Russound Collage Overview:
Imagine being able to retrofit install a whole house music system into your existing home without running new wires from room to room. Imagine that the system can also incorporate music from a CD player, iPod or other audio source and has intercom and video surveillance capabilities. If your lucky enough to own a home that is pre-wired for multiroom audio this is not for you. If not, the Collage system might be the solution. The Collage uses Power Line Carrier Technology that makes it easy, or at least easier, to retrofit install a whole house music distribution system without running new wires.
Power Line Carrier (PLC) Technology:
Power Line Carrier Technology uses your existing home electrical wiring to distribute audio and other electronic and control signals from room to room without installing new wires. The Collage system uses PLC, also known as HomePlug, its trade name. PLC piggybacks audio and control signals over the electrical wiring that almost all homes have. Read more about PLC technology in this article . The Russound Collage system makes it easy to retrofit install a whole house music system into an existing home.
Components of the Russound Collage System:
The Collage system consists of an amplified in-wall keypad with 30-watts of power (15-watts x 2). Each keypad includes an FM tuner and a Media Manager that connects the system to a home's Ethernet network. Media Manager is compatible with ShoutCast, a free Internet radio site that streams content to the keypad(s) and the Rhapsody music service (subscription required). A Source Bridge can be used to connect to analog or digital audio sources, such as a CD player and a video input for a surveillance camera. An iPod dock is also available. It cannot be connected to a video source, such as a VCR or DVD player.
The amplified keypad must be connected to 110-volts and an Ethernet network. To make installation simple, the keypad is installed in the same stud bay as a light switch or AC outlet and connected with Romex cable. Speakers are connected directly to the back of the wall-mounted keypad. The system is scalable up to 10 zones - just add a keypad in any room where music is desired and the system communicates via PLC over existing wiring. As many as 40 sources can be connected to the Collage system via Source Bridges. The keypad features a click-wheel for navigation and will display cover art from networked sources.
The Russound Collage will be available next year but no pricing was announced. However, Russound sources indicated that the system hardware and the installation costs will be substantially lower than typical retrofit systems and will be easier to install. More information will follow as it becomes available. Based on the demonstration I attended, the Russound Collage appears to be a significant development in multiroom audio systems.