

Postby bubba on Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:23 pm

I am trying to set up zones in freelobby. This is new to me and I am having difficulties. I have read Marples' Zoneskin4 instructions and want to move in that direction eventually, but for now I would just like to get my head around zoning using a couple of old audio cards I have lying around (Asound II Crystal Fusion and Turtle Beach Santa Cruz). So I have a few questions and thank you in advance for any help:

1) will any audio card work for zoning?

2) I have read the Winamp setup guide, is it current? The guide says to rename your output plugin in Winamp to output_ds2.dll, etc., but when I do it says it cannot find output plugin. Do I need an older version of winamp?

3) does anyone use foobar to zone, and if so, how (or is winamp pretty much the way to go)?

3) On my system (WinXP, sp2), I can only get music out of the card that is defined as default in Windows Control Panel. How do you get around that?

I'm sure I'll have more questions, but those will do for a start. Again, thanks for any help.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby Marbles_00 on Wed Mar 11, 2009 3:51 pm

1) will any audio card work for zoning?

I'm not going to say any...but almost any card can be. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I don't know of any off-hand that wouldn't work.

I have read the Winamp setup guide, is it current? The guide says to rename your output plugin in Winamp to output_ds2.dll, etc., but when I do it says it cannot find output plugin

Damn, I don't remember that guide. Is this if your using one instance of winamp? If so...Don't. Copy the winamp directory and create a second instances. You will have to configure each winamp by going into its settings to allow multiple instances, and then goto to each Output plugin and configure either the directx output or wav output to each card (they each should be in the drop down list of outputs to select).

Do I need an older version of winamp?

I only use version 2.94 (or is it 2.95?)...there is no reason to use the latest and greatest winamp with the older free xlobby, as xlobby can't control any of the extra features that version 5+ has to offer. The only reason to use a newer version is if an older version didn't support some sort of audio codec. The newer versions a bloated and take up alot more resources.

3) does anyone use foobar to zone, and if so, how (or is winamp pretty much the way to go)?

People have used foobar....rhinoman comes to mind here. The majority of us have just stuck with Winamp.

On my system (WinXP, sp2), I can only get music out of the card that is defined as default in Windows Control Panel. How do you get around that?

When you create multiple instances of winamp, when you go to each winamps output plugin configuration, you should be able to select either cards output, along with Windows default output.

Also remember to turn on XNET in the Xlobby setup, otherwise Xlobby will not utilize the multiple Winamps configured (which you should have defined under the General tab (if I recall right)).
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Re: Zoning help

Postby Marbles_00 on Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:37 pm

I have read the Winamp setup guide, is it current? The guide says to rename your output plugin in Winamp to output_ds2.dll, etc., but when I do it says it cannot find output plugin.

Hold on...this guide...are you following this post:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4933#p32774

Is this the guide your talking about? Even if you get it to work, the problem with attempting to share a winamp between two cards this way, is that they will always be slightly out of sync from one another. Eventually, as the one card drifts too far out in timing, the other will faulter...meaning the audio will skip and sputter to sync the two outputs up again. I was using this in ZoneSkin4, but opted away from this route in my latest ZS5 (due out in a week or so), because of this very reason.

With what you want to do the best your going to achieve is two seperate independent zones. If you want to sync one zone to the other, what you could try (and I'm not gurenteeing that this will work, as I haven't tried it) is to use a "Y" off the audio out of one card. Send one "Y" stereo pair to your zone amp, then send the second "Y" stereo pair to the line-in of the second sound card. Then mix the line-in input to the output of the second card to its zone amplifier. This should at least allow you to play multiple zones in near perfect sync. This sort of setup just isn't versitile in any other sort of way though.

Below is an example of the interconnects required between the two soundcards.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby bubba on Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:11 pm

Thanks for your help, Marbles_00.

The guide I am referring to is on Sharp_1's site...http://xlobbystuff.googlepages.com/multizonesetup.txt
It does say to use multiple instances of Winamp. I have tried this, but only one zone ever shows up (I'm using default skin for now). So, more questions...

