Extreme geek alert...and long post...
Because I only belong to one forum, and there are a lot of smart folks here, I figured I'd post this idea and see if there's any response.
The problem: I have amassed a HUGE collection of digital music, and it lives on an external hard drive connected to my computer in the office. I also have an Onkyo dual zone receiver, capable of providing an audio signal to both the living room surround system and outdoor speakers in the backyard. I have no link from the computer to the receiver, and the floorplan does not lend itself to wiring a direct connection. But, I want to play music from my collection through the Onkyo unit.
Possible solutions (from easiest to most difficult):
Just run the wire, and let it be ugly.
An FM transmitter.
Use the existing wireless LAN and connect SWMBO's laptop to the receiver.
Off the shelf wireless streaming audio equipment.
A DIY streaming audio setup.
Solutions I've ruled out:
Wire - it's ugly, and I'm not putting holes in any walls or doing any "fishing."
Laptop - it's a piece of crap, the battery is shot, and there's no good place for it to live anyway when it's connected to the receiver.
Off the shelf stuff - expensive, no fun, please don't point me to links where I can buy this crap.
FM transmitter - not entirely ruled out yet. I have two of them for the car, neither of which broadcast a clean enough signal across the house. I even "upgraded" the antenna on one of them, and it doesn't cut it. I've been looking at the FM-10, FM-25, and FM-30 kits from Ramsey
. They're build-it-yourself kits that come complete with all the components. They seem like fun, and my neighbors would probably even benefit. The FCC actually allows for this sort of thing as long as it's under 1W, and you're not interfering with commercial broadcasts.
Why I want to build my own wireless streaming audio setup: I want to learn more about it, I think it'd be fun, it would work well, and it doesn't look all that expensive.
IF YOU WANT TO SKIP TO THE GOOD PART, JUST READ BELOW
So, here's my idea: I'll use XBee 2.4GHz
modules to send/receive. A VS1002 or VS1033
decoder will do most of the work on the receiver side. I'll stream audio from the computer to the transmitter most likely via USB.
The bigger problem:
I know next to nothing about streaming audio and homebuilt digital wireless devices. Anybody wanna lend a hand?