Music technology hits high note in home tech
So you want music throughout your house, but don’t know where to start?!
It is an exciting and often confusing time for music lovers. There are plenty of new technologies and cool ways to access your music and incorporate music into your home. Many popular hardware platforms are available such as Sonos and Denon Heos, which will enable you convenient access to widely known Internet-based music services, radio stations and your iTunes libraries. Huge headlines are happening all the time: Apple launches Apple Music, Pandora buys Rdio for $US75 million, Google buys Songza for $US35 million and so on—all examples that this is big business. What the heck does it all mean? What matters when it comes to designing a kick butt stereo system for your house? Well, the first step in designing a multi-room audio system is choosing which rooms you want music in and what is the right speaker style.
Let’s get started. Do you want sound in the kitchen? Speakers built into the ceiling are a great choice in the kitchen as wall space is usually at a premium. Alternatively, a compact countertop system can keep the costs of hardware and installation down. We don’t have to be consistent from room to room, either. We can choose the best style for each area. How about tunes in the dining room, patio and family room? Speaker styles can be built into walls and ceilings such as Definitive Technology’s “Disappearing In-Wall” (DI) series. Want invisible speakers? Opt for Stealth Acoustics’ “Linea Response” (LR ) series, which get mudded, taped, sanded and painted right into the freakin’ wall—talk about bragging rights! If you’d rather have higher performance floor-standing speakers, check out Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) 800 Series, which can add breathtaking sound and provide musical instrument-like presence both visually and acoustically…totally hardcore. With a high-performance speaker system like the B&W, you will want to use a high-quality amplifier like a Rotel or McIntosh connected to a Sonos Connect or a Denon Heos Link as a pre-amplifier.
These new technologies are designed to allow you to build your system zone by zone (ie. room by room). In the end, you have a complete multizone audio distribution system that can be controlled easily by your smartphones, tablets and laptops. The equipment can also be centralized in a neat and tidy basement rack installation if you prefer.
If you want to listen to HD Audio and higher bit rate USB audio formats, you will need to confirm that the system you are choosing is compatible…this is more for the audiophile than the lifestyle enthusiast. Some higher-end integration systems with require a custom installer, for example Crestron’s Sonnex Multiroom High Performance Audio Distribution System (24 source, 8-74 zone capability, 140 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms with 0.002 THD), which is a great choice in a larger custom home.
It is so much fun having your tunes in every room! You will need to have a high speed and reliable home network with a minimum 5 Mbps download speed with good WiFi coverage throughout for any of these types of systems to perform their best. As long as your network is solid, so will your music system be. Party on and remember, if you have any questions, please reach out!! Happy listening!!