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Onkyo (or other) receiver remote control, anyone interested?

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Anyone here with an Onkyo (or any other) receiver that would be interested in controlling the power, volume and other things with Alfred?

 

I'm considering making a small workflow to control my receiver with Alfred since I usually use it to play music :)

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I have a Onkyo TX-SR806 that I inherited, and have barely checked out what it can do.  Looks like there is an RS-232 port for automation so presumably I'd need a cable to go in there & connect to USB on the Mac?  i'm sure I have one somewhere, deep in a box in the garage....

 

This looks helpful: http://www.xlobby.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=6020

 

I don't see my unit listed there but the SR805 is and the commands look pretty standard.  The linked spreadsheet with commands there is from 2007 but I think the SR806 is a more recent model....it looks like the protocols are basically unchanged from one to the next so I expect it would work.

 

So, yes, I'd be interested, and happy to work with you on testing if needed.

Edited by dfay

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Well... those onkyos have 2 options. The older ones just have the RS232 which you have to connect to your computer manually. Setting up that interface isn't that hard but it's a bit of work since accessing serial ports are os dependent and such.

The newer ones (which I was referring to) have a network interface which you can send commands to. Basically, the old ones have ISCP support and the newer ones have EISCP as well (ISCP over ethernet).

Truthfully... the protocol in the background doesn't make too much difference, even if it's a different brand the idea is the same. Might take different commands but should be pretty much the same :)

If you can get your receiver wired up and responding to basic commands I can fix the rest. Here's a test: http://robotskirts.com/2012/04/28/controlling-onkyo-integra-receivers-via-rs-232/

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Well I dug through the garage and found a female RS232-USB adapter but no male and no gender changer.  So I had to order a new cable.  I'll give it a try once that arrives.

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Ok...just in time for Christmas...I have the cable & drivers working and can echo commands to the driver and have the Onkyo respond appropriately.

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Just a little update, I've been working on it but I'm a little unhappy with the available libraries for Onkyo control so I'm probably making it more complicated than needed ;)

 

No worries though, I'm still working on it :)

Just swamped with work as well.

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Cool, thanks for the update.  What language are you working in?  I messed around a bit last week and came with an Applescript function to send a message and get the reply, using the Serial Port X scripting addition.  I figure if you are targeting / working with a device accessed via Ethernet I'll need to do some customization to make it work with the serial port in any case.

 

(9600, 8, n, 1 ... Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time. A long time....)

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I'm currently writing it in Python using Dean Jackson's workflow library with the Onkyo-EISCP library from Miracle2k (https://github.com/miracle2k/onkyo-eiscp). The commands between the serial version and the network version are luckily much the same, it's just a different socket and the network version requires some magic packet :)

Onkyo obviously didn't need any performance here... 9600 baud, wow :P

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Cool.  I'll try to get PySerial (or some other serial port library) working instead.  I didn't find an OS X version of PySerial but I didn't look that hard. 

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Well....it turns out PySerial has an issue where it sporadically causes loss of access to the keyboard, at least with my driver (see e.g. http://sourceforge.net/p/pyserial/bugs/103/ - it says it's closed there but there issue is very much alive with Yosemite). So I've bitten the bullet and gone back to AppleScript since Serial Port X has been stable for me. And I wrote a python script that did most of the work of converting Miracle2k's list of commands into a script of AppleScript properties. So after some delays I'm at a point where I can focus on the workflow itself rather than the serial port communication....it's going to be heavily customized for my setup (esp. since I'm now targeting the 16 buttons available on Alfred Remote) but the underlying parts should be easy to customize.

Anyway I need to do some more testing after some late-night hacking but I'll post a version fairly soon.

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That's definitely annoying... reading those reports though... I do think it might actually be the underlying driver that's responsible for the issue, but it's quite possibly being caused by PySerial.

Regardless, if Python is not the best option, other languages can do as well :)

It's actually not that difficult of a script to write, although the network version is slightly more difficult due to the auto detection of the receiver through broadcast messages. I've been making it far too complicated with an automated setup and everything... resulting in nothing really working right now. Argh... I really should try to do everything a bit more KISS

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I had a quick look at onkyo's site & it seems to start on midrange models around $500-600. That's for Ethernet or wifi based networking which is probably a bit less of a pain than the serial port....mine is a 2009 model that I inherited.

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Thanks!
 
You clearly know way more about audio equipment than me, so I'd like to run what I'm after by you and would appreciate your input.
 
I currently have an old set of Logitech 5.1 speakers (basically a 10-year-old version of the Z906 system) connected via a digital optical cable.
 
Turns out I don't like 5.1 (I live alone, so it keeps scaring the crap out of me when I hear noises behind me) and I don't like digital optical (it disables the system volume control).

I've been considering replacing the lot with a low-end, non-AV, non-digital Onkyo and a set of bookshelf speakers, but I haven't got a clue if I'm going to be any better off with that because I know nothing about audio equipment. Like, will I still need to use the receiver's remote to change the volume?
 
To avoid the X-Y problem trap, what I ideally want to achieve is the ability to easily connect both my iPhone and computer to the same speakers and have them both play at the same time (i.e. I can listen to a podcast from my phone, but still hear sound effects from the computer).
 
Would I need a mixer to do that? What's the best way to connect your iPhone to your audio equipment, anyway? I currently have one of those Bluetooth receivers plugged into the Logitech box, but it's a PITA.
 
I'd also like to avoid having to use a separate remote and use my computer/phone as much as possible instead (hence my interest in this thread).
 
It needn't be better in audio terms than the Logitech speakers I'm using. I have no detectable appreciation of audio quality beyond what I have. Anything better in audio terms is lost on me.

