Author Topic: mustachian smart speaker  (Read 3316 times)

Case

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mustachian smart speaker
« on: November 26, 2017, 10:37:01 AM »
My wife and I enjoy listening to music quite a bit, but ever since my inherted B&W zeppelin died, we have been using an ipad, and it is not so great.

We are looking for a speaker with good cost/quality ratio, as well as overall advice.  We would like:
-smart-speaker capabilities (e.g. an Alexa device or similar)
-wifi compatibility is a must
-<$500
-sound must be able to fill a large room (maybe 20' x 35')
-good value is a must
-good sound quality is desired, but I am not well educated in this area
-simplicity is desired; it's easy to get a higher quality speaker and connect it to an alexa/google device, that is ok (as opposed to one-piece smart speaker), but not too much more complicated, and it's use should remain pretty effective/fluid (e.g. when I ask to speak via my voice, I'd prefer no loops to jump through)

So far I have been looking at the Sonos One, which is supposed to be a great speaker, very simple, etc... 

Any thoughts?  I figure probably more people than just I on this thread would be interested in this topic.

Fuerchtegott

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2017, 10:50:01 AM »
Hello,

i have for three years the following simple sound setup which is MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable):

JBL Control 1 https://goo.gl/tq4uif 164 USD (Pair)
Simple and powerfull, mostly used in studios and for sound mixing. Reliable and robust. These speakers are in the market for about 20 years (?) and sometimes thrown away.

Amplifier, super small  SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Black) https://goo.gl/VQwzpk (65 US)
Very simple but LOUD. Good sound quality.

There is a version for 130 USD with WIFI receivers, but i didn't buy it.

Logitech bluetooth input adapter https://goo.gl/GCBCDU (20 USD)
Small, cheap, good quality, durable.

In sum: 164+65+20 = 249 USD

So no wifi compatability but a good running system for the future and completly platformfree from any special apps or any dependencies.




« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 01:25:37 PM by Fuerchtegott »

Case

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 06:24:54 PM »
Hello,

i have for three years the following simple sound setup which is MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable):

JBL Control 1 https://goo.gl/tq4uif 164 USD (Pair)
Simple and powerfull, mostly used in studios and for sound mixing. Reliable and robust. These speakers are in the market for about 20 years (?) and sometimes thrown away.

Amplifier, super small  SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Black) https://goo.gl/VQwzpk (65 US)
Very simple but LOUD. Good sound quality.

There is a version for 130 USD with WIFI receivers, but i didn't buy it.

Logitech bluetooth input adapter https://goo.gl/GCBCDU (20 USD)
Small, cheap, good quality, durable.

In sum: 164+65+20 = 249 USD

So no wifi compatability but a good running system for the future and completly platformfree from any special apps or any dependencies.

Thanks for the detailed info.  This sounds interesting, but how easy is it to voice control?

kudy

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2017, 08:04:41 PM »
My wife and I enjoy listening to music quite a bit, but ever since my inherted B&W zeppelin died, we have been using an ipad, and it is not so great.

We are looking for a speaker with good cost/quality ratio, as well as overall advice.  We would like:
-smart-speaker capabilities (e.g. an Alexa device or similar)
-wifi compatibility is a must
-<$500
-sound must be able to fill a large room (maybe 20' x 35')
-good value is a must
-good sound quality is desired, but I am not well educated in this area
-simplicity is desired; it's easy to get a higher quality speaker and connect it to an alexa/google device, that is ok (as opposed to one-piece smart speaker), but not too much more complicated, and it's use should remain pretty effective/fluid (e.g. when I ask to speak via my voice, I'd prefer no loops to jump through)

So far I have been looking at the Sonos One, which is supposed to be a great speaker, very simple, etc... 

Any thoughts?  I figure probably more people than just I on this thread would be interested in this topic.

If you're willing to spend up to $500, maybe check out the Google Home Max.

Case

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 01:41:39 PM »
My wife and I enjoy listening to music quite a bit, but ever since my inherted B&W zeppelin died, we have been using an ipad, and it is not so great.

We are looking for a speaker with good cost/quality ratio, as well as overall advice.  We would like:
-smart-speaker capabilities (e.g. an Alexa device or similar)
-wifi compatibility is a must
-<$500
-sound must be able to fill a large room (maybe 20' x 35')
-good value is a must
-good sound quality is desired, but I am not well educated in this area
-simplicity is desired; it's easy to get a higher quality speaker and connect it to an alexa/google device, that is ok (as opposed to one-piece smart speaker), but not too much more complicated, and it's use should remain pretty effective/fluid (e.g. when I ask to speak via my voice, I'd prefer no loops to jump through)

So far I have been looking at the Sonos One, which is supposed to be a great speaker, very simple, etc... 

