Whole Home Audio Rig

So a while back (let’s not talk about how long ago) I found the site of HazyMat

Multi-zone audio: a discussion of the options

He seemed to have found a great solution for doing some work on whole home audio.  This is something I have been trying to find a good solution for myself.

I decided to test this out myself using the XAP 800.  xap800_l

 

 

 

maxresdefaultI picked this thing up on ebay for $24 bucks.  So I did some testing and was able to do some audio routing via serial port which means I can use Openhab to control the audio matrix.  Not the same matrix.  But as I have shown before, the connectors might be a pain in the butt to try to wire everything up.

ClearOne XAP-800 Professional Audio Conferencing System Pic 4

Screw down terminals are great but not convenient if you have it mounted in a rack.  Which is what I wanted to do with mine.

So how do we make this better?  A patch panel!!!
19-inch_rackmount_Ethernet_switches_and_patch_panels

So I started looking around.  I could do a keystone jack patch panel.  But then doing rca keystone jacks were going to be way more expensive than I wanted to spend.  $24 bucks for the audio rig and Im looking at $100 bucks for the patch panel….. NOPE!

So here is what I decided to do.  Use a 2u blank rack plate.  Like this one.  72621Buddy 069of mine had one laying around.  So far $0.  I know what you are thinking.  “Hey genius you don’t have any holes…..”

 

I know.  I got it.  Relax.  I busted out the blue painters tape and made some markings for the holes.  IMG_0678

 

Now off to the drill press.  Few drillings later we have swiss cheese!!

IMG_0679Had a super cheap pack of RCA jacks show up.

81DOZmuhh9L._SL1500_
Initially I was planning on doing all my cable management through the middle, so I had red on top and black on the bottom.  But then because I had the top and IMG_0687bottom row offset from each other it didn’t make sense.  So I ended up swapping them around.  I then soldered speaker wire to the back of each jack.  It took a while, but it was worth it.  Wired up to the screw terminals I now had a nice pretty panel.

IMG_0937

 

So I wanted to get things labelled up.  But my label maker is junk.  The sticky tape just falls off.  So I could paint.  But then it looks messy.  So then it hit me.  Vinyl!!!

I was able to pick up a craft cutter for super cheap (<$35) and designed up some labels, ordered some white vinyl.

CUT!!!

IMG_0939A little transfer paper and a crooked eye and I now have some much nicer labels.

IMG_0943

 

Now it’s all mounted up in my rack nice and pretty.  I have my main computer in my office routed through the device as an input source, and then my main speakers as an output.  Then a media center raspberry pi routed as another input.  It’s now mixed with the audio from my main computer.  Both computers using the same speakers.