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Audio Distribution Product Guide

Multi-source/multi-zone audio distribution allows homeowners to listen to different sources in numerous areas, or zones, throughout the home. Here is a roundup of some of the key manufacturers who have launched new multi-zone solutions.

Multi-source/multi-zone audio distribution allows homeowners to listen to different sources in numerous areas, or zones, throughout the home. Here is a roundup of some of the key manufacturers who have launched new multi-zone solutions.

Onkyo’s Integra Division has introduced its new Net-Tune Ethernet-ready audio components. The Net-Tune product family consists of four components-the NAC-2.3 LAN receiver, the NAS-2.3 server and two A/V receivers. The new products provide an easy way to get music from one place to another over a wired or wireless Ethernet local area network (LAN). With Net-Tune, up to 12 different Net-Tune Ready audio components (clients) can independently access a music library server and Internet radio over wired and wireless Ethernet LANs.

SpeakerCraft’s Eazy6 allows control of up to six audio sources from any of the six zones of the home, including CD players, radios, cassette decks or virtually any other audio source. Users can share common sources, or have a dedicated source in a room and still have access to common shared sources. The Eazy6 comes with a programmable remote. (Additional remotes are available.) The control of the audio sources, via infrared receiver, is available in every room. The flexibility of the Eazy6 allows for the simultaneous use of different sources in separate rooms, (i.e. CD on in one room, while radio plays in another).

Xantech’s new MRC88 System allows for the selection of any one of the eight stereo A/V source inputs in each of the eight zones and allows for the same source to be selected in multiple zones. Additionally, the MRC88 provides eight zone-specific stereo audio server inputs. When activated, this capability overrides source one audio inputs and maps server audio input one to zone one/source one, server audio input two to zone two/source one, etc. This allows each zone to have its own dedicated music server output simply by selecting source one. Control of the system is not limited to the MRC88 keypads; control is also accomplished via the MRC88 keypad’s built-in IR receiver and a hand-held remote, another IR generating device such as the Xantech SmartPad3 or “WaterPad” keypads, or via RS-232.

Niles Audio Corp. has introduced its first multi-source, multi-zone receiver with video switching capability. The new ZR-8630AV multi-zone A/V receiver offers full audio and video switching of up to six external A/V sources in addition to its two independent, internal AM/FM stereo tuners. The receiver, featuring an internal 12-channel audio amplifier, distributes video sources and amplified or line-Level audio signals to up to six zones and is designed to serve as the central component of a whole-home audio/video entertainment system. The ZR-8630AV can distribute up to eight sources, including two internal AM/FM tuners, to any one of six zones, each capable of sharing the same source. The ZR-8630AV multi-zone receiver enables system wide control over all zones and sources, as well as independent control of each zone. A user in one zone can listen to one source component while another user in another zone watches a different source.

Audio Design Associates Inc.’s new Suite 16, which began shipping in December of 2001, utilizes flexible architecture by way of the system’s main chassis, the AVP-16, which houses up to three card modules per chassis. Several cards are available permitting designers to engineer a system with sixteen components that are distributed to 16, 32, 48, 64, 80 and even 96 zones. Audio and all types of video (composite, S-Video, component and also RGBHV) can be routed throughout a home all by the way of a centralized Suite 16 System. Even digital audio can be routed using the same basic system sub-assemblies.

Russound has made a new addition to its A-BUS line. The A-H484 multi-source, multi-zone hub provides four independent sources to four zones with the flexibility to easily expand to four additional zones. The addition of a multi-source option to the line provides even more control and convenience. Used with the Russound A-KP2 Amplified Keypad and/or A-LRC1 remote control, A-H484 allows the user from any of four zones to independently select any of four sources. Each of the four zones can support two keypads or volume controls to easily create an affordable and simple to use eight room multi-source ystem.

Denon Electronics has launched its new DRA-395P AM/FM stereo receiver, featuring multi-room functionality. The Denon DRA-395P is a high two-channel receiver featuring 80 watts per channel via the unit’s discrete power amp section, able to power both A and B speaker systems simultaneously. Additionally, the DRA-395P showcases a multi-source function, allowing for playback of two different sources simultaneously within two or more areas, or “zones.” The unit’s unique design makes it possible for a CD or other audio source to be output in one area, while a DVD or video can be played back independently in another zone. Dedicated multi-room outputs provide separate volume controls, accessible via optional remote control unit, and can be sent to additional receivers or powered monitors for a full four zones of discrete operation. Separately available re-transmitters and receivers can also be used for independent control between zones.

Russound’s new 4-zone, 6-source A/V controller/preamplifier is the PR-4Zi. The PR-4Zi can distribute up to six audio/video sources to as many as four zones and is fully expandable from there. Source loop, variable and fixed line outputs are available for a variety of customizations options. One benefit to this is the PR-4Zi’s integration with A-BUS system components for sub-zone listening.

Bose’s new BUILT-INvisible Series II home theater systems are the company’s next generation systems designed to provide digital integration solutions for custom installers. Bose’s new repertoire includes system and component options that are more flexible and easier to install including a new home theater amplifier, with both Dolby 5.1 decoding and Bose Videostage 5 decoding and post-processing circuitry, that can be configured for different speaker applications as well as controlled by a universal programmable infrared remote. New system features allow control integration with video displays and source components from a wide range of manufacturers. A new video switcher enables multiple video sources to be connected and seamlessly selected.

The OnQ AV-L2 is a multi-room distribution amplifier allowing the distribution of any music sources users have connected to their stereo receiver (i.e. CD, analog tape, DVD, DMX, etc.). Up to 24 speakers total can be connected to the AV-L2. If desired, more speakers can be added to the system with the addition of an ELAN Z*660 or Z*300 power amplifier. Music level is independently controlled in each room by in-wall volume controls. Additionally, OnQ’s basic ZSeries system allows the listening of up to six sources independently in three different listening zones. The system is expandable to a maximum of six zones.