Making a Mark with Multi-Room Audio
Sales to dealers of multi-room systems have ballooned in dollar value to more than double what they were in 2011 ($274 million), with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) estimating they will reach $580 million when 2013 is said and done.
Those figures reflect a broader awareness of multi-room music (and video) sharing among the average consumer than ever before.
Technology Integrator recently spoke with three top integrators about the sudden rise in popularity of multi-room systems; a lightly edited version of that conversation follows.
Technology Integrator: How is multi-room audio changing?
Dave Raines, president, Osbee Industries, Harrison, N.Y.: Before, it was much more expensive—strictly a luxury item. Now it can appeal to the entry-level consumer who has the opportunity for a way into creating their own smaller system. The high end is still out there, but before, you weren’t really able to serve lower-end clients.
Ryan Heringer, president, Sound Concepts, Jonesboro, Ark.:
With the additions of new products that are wireless (Sonos, NuVo, Soundcast), the retrofit business is growing and allows for quick and easy installations, whereas traditional systems required the wiring to be run back to a central location. Installation time can be cut down tremendously. We are still doing a lot of traditional-style systems, running wiring back to a head end. The introduction of cloud-based services is a really big hit. Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, etc., make it economical and easy to listen to content in any room at any time.
Las Vegas, Nev.:
It has transformed from just having control of the volume to being able to individually select sources through keypads, which is still prevalent today. But it’s moving to streaming of higher-quality information that you can send to a room through all kinds of interfaces. For example, with some of the control systems, I can use an interface device such as an iPad or an iPhone to send that information to that zone basically wirelessly. With the advent of companies like Sonos and these companies allowing us to stream information, it’s made it really easy to distribute audio.
TI: What products are you installing?