Any thoughts?  I figure probably more people than just I on this thread would be interested in this topic.

If you're willing to spend up to $500, maybe check out the Google Home Max.

I've thought about it, but since it's not released yet it is a bit of an unknown at this point.

swashbucklinstache

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 08:19:24 PM »
EDIT: Well on a re-read of OP, this more or less completely fails the "simple" aspect. Leaving this here just because it is really fun to do this kind of thing anyway!

If you're into building things and technology, something like raspberry pi + microphone can easily handle the business (computer) end of Sonos for like $20, especially if it isn't multi-room. It'll also likely take 5 times as long to get up and running as just buying something if you've never done this before and you may need to do troubleshooting once it's operational. From there you just need a receiver, some speakers, and some cord.

I did it this way because I like that kind of thing and it isn't really that hard, and I wanted to have separate computer, speaker, receiver, amplifier pieces so I could swap them out and use them for other things e.g. a record player. I also have grand fun plans for other functions the Pi can serve at the same time as being the music computer (e.g. it could be the brains of a remotely-operated door lock, motion sensing camera, "smart" mirror). But then I also built my speakers from scratch and will eventually build a receiver, amplifier, and sub too so I'm not exactly normal! I'll likely add a second set and do synced multi-room when I find the time.

If occasional troubleshooting via googling and updating some simple code occasionally doesn't sound like a good time I'd look another direction. Same if it's something you need to "just work" for anyone who wants to use it for 5-10 years.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 08:20:57 PM by swashbucklinstache »

Hotstreak

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 09:37:26 PM »
Hello,

i have for three years the following simple sound setup which is MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable):

JBL Control 1 https://goo.gl/tq4uif 164 USD (Pair)
Simple and powerfull, mostly used in studios and for sound mixing. Reliable and robust. These speakers are in the market for about 20 years (?) and sometimes thrown away.

Amplifier, super small  SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Black) https://goo.gl/VQwzpk (65 US)
Very simple but LOUD. Good sound quality.

There is a version for 130 USD with WIFI receivers, but i didn't buy it.

Logitech bluetooth input adapter https://goo.gl/GCBCDU (20 USD)
Small, cheap, good quality, durable.

In sum: 164+65+20 = 249 USD

So no wifi compatability but a good running system for the future and completly platformfree from any special apps or any dependencies.

Thanks for the detailed info.  This sounds interesting, but how easy is it to voice control?


The idea behind a bluetooth adapter is that you can connect whatever device you want to it.  Your phone can be streaming music on your wifi, then beaming it to the speakers via bluetooth.  You would control it with voice commands to whatever music app you use.


I don't have anything near what Fuerchtegott is suggesting, but my setup works in a similar fashion.  I turn on my $80 soundbar set to bluetooth, and my phone automatically switches from it's own speakers, to the soundbar.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 09:39:04 PM by Hotstreak »

Fuerchtegott

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2017, 12:06:32 AM »
Hello,

i have for three years the following simple sound setup which is MAYA (most advanced yet acceptable):

JBL Control 1 https://goo.gl/tq4uif 164 USD (Pair)
Simple and powerfull, mostly used in studios and for sound mixing. Reliable and robust. These speakers are in the market for about 20 years (?) and sometimes thrown away.

Amplifier, super small  SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Black) https://goo.gl/VQwzpk (65 US)
Very simple but LOUD. Good sound quality.

There is a version for 130 USD with WIFI receivers, but i didn't buy it.

Logitech bluetooth input adapter https://goo.gl/GCBCDU (20 USD)
Small, cheap, good quality, durable.

In sum: 164+65+20 = 249 USD

So no wifi compatability but a good running system for the future and completly platformfree from any special apps or any dependencies.

Thanks for the detailed info.  This sounds interesting, but how easy is it to voice control?
Voice control via the sound source. Mostly streaming via a cheap Amazon Tablet. Since last update there is Alexa  installed.

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JLee

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2017, 12:27:38 AM »
It's not a smart device, but I have been happy with this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IPSDMYA/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Grogounet

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2017, 02:41:13 AM »
Same here, I bought two sets of speaker, Sony, very nice and a lot better quality than all the crap sounds BOOM BOOM (inc Sonos IMHO), for $30, amplifier for $fifty and logitech blue tooth adaptor for $40.
All controlled by the phone and nearly five times cheaper

boarder42

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2017, 03:17:01 AM »
Get an Anker Bluetooth speaker for 30 bucks and n Alexa or Google home. 60 bucks will fill your room

Papa bear

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 09:28:50 AM »
Check out parts express. They have some cool options for


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Case

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2017, 09:56:25 AM »
EDIT: Well on a re-read of OP, this more or less completely fails the "simple" aspect. Leaving this here just because it is really fun to do this kind of thing anyway!

