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Author Topic: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC  (Read 69204 times)

HA Dave

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Overview: Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC

I now have BXVC pretty much "whole-house", running three "baby monitor microphones". Though it took some time for me to figure out, it is amazingly simple. I can now trigger macros through AHP, as well as just turn lights or modules on and off from just about anywhere in my home.

The ONLY BXVC problem I had, with the entire setup, was getting my voice to BXVC from through-out the house. What I needed to learn to do this, I read here from other members at this very forum and is included in this post.


How-to:

  • I simply used three Safety 1st baby monitors, as microphones. (Many, if not most "over-the-air" monitors or intercoms should work.)

  • I used one receiver, "hot-wired" so as to by-pass the internal speaker . The speaker signal was converted to a stereo jack that would fit my computers audio card's "line-in". Images attached.

  • I used X10 appliance modules to turn microphones on and off, as only ONE microphone can be ON at any given time to have reliable voice recognition.

  • In the audio card's sound setting (ether through control panel, or a speaker icon in your systems tray) set the line-in to MUTE that will keep your microphone sound from being RE-broadcast through your computers speakers, which will cause feed-back.

Switching microphones:

  • I use some simple macros to switch between microphones (Bill himself came up with the idea). I call these "follow me commands" telling BXVC to "follow me to _____" instructs BXVC to trigger the proper macro. Turn one microphone on, and the others off. As a back-up I have a two-button remote.

Tips (and info worth repeating):

  • For multiple microphones use, the regular desktop microphone must be removed, and ONLY one microphone sound presented to the PC at any one time

  • A powered device such as an intercom, amplified microphone, even baby monitor receiver (which I used) MUST be connected, in the computers sound card, line-in input, NOT the microphone input. Only using the line in, and then setting it as MUTE in the computer sound settings will work. If MUTE isn’t checked, the sound (line-in input) will play back through the computers speakers, and you will get feedback. If the mic-in input is used, the auto-gain will make the system unstable.

  • If your computers sound card doesn’t have a line in, a new card, or a USB type line-in device must be installed.

  • What this input information also means is; no matter what setup is used, it is very unlikely that an intercom (or similar device) will have a male mini stereo jack (that fits the computer’s line-in) as an output. It will most likely have an internal mono speaker. Some alterations or modifications will need to be made. That will mean opening up the case of the device, and removing the wires that are soldered to the speaker, then soldering those wires to a (computer type) mini stereo jack.

  • Some tweaking will need to be done, with the receivers volume control, as well as your computer sound settings. There are no hard and fast rules. You will need to have the setting just loud enough so as you can normally speak to BXVC.

Requirements:

  • 1.) ActiveHome Pro (the AHP X10 interface, see X10.com)
  • 2.) BXVC  Bill has .50 available for download at the time of this writing.
  • 3.) A computer, connected to the AHP, with BXVC installed. BXVC will only work when the computer is ON.
  • 4.) SAPI 5 compatible speech engine (built into your Microsoft win 98 or newer operating system). Or a free download LINK can be found at BXVC.
  • 5.) Intercoms or baby monitors, and one appliance module for each intercom or baby monitor used.


edit: I just did a search for BVC and microphones and realized that BVC (because the name change was after the post) was never mentioned. This edit should help with future searches.

[TTA Edit: As per our PM conversation, SPLIT off from the main BXVC Daily 'Coffee Klatch' along with some minor re-formatting.][/list]
« Last Edit: September 24, 2009, 12:08:31 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2007, 06:20:53 PM »

I created some pictures of how I modified a monitor receiver (it would work the same on an intercom).

I also posted images of a sample "follow me command" that allows me to switch microphones using BXVC.

Images attached.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2009, 05:40:23 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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aahwhatever2

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2007, 01:38:16 AM »

OK...sorry if i sound stupid....

But what do you use "voice" for with your system?  Do use it too replace using a remote?  If so, how well does it work?

Thanks!
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2007, 05:45:16 PM »


But what do you use "voice" for with your system?  Do use it too replace using a remote?  If so, how well does it work?


This thread is a "break-off" from the BXVC (Bill's X10 Voice Commander) thread (click this link).

Bill (of BXVC) wrote a program that runs on a (windows) computer that is connected to and running the X10 AHP (Active Home Pro) interface. Using Microsoft's SAPI5 speech recognition (built in to XP or a free download from MS) I control my X10 modules, and receive verbal reports from my computer, based on timers and X10 sensors.

Yes....it works.... and it's awesome!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 10:48:48 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2007, 11:15:52 AM »

Woo-Who

Bill's Voice commander just gets better and BETTER!!!!

