One remote and room control for all

Not tinkering per se – but today I redid my setup with the aim to maximise the ease of use (for me and my family), with the least amount of boxes possible. The mail goal was to get everything connected and controllable with one remote, preferably with room correction for all inputs. I must say, I’m rather pleased with the outcome. :slight_smile:

I employ an all-digital setup, consisting of the following:

  • A pair of Meridian DSP5200 speakers (2 x SPDIF inputs)
  • A MiniDSP DDRC-22D Dirac Room Correction box
  • A Raspberry Pi / Hifiberry Digi+ running RoonBridge
  • A Chromecast for playing Spotify
  • A digital cable box
  • A DVD/BlueRay player
  • An Apple TV

In order to have one control to rule them all, I got myself a Logitech Harmony Companion set: a smart hub with a simple remote for daily duties and a Phone app for configuration and digging into the dirty details. With the Logitech, it’s easy to define custom actions for powering on/off the correct hardware, as well as choosing the right inputs, etc. for differente activities.

After a little, well eh… tinkering, I ended up with the following:

  • Raspberry Pi / Digi+ connected to MiniDSP by SPDIF coaxial
  • Chromecast connected to MiniDSP by SPDIF optical
  • Connected to TV by HDMI:
    • Cable box
    • DVD/BlueRay player
    • Apple TV
  • TV connected to MiniDSP by SPDIF optical > SPDIF coaxial > AES EBU conversion (a little weird, but it works – and it allows me to use all three inputs of the MiniDSP)
  • MiniDSP DDRC-22D connected to DSP5200 by SPDIF coaxial

The main menu on the Logitech now looks like this (all six activities are mapped to the simple Logitech remote as well):

One click, and this sweet little system chooses the correct inputs on the DSP5200’s, MiniDSP and TV for each activity, as well as powering on and off the equipment needed. The remote auto-adapts to the different scenarios. And the best of all: all sources are room corrected.

All this for €/$150 and a few cables. I’m quite impressed – and more importantly: so is my wife. :slight_smile:


Glad to hear good feedback about the Logitech. I was thinking about it for combining multiple remotes, but abandoned it in the end as lots of reviews said it was too complicated to setup. Seems maybe this isn’t the case? So it has Ethernet and IR signals? How do you get the things to power on/off for example? Is it just relocating functions on the remotes?

I’ve had a couple of Logitech remotes over the last 10-15 years. Always ended up ditching them. I’ll have to take a look at the latest gen you are using here.

Integration with Meridian system is similar to yours wrt input selections etc.

Setup of the current Harmony system is quite easy, actually. First you add the devices you want to use through the Phone app. Logitech offers a rather extensive device database – you can pre-query here:

In case one of your devices is not listed, you can usually pick a similar one – or choose to have the Logitech system ‘learn’ your device’s remote.

When all devices are present, you configure activities (Listen to music, Watch TV, etc.): choose the devices you want to use, pick the order in which they are powered on, which one is used for volume control, flipping channels, etc. and choose what inputs they should use. The power-down button powers everything down.

The remote is auto-adapted for the activity (ie. the volume buttons control the volume on the device you selected, while the other buttons control cable box, DVD-player or whatever) – dependant on the activity selected. In the Phone app, all individual device remotes are available as well (handy for finetuning or setup).

The hub is the heart and sends out & receives the IR commands. It supports IR, Bluetooth and Wifi (for the Phone/Tablet connections). It comes with a little IR extender that you can place inside a closed space, if needed.

@ncpl: for DSP speakers a DSP5000 profile is present. Works fine with my 5200’s (as well as 7200/8000’s, I’d guess). I too have used earlier Harmony remotes before and found them quite clumsy. The hub/simple remote/phone app combo works perfectly for me.

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Damn I wasn’t going to spend any more money on gadgetry this month (apart from the things I’ve already planned in my head ;)). But you might have sold me on this, hate having a cluster of remotes. FireTV Bluetooth control will be the clincher.

Appears to be supported. So sorry to have tempted you…

Can you set a room correction filter permanent for each output on the MiniDsp or do you have to set it manually each time?

