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Thread: Home Wireless Speaker System

  1. #1

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    Home Wireless Speaker System

    I've never used wireless speakers before. I plan to set up a new mutli-room wireless speaker system and would like some advice. I know this is complex, so I'm looking for high level recommendations and pointers to doing my own research, rather than a full scale plan.

    We have 6 rooms - I'd like to be able to have independent sound in each room.

    I have a old-school, decent quality hi-fi and wired speakers system already, I'd like to be able to incorporate that if possible.

    I'd also like to be able to pipe audio from my Roku Stick+ (or from the attached projector) to the speakers (or hi-fi).

    My budget is around GBP1000. If that's too low, I could set up, say 4 rooms, now and then add the others later when I have more cash.

    I currently use Google Play Music, which is shutting down, so I'd be open to switching to another music service like Spotify if that made things easier or better. We have a good internet connection and decent wifi everywhere. We use Android phones and have a few Amazon Fire tablets.

    I'm quite technical. I don't mind a complex set up, as long as it is then easy to use. I'm not an audio snob - my music is going to be mp3 quality, not FLAC or the like. I would like good sound quality, but top-tier stuff would be wasted on me.

    My initial research suggests I should look at the Audio Pro system. Any thought on that?
    https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/aud...ti-room-system

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Duckslayer's Avatar
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    6 rooms with independent sound?

    12 amazon echoes.

    F for every room

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckslayer View Post
    6 rooms with independent sound?

    12 amazon echoes.
    ... and with that in regards to a subscription service: Amazon Music, I guess.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckslayer View Post
    6 rooms with independent sound?

    12 amazon echoes.

    F for every room
    Really? Aren't home music systems a thing? I guess it shows how much I know.

    What if we wanted the same music in the living room and kitchen, for example?

  5. #5
    Cosmin's Avatar
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    Six FiiO BTR3 connected to six Microlab Solo 6. Connect to them with whatever you want to stream from, wire them via USB to anything else that doesn't have bluetooth (anything that doesn't have Bluetooth nowadays?).

    Probably ends up at exactly 1000 quid.
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  6. #6
    Mashie Saldana's Avatar
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    You can always go Sonos but it will blow your budget.

    Personally I have Google Home/Mini speakers dotted all over the house.
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  7. #7
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    The Audio Pro that you found looks pretty good and it has Spotify Connect. I would suggest switching to Spotify, which is generally well supported and won't be discontinued at random by the operating company.

    You could try to pick up a bunch of the discontinued Google audio chromecast dongles, which would let you connect whatever you want, but nobody knows for how long Google will keep up software support for them. The cheap Amazon Echos and Google Homes all sound terrible out of the box, but can connect to bluetooth speakers as well, which could create a broadly similar solution.

  8. #8
    Cosmin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeromeDoutrande View Post
    The Audio Pro that you found looks pretty good and it has Spotify Connect. I would suggest switching to Spotify, which is generally well supported and won't be discontinued at random by the operating company.

    You could try to pick up a bunch of the discontinued Google audio chromecast dongles, which would let you connect whatever you want, but nobody knows for how long Google will keep up software support for them. The cheap Amazon Echos and Google Homes all sound terrible out of the box, but can connect to bluetooth speakers as well, which could create a broadly similar solution.
    My OG Chromecast still works perfectly. I am unsure why you'd want all that crap that listens to you 24/7 and stores your in-home conversations on Amazon of Google servers. Come on...
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  9. #9
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    Voice control can be convenient and I don't buy into the "always listening" conspiracy theory.

  10. #10
    Cosmin's Avatar
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    Wish it was a conspiracy theory, unfortunately it is what it is - linkie.
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  11. #11
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    These samples were all gathered from after you said "Alexa" or "Hey Google" as the article states. Nothing to do with "always listening".

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeromeDoutrande View Post
    These samples were all gathered from after you said "Alexa" or "Hey Google" as the article states. Nothing to do with "always listening".
    Correction; the samples are gathered any time captured sound is close enough to the keyword. Assistants misfire all the time.

    Besides, they are experimenting with removing the keyword:
    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2020...voice-hotword/
    Last edited by Solana; November 7 2020 at 12:20:35 AM.

  13. #13
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    With Google Home I get about one false positive detection every three days. Amazon are experimenting with replacing the hotword with a different form of activation, probably generic face presence detection.

    Amazon and Google are not "always on" listening to what people say. a) people have been looking hard to find data flows for this and have not found them, b) Google and Amazon do not need the data gathered from conversations to do their jobs very well, c) it would cost a fair bit of money and d) the commercial risk for doing it is off the scale for Amazon and Google.

    Your smartphone is much more dangerous for your privacy than Alexa.

  14. #14
    Cosmin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeromeDoutrande View Post
    generic face presence detection.
    Jesus Christ, yeah that's much better.


    Sure, not always listening.

    The commercial risk has never stopped anybody - FB is always listening in on your phone, so is Google assistant crap and so on and people slap yes on all permissions random apps ask of.
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  15. #15
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    I do agree that phones are much more dangerous for your privacy than Alexa.

    The article you link referred to an action taken that was voice-activated as usual.

    Do you know what the commercial risks I am talking about are in these instances? If so, please tell me what you think they are.

