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Author Topic: NEW: ZoneSwitch  (Read 57985 times)

Matt

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NEW: ZoneSwitch
« on: December 20, 2012, 11:02:54 am »

Description
ZoneSwitch is a feature that directs playback to zones based on configurable rules.  It was added to Media Center 18.0.88.

To use ZoneSwitch, you need to use zones.  More on zones here: http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/Zones

Instructions
To access ZoneSwitch, use Main Menu > Player > Zones > ZoneSwitch.  You can also find it on the right-click menu for a Playing Now item (zone) in the tree.

There are lots of uses for this ability, but a few examples include:
Send audio to one zone, and video to another zone (so you can have different DSP settings, etc. for each)
Send loopback playback to a specific zone with special settings
Bitstream 2 channel DSD and output 6 channel DSD as PCM

ZoneSwitch is a list of rules that say "if this rule is true, send playback to this zone."  Rules are evaluated in order until one is found that matches the file you're playing.

The original discussion that led to ZoneSwitch can be found here (a warning that the discussion wanders around a bit):
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=73543.0
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Matt

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2012, 11:03:02 am »

There are two basic types of ZoneSwitch rules.

Simple rule that always applies

For example, a rule always plays loopback in the zone called 'My Loopback Zone'.

This rule applies regardless of the current zone.  In other words, even if you're currently in a zone for a DLNA device, if loopback is played, it will go to 'My Loopback Zone'.

To make a rule like this, select no zones in the 'Stop playback in these zones' setting for the rule.


Set of rules that work together to direct playback to only one zone at a time

For example, play music in 'My Music Zone' and video in 'My Video Zone'.  

This creates a mutually exclusive link between the zones.

To do this, you set the 'Stop playback in these zones' setting for each rule to include all the other zones in the relationship.

So 'play music' says play in music and stop in video.  And 'play video' says play in video and stop in music.

The rule will not engage if the current zone is not one of the zones in the relationship.  This way, you can still direct music to a DLNA device (since the DLNA device zone is not in the link).  But if you are in the 'My Video Zone' and play music it will go to 'My Music Zone' as expected.
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vagskal

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2012, 12:11:46 pm »

Would it be possible to have ZoneSwitch rules disabled/overridden if files are explicitly Send To or dropped on a specific zone to cater for this use case:

Quote
When I start MC (after an upgrade, for instance) the DLNA zone [I regularly use for music playback] is not immediately available [in the designated tab] and I have to manually switch [zones in that tab] after a while to the DLNA zone player view to have music played to that zone by double clicking on files etc. I thought I could [with ZoneSwitcher] route all audio media to the DLNA zone and then manually select Send To if I once in a while wanted to sample an audio file on the Player.

I am aware that this use case is not what ZoneSwitch was developed for, but I thought I would ask again since I cannot see how such an amendment would be noticeably detrimental for the core use cases (but I could have misunderstood something).

I guess my issue could also be (better) solved by having a tab set to a player/zone when closed always revert to that player/zone once it is available.

Thanks.
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WinoOutWest

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2012, 01:31:57 pm »

Sweet Sweet Sweet!
Thank you for this.  I had vocalized this request a few times on the forum. I purchased the 18 upgrade when it came out (I always do) but haven't upgraded yet.  This feature will have me upgrading tonight!

Merry Christmas!
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mojave

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2012, 01:50:14 pm »

You may ask yourself, "Do I need ZoneSwitch?" Here are some reasons for using it:

  • You want kids movies to play in a zone that has the maximum internal volume capped at a certain level.
  • You want to compare convolution filters, bass management settings, etc. Create a particle of your file and send the original and particle to a different zone using criteria. Now switch between files and they will play with the different settings.
  • You want a certain genre to always play in the kitchen zone during dinner.
  • You want some albums to play gapless and others to have cross-fade
  • You want to use JRSS upmixing for one genre of music, but not for other genres
  • You want two channel and multi-channel music to have different DSP settings
  • You want a certain playlist to always play in a certain physical zone (i.e. deck, pool).
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WinoOutWest

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2012, 01:58:29 pm »

My use:

VideoZone: cheapie onboard digital output to external amp/processor
AudioZone: high(er) end 2 channel analog output to whole house music system that plays "something" around the clock

