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Sound Quality and Simplicity Comes to Multiroom Audio Systems

A Growing Trend: Multiroom Audio Systems

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Sound Quality and Simplicity Comes to Multiroom Audio Systems

Audio Design Associates Suite 8200 Multiroom Receiver

Audio Design Associates
Multiroom audio systems have become increasingly popular following the trend of larger homes with more rooms. A multiroom audio system delivers music to multiple rooms or zones from a centrally located system, and since many new homes are pre-wired for audio, video and computer systems, a multiroom audio system is a natural addition. A home can even be retrofitted with custom wiring for a multiroom audio system.

Overview of ADA Suite 8200 Multiroom Receiver

Multiroom audio systems range from a basic two-zone receiver to sophisticated multiroom/multisource systems with customizable control systems. On the more sophisticated side is the Audio Design Associates Suite 8200 Multiroom Receiver, an eight-zone, multi-source audio system. In addition to its sophistication, the Suite 8200 is also well designed, easy to use and offers sound quality you’d expect from a higher end audio system.

The ADA Suite 8200 resembles a black box more than a receiver because it’s designed to be installed out of sight in an equipment closet or other location in the home. It houses eight stereo amps (25-watts x 2) with eight analog stereo inputs for source audio components, eight analog pre-amp outputs (one for each zone for use with external power amps), space for two internal tuner modules, and a host of control and configuration connections used by installers and system integrators to customize the function and operation of the 8200 for each installation. There are also two subwoofer outputs, one each for zones 1 and 2. The rear panel of the 8200 is very logically organized and clearly labeled so even a novice installer (including me) can easily connect and operate the system. In fact, I was surprised how quickly I got the system working since no instructions were included. After completing this review, I learned that ADA provides an online manual and other documentation for installers. ADA also mentioned that their dealers typically create a book of instructions for each customer explaining the system functions and operation.

Options and Accessories for Suite 8200

ADA MC-4500 Keypad

Audio Design Associates
ADA customers can choose from any combination of two built-in tuners including XM and/or Sirius Satellite Radio, standard AM/FM or HD Radio. My review sample had an HD Radio tuner and Sirius Satellite Radio tuner. The system was controlled by the MC-4500, one of ADA’s many keypad options. It’s a full-function, dual-gang keypad with back-lit rubber buttons and a 12 character LED readout for real time feedback from source components such as satellite tuners, CD library information or an iPod. Data scrolls across the keypad display so longer titles and system status information can be read. The keypad is clearly labeled, very intuitive and the eight source keys can be custom labeled to identify each source. ADA offers several keypad models including all-weather outdoor keypads. My review system also included the MX-900 handheld IR universal remote control. The MX-900 is an Infrared remote control but can be converted to an RF (radio frequency) remote via an optional RF base unit. RF remote controls can operate components through walls and IR remote controls must have line of sight visibility to the component.

Suite 8200 Connections and Wiring

Audio distribution to each zone is speaker level (25 watts x 2) or pre-amp level if external amps are to be used. Control protocol from the Suite 8200 to each controller or keypad is handled via CAT-5 cable. A basic structured wiring installation consisting of a pair of speaker wires and CAT-5 wiring would handle the ADA system. When installed the Suite 8200 serves up to eight zones or rooms with multisource capability in all zones. Any zone can access any of the sources or tuners connected to the Suite 8200 at any time. For larger homes, two receivers can be linked to serve as many as 16 zones.

Additional Features

In addition to its primary audio distribution duties, the Suite 8200 is compatible with ADA’s Phone Suite system, which allows room to room paging and group paging via an integrated phone system. ADA also offers the iBase kit for using an Apple iPod or a controller for adding a music server to the receiver.

The Suite 8200 Multiroom Receiver can be used with the ADAVideo Suite, an optional ‘video-follow-audio’ switcher with eight composite video inputs and outputs. The Video Suite also features four S-Video and three component video inputs that track zone one on the Suite 8200.

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