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Hmmm.....with an Onkyo without a network connection you'd be tied to the receiver's remote, definitely.  Unless....you get a $69 Apple TV, connect its outputs to the Onkyo, and send all your audio the Onkyo via Airplay.  (You need to have a TV to set it up, but once that's done, there's no need to power on the TV itself; the Apple TV will send its audio out to the Onkyo irrespective of whether the video signal is going anywhere).  Then just set the Onkyo volume once and forget it, and use your Mac and iPhone to control Airplay output levels.  You'd probably want Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba ($29) as well if you listen to audio on the Mac on sources other than iTunes.

 

Getting two inputs (the Mac and the iPhone) onto the same output is going to be trickier.  I use AirServer ($14.99, which lets me use the Mac as an Airplay receiver) and I was just able to successfully get my iPhone output to play via AirServer on the Mac while iTunes was also playing on the Mac, with both playing concurrently (Arcade Fire and Johnny Cash...interesting mix...).  And then used Airfoil to pipe the System Audio out to the Apple TV and on to the receiver, which would fit the scenario you're hoping for.  I haven't tested this at length but both AirServer and Airfoil have trial versions so you could check it out.

 

If you are willing to have your computer wired to your receiver, you could bypass the Apple TV, and use AirServer to mix iPhone output with computer output as in the second scenario.  Of course then you'd need to have the computer on all the time to relay from the phone to the receiver.

 

This all worked for me with a late 2014 Airport Extreme, 2011 iMac, 2013 Apple TV and iPhone 5S.  In my experience with that setup, Airplay is very reliable.

 

Alternatively you could get some cables and do it all analog with a little mixer like this: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/MX400 .

Edited by dfay

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What I personally do (and which will probably work for deanishe as well) is have a computer connected to the TV which has Airserver installed. Airserver is a full Airplay server for both video and audio (even lossless) so it works perfectly for iphones and even macbooks.

With that you can keep the current setup and speakers and only requires you to buy Airserver but beyond that it gives you all the needed options.

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I did try out Airserver, but it wouldn't work for me for some reason. It would have been a decent stop-gap. Thing is, I turn my computer off a lot, as it's an old Mac Pro and consumes a ridiculous amount of power, so routing the sound via the computer isn't a great option.

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If the computer's going to be off frequently, I'd recommend going analog.  You can set the whole thing up for under $75.

 

Here's what you'll need:

 

a mixer that takes RCA stereo inputs ($50): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=331962&gclid=CKTgn-yTtcQCFVFffgodryAAxw&Q=&is=REG&A=details

 

2 x cables to run from the 1/8" headphone outputs on the Mac and iPhone to RCA plugs ($7 each) : http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?N=11019924&InitialSearch=yes&sts=pi 

 

an RCA cable (prices vary by length and quality): http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/RCA-to-RCA-Cables/ci/4165/N/3992462209

 

each of the 1/8->RCA cables goes into the back of the mixer, and the mixer out goes on to your receiver via the RCA cable, while the 1/8" male connectors sit on your desk for use as needed.  Set both inputs on the mixer to the same lever, then stick it behind a bookcase and forget about it.  Plug one of the 1/8" connectors into the Mac and the other into the iPhone, & use the Mac and iPhone to get the levels right.  (Alternatively you could keep the iPhone and Mac at fixed volume levels and use the dials on the mixer to set the volume, if you want a real analog feel).

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@dfay: Sorry, I overlooked you huge post from earlier. I think I might need some form of Airplay-compatible hardware.

 

I have a few of those bluetooth -> RCA receivers, but you always have to hit a button on the top of the thing to re-/disconnect a device :(

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@wolph if you're still around....El Capitan killed the Applescript library I was working with (SerialPort X) and there seems to be no update.  How's that python version coming?

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I think wolph disappeared when he realised nobody liked him.

It's a massive shame really. He had an awful lot to offer, but unfortunately he talked down to everyone all the time, which got a good few people's backs up :(

This is probably a case of the pot calling the kettle black, as I certainly think I tend to do that, too.

I dunno. Perhaps he got the hump because he doesn't realise he's doing it.

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@wolph if you're still around....El Capitan killed the Applescript library I was working with (SerialPort X) and there seems to be no update.  How's that python version coming?

I'm still around. My apologies for not getting much up and running yet, my life has been a crazy rollercoaster ride the last year and a half... I hope/expect it to settle down a bit the coming months. Although I am about to become a father so not entirely sure about that either ;)

 

I think wolph disappeared when he realised nobody liked him.

It's a massive shame really. He had an awful lot to offer, but unfortunately he talked down to everyone all the time, which got a good few people's backs up :(

This is probably a case of the pot calling the kettle black, as I certainly think I tend to do that, too.

I dunno. Perhaps he got the hump because he doesn't realise he's doing it.

The only thing I didn't like was your condescending attitude. I realise that you have been a tremendous help for the Alfred community and I respect you for that but I if you're not open to discussing alternative solutions to common workflow problems... well, let's just say that limits my usefulness with your projects

About this script, I'll resume working on it and will report back with the progress in about 2 weeks.

Edited by wolph

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I'm still around. My apologies for not getting much up and running yet, my life has been a crazy rollercoaster ride the last year and a half... I hope/expect it to settle down a bit the coming months. Although I am about to become a father so not entirely sure about that either ;)

 

 

Good luck on fatherhood being a more relaxing time ;) 

 

Just a reminder to everyone - please keep the discussions focused on the workflows/features/relevant matters, rather than personality flaws or foibles, which we all have. We appreciate your help to the community and clever workflows, so let's keep this a positive place :)

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