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ADA Expanding Its Multiroom Appeal

10/08/2001 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Audio Design Associates (ADA) is expanding the appeal of its distributed-AV system brand with the introduction of a pair of multiroom systems suitable for less-expensive installs.

One system, called Silk, is due in October for installations priced from $75,000-$100,000. The second system, called Suite 16, is intended for $10,000-$20,000 installs, whereas ADA's existing Rhapsody system in intended for installs starting at $100,000, said VP Richard Stoerger.

In other product developments, the company is expanding its selection of home theater preamp/processors equipped with the latest surround-sound codecs: THX EX, DTS ES, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6.

The Silk system is expandable, but not as expandable as the Rhapsody. Installers can insert modules into the Silk's card-frame chassis to expand the system to distribute stereo from up to six sources to up to 24 rooms, each room with independent volume and acoustic controls. Alternately, the system could be configured to provide six 7.1-channel music and home theater zones. Typically, dealers will use it to build two home theaters and distribute stereo from up to four sources to up to 16 rooms, each room with independent acoustic controls, Stoerger said.

Rhapsody, in contrast, supports up to 200 7.1-channnel zones or up to 800 stereo zones.

In its basic configuration, Silk operates as a 7.1-channel preamp/processor if equipped with single audio input/output card, single video input/output card, and one THZ Ultra II-certified Quartet preamp card. That card incorporates THX EX, DTS ES Discrete and Matrix, Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo 6. The configuration would cost less than $15,000. The card also features tone and volume controls and bass management, digital coaxial input and eight analog audio outputs corresponding to the channels needed for a surround sound system.

The Quartet card can be switched to operate as a four-zone stereo card rather than a 7.1-channel home theater and music card. When so switched, multichannel music recordings are downmixed to a stereo or mono channel. Silk accommodates up to six Quartet cards, and up to eight Silks can be daisychained together.

Silk accommodates up to two audio in/out cards, each featuring eight analog stereo inputs, three independent D/A converters, seven digital coaxial inputs, three analog stereo outputs for recording and three zones of digital audio output. The outputs feed the Quartet cards.

Silk's video-switching card features eight composite video inputs, seven S-video inputs, and four independent zones of VGA/RGB/HDTV video output.

Silk features a front-panel VGA-grade touchscreen for setup and control. The display runs off an internal Windows CE-based PC incorporating Internet Explorer. Because it's flash-based, the PC eliminates hard-drive crashes and boots up quickly, the company said.

The Suite 16, due by the end of the year, is a multiroom preamp controller delivering 16 stereo zones, each with independent source selection. It's designed for use with two new 12-channel six-zone amplifiers, already available. They're priced at $2,000 for the 12x45-watt model (into 4 ohms) and $4,799 for the 12x135-watt model.

The Suite 16 features three card slots and three card options: an audio input module with 16 stereo inputs, a preamp card with 16 stereo outputs, and a composite-video-switching card with 16 outputs, which can be used for security cameras. Multiple chassis can be daisychained to create a 96-zone system.

ADA's two new preamp/processors, due in the fourth quarter, are the Cinema Reference Mach II and Cinema Rhapsody Mach II, to replace the current Cinema and Rhapsody models in the fourth quarter. The new models are targeted to retail at the current units' prices of $8,999 and $4,649, respectively.

The company's current Rhapsody processor launched with only THX EX decoding, but a running change early this year added DTS ES, Dolby Pro Logic II and Neo 6. The two new models deliver all of these formats, feature THX Ultra II certification and support additional features.