Been using it like this for a while but wife, kids and admittedly me too invariably forget to change zones before putting on a video- often messing up a playlist on the music side.  This will be a thing of the past with the ZoneSwitch.
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mojave

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2012, 04:51:44 pm »

I've used JRiver since V9 and have never used an expression. How would I condition a zone based on time? I want to see if I can limit the volume or use adaptive volume after a certain time. Do I select Custom and then enter [formatdate(now(),hour)]>=[20] if I want the zone to be used after 8 pm? I can't seem to get it to work.
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Matt

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2012, 05:01:04 pm »

I've used JRiver since V9 and have never used an expression. How would I condition a zone based on time? I want to see if I can limit the volume or use adaptive volume after a certain time. Do I select Custom and then enter [formatdate(now(),hour)]>=[20] if I want the zone to be used after 8 pm? I can't seem to get it to work.

You're a problem :P

The search engine is really set up to evaluate files.  However, it does seem like this should be possible.  I'll try to figure out the syntax tomorrow and post it.
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MrC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2012, 05:08:11 pm »

For 8pm quite time, set the search to:

   [=Compare(FormatDate(Now(), H), >=, 20)]=1

You could use a calculated [QuiteHour] field instead of the hardcoded value:

   [=Compare(FormatDate(Now(), H), >=, [QuiteHour])

and just change the field's value when you want (do this if you're going to use this rule more than once and don't want to update all copies).

This can be combined with additional search terms of course.

   [Media Type]=[Audio] [=Compare(FormatDate(Now(), H), >=, 20)]=1
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mojave

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 05:45:01 pm »

Thanks, MrC. I just tried it and it works great.

We had a blizzard last night and I spent two hours this morning snow blowing. I got a lot of cold snow to the forehead which must have triggered a little creativity today.
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MrC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2012, 01:51:59 pm »

Would it be possible to have ZoneSwitch rules disabled/overridden if files are explicitly Send To or dropped on a specific zone to cater for this use case:

+1 on this.  I have to disable ZoneSwitch to send to various DLNA devices; otherwise, music gets played in my Music zone instead of the DLNA device.
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JimH

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2012, 03:04:03 pm »

We should be able to change that.
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DoubtingThomas

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2012, 04:38:07 pm »

I can see a good use for this for me...

Bass management is a problem, some albums are just too bass heavy compared to others.  I could set up multiple zones, each with different bass equalization settings, and then create a field that an expression could use to choose the zone, with the proper bass settings I like for that album.  Most albums would use my default...

Is this the right way to accomplish this?

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MrC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2012, 04:44:46 pm »

Bass management is a problem, some albums are just too bass heavy compared to others.  I could set up multiple zones, each with different bass equalization settings, and then create a field that an expression could use to choose the zone, with the proper bass settings I like for that album.  Most albums would use my default...

Is this the right way to accomplish this?

Add a Zone field, consider it an override.  Use an expression that checks the value of the field in the ZoneSwitch rules.  Place the bass zone first, having the rule check for the field; if it exists, play on this zone.  Otherwise, don't and ZoneSwitch will skip to check the next possible zone.
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DoubtingThomas

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 05:09:21 pm »

NOT WORKING AT EXPECTED:  I set up another zone the same as my "Player" zone called "Guest".  I then modified the DSP equalizer settings for Guest.  I set ZoneSwitch rules to always use Guest when a certain track name is played.

When I play that track from my PlayingNow playlist, MC does switch to the Guest zone, with that one track in the playingNow playlist, and when that track finishes it does not go back to the original "Player" zone PlayingNow playlist.

Am I misunderstanding how ZoneSwitch works or am I doing something wrong?

And... If I have a track selected in my PlayingNow list, which should switch zones and I double click it to start playback, it does not switch zones.  However, if I click the PLAY button instead of double clicking, it does switch zones.

What I'm really looking for is a way to have MC switch to different DSP settings based on an expression.  Dynamically switching as tracks are played from a playlist.

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Matt

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2012, 09:03:03 am »

When I play that track from my PlayingNow playlist, MC does switch to the Guest zone, with that one track in the playingNow playlist, and when that track finishes it does not go back to the original "Player" zone PlayingNow playlist.

ZoneSwitch does not switch back automatically.

Also, if you double-click in Playing Now (which is a specific zone), it will always play in that zone.
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DoubtingThomas

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2012, 09:26:52 am »

Okay, so ZoneSwitch is working as designed....