1) Should I do a full install of winamp to both zone folders, or do I do 1 full install and just copy that folder to another zone folder?

2) The only plugin listed in winamp is the output_ds.dll. Do you need to go to winamp site to download the ones you mentioned?

3) As I said, after following that guide, only one zone ever shows up on the zone overlay. And depending on which sound card is listed as default in Windows Control Panel is the card that that zone uses. So both cards work, just not both at the same time. Any other thoughts on that?

Thanks again.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby Marbles_00 on Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:31 pm

1) Should I do a full install of winamp to both zone folders, or do I do 1 full install and just copy that folder to another zone folder?

Just do one install then copy and paste the Winamp folder (renaming the new folder of course). As I stated before, you have to go into each Winamp individually and select to use Multiple Winamp Instances...its somewhere in the Prefrences...just don't remember where exactly the setting is...its a little check box. Then you have to go to each output plugin and assign the direct show plugin, which is the output_ds.dll (ds = direct show ;) ), to each soundcard. When you go into the plugins configuration properties, you should see a drop down list...view my posts on ZoneSkin4 and the latest ZS5 as I have screenshots of what the configuration screen looks like.

Do you need to go to winamp site to download the ones you mentioned?

Yeah, most likely for the wave out plugin you may have to download it...sorry, been awhile since I mucked around with that...now I just copy and paste my winamp folder all over the place :) .

The guide I am referring to is on Sharp_1's site...http://xlobbystuff.googlepages.com/multizonesetup.txt
It does say to use multiple instances of Winamp. I have tried this, but only one zone ever shows up (I'm using default skin for now).

In order for more zones to show, you have to do two things. In Xlobby setup (F2), under the "General" tab, you have to define all your winamp instances. Then to get it all to work you have to go to the "XNET" tab and start your xlobby computer as a server. Then restart xlobby. Then each instance will be treated as a zone (in Xlobby terms) or a source (in the world of Marbles).

*EDIT*
Ah, I now recall that guide...maybe I don't have an issue as I'm using an older version of winamp, a version before they put that limitation in place.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby bubba on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:07 pm

Hi Marbles_00,

I've actually already tried all that you said: XNet is started, multiple instances of winamp all set to allow multiple instances and with each plugin set to its own card. Another question: When you start XLobby, should it automatically start two instances of winamp, or does the second (or more) instance only start when you click an additional zone button?

When I get a chance, I'm going to try a few other things, including first trying an older version of winamp. Then I'll see if I can round up a different audio card and mix and match to see if it makes a difference. One other question, and I probably got this wrong, but are you saying that in setting up zones in this manner, you cannot sync zones? That each zone must have its own input? Shouldn't I be able to play either the same song from both zones or two different songs in each zone (from my music folder of ripped songs)?

I'm going to start looking for an Audigy 2 Value and follow your lead (don't reinvent the wheel, right?). Sorry, that brings up another question: The kX website says that the SB0400 is only partially supported. Just out of curiosity, why did you pick that card?

My ultimate goal is to set up a whole house audio system with multiple zones controlled by a wall mounted touchscreen, so I'm trying to understand as much as I can. Thanks again.

But until then, I'm just trying to understand as much as I can.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby Marbles_00 on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:24 pm

When you start XLobby, should it automatically start two instances of winamp, or does the second (or more) instance only start when you click an additional zone button?

Both instances should load during Xlobby startup.

including first trying an older version of winamp

What Winamp version are you currently using?

Then I'll see if I can round up a different audio card and mix and match to see if it makes a difference

This shouldn't matter to how Xlobby is seeing the instances of winamp. Xlobby should see the multiple winamps, and you should be able to control each one.

but are you saying that in setting up zones in this manner, you cannot sync zones? That each zone must have its own input? Shouldn't I be able to play either the same song from both zones or two different songs in each zone (from my music folder of ripped songs)?

