Whole house audio has gone far beyond the intercom

strong>New systems accommodate musical choice, can control security cams and satellite TV

Whole-house audio can do it all, from background music through the entire home to managing security cameras on the exterior, according to Steve Hooper of Audio Video Design Consultants.

The Nashville firm, which does about 70% of its work in Williamson County, created the outdoor home theater in the recent Parade of Homes in Legends Ridge.

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Microsoft’s vision of the ‘digital lifestyle’

In a recent speech to the Internet Advertising Bureau, Bill Gates referred to the emergence of a ‘digital lifestyle’ and a ‘digital workstyle’. It’s these two ideas that have formed the basis for Life² (Life Squared), a private technology showcase that aims to demonstrate how Microsoft sees its technology being used in business and at home.
Based in an old converted school in Chelsea Harbour, the Life² exhibition is divided into three areas – ‘at work’, ‘at home’ and ‘on the move’. Each of these is a vision of how Microsoft sees its software and hardware working for its customers. And to emphasise the real-world benefits, Life² features a trio of scripted scenarios played out by actors. It’s less a simple, static showcase and more an odd, interactive ‘show and tell’.

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Starting tips multi room basics

Decide exactly which music sources (CD, AM/FM tuner, DAB, etc) you want to listen to and where you want to listen to them.

Unless you’re on a really tight budget go for a wired setup rather than wireless setup. It might be more messy and expensive in the short term but it will be more flexible and reliable.

If you live in a lease/rental property, don’t forget to ask the permission of your freeholder if you are planning to get in-wall or in-ceiling speakers installed.

If necessary get the speakers sprayed to match your decor so they are as discreet as possible.

Check that you are not likely to invalidate your buildings insurance if you install speakers in a party wall.

Visit demonstration rooms to get some idea of how the ceiling speakers may sound before installation. Be prepared for sound to vary according to where they are placed, construction of the wall, etc.

Work with custom installers to make sure that any keypads provided meet your requirements. After all there is no point having a state-of-the-art multiroom audio setup if you don’t know how to use it.

Multi room basics (2)

Choosing the type of speaker you want isn’t the only decision you’ll have to make when putting together an audio setup. Questions you should ask yourself are: “How many rooms do I want to listen to music in?” and, “How many sources do I want to control?” If you only want to listen to two sources in two rooms, then you will need only a very basic system. One system definitely worth considering is the QED MusiQ. One MusiQ controller covers two additional rooms to the one your hi-fi is in, and drives them independently via four channels of built-in power amplification. Not only can you listen to two sources in two different rooms at the same time, it’s also possible to adjust volumes independently. Control of your CD player and tuner is provided via basic, but easy to use, in-wall controls. The keypads also feature infrared control relay so you can, say, flick between digital radio stations on your Sky box.
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Multi room basics (1)

Planning to kit out your house with the latest that technology has to offer? Chances are that near the top of your shopping list will be the ability to listen to music throughout the house. In nearly all custom installations, multiroom audio plays a significant part, though the type of system you plump for will depend on your budget, the music sources and the amount of control you require.

For around EUR 500 you could have a basic wired or wireless two zone audio setup, while a budget of around EUR 5.000 will get you a multizone audio system in several rooms that will allow you to listen to different sources. Even better are systems costing around EUR 10.000, which boast interactive colour keypads so you can pause CDs and change between radio stations from a wall switch.

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In-wall loudspeaker of RBH Sound

rbh sound in wall loudspeakerRBH Sound introduced the SI-6000 in-wall loudspeaker capable of delivering high performance at a reasonable price. The SI-6000 uses the same aluminum cone technology as in other speakers from RBH, with 6.5" woofers and 1" silk dome tweeter.rbh sound in wall loudspeaker

The SI-6000 is able to reproduce high sound pressure levels and has a great frequency response, with handling capacity of max 300 watts. The cabinet is made of MDF – medium density fiberboard – and the speaker is not affected by wall constraints.

RBH’s offerings are exhaustive now with the addition of SI-6000, joining the tower, bookshelf and in-wall speakers made for a variety of room sizes.

Visit RBH Sound for more information.

2005 Multi-Room Audio/Video Award Winners

The 2005 Multi-Room Audio/Video Award (formerly the Distributed Audio Award) winners were announced last week in a ceremony at Electronic House Expo in Anaheim, California. The program, which is sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, had a record number of over 70 entries for the 2005 contest. Winners were recognized in 21 categories for their innovation, functionality and practicality.

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BeoMedia 1 – WinXP Media Center Edition

Bang & Olufsen has now released BeoMedia 1, offering access to digital music files, countless net radio stations, and your digital photo album including small video clips, and brings this to your Bang & Olufsen TV screen. Limited web browsing is also available.

Interactivity between computers and home entertainment systems is becoming increasingly complex, often with a confusing array of menu functions. Bang & Olufsen differs from other manufacturers by selecting the functionality most relevant to the user, and making it easy to use.

The built-in 160GB disk hosts your digital photos, video clips, digital music, for playback through your B&O (and non-B&O presumably) home entertainment system. You can also access pre-selected websites and Internet radio stations with your lazy azz planted firmly in the couch — all via your Beo4 remote. And BeoLink support means you can stream media to other B&O devices around the house via their proprietary protocol.

A good alternative can be found in a Sony VAIO XL1 Media Center with 200 disc DVD changer.

Philips WACS700 Wireless Multi-Room Music Center

philips WACS700 wireless multiroom audioPlay all your music wirelessly in up to 5 rooms with the WACS700 Wireless Music Center

Philips are revolutionizing the way we listen music at home with their first wireless music center, the WACS700 – finally you have freedom to hear all your favourite tracks anywhere, or everywhere, in the house – wire free!

The stylish main hub (WAC700) lets you rip your CDs into MP3s and store them on the 40GB hard disk memory – enough room for up to 750 CDs. You can then play them directly or stream the tracks to one of the wireless clients (WAS700) – one comes with the main system and you can add up to 4 more depending on how many rooms you want to listen to your music in.

The sophisticated sleek black design of this system will make you want to feature it in any room, it really exudes style – super-slim it will discreetly enhance any living environment without the annoyance of lots of cables.

And you don’t need to be a wi-fi expert – set up is easy with ‘universal plug and play’ which lets the main unit automatically pick up the clients through a wireless network (802.11g). Included in the system are features including ‘music follow me’ which lets you seamlessly take your favourite music from one room to another and ‘music broadcast’ lets you play the same song on all the wireless clients.

In addition to storing and streaming tracks, the main WAC700 unit also plays CDs directly and includes an FM radio so really gives you a complete audio solution. You can also plug the system into your PC to access all the tracks you already have stored there and can offer a way of backing up and updating your system via the internet.

Source: HiddenWires