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#220774 - 27/01/2002 22:37 I'd buy half a 6-8 of these if....
Biscuitsjam
enthusiast

Registered: 22/01/2002
Posts: 355
I recently set up a whole house audio system for my fraternity house. I am also in the process of setting one up for my parents house, and possibly one or two others soon.

These stereo systems have consisted of a a traditional stereo system (Reciever, amplifier(s), CD changer, Tape player, Record Player, Radio, etc. with speakers in multiple rooms all connected to this central location.

Such a stereo system has an inherent drawback in that:
A) Every component has a different remote
B) Remotes are easy to lose
C) To use remotes in all the rooms, you have to wire IR repeaters.
D) You don't have access to your MP3 collection through it.

What I had done for these systems was hook the stereo up to a PC through RCA cables for outputting audio from the PC (note that a stereo grade sound card costs $100-200), an IR transmitter/receiver for controlling the stereo components ($100-150). I then gave myself remote control of the computer through TV's by hooking up an RF modulator for display ($100), and an X-10 mouseremote for control ($50). Note also that this setup works best with a dedicated PC ($350), and loaded with win2k ($200) and musicmatch jukebox (free). This comes out to a grand total of $900-1200.

The above is quite a powerful system. It lets you display everything on a TV screen and control everything from there. This is great for parties and such. At my fraternity house, it also gave us access via the 20 computers on the house network I set up, access to everybody's private collections (10,000+ songs). Unfortunately, it has several drawbacks:
1. Cost
2. VERY time-consuming to set up (20+ hours)
3. Unlikely that very many people besides myself could maintain it.
4. Crashes every few days, usually requiring a physical reboot.
5. Since it has a fully operational OS, people may try to do other things with it. For example in my fraternity house, some idiot messed up the system several times trying to figure out how to watch XXX videos over it.

The Rio Reciever, on the other hand, is a very powerful, inexpensive, plug-and-play system with, judging by the empeg, the MOST powerful interface out there. It is probably also more stable, and it gives the ability to play different music in different rooms of the house.

Unfortunately, there are two features lacking which prevent me from purchasing 6-8 of these. This comes from that fact that I want to control one (high-end) stereo.

1) I want to be able to hook one RIO Reciever into the stereo and have the other RIO Recievers remotely control that one. If this is not already included in the software, it should be a RELATIVELY minor feature to add.

2) I still want to be able to use CD-changer, tape player, radio, records, etc. This means that I need some way to be able to control the stereo through the RIO Reciever. This could be through direct hardware interface to an IR emitter, indirectly through a PC, or some other method (via ethernet?).

I suspect there are many others in a similar situation, that have already invested a great deal of $$ in a house stereo system and want to be able to use all their equipment. The RIO Reciever is incredibly close to being able to meet that need, but just needs these two features to do so. If it could, it would be a steal at 3x the cost.

-Biscuits

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#220775 - 28/01/2002 10:55 Re: I'd buy half a 6-8 of these if.... [Re: Biscuitsjam]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30533
Loc: Seattle, WA
Your description of the setup sounds like you're talking about something completely different than the Rio Reciever's intended purpose. For instance, you want to control a centralized stereo from the remote receivers. This isn't what the Rio Receiver was made for.

See, the Rio Receiver is the stereo. It's the thing that plays the music, through its own speaker outputs. Each receiver plays different music in its own room, from a centralized networked hard disk. Your system of complicated remote controls is completely the opposite of its intended function.

This rube-goldberg system of remote stereo control... Is its only purpose for music-playing? If so, I say throw it out completely and do nothing but a system of receivers. Either that, or keep it like it is, install the receivers as a separate thing, and watch the old system gather dust.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#220776 - 28/01/2002 11:17 Re: I'd buy half a 6-8 of these if.... [Re: tfabris]
Biscuitsjam
enthusiast

Registered: 22/01/2002
Posts: 355
Well, I don't see why the Rio Reciever cannot compliment the home stereo instead of replace it. I'd personally rather not see a year old 3-4 thousand dollar stereo "gather dust"

With those two features, the things would compliment each other, instead of be exclusionary. I'd probably use the Rio Reciever as it was intended in 1-2 rooms and run speakers directly off it.

The first feature would probably be relatively simple (of course, with software, one never knows). The second would probably take some third-party development, assuming one could make the Rio Reciever control a remote computer IR emitter. Unfortunately, I don't know any programming or else I might attempt it.