You should be able to play back seperate streams from each card...as two independent zones. Most likely if you try and sync the two cards together...either via thru the Xlobby sync command, or by using the multi-output plugin, so the two cards share a winamp instance, you could get drifting in one zone...to the point that it will be an bad echo, then one zone will sputter as it attempts to sync to the other zone. I've never been successful at getting zones to sync via the xlobby command. I was mildly successful using the KX drivers and dedicating output 0/1 of each soundcard to a instance of winamp using the multi-output plugin...but still suffered a slight echo...and every once and a while a small stutter if the timing got too severe.

The kX website says that the SB0400 is only partially supported. Just out of curiosity, why did you pick that card?

Yeah, that was a lucky OOPPSSS on my behave. I picked it up off ebay for dirt cheap without looking at the compatibility list. The first set of drivers actually didn't recognize the card...then the KX team came out with updated driver (3538j I think), and the card was recognized. The non-supported stuff doesn't affect anything we're doing with the card.

My ultimate goal is to set up a whole house audio system with multiple zones controlled by a wall mounted touchscreen, so I'm trying to understand as much as I can.

Cool...ask away, we are all here to help each other out.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby bubba on Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:54 pm

Both instances of winamp do NOT start when I start XLobby. So that leads me to believe it is a winamp issue (duh). Right now, I'm using the most current version from their website (don't know the number, I'm not at my XLobby computer).

What you say about different cards trying to sync makes a lot of sense. It is more logical to use the same card for multiple zones if possible. If I use your setup with the SB0400, does that mean I get four zones, or three zones and a sync all zone.

I'm glad there is good support here on these forums, because I've already bought the touchscreen (can't beat e-bay...fairly new 15" ELO touchscreen for $100). So I had better be able to set this up or the wife may have me sleeping on the couch.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby scottw on Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:10 am

Sounds like you didn't setup the Winamp's in XLobby. Do and F2 in Xlobby, General tab, under Foobar/Winamp Zones add each one of the winamp instances (the winamp.exe)

Is that done???

When you launch Xlobby it should use this to automatically launch each copy of Winamp.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby bubba on Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:27 am

Thanks for your input, Scottw. I've read a lot of your posts and they've helped a lot. Both instances of winamp are setup in the general tab. Thanks for trying. I think I'm going to try from scratch with an older version of winamp. I will post here when I get a chance and let ya'll know how it went.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby scottw on Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:36 am

I am running version 5.31 if that helps. Also I have a folder called Multizone in the root of my Xlobby folder and inside I have 2 folders...Music_Player1 and Music_Player2 with the Winamp files (installs) in each.
You sound like you have a little more knowledge that the average XL beginner so forgive me if some of my instructions are really basic for you, I just don't want to miss the obvious.
Oh by the way welcome to the multizoning world!!!!! You may have to sleep on the couch a time or two although I am just past the eye rolling stage now :lol: I will guarantee you one thing though...your wife will think what your doing is totally stupid, but the time will come when she will brag to her friends about how cool it is 8)
At that time is where you say to yourself "I told you so", make sure you say this to YOURSELF otherwise you will be revisiting that couch situation!!!

One suggestion I do have is start out slow with learning how the multizoning works with just like 2 instances of Winamp and deal with syncing later. There are a couple of ways to get this to work. Marbles uses the Pervtalk (I think that's what its called) which was created by a member here and I think maybe the built in Xlobby sync command, I personally could never get it to work for me. I am using Virtual Audio Cable with a script written by Scalt (which I customized a little) who is also a member here. Whichever way you choose I as well will glad to help out. I love seeing people geek out there houses!!!!!
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Re: Zoning help

Postby Marbles_00 on Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:27 am

I think maybe the built in Xlobby sync command

Nope. I haven't used the built in Xlobby sync since the original ZoneSkin. I could never keep it in a reliable sync for more than a song. I dropped that in route of doing sync my own way...which as of ZS5 will be using a winamp instance with the on-board motherboard audio processor and routing its output back to the the line-in inputs of the Audigy cards. This way I can have any outputs on either card, or all outputs share the same music, which equates to absolute perfect sync to all zones. I just happen to route through a DIY switch matrix that allows for upto four external sources to be routed back to the Audigy cards line-in.

bubba,
Both instances of winamp do NOT start when I start XLobby

Does any instance startup? Yeah, what version of Winamp are you using? You've got to remember, the free version of Xlobby hasn't been updated in 2 years...so if the makers of Winamp have changed things....well it very well might not work. As I've said...no reason to use anything more than version 2.XX as Xlobby doesn't require anything better. Whatever you do, stay away from Winamp version 3. Oh and if you do end up using Winamp's multi-output plugin, then you will need to use at least version 5.

