Whole home audio recommendations

Hey all so getting ready to start a big new project here. My home when built I had pre-wired for whole home audio (5 total audio zones). I am ready to start setting this up but need some advice. I would like the system to be able to stream audio and make announcements from HA. My first thought was to get a six zone audio amplifier and some chrome cast audios and then I could steam to each zone as needed. I purchased all the chromecast audios before they discontinued the line for a great price. This option is relatively cheap and straight forward but I have a problem with this. I have a bunch of google homes around the house and have the issue of restoring current audio to them if an announcement is made. I don’t want to have this issue with the audio system I put in place. So another option is the sonos route. I know they offer the ability to restore audio in the HA component but dang are they expensive (450 for the sonos port or 750 for the amp and i would need one of those for each zone). What is everyone’s thoughts on home audio and announcement broadcasting any advice would be awesome.

Stick with the ChromeCast Audios and use this to send announcements without interrupting the music.

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omg you are amazing I have been looking for something like this forever! If this works I will have to buy you a beer!

Google have killed it:

  • Tombstone

2015 - 2019

Chromecast Audio

Killed about 1 year ago, Chromecast Audio was a device that allowed users to stream audio from any device to any speaker with an audio input. It was over 3 years old.

:frowning:

While they will still work for you, it may be a pain to add more zones in future

Yes but the OP already has them, just like I have a bunch of them. They still work.

The fix for this is to use a normal Chromecast and pull the audio out of it using a HDMI splitter. I have one of these in one room of my house and it provides optical audio for my amplifier straight out of the Chromecast

Thanks I didn’t know you could do this. Usually HDMI splitters are inexpensive, but when I’ve tried them in the past they’ve only worked when an HDMI screen was connected, even if the screen is in standby.

I have only a single Chromecast Audio so am limited to a single zone currently, but may try the HDMI splitter thing, it may be a bit messy with the extra wiring but if it works I’ll be happy.

It’s a shame Google stopped making the Chromecast Audio out of the blue, it was a great little device, but it makes me wary of buying Google products in the future, I don’t think I’d get Stadia for example.

Don’t have that issue with Alexa,
Echo Amp would be an option, Yes ?

Sonos is expensive but I’m such a HUGE fan of just how well their system works compared to the options out there. My brother in law has a same setup when he built his house back in 2011. Because of the expense, he ended up buying an amp and Apple TV’s. Years later, we just redid everything with Alexa Echo inputs. It works but compared to my Sonos setup, it’s ok at best. Controlling rooms dynamically isn’t easy, Sonos has no problem grouping and ungrouping on the fly. He’s limited to music services, whereas I can use anything. And controlling volumes is a bit of a task. All in all, I think he regrets not spending the money. Years later my Sonos setup is still working better. Not to mention, features like audio ducking when you talk to Echo devices in the room or having a sound bar on a TV makes the experience better than the cheaper competition. Sonos’ music agnostic approach and variety of options is definitely the ultimate in whole home audio. That’s just my 2 sense.

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You should also take a look at snapcast in combination with mopidy. As I have multiple AV receivers, stereo amps already at home, I just connected an RPi to each amp and installed snapcast on them. I have a central server that has a mopify instance for each room I want to play music + one mopidy instance for TTS. I’m able to send TTS to the clients I want, they stop music and continue after the TTS. I’m also able to have synchronized audio in multiple rooms for the source I want (spotify, local music, etc.) Or each room playing a different source. Let me know if you want to know more about this setup. This option is conpletely local (except for any music service like spotify of course) and manufacturer independent. My next step is to add Mics to the Pis to have voice control.

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I just dislike Sonos for their latest move of buying Snips.ai and shutting it down for local use and I don’t want to support this kind of companies. What if they decide tomorrow to cut local control of Sonos and you can’t use it with HA anymore? For me the sonos route is too risky and expensive and also a lock-in to their products.

Every company has their personal agenda for sure. I agree. At least with Sonos they don’t own any music service so there’s where you have flexibility. They also have excellent resale value if you decide to ditch them and go with something else. All I’m saying is they have stood the test of time regarding product support, stability and feature set. I more worry about them getting bought out by google and that ruining the experience.

Hey all thank you so much for all the advice certainly a lot to consider. I think I might do some experimenting here and see what works best. I figure this, I will purchase a 6 zone amp at least this way I have that covered and then I can try my google audios since I already have them and if I end up not liking that I can switch to something else. I am interested in trying the sonos while they are expensive I know everyone who uses them seems to swear by them so if the googles don’t pan out I will grab one sonos port and see if it’s worth the money. I don’t think I will go the alexa route considering I am pretty committed to the google home systems at this point but it is an interesting option. Thank you all again!

witch chromecast once an announcement is made you can resume music spotify on them by just selecting them on spotify app, I am sure through node red you can automate the process. given you have spotify integration.

That is interesting actually if you have any more info or some example I might be able to take a look at there I would be very interested. One thing I don’t like about the assistant relay is that it is using the broadcast system to do announcements. This creates a few things I don’t like 1) It appends any broad cast audio with “Broadcast from…” which is just kind of annoying I wish it didn’t do that; 2) You can’t broadcast to specific zones or devices (there is a way around this setting up multiple google accounts and associations but its just kind of annoying for something that should be simple).

To get around the broadcast going to all devices you should be able to send a command to any device you dont want to broadcast to prior to the message which puts it in ‘do not disturb’ mode. After the message is broadcast you then send a command to turn off ‘do not disturb’.

His original issue was to stream and announce and not loose the stream. Echo’s do that no extra cables or devices needed.

Yes but he already owns the Chromecast audio’s, so why buy new hardware when there is a workable solution with the existing hardware? Can you announce on Echos and define specific locations to announce or not announce to on the fly?

Not really, he’s only go speakers, wires and some Chromecast. He still need a amp. I don’t know how much a six zone amp costs. Probably less than 5 x Echo Amps. But at least he can buy one try it and if it does not work as he wants it to he can always return it , Amazon are great with that. The Chromecast he can sell, probably get more than what he paid for them since there no longer available.
I don’t own an Echo Amp so i cant verify anything, and i cant assume it does what a standard Echo does.

Yes you can announce to one, or many.

So here is my set up in node red which rings the bell on my speakers once some one is at the door. There is no “broadcasting from” just a short knocking sound which indicates you switch source. Following that you can place a spotify service node witch will resume your music. (I haven’t implemented this) I just go to my phone and press play again on spotify.

Can you post what’s in the Cast node labeled Ring?

Cheers, RIchard