If you're into building things and technology, something like raspberry pi + microphone can easily handle the business (computer) end of Sonos for like $20, especially if it isn't multi-room. It'll also likely take 5 times as long to get up and running as just buying something if you've never done this before and you may need to do troubleshooting once it's operational. From there you just need a receiver, some speakers, and some cord.

I did it this way because I like that kind of thing and it isn't really that hard, and I wanted to have separate computer, speaker, receiver, amplifier pieces so I could swap them out and use them for other things e.g. a record player. I also have grand fun plans for other functions the Pi can serve at the same time as being the music computer (e.g. it could be the brains of a remotely-operated door lock, motion sensing camera, "smart" mirror). But then I also built my speakers from scratch and will eventually build a receiver, amplifier, and sub too so I'm not exactly normal! I'll likely add a second set and do synced multi-room when I find the time.

If occasional troubleshooting via googling and updating some simple code occasionally doesn't sound like a good time I'd look another direction. Same if it's something you need to "just work" for anyone who wants to use it for 5-10 years.

I appreciate the thoughts, but yea, probably too complicated.  The DIY rabbit hole can be as deep as you want it to be (and I've never even heard of people building their own speakers!), but at this point in my life I have to pick and choose hobbies.  For the same reason, I abandoned home brewing.  (As a chemist, I love brewing, but homebrew is way too time consuming esp if you do all grain... this contrasted by the cheap price of good beer nowadays, makes it not worth it).  For this reason, I might consider it in retirement, but not now.

In addition, I'm a proponent of the general mustachian efficiency theory, which is to DIY it just enough to get maximum benefit versus effort expenditure.  Eventually you hit diminishing returns, which are only worth it if you are super interested.  I am interested in learning more, but at this time I only have so much free time.

I am probably going to try to learn a bit about speakers and head down the audiophile rabbit hole, but not balls deep, just the tip.  Therefore, I might consider getting some separate speakers connected to an amp, but where do I stop?  Do I get a subwoofer?  Do I look into sound dynamics to fully optimize the listening experience? 

In the end, I need to learn more to better quantify my objectives, but I can at least say the basic qualitative goals:
-good sound quality, but doesn't have to be perfect
-cost <$500 for now; upgradability might be nice
-wifi control is a must
-direct voice control is not a must, but I should at least be able to connect it to Alexa (or similar).
-for now, I'd like to set an upper limit to 1-2 months of research time.  Setting up the holy grail sound system can occur later in life (if ever)

Anyways, I've probably made this an overly complicated post at this point, but it anyone has gone down this rabbit hole before and can send tips or recommended reading/learning materials, I'll take a look.

In regards to writing code, and using Raspberry pi (which mostly just sounds delicious), I know very little about code.  It's a skill set I'd like to eventually develop, but probably a bit much for now (unless it's really not that hard to learn from scratch).

ElleFiji

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2017, 10:26:24 AM »
I am in a financial shit hole, and avoided chiming in for like a day, because this might be like one of those discussions where I want a $400 kitchen tool for reasons that are completely legitimate and good.

And a $500 speaker might be equivalent to the $2 hot chocolate I'm about to cave and buy in a few minutes.

But really...you're asking where to buy a $500 speaker...so that you can control it with your voice, or other smart functions? Am I missing something? I'm not a speaker person, but could there be a tried and true $50-100 speaker that can fill a living room with beautiful sound?

RWD

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2017, 10:44:12 AM »
I like the HSU speakers for best high fidelity value. But at $336/pair (shipped) they're probably just a bit too expensive for your budget. I don't know anything about "smart" features, I just play all my music directly from my computer.

Papa bear

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2017, 12:13:50 PM »
Sorry about that before.  Check out parts express for lots of components, parts, inexpensive speakers and bundle options, whole home wifi, amps, Bluetooth adapters etc.

They have a forum for DIY work and their technical support guys really do a good job helping you out. 

Make sure you find a coupon for them!

I'm on a fall down the rabbit hole myself right now.  Project creep...


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Case

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2017, 12:59:05 PM »
I am in a financial shit hole, and avoided chiming in for like a day, because this might be like one of those discussions where I want a $400 kitchen tool for reasons that are completely legitimate and good.

