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Has anyone done this with their scanner setup?

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whitesox4life

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I am getting ready to purchase BCT15X, BCD996XT, and PSR600 scanners within the next year (as funds allow). I want to be able to listen to all 3 radios on the other end of my mobile home when working in that part of the "house". I have been throwing around the idea of purchasing an 8 or 10 unit pro audio equipment rack and a 4 channel/4 zone rack mounted mixer. Each scanner would have its own channel (4th would be for computer/rack mount cd player). There would be 1 ceiling mounted speaker in each of the main living areas (bedrooms, kitchen, and living room) with a volume control in each. The "radio room" will be its own zone (audio always going) and the rest of house on another zone. The scanners would be mounted in the rack as well to keep everything together. Has anyone tried this? How did it/will this work? What size of amp will i need to run all of the speakers?
 

burner50

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Well.... it seems that you have most of it figured out, and the rest of the questions would be better suited in a home audio forum
 

gmclam

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I want to be able to listen to all 3 radios on the other end of my mobile home ... I have been throwing around the idea of purchasing ... a 4 channel/4 zone rack mounted mixer. Each scanner would have its own channel (4th would be for computer/rack mount cd player).
Why do you need a mixer? Each channel has one source/scanner. I don't see that anything would be 'mixed' in your setup.

There would be 1 ceiling mounted speaker in each of the main living areas ... with a volume control in each.
So are you putting an amplifier in each location with line level volume controls, or do you intend to put in "L pads" /etc to adjust the signal between the main amp and speakers?

The "radio room" will be its own zone and the rest of house on another zone. The scanners would be mounted in the rack as well to keep everything together. Has anyone tried this? How did it/will this work?
I have wired large homes, businesses and complexes for audio like this, but not with scanners as the audio source. One client wanted to play loud music in each room (about 14 rooms total) with 8 ohm stereo L pads in each room. It's a crazy way to go about things.......

What size of amp will i need to run all of the speakers?
The problem is not "size" of amplifier or wattage, the 'problem' is impedance. You can't just tie several low impedance speakers in parallel and drive them from single amplifiers. In theory you could install a few higher impedance speakers (like 45 ohms or higher) and drive them from an amp with a 4 (or 8) ohm output. But you'll end up wasting power in the L pads and largely taxing the amplifier(s).

All you probably need are some self-contained amplified speakers for each room. I mean unless you think you want dozens of watts of power in each location. I'd strongly suggest an amplifier for each speaker (which means a single 4 channel amp can run 4 speakers in one location) location. There are dozens of ways now to get the audio from the scanners to each of these amplifiers, but it would effectively be line level audio. I will note that you just can't run unbalance line level audio for a long distance without issues though.

Bottom line is that there are dozens of ways to do this, but it is not about getting the "largest" amplifier you can to drive everything. It's more about a means to distribute (and to some degree isolate) the audio from your central rack to each amplifier/speaker location.
 

whitesox4life

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the need for the amp is that the scanners wont typically be heard in the other areas. the main living areas (not my "radio room" will mainly be for music running through the 4th channel. However, when my fiance is not home, or the $#!@ is hitting the fan, i want to be able to "mix"/"blend" the 3 scanners throughout the house.


I am obviously NOT single. My fiance was never around any kind of radio equipment (except home and car stereos) until we started dating. She is slowly getting used to them and has already stated that they will not be played on speakers 24/7. Thats why I plan on possibly using a 2nd 996T or XT in FTO mode set to my closest 5 fire/ems units and keep that on 24/7 to aid my pager in alerting me to calls.
 

guitarbrian30

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another soultion?

could you add a amplified speaker to each room with a volume control on it? we have them at church for monitiors. they work pretty well and are about $80 a piece.

Instead of doing all that wiring,

How about your get some wireless speakers? Then you can listen to where-ever you want. You do not have to run any cords. :) just plug your transmitter into your mixer board. then ta da!

I was thinking of doing the wireless speakers. Only cause I can be working outside in the garage and jammin to some 70's rock while hearing the guy down the street getting busted. Ok never happens I live in a small town. But, it may! I was even thinking of some wireless head phones.
 

gewecke

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the need for the amp is that the scanners wont typically be heard in the other areas. the main living areas (not my "radio room" will mainly be for music running through the 4th channel. However, when my fiance is not home, or the $#!@ is hitting the fan, i want to be able to "mix"/"blend" the 3 scanners throughout the house.