Check out BVC with IR
« Last Edit: October 28, 2007, 09:23:23 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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KDR

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2007, 01:44:41 PM »

Nice write up Dave_x10_L and the pictures are a very nice touch (very helpful). One of these days I will get my system close to what you have. The really nice thing is if I have any problems I know where to find you ;D

----------------KDR
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Knightrider

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2007, 10:38:20 PM »

Excuse me for asking, But wouldn't hardwired microphones work better?  Just route them into a cheap mixer with a gate/limiter.  I know the baby monitors are a wireless alternative, but i wouldn't mind patching some walls for a more reliable system.
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BXVC
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 11:53:09 PM »


Excuse me for asking, But wouldn't hardwired microphones work better? Just route them into a cheap mixer with a gate/limiter. I know the baby monitors are a wireless alternative, but i wouldn't mind patching some walls for a more reliable system.


Hardwired microphones with a mixer and a gate/limiter is the recommended (according to HAL) system. I have also read about special microphones that can filter out background noise.
 
It's all vast overkill..... IMHO. I am not trying to demean the pricier systems by any means. There may have been a time when that much technology was needed. But all that is currently needed.... all that CAN BE USED... is 8 bit mono. (How hard is that?) That is what is also called telephone quality.

I know of another user that was using radio shack intercoms (homeseer setup) and having great results. That gave me the idea for the baby monitors. Voice really does come through Crystal Clear. My system is at least as reliable as X10 itself (very nearly 100%). I run BVC 24/7 on a old P3. I built my system very much on-the-cheap... and it works.

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s0urc3f0ur

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2007, 08:12:17 PM »

Well I've been thinking about how to set up my  Westinghouse intercoms once they come.. I am planning to mod one of them for the line in from the speaker. But I am actually going to solder in a connector that I can just plug into the back of the intercom. After thinking about this mod.. I thought it may be possible to mod the mic input as well to accept the line out from my computer so that BVC talks though the intercom(otherwise I would have to leave my speakers on all the time). I am planning on putting a passive direct box between the line out and mic "in" of the intercom to pad the line level down a bit. Any thoughts or suggestions?
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2007, 08:46:05 PM »

.................. I am planning on putting a passive direct box between the line out and mic "in" of the intercom to pad the line level down a bit. Any thoughts or suggestions?

"a passive direct box".... I can't say I really know what that is.

The idea of sharing a wireless input/output device is intriguing! It is important that the input doesn't hear the output (of course). I had to "mute" the [microphone] line-in on my setup (to prevent feedback).

Freeing BVC from the PC [mic and speakers] was the most (ONLY) challenging part of the Voice Command setup... for me. I am not much of an audio guy... so low-tech was my only option. I will be following your progress, please keep us informed.
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s0urc3f0ur

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2007, 12:24:33 AM »

A Direct box is basically used to convert low level signal to line level signal but it can also do the reverse ..they are mainly used to connect guitar amps to mixers and are fairly inexpensive. Here is an example:

http://www.shop.com/+-a-guitar+passive+Direct+box-p61888156-k36-st.shtml
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s0urc3f0ur

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2007, 12:29:40 AM »


The idea of sharing a wireless input/output device is intriguing! It is important that the input doesn't hear the output (of course). I had to "mute" the [microphone] line-in on my setup (to prevent feedback).


I figure if I use the same mod thatYou have used and "bypass" the intercoms speaker. I should not have a problen so long as my pc speakers are off.
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2007, 08:26:45 PM »

I was in RadioShack today, and I saw what appears to be a GREAT intercom for BVC. (read below)

This easy-to-use intercom enables you to talk and be heard automatically with VOX-triggered transmission. In VOX mode, the system will transmit your voice without pressing any buttons. This system is expandable, so with the purchase of additional 900MHz stations, you can customize your own system and talk from any room in your home. No installation or wiring is necessary, simply plug it into a nearby AC outlet or insert 4 "AA" batteries (sold separately). You can even connect a radio, CD player, boombox or other audio device and listen to music from any room on the system.

This system APPEARS as it could be BOTH microphone and speakers With the proper modification of course.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2007, 08:39:13 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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Don N

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2007, 10:21:42 PM »

Dave --- that's the intercom I was using, in my setup, and telling you about last year. It works great.
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HA Dave

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Re: [USER IDEA] Setting Up Multiple Microphones (House-Wide) for BVC
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2007, 11:15:19 PM »

Dave --- that's the intercom I was using, in my setup, and telling you about last year. It works great.

Are you using it as speakers....as well as the microphone?
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