updated 12:54 am EDT, Wed March 13, 2013
Supports wide range of AV receivers, third-party controllers
Whole-house audio systems maker CasaTunes has announced a line of multi-room music servers that offer built-in compatibility with multi-zone AV receivers from a variety of major-brand manufacturers such as Denon, Harmon Kardon, Yamaha, Sony, Pioneer, Marantz and Integra/Onkyo. The servers are configured using apps available for iOS and Android, and extend the capabilities of third-party controllers by adding AirPlay wireless speaker and multi-zone AV receiver support to these systems.
The system centers around Apple's AirPlay protocol for wireless audio streaming. Because of this, adding additional speakers or receivers from other manufacturers is easy as long as they support AirPlay. CasaTunes' own music servers, such as the CT-3, can be synced with the owners' iTunes collection through the use of a free plug-in, and can direct audio to any room from any sound-playing application on an iOS device.
Where the system differs from creating one's own Airplay-based iTunes speaker system is in its ability to use the server to support multiple, synchronized playlists running simultaneously in different rooms using multi-zone compatible receivers. The server supports up to 24 rooms with wired connections or 10 rooms with wireless connections. The music servers are available in wired-only, wireless-only and mixed configurations. The company promises different playlists in each room, continuously synchronized without any echoes -- without the need to buy separate multi-channel amplifiers.
The system works with third-party controllers from Audio Authority, Channel Vision, Nuvo, Russound and SpeakerCraft. Systems start at $2,000 with support for three wired or five wireless rooms, and includes three AirPlay speakers.