You can store up to four different correction filters in the Minidsp. You can choose input and filter independently.

With the Logitech, you can define the desired input and the preferred filter per activity.

Ok that makes sense. And sorry to go a bit off topic.
I have just tried the Dirac trail and was very impressed. The idea of room correction for more than my main room hadn’t occurred to me, but I will have to consider. Looks like I will also be using more money this month than expected☺️

Have by the way been using harmony (650) for years and like it very much. But have only been using devices and not activities in the setup.

Just to be clear: I only use filters for my main room (though other than cable length issues, I can’t think of a reason why you couldn’t use filters for other rooms as well).

I usually only use one, but the other three are indispensable in the fine tuning process, as you can switch filters quite easily during listening. God is in the details… :wink:

You really should look in the manual and use activities.
The activity concept is what makes the harmony remotes superior to other remotes.
If you like it at the moment, you will really love it with well set activities.
Only using devices is like only using the reverse gear on your ferrari.

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That’s a coincidence - my Farrai only goes in reverse:)
I tried activities years ago on an older Harmony remote and had some trouble with it but maybe it’s time to try again.

Can’t wait to get Dirac or EQ working again (in Roon one day hopefully) but when I was using it the ability to change the profiles by remote would have been great. I wonder if the harmony can somehow control things in Apps on a Mac too - like Dirac profile selections in the Dirac processor for Mac, or even Roon functions over Ethernet like track skip or pause/play?

How do you find the remote not having a screen? It seems like it wouldn’t be obvious what does what, or do you kind of need to use the remote and iPhone together?

The Logitech deals with devices and IR (or BT if needed) – I can’t see it controlling apps that don’t already have IR/remote support themselves.

The ‘dumb’ remote is easy – I use it for primary tasks (selecting activities, volume control, flipping channels, navigating Apple TV or DVD menu’s, etc.). It mostly behaves like a classic remote. I find it sufficient (and quite excellent in ease of use) for day to day ‘consuming’ usage.

The phone app can be used as a full remote, as well as for setup and finetuning (if needed). It also offers all remote control functionality of the specific devices in use.

I can use my Harmony to control play/pause and skip in Roon. It controls Roon remote on a windows machine that also runs the Roon server. The Roon remote window have to be in focus for it to work. I use a mce reciever and the Harmony is acting like a mce remote.

The only trouble is that I also run an instance of JRiver Media Server and it seems to catch the remote info if its running.

Our all-digital setup looks like this:

A pair of Totem Arro speakers
A Mac Mini running Roon Server (with a 1TB fusion drive holding the library)
A Peachtree Nova150 integrated amp (with USB directly from the Mini)
(no digital cable box; all TV service from AppleTV apps including SlingTV)
An Apple TV
Samsung LED Television
MacBook Pro and iOS devices as Roon controllers

The one remote to (almost) rule them all?
An AppleTV remote with attached $29.99 SideClick for muting and to control the amp

All electronic components are behind the doors of a small wooden cabinet (so I may want to add a little IR extender to handle some of the remote signals). However, the Wife Acceptance Factor is fairly high so far.

I am trying to create a “Listen to Roon” activity to work with the Logitech Harmony like you did.
My Roon/RPI3/Digi+ combo will be connected to a DAC (the DAC is available as a device; I have Roon Core running in a MAC. The RPI3 is connected via ethernet).
When I try to add a device, neither Roon or Hifiberry shows up as a device.
Any tips/advice is welcome.

I am trying to create a “Listen to Roon” activity to work with the Logitech Harmony like you did.
My Roon/RPI3/Digi+ combo will be connected to a DAC (the DAC is available as a device; I have Roon Core running in a MAC. The RPI3 is connected via ethernet).
When I try to add a device for the Logitech Harmony, neither Roon or Hifiberry shows up as a device.
I am trying to be able to use the Harmony Remote Control to control pause/play/skip/Next/Back tracks in Roon.
Any tips/advice is welcome.

I’m also struggling to see how to add Roon a “device” in the harmony controls… could someone who’s able to control play/pause/forward etc please explain how they did it? Thanks…

As a point on the i, you can download the Harmony Alexa skill and operate everything by your language.