If I use your setup with the SB0400, does that mean I get four zones, or three zones and a sync all zone

All depends on how you setup your KX DSP. But take advantage of the card as much as possible. If your going to use ZS5 when it comes out...it is very flexible as you will have 5 different sources of music (4 winamp instances+1 external input) to 4 zones. On one card, any combination of zones can listen to any source.

Actually I'm just cleaning up a document I found on the KX website that will give you an additional external input by using the AUX input jack on the Audigy. So that is 6 different sources to 4 zones...now that's crazy flexible for dirt cheap.

So I had better be able to set this up or the wife may have me sleeping on the couch.

Yeah, just don't be working on it in the wee hours of the morning and switch the bedroom zones to music and wake everyone up...you'll find rather quickly just how comfortable the couch really is :shock: :lol:
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Re: Zoning help

Postby scottw on Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:43 am

Marbles_00 wrote:Nope. I haven't used the built in Xlobby sync since the original ZoneSkin. I could never keep it in a reliable sync for more than a song. I dropped that in route of doing sync my own way...which as of ZS5 will be using a winamp instance with the on-board motherboard audio processor and routing its output back to the the line-in inputs of the Audigy cards. This way I can have any outputs on either card, or all outputs share the same music, which equates to absolute perfect sync to all zones. I just happen to route through a DIY switch matrix that allows for upto four external sources to be routed back to the Audigy cards line-in.

Yeah I re-read your other post and misread it the first time..glad I am not the only one who could not get that to work :D :D

Marbles_00 wrote:Yeah, just don't be working on it in the wee hours of the morning and switch the bedroom zones to music and wake everyone up...you'll find rather quickly just how comfortable the couch really is :shock: :lol:


Done that....with the outside speakers :shock:
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Re: Zoning help

Postby bubba on Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:03 am

Scott, I read quite a bit about XLobby a few years back when I was setting up my HTPC. I wanted more of a TV/PVR solution, and XLobby didn't seem to fit the bill. So at the time I went with a really great program called GBPVR, you've probably heard of it. Really great program, but that project is finished, tweaked, and re-tweaked and there is nothing more to do. So I need a new project. My wife keeps complaining about the lack of music in the house, so, voila, new project. I think she just meant maybe updating our dated stereo system, while of course my first thought is whole house audio with four zones controlled with a wall mounted touchscreen. :)

Back on topic, what output plugins are you using and did you rename them as per the tutorial I referenced above?

Marbles_00, I look forward to seeing Zoneskin5. Maybe by the time you release it I'll be up and running and can try it out.
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Re: Zoning help

Postby scottw on Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:15 am

bubba wrote:Scott, I read quite a bit about XLobby a few years back when I was setting up my HTPC. I wanted more of a TV/PVR solution, and XLobby didn't seem to fit the bill. So at the time I went with a really great program called GBPVR, you've probably heard of it. Really great program, but that project is finished, tweaked, and re-tweaked and there is nothing more to do. So I need a new project. My wife keeps complaining about the lack of music in the house, so, voila, new project. I think she just meant maybe updating our dated stereo system, while of course my first thought is whole house audio with four zones controlled with a wall mounted touchscreen. :)

Back on topic, what output plugins are you using and did you rename them as per the tutorial I referenced above?

Marbles_00, I look forward to seeing Zoneskin5. Maybe by the time you release it I'll be up and running and can try it out.


I am using the DirectSound output (out_ds.dll)....renaming the out_ds.dll is old school :lol:
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