So I am suggesting a feature where we can save one or more named eq curves and then have a way to apply them on a track by track basis.

That means when I play "Cowboy Junkies / Baby Please Don't Go" I could apply a eq curve with the low bass attenuated so my subs don't rattle the springs in my windows and the pictures on the wall.
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Matt

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2012, 09:36:54 am »

So I am suggesting a feature where we can save one or more named eq curves and then have a way to apply them on a track by track basis.

I understand the desire for this, and even talked about ways we might support this in our original discussion about ZoneSwitch:
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=73543.0

But I don't think the current ZoneSwitch system is good for per-file changes.  It's better for per-album, per-movie, etc. settings.

Someday we may add a way to save and load DSP settings for certain files (we've laid some of the groundwork in MC18), but it won't happen in MC18.
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adrianmak

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2013, 09:00:17 pm »

My PC equipped with a sound blaster ZS 2 and with an external usb dac.
I playback my audio files (wave, flac, ape) thru external usb dac which is connected to an external audio amplifier.

I playback podcast mp3 files and videos on sound blaster card which is connected to a 5.1 logitech sound speakers.


Zone switch is a great feature. After configured it I could play my files without user intervention to switch Zone each time.

I came across a problem on setting up multple rules in zone switch.

I would like to setup playing podcast and videos on sound blaster (zone)
I use genre to filter those podcast then I added another rule media type to filter video
but it shown only audio.

I guess the rules are in AND condition.

Could I specify rules in OR condition?
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MrC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2013, 09:42:14 pm »

([Genre]=[Podcast] or [Media Type]=[Video])
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InflatableMouse

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2013, 12:56:20 am »

I would really really REALLY  :o like the ability to copy a zone with all its settings to a new zone.

My livingroom Video zone is quite complex and uses both PEQ options, room correction, volume leveling and output format and whatnot. If I wanted a second zone for the kids watching Animation movies, with just one setting different, I need to manually configure that zone going back and forth between the two, opening/closing dialog boxes ... it is so much work its depressing.

Thanks for considering.
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Trumpetguy

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2013, 03:30:00 am »

I would really really REALLY  :o like the ability to copy a zone with all its settings to a new zone.

My livingroom Video zone is quite complex and uses both PEQ options, room correction, volume leveling and output format and whatnot. If I wanted a second zone for the kids watching Animation movies, with just one setting different, I need to manually configure that zone going back and forth between the two, opening/closing dialog boxes ... it is so much work its depressing.

Thanks for considering.

+1 and even +1 more.

The fact that a "copy zone" function is not there has made me think two and three times before starting a new zone. A zone evolves over time, and when setting up a zone something you do not do very often, the chance of missing out on one or several settings is significant. Would be appreciated.
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Fabricio

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2013, 08:12:54 am »

I remembered. I had asked something similar in 2011. Here

Thanks,

Fabrício, from Brazil.


EJR

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2013, 10:34:59 am »

might be handy to not just be able to copy a setting but also save and load it.
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mwillems

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2013, 03:05:48 pm »

I would also add a + 1 for being able to copy a zone's settings to another zone and/or to be able to save off a specific zones settings.  The current situation makes me reluctant to set up a new "experimental" zone because I have so much DSP that's necessary to even get any sound on my set up (biamping, room correction, etc.).  

I would even settle for being able to select and block copy PEQ settings as though they were text (in the same way that smart list rules can be reduced to a string of arguments and copied), as that would reduce my experimental new zone start up time to about 45 seconds instead of fifteen minutes.
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BradC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2013, 05:57:46 pm »

+1 for zone copy feature. It's so easy to make a small mistake in setting a new zone, and lose hours looking for the error
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packux

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2013, 09:23:46 am »

+1 On the copy zone function from me as well.
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joelha

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2013, 10:53:15 am »

If I'm placing this question in the wrong location, please let me know.

On the same music server, I'm wanting to play one DAC for all non-DSD files and another DAC for all DSD files.

So I need to change the output device based on that condition.

How would I go about creating that zone?

I'm a total newbie at creating/using the zone feature so the simpler the instruction the better.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Joel
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JimH

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2013, 10:57:27 am »

There are some instructions in the first post.