And a $500 speaker might be equivalent to the $2 hot chocolate I'm about to cave and buy in a few minutes.

But really...you're asking where to buy a $500 speaker...so that you can control it with your voice, or other smart functions? Am I missing something? I'm not a speaker person, but could there be a tried and true $50-100 speaker that can fill a living room with beautiful sound?

So it turns out that speakers are an expensive hobby, and what one person says is good, another says is shit.  I'm trying to learn right now.

RWD

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2017, 01:42:33 PM »
So it turns out that speakers are an expensive hobby, and what one person says is good, another says is shit.  I'm trying to learn right now.

Yep. Every [presumably] discernible improvement in auditory quality will require approximately twice as much money. I spent ~$3k on my living room speakers, a 5.1 setup for both movies and music. The brand also offers two better lines and each step up would have required doubling the price (i.e. $6k then $12k).

If I were starting from scratch to try and fill a 20x35 room I would probably spent at least $1k for a system that would meet my expectations.

sol

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2017, 01:51:07 PM »
With a proposed budget of under $500 you could just buy four Google Home devices, which would more than fill a big room unless you really want to rattle the neighbors windows.  That's by far the easiest solution, I think.  They synch up automatically to stream the same source together.  Just plug them in to four different outlets in different parts of the room.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2017, 02:55:13 PM »
Google home mini for voice control, chromecast audio plugged into the back of an AVR receiver, wired to two bookshelf speakers plus a subwoofer.

sol

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2017, 03:14:19 PM »
Google home mini for voice control, chromecast audio plugged into the back of an AVR receiver, wired to two bookshelf speakers plus a subwoofer.

My concern about this set up is that you have to leave the amp powered up ALL the time, in order to have it ready to go with voice commands only.

But it does only cost about $65, to add voice controlled internet streaming to an existing stereo system.  Plus she tells jokes, sets timers and  alarms, answers trivia questions, plays podcasts, and can give you a weather forecast.  My kids love it.

Papa bear

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2017, 03:31:03 PM »
You can get a small amp for about $20 that will run a set of bookshelf speakers with no problem at all.


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Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2017, 08:19:16 AM »

My concern about this set up is that you have to leave the amp powered up ALL the time, in order to have it ready to go with voice commands only.

But it does only cost about $65, to add voice controlled internet streaming to an existing stereo system.  Plus she tells jokes, sets timers and  alarms, answers trivia questions, plays podcasts, and can give you a weather forecast.  My kids love it.

I'm working on adding this to my home currently. My solution is going to be a smart outlet for the subwoofer and receiver, combined with an IFTTT command that toggles the speaker components on when I voice activate the Google home mini. But I'm using a SmartThings hub to automate other features in my house, and I wouldn't buy one if the only use case was for controlling my stereo system.

I guess to some degree it also matters where OP is playing music from, e.g. accessing files from a home server or playing CDs or vinyl vs. streaming from the internet.

I think the issue is that OP is looking to do too many things for $500. The simplest option (which you point out) is multiple Google Homes. If you want the best audio quality for $500, you need wired speakers with a subwoofer and an audio receiver. If you want voice control and internet streaming, you need an Alexa/Google Home/Raspberry Pi+roll your own smart speaker. If you just want WiFi control, you need a universal remote.

Case

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Re: mustachian smart speaker
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2017, 03:29:02 PM »

My concern about this set up is that you have to leave the amp powered up ALL the time, in order to have it ready to go with voice commands only.

But it does only cost about $65, to add voice controlled internet streaming to an existing stereo system.  Plus she tells jokes, sets timers and  alarms, answers trivia questions, plays podcasts, and can give you a weather forecast.  My kids love it.

I'm working on adding this to my home currently. My solution is going to be a smart outlet for the subwoofer and receiver, combined with an IFTTT command that toggles the speaker components on when I voice activate the Google home mini. But I'm using a SmartThings hub to automate other features in my house, and I wouldn't buy one if the only use case was for controlling my stereo system.

I guess to some degree it also matters where OP is playing music from, e.g. accessing files from a home server or playing CDs or vinyl vs. streaming from the internet.

I think the issue is that OP is looking to do too many things for $500. The simplest option (which you point out) is multiple Google Homes. If you want the best audio quality for $500, you need wired speakers with a subwoofer and an audio receiver. If you want voice control and internet streaming, you need an Alexa/Google Home/Raspberry Pi+roll your own smart speaker. If you just want WiFi control, you need a universal remote.

I think you are right; I probably should just get something simple for my upstairs where voice control and background music would be nice; then later I can consider slightly better speakers for downstairs, for listening/home theatre.