  16. #16
    Cosmin's Avatar
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    The commercial risks are basically the same as with phones, and we all know how those are behaving. Please, explain to me what could possibly happen if they're gathering data with the current state of the sheeple in the world.
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  17. #17
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    It seems that you don't want to answer my question.

    The example that you linked would imply that Alexa executes commands without being activated, which is not what is generally happening to Alexa users. Please explain to me what do you think Amazon Alexa and Google Home do with the audio that they record illegally according to you.

  18. #18
    Cosmin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeromeDoutrande View Post
    It seems that you don't want to answer my question.

    The example that you linked would imply that Alexa executes commands without being activated, which is not what is generally happening to Alexa users. Please explain to me what do you think Amazon Alexa and Google Home do with the audio that they record illegally according to you.
    Ok, let me put it this way. Alexa/whatever-other-similar-device - what stops them from always listening? If they're busted the excuse is "lol, it happened due to #software, this doesn't generally happen".

    What they do with the data? I will tell you a story that gave me the fucking creeps. I was at work, discussing the death of a patient with a colleague. Nothing terrible, it's my job, we were trying to identify what else more we could have done for the chap.

    Couple hours later I take a break and go on my phone, I open stalkbook, I get served an add for funeral homes. I didn't connect the two since my phone was in my pocket, locked and supposedly should not have listened to a fucking private professional conversation.

    They can sell the data. They can use it to serve you more ads. They can use it to pop suggestions to you when you're browsing Amazon - the fact they read browser data is not even debated right now as I had searched for something in another tab and when I went back to the Amazon tab and searched for something else surprise surprise on the recommended list there was the exact product I searched for in the other tab. They can do whatever the fuck they want with it and there's nothing really to stop them from doing it once you put that thing in your home. Reminds me of a comic strip regarding how people were terrified they were wiretapped during the cold war and nowadays people are basically wiretapping their homes intentionally.

    Now of course ymmv and everybody is free to do whatever they want in their home but honestly I'm creeped out by the constant invasion of privacy that is excused by "lol we're just improving our product". No, the product is really the customer, has been for probably more than a decade now but recently things are getting out of hand and the laws are just barely managing to keep up. I'm p. sure Google and Amazon have an armada of lawyers who are hired to do just that - find out how to walk the grey line between legal and illegal.

    Yeah, voice control is fine n shit. I'm using Voice attack which is put in his own room with the door closed by Glasswire and Little Snitch depending on which OS I'm using. But having a device which is not really under my control that can be remotely accessed and which is haemorrhaging data about wtf is happening in my own home - fuck no. Hell, even the XBox One does the same shit (yeah I know it's a Sun article, doesn't mean Microsoft didn't actually admit to them listening in ffs), yet people still buy their products.

    I feel there's a social inertia into Brave New Worlding that can't really be stopped, but trying to explain that "it's illegal, they don't do it" is like this stopped corporations (or governments) from illegally collecting data. Hell, the global data collecting is still happening and people don't really seem to care.


    Yes, I know this sounds way too much like a conspiracy theory - but it's actually happening and the obliviousness is mind boggling
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  19. #19
    GeromeDoutrande's Avatar
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    I am talking only about whether Alexa or Google Home are always listening and sending recorded data to the respective company servers.

    There is no evidence that they are, and a lot of people have looked at this because of the specific purpose of the devices and because of how obviously it could be used in this way. There is not enough data being transferred to contain "all speech" even if it was hidden in the "legitimate" data transmission. There is also no secret mobile network chip embedded into Alexa devices. Third party developers can develop their own Alexa and Google Home implementations and have access to the respective APIs. The APIs indicate that the systems works in the way Amazon and Google describe it. Both Amazon and Google have committed to only transmitting data for hotword recognition. If they did it anyway and got caught in the EU, they would get hit with the maximum GDPR fine (4% of annual global turnover, for Amazon that would be $11 billion) as a starter and it is not unlikely that they would be broken up at least at EU level - Germans don't like being surveilled. Illegal activities that happened with the knowledge of management would also allow for e.g. securities fraud investigations (everything is securities fraud) in the USA. I see you are sceptic about this, but these risks are real and large companies such as Microsoft or Google have been investigated and fined heavily for various types of behaviours before, which provides some factual historical evidence.

    Amazon and Google do not need to listen to us to be very good at what they do. As you point out they already have (legal and officially declared) access to massive amounts of most people's personal data. They also have legal access to what they recording legally according to their privacy declarations (stuff post hotword detection). They do not need to take the big legal and reputational risks associated with being caught spying on their users.

    Concerning anecdotal evidence I would posit that most people simply forgot that a particular ad had been presented to them already previously or they forgot that they were browsing or searching for the information they were also discussing on the phone during the call (e.g. search for "lego pirate ship" on Amazon while talking to wife to find out price -> forget about search because people have internalised googling -> "oh my god I was just talking about lego pirate ship with my wife and now there is this amazon ad for it!!!").

    I agree with your overall concern regarding how much data big "Internet companies" are gathering, but Alexa and Google Home devices are not always listening and sending your words to Amazon or Google and are likely much less severe a source of concern than your phone or web browser.

  20. #20

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    +1 Gerome, I have them in pretty much every room and its fine. People forget they are already carrying something more capable in their pockets 24/7 anyway.

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