Experiment a little.  Create a new zone.  Change the audio setting in it.  Try playing.  Toggle back to the first zone (ctrl-t).  Play something there.
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joelha

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2013, 10:58:33 am »

Thanks JimH.

I'll give it a shot and see what happens.

Joel
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Matt

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #30 on: February 28, 2013, 11:02:31 am »

My advice is to start with zones and get them working well with manual switching.

Once you've got that under control, then think about automatic switching with ZoneSwitch.
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joelha

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2013, 12:26:56 pm »

Shockingly and amazingly, I think I've already figured out the process.

Again, MC is a remarkable player.

Thanks to JimH and Matt for your help.

Joel
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audunth

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2013, 10:14:42 am »

Any plans to include harware connected to conditions for Zone switching? Having MC switch to the Home Theater zone when I turn on my projector or receiver would be really cool :)
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glynor

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #33 on: March 01, 2013, 10:17:01 am »

Any plans to include harware connected to conditions for Zone switching? Having MC switch to the Home Theater zone when I turn on my projector or receiver would be really cool :)

That would be handy for laptops too.

Have it set up to use internal audio when you're travelling, etc, but if you plug in a nicer external DAC, have a separate zone auto-take-over.
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lasker98

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2013, 12:49:16 pm »

+1 for zone copy. Would be a very useful feature.
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audunth

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2013, 05:19:25 pm »

That would be handy for laptops too.

Have it set up to use internal audio when you're travelling, etc, but if you plug in a nicer external DAC, have a separate zone auto-take-over.

Actually, I don't think you need zone switch for that. If you plug in the DAC and choose it as sound device, when you unplug it, MC should just use internal without you doing anything. At least, that's the way it works on my computer. If I play something using the HT zone (which use the AMD HDMI audio device) when the equipment in the HT is turned off, it just plays using the default sound card. If I stop playback and turn on the HT reciever, it automatically switches to the HDMI again.
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audunth

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2013, 05:25:55 pm »

Of course, if you change other settings for the DAC, like output format, you would need Zone switch by hardware detected.
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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2013, 01:24:32 pm »

When my Win 7 HTPC was built I asked for an S/Pdif coax out to be added. Besides HDMI to my pre/pro, I want to be able to simultaneously send digital audio (coax) to my Meridian speakers (in the same room) or by simply switching an either/or switch in MC 18. Is this possible?
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mojave

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2013, 03:29:27 pm »

When my Win 7 HTPC was built I asked for an S/Pdif coax out to be added. Besides HDMI to my pre/pro, I want to be able to simultaneously send digital audio (coax) to my Meridian speakers (in the same room) or by simply switching an either/or switch in MC 18. Is this possible?
You can create two zones and link them so that simultaneous playback happens in each zone. Once the zones are linked you can right click the link and adjust the timing.
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mojave

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2013, 03:38:28 pm »

I have headphone outs on my Steinberg UR824. My kids have some headphones and want to use them. I use channels 11-18 for my room's audio, channels 1-2 for headphones 1, and channels 3-4 for headphones 2.

I currently use a Music and Movies zone. I've added a Headphone 1 & 2 zones. Zoneswitch automatically sends the content to Music or Movies.

I can't seem to figure out a manual way to send music or movies to the headphone zones. Send To doesn't work and neither does dragging the music to the zone. I can start in the zone, but then when I go to Audio or Video and make a selection it follows the Zoneswitch rules. Any suggestions?
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joelha

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2013, 03:37:54 pm »

Is there any reason why JRemote would not work properly on the same music server when that server is switching zones between two output devices (in this case DAC's)?

I realize this is not a JRemote forum, but I'm hoping someone might have some experience with JRemote and switching zones who could comment.

I tried doing the above myself and ran into problems. I will see, if necessary, if I can get an answer from the JRemote folks as well.

Thanks,

Joel
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JimH

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2013, 03:47:47 pm »

There is a JRemote thread on our Third Party board here.
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6233638

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2013, 09:42:39 pm »

So I just got started experimenting with Zones now to see if I could solve something that has been annoying me for a while: starting video playback and losing whatever music was currently playing.

It was easier than I expected to set that up (zone switch rules for media type is/is not video) and I am already seeing how powerful this could potentially be... but some of the things I want to do would involve creating a few extra zones.

How is there not a duplicate/copy zone function in here though!?


