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AirPlay Comes To Multi-Room Audio Systems


Multi-room audio supplier
CasaTunes is integrating Apple AirPlay technology into its
next-generation music servers to deliver music through a
combination of custom-installed wired speakers, wireless
AirPlay speakers and other AirPlay-equipped devices.

For music sources, the company’s music servers still use
hard