Regardless, the Rio Reciever looks like one great peice of hardware at a ridiculously low price

-Biscuits

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#220777 - 28/01/2002 12:25 Re: I'd buy half a 6-8 of these if.... [Re: Biscuitsjam]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30533
Loc: Seattle, WA
Well, I don't see why the Rio Reciever cannot compliment the home stereo instead of replace it. I'd personally rather not see a year old 3-4 thousand dollar stereo "gather dust"

Of course. You can plug a receiver into any stereo (it has line-level outputs), and it will sound great when played through it.

My point was that your complicated system of remotely-controlling a centralized multi-speaker stereo system can and should be completely replaced by a product like the receiver. You admitted yourself that the system was overly complex and difficult to maintain. Well, here's the answer, why not use it the way it was intended?

From your description, the Receiver is specifically meant to do the exact task that you're currently doing with the Rube Goldberg implementation, and it's meant to do it cleaner and simpler. No IR repeaters, no centralized control, no multi-speaker switching system. Just some little client boxes and some network cable.

You are the receiver's target market, you just don't know it yet.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#220778 - 28/01/2002 19:09 Been thinking it over [Re: tfabris]
Biscuitsjam
enthusiast

Registered: 22/01/2002
Posts: 355
I've decided to cannibalize the fraternity's system, sell the parts to my dad that he needs to finish his system from it ($200) and then buy a couple Rio Receivers for the fraternity house. If it works out, I'll probably order 2-3 more in the next month or two (If these things are nice and all my plans work out, I may eventually order 1-2 dozen)

Tigerdirect.com has some cheap at $100 (of course it takes 1-2 weeks + shipping). I may order one through them and one through somebody else that can deliver faster. Is sonicblue competent enough, or shall I order through somebody else? I want one of them this week so that I can hook it up for rush.

-Biscuits

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#220779 - 28/01/2002 20:08 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: Biscuitsjam]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30533
Loc: Seattle, WA


Rob, I don't suppose I get a fleece for that one?
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#220780 - 28/01/2002 22:36 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: tfabris]
Biscuitsjam
enthusiast

Registered: 22/01/2002
Posts: 355
Heh, I don't have a problem with it Does one have to order through sonicblue though for the referral system? I think i may just order 2-3 from tigerdirect.

-Biscuits

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#220781 - 28/01/2002 23:31 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: Biscuitsjam]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30533
Loc: Seattle, WA
I was just kidding, of course. The fleece offer was a limited-time thing for the car player, and I actually have enough Rio/Empeg swag to keep me more than happy.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#220782 - 29/01/2002 04:26 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: Biscuitsjam]
altman
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/05/1999
Posts: 3449
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
See the riocar.org photo gallery; Roger, me & Nick Caddick installed 64 receivers into the Ministry of Sound hotel in Ibiza... the nearest you get to a frat house in europe, at least in terms of level of mass inebriation

Hugo

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#220783 - 29/01/2002 10:28 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: tfabris]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5315
Loc: Cambridge UK
Tony, you don't have a fleece yet?? I know you've referred at least one car player customer in the last month or two.

Rob

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#220784 - 29/01/2002 10:51 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: rob]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30533
Loc: Seattle, WA
Heh, I never asked for a fleece because, like I said, I've gotten plenty of swag from you guys. I was just kidding about it (since I knew the fleece was to promote sales of the car player at its original price).
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#220785 - 31/01/2002 17:50 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: altman]
Biscuitsjam
enthusiast

Registered: 22/01/2002
Posts: 355
I've heard about these Ministry of Sound places. There is a small chance I may be going to Europe for a month or so over the summer to work. Might could check one out.

That installation looks pretty cool. I suspect something like this would be perfect for any kind of hotel; it would be relatively easy to set up, inexpensive, and one heck of a wow factor.

Anyway, I've gotten an initial budget of $240 for my fraternity house with little difficulty. Its not much, but it should be enough for a couple of these; a bigger budget would have taken weeks to get approved. If things work out as expected with this first batch, I'll get more. I'll post back once I get them.

-Biscuits

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#220786 - 17/03/2002 20:14 Re: Been thinking it over [Re: tfabris]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13469
Loc: Canada
It's very nice fleece, though.. (thanks, Rob!).

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