Here is the scenario: It's Saturday morning and your simultaneously picking up the house, helping your daughter re-arrange her bedroom, checking email and everything else that happens on a weekend. Wouldn't it be nice to have some soft jazz playing in the whole house as you traverse rooms?
The old way of doing things was to have your house "wired" with traditional speaker wires. Add in a high powered amplifier and an impedance box (keeps the "load" the same for the amp so it doesn't know how many speakers there actually are) and you can switch the music on and off at will with a button push [for each room]. Oh, I forgot you have to have some music source like the radio, a CD player or whatever.
Now, enter in the iPod phenom. My music collection is generally on my computer's hard drive and accessed though iTunes. This lets me listen from my computer as well as move the songs to my iPod so I can listen on the go. Familiar, right? In my case, I ripped all of my 1000+ cds onto my hard drive and donated the cds to a charity of sort, so I have ~9000 songs on my hard drive. wow!
Now for the cool part... The boys at Apple designed a device a few years back called the "Airport Express". You can go see it at apple.com, but what this thing does is lets you "send" your music to the device from iTunes. Here's what I did...
Each room needs:
- Powered Speakers. Altec Lansing makes the most awesome speakers with a sub-woofer for ~$80
- Airport Express. These cost ~$100 from eBay
Your house needs:
- Wireless Network
- Computer with iTunes and your music
So I put one package (speakers/airport express) in my living room and configured it as "Living Room". I put a second package in the master bedroom and called it "Master".
Now from my computer, I start up iTunes and can pick "where" I want to "send" the music. Any or all of these packages can have the music sent to them. wow!
So now I get my coffee, start up some soft jazz and send it to all of the speakers in the house over the wireless network.
Some of the benefits to this setup are
- no high end amplifier required
- localized volume control in each room (on the powered speakers)
- everything can be just "left on" since the power draw is almost nil when your not listening to anything
- centralized music with distributed control
Let me know if you need some specifics about the setup as there are some gotcha's that are not obvious.
Have a great day...