I can't seem to find a list of what settings are global, and which only apply to the current zone, but I've spent a lot of time tweaking my settings to get things working the way I want them to, and now creating a new zone seems to have thrown all of that away.

I might spend the time to set up a second zone just this once, as I really want to split up audio and video, but I doubt I would touch the zone feature again after that, until there's some way to at least have a duplicate to start from and make changes to, rather than having to set up everything from the beginning again.


EDIT: OK, first problem with this setup:
If I start playback of a video from the "Video" zone I created while music is playing through the "Audio" zone, I get a "Playback could not be started on the selected audio output" error.
The same thing happens if I have a video playing (e.g. the end credits of a film) and decide to resume playback of the music I was last listening to through the "Audio" zone.

If I start playback of a video anywhere else in MC18 - even the Zone Overview - it will stop audio playback correctly and then play the video, and vice-versa.
But starting playback directly from that zone's "Playing Now" list does not.
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6233638

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #43 on: April 06, 2013, 09:25:37 am »

Any ideas about what is going wrong in my setup?



It's only when I start playback from within one of the zones here, while audio is playing in the other.
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MrC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2013, 11:58:48 am »

You mean, you already have items in the zone's Playing Now, and try to start them from there?  What's in a Zone, Stays in a Zone.
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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #45 on: April 06, 2013, 12:13:13 pm »

You mean, you already have items in the zone's Playing Now, and try to start them from there?  What's in a Zone, Stays in a Zone.
I have an album queued up in the Audio Zone, and videos queued up in the Video Zone. (P.S. is there any way to stop MC from adding every single video in the view to a playlist when I double-click a file, without stopping it from adding the whole album if I double click an audio track?)

If the album is currently playing through the Audio Zone, if I click on the Video Zone and then start playing any of them (by double-clicking) MC tries to play the video, but doesn't stop playing the music, which means the device is in use and video playback stops with the "Playback could not be started on the selected audio output" error. (I use WASAPI Event Style with exclusive access)

Similarly, if I have a video playing in the Video Zone, click on the Audio Zone and then start to play a track I get the same error, because it's not stopping the video playback first.


If I start playback from anywhere else in MC18, switching works as expected. But this is no use to me, because it means I lose the "Playing Now" playlist, which is the whole reason for setting up these multiple zones.

The exception is if I use the Overview "zone", which keeps the "Playing Now" playlist visible and switches between zones correctly - but it displays all my DLNA devices too (which I don't want) and doesn't let you customize the view.
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MrC

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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #46 on: April 06, 2013, 12:16:10 pm »

ZoneSwitch isn't engaged for files already in the Now Playing list.
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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #47 on: April 06, 2013, 12:17:47 pm »

ZoneSwitch isn't engaged for files already in the Now Playing list.
Is there a setting for that? Without having it change zones automatically, there doesn't seem to be any point in using them.
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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #48 on: April 06, 2013, 12:25:28 pm »

Files you are adding using some standard method (double-click, Play, etc.) are added to the zone according to ZoneSwitch rules.

It doesn't make sense to yank files out from some zone's current Playing Now list, and move them to some other zone's Playing Now list.  How did the files get to the Playing Now list in the first place?   You either manually placed them there (so they should stay there), or ZoneSwitch rules placed them there (so they should stay there).
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Re: NEW: ZoneSwitch
« Reply #49 on: April 06, 2013, 12:43:43 pm »

Files you are adding using some standard method (double-click, Play, etc.) are added to the zone according to ZoneSwitch rules.

It doesn't make sense to yank files out from some zone's current Playing Now list, and move them to some other zone's Playing Now list.  How did the files get to the Playing Now list in the first place?   You either manually placed them there (so they should stay there), or ZoneSwitch rules placed them there (so they should stay there).
Oh, I'm not trying to move files between zones, I'm just trying to go from playing music, which I often leave on in the background, to starting video playback.

For example, I might have some long videos queued up in Video (presentations/talks, rather than films) and stop partway through.
Later on, I might have background music playing through the Audio Zone, and then want to go back to watching the presentations/talks from where I left off.

So I click on the Video Zone at the top (under "Playing Now") and double-click the last file that was playing to resume playback - but it won't play because the background music is still going.
ZoneSwitch only seems to work if I go to the "overview" zone (which I don't like) or was to start a new video from the Video section of the library.
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