of the most popular home technology product lines these days is multi-room
audio. In the last few years the product offerings have exploded ... and with
good reason. Us old hippies love our music ... and now that the kids have
moved out we have a few extra bucks to spend. Do not underestimate the amount
of wire that it takes to install the system ... and also the mess that is
made if you are working in an existing home. But believe me it's worth every
bit of it once you have your favorite music playing all over the house.
Multi Room audio can come in many
forms and these days there are many options available.
A basic system would involve wiring to speakers in multiple locations and
controlling them from the source (amplifier). All volume and source control
occurs at the source so all zones play the same music at the same volume.
This is not a great solution for obvious reasons.
# The next level would be to add local
volume control to this basic system. This is the minimum configuration that
gives local control and it works for many simple applications and is relatively
inexpensive ... but you are still limited to one source of music in all of
the rooms ... and you can't change anything but the volume without a walk
to the source.
# Add an IR (InfraRed) receiver and
to the volume control and you have rudimentary control of the source. This
will allow you to use a remote control to switch sources etc. and basically
control the source equipment from your location. All rooms must still listen
to the same source however.
# Multi Zone / Multi Source systems
offer much more flexibility. These systems have a separate amplifier for each
zone and a keypad in each room allows control of not only the volume etc.
but also the sources. Now you can have different music playing in different
Of course the
choices don't end here. There are many ways to achieve Multi Zone / Multi
Source control and the costs rise as the flexibility of the system and user interfaces improve.