I am obviously NOT single. My fiance was never around any kind of radio equipment (except home and car stereos) until we started dating. She is slowly getting used to them and has already stated that they will not be played on speakers 24/7. Thats why I plan on possibly using a 2nd 996T or XT in FTO mode set to my closest 5 fire/ems units and keep that on 24/7 to aid my pager in alerting me to calls.
Maybe try explaining to her that this was your hobby before she met you,and it's part of who you are? :lol: Maybe the ceiling fan won't be so messy?
My lady doesn't seem to mind,in fact she listens as much as I do!
Good luck!
n9zas
 

jim202

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Probably the best thing here is to look at using a 70 volt type line. You put a transformer at each
speaker and adjust the tap on the 70 volt transformer to set the level you want. This type of audio
distribution is normally used where you have a number of speakers. you use a simple twisted
pair of wires to run between each of the speakers. The driving amp needs to have a 70 volt
output or you need to have a transformer there to change the normal low impedance output
to the 70 volt line system.

Cost wise you will have to look at what you looking to do. Can't tell you the best way to go
without looking at your source of local parts to get. In this case it is just the 70 volt audio
transformers. As far as the L pads are concerned, I don't think it's needed.

Jim




Why do you need a mixer? Each channel has one source/scanner. I don't see that anything would be 'mixed' in your setup.

So are you putting an amplifier in each location with line level volume controls, or do you intend to put in "L pads" /etc to adjust the signal between the main amp and speakers?

I have wired large homes, businesses and complexes for audio like this, but not with scanners as the audio source. One client wanted to play loud music in each room (about 14 rooms total) with 8 ohm stereo L pads in each room. It's a crazy way to go about things.......

The problem is not "size" of amplifier or wattage, the 'problem' is impedance. You can't just tie several low impedance speakers in parallel and drive them from single amplifiers. In theory you could install a few higher impedance speakers (like 45 ohms or higher) and drive them from an amp with a 4 (or 8) ohm output. But you'll end up wasting power in the L pads and largely taxing the amplifier(s).

All you probably need are some self-contained amplified speakers for each room. I mean unless you think you want dozens of watts of power in each location. I'd strongly suggest an amplifier for each speaker (which means a single 4 channel amp can run 4 speakers in one location) location. There are dozens of ways now to get the audio from the scanners to each of these amplifiers, but it would effectively be line level audio. I will note that you just can't run unbalance line level audio for a long distance without issues though.

Bottom line is that there are dozens of ways to do this, but it is not about getting the "largest" amplifier you can to drive everything. It's more about a means to distribute (and to some degree isolate) the audio from your central rack to each amplifier/speaker location.
 

gmclam

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Home scanner audio

the need for the amp is that the scanners wont typically be heard in the other areas.
You missed what I was trying to state/ask. I understand that you can't hear the scanners from their speakers. But there are two major different ways to do this install. One is to run the scanners' audio into an amplifier and then connect many speakers in parallel to the amp output (I don't suggest doing it this way).

The better method is to run "line level" signals around to each room. Each room would have amplified speakers. This provides a better means to control the volume in each location, and you can add as many amplified speakers as desired (within reason).

the main living areas (not my "radio room" will mainly be for music running through the 4th channel. However, when my fiance is not home, or the $#!@ is hitting the fan, i want to be able to "mix"/"blend" the 3 scanners throughout the house.
Because you mention 4 channels, my mind says you mean 3 channels of scanners and one channel of music. However, when you mention music, my mind wonders what happened to the STEREO? That takes two channels.

It sounds like what you want to do is mix the 3 mono scanner sources and a single stereo music source into a two channel feed for each room. Each room would have two speakers (left and right channels). Then you could put scanner 1 and 2 in the left channel and scanner 3 in the right channel, if you chose to do so. The speakers in each room could be something as simple as what many people run on their PCs, or they could be very high quality elaborate speakers with high fidelity amps.

This latter method is what I would do, but there has to be a little more consideration when it comes to running the line level output from the mixer to each room. If the distances are short, it could work. But there are issues in running unbalanced line level audio a longer distance. I'd probably use an audio distribution amplifier (like what is used in radio and TV stations) in the rack and feed isolated balanced signals to each room. Then at the rooms you'd need a transformer or equivalent to convert back to unbalanced (some amps may accept a balanced signal).
 

ramal121

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A little food for thought floating around here. I have done a few in house PA systems and I would have to give the nod to jim202. A 70 volt distributed system is the most cost effective way to go. Trying to impedance balance multiple speakers to a 4/8/16 ohm output is a pain and expansion will require reconfiguration. With a 70 volt system, you just run wires (daisy chain or home run) and hang the speakers. The only rule of thumb is to add up all the wattage taps at the speakers and make sure it is less than the maximum wattage the PA amp can handle. For example, in an average room, a 1 watt tap provides plenty of volume. If you want to do 10 rooms, you need at least a 10 watt PA amp.
Amps (with mixers built in) could be perused here: http://www.parts-express.com/wizard...AT&srchCat=309&CFID=28255295&CFTOKEN=30112994

A self amplified distributed system (as gmclam mentioned) is pretty easy to run up, but I find when all is said and done, they drain the wallet just a little more. Here is what I have used in the past: What We Do At Valcom

The amp/mixer combo will give you master volume control for each channel, but if you want individual control for each speaker, you'll have to get an L-Pad for each one. Could be a seperate wall mount one or integral to the speaker.

The mixer(amp) input needs line level audio. If your radio provides this, you're golden. If you don't, then you will have to tap off the speaker. In that case you'll need to pay attention to the volume level. Overdriving the amp with too high a volume level will sound terrible. Also if there is DC bias on the speaker leads, you'll have couple to the amp through some capacitors. If at all possible, use line out and speaker as last resort.

I don't know what you had for a mixer, but have used these little jems in the past and have preformed well: Amazon.com: ART MacroMIX 4-Channel Personal Mixer: Electronics
 

gmclam

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A self amplified distributed system (as gmclam mentioned) is pretty easy to run up, but I find when all is said and done, they drain the wallet just a little more.
You get what you pay for.

The amp/mixer combo will give you master volume control for each channel, but if you want individual control for each speaker, you'll have to get an L-Pad for each one.
Or you use the volume control on the amplifier dedicated to each speaker (pair).

The mixer(amp) input needs line level audio. If your radio provides this, you're golden. If you don't, then you will have to tap off the speaker. In that case you'll need to pay attention to the volume level.
Getting audio from the scanner into the system is a pain unless the scanner has a line out. There are lots of people streaming scanners and using ext speaker or headphone connections without issues. This certainly makes having a mixer inline a plus, as it can be used to help get signal levels where they are desired. Certainly you can't overdrive or underdrive things anywhere if you want good quality.

Also if there is DC bias on the speaker leads, you'll have couple to the amp through some capacitors. If at all possible, use line out and speaker as last resort.
I think you are talking about the speaker output of the scanners. I've not seen a problem here. But then my choice has been to use audio isolation transformers between scanners any audio equipment, including PC sound cards.
 

kc2rgw

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Just another option to toss at you if you are a techie at all.

So you could have scanners -> mixer -> common audio out I do this here now.

Take that audio and convert it to a stream that can be reached with wi-fi

I use a Roku Sound Bridge that does wi-fi and can be pointed at a stream source, Windows Media Server etc. It has an audio out jack. Basically you would just need a set of powered computer speakers to plug in to it. You can take the whole thing into whatever room you want then. Or, use one of the Logitech or other 'internet radios' to do the same thing. Portable table top radio that does wi-fi to your home streaming server.

Aside from that, you just want to find a used stereo amplifier and speakers that will 'add up' to the right impedance for the load on the amp and some speaker level rated passive 'pots' to use as volume controls in each location. Find some old 100W a channel amp so you have plenty of juice over the speaker cable run and you should be all set. You'll want to watch the impedance match of how you connect your speaker loads though as mentioned before.

I use one of the Roland 10ch portable/battery powered mixers now. It's very handy, combining my PC, multiple receivers and ham equipment audio into a combined stream that feeds the powered speakers on my desktop. A rackmount would be neater vs having cables lying around, but they are hard to find in a good used deal and also quite a bit larger than this small Roland I have now.
 
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gmclam

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A note on the streaming; I have that set up here too, but I do not like the delay between "live" and what I hear. If everything is listening to the same stream output, that would work, but be slightly delayed.

If you just want a portable you can take with you to hear all of the scanners, I'd set up a low power signal on standard FM broadcast band. Similar to what many use in their autos to get audio from their MP3 players to their auto stereos. Then all you need to carry is an FM radio, which could be very small and fit in a shirt pocket.

Because I only need sound in two locations of my house and not every room, I opted for identical scanners in each room, connected to the same outdoor antenna. Works for me but I understand may not work for you.
 
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