Old 19th May 2011, 16:38   #1
The Knobs
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Newbie question - maybe stupid

Hi, first post. I have googled the web and searched the forum but can't find any answer - of course it may be totally obvious and I am simply missing it.

Anyway, I am using Winamp on a "house server" to play music around the house, controlled by any PC on the network or wifi-equipped mobile/PDA via browseamp. In order to provide enough power to drive the speakers (currently two sets, will ultimately be going to four) I have an external amplifier fed from the server output port.

The amplifier is independently mains-powered, and I do not really want to either leave it on 24/7 for a couple of hours listening every day or so, or to have to go to where it is and turn it on when I do want to listen. Ideally I would like some method of determining when Winamp is playing a track, or when it starts and stops playing, that would perhaps call an external program that I could use to turn the amplifier power on via something like a parallel port.

All ideas gtatefully received.
Cheers
The Knobs
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Old 29th May 2011, 19:54   #2
MrSinatra
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if i understand correctly, you want the amp to turn on when winamp (or something) is actually playing.

i am pretty sure you could put something "in-line" which would detect the actual signal and trigger a relay / electrical switch. i don't know an exact product, but we have "sensing" stuff like this in the broadcast world. try calling the harris catalog people.

PENN STATE Radio or http://www.LION-Radio.org/
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BUG #1 = Winamp skips short tracks
Wish #1 = Multiple Column Sorting
Wish #2 = Add TCMP/Compilation editing
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Old 9th June 2011, 16:35   #3
The Knobs
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Hi Frank,
Yes, the preferred idea would be for Winamp to call an external program when it starts and stops playing, that I could use to switch the power on and off by means of a parallel port on the server - I wll be using the parallel port to switch lights on and off in the house to simulate occupance when we are away.

However signal to the power amp could be used - I had no idea that such a device existed so I will take a look at the catalog you suggested.

Many Thanks
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Old 9th June 2011, 19:46   #4
MrSinatra
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np. u can try the bsw catalog too.

PENN STATE Radio or http://www.LION-Radio.org/
--
BUG #1 = Winamp skips short tracks
Wish #1 = Multiple Column Sorting
Wish #2 = Add TCMP/Compilation editing
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Old 13th June 2011, 20:18   #5
MarkRH
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I know the sub-woofer on my Home Theater system which has its own built-in Amp has audio sensing circuitry that automatically turns the amp on/off in the presence or absence of incoming audio. Technically it does it via volume level as muting the volume or turning it down real low will cause it to shut-off after awhile.. kind of like going into sleep mode.

Anyway, you might have a look at something like http://brandon.fuller.name/archives/...laying/winamp/ which can send a "ping" (which is actually a HTTP POST request) to a webhost each time a song is played and it can also send a playlist via FTP. Anyway, if you had a local HTTP server with PHP support.. then the PHP script might be able to do something via the parallel port or least execute a separate program on the system.

There might be some other Winamp plug-in that can just execute another program directly on startup/shutdown but I haven't looked for anything like that.

The easiest thing might just be a physical device that senses audio input to turn an outlet on/off that the amp is plugged into.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 07:29   #6
The Knobs
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Hi Mark, thanks for the input. I looked at one or two of the "Now Playing" type plug-ins, but they tend not to send a definite indication when playing stops, so I think that the hardware solution based on presence of a signal looks like the easy way to go.

I have also realised that it has other advantages - I could allow for a feed in from a CD player, TV or mp3 player easily so as to increase the usability of the amp and speakers.
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Old 22nd June 2011, 19:50   #7
MarkRH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Knobs View Post
Hi Mark, thanks for the input. I looked at one or two of the "Now Playing" type plug-ins, but they tend not to send a definite indication when playing stops, so I think that the hardware solution based on presence of a signal looks like the easy way to go.
The plug-in I linked will send a Stop notification, which is indicated in the song list XML file that it can FTP to a webhost. That's how I know when to say the "Last Song Played" instead of "Now Playing" here: http://www.markheadrick.com/entertainment.shtml and in my signature image.

But anyway, for your needs, a physical approach is probably better. This plug-in is more for doing signatures and updating Twitter and Facebook.
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Old 1st July 2011, 07:59   #8
The Knobs
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Thanks, Mark, I guess I didn't read far enough down the link to find the bit about the stop, or I would probably have had a go at using it. I did a bit of googling on a hardware solution and came up with THIS product, which I managed to get for sub GBP10 on fleabay, so I will give that a go first.

On reflection I think the hardware solution is a little safer - in the event of a power fail/glitch or server hardware problem the amp will end up turned off, the main drawback is the standby power requirement of the unit, but at 50mA on 30 volts I guess I can afford it. The other issue is that it is designed for mono (single or double-ended) and I would want to make it work off either channel, as some of my music is ripped from vinyl and may only have one channel, so a little bit of electronic tailoring is needed.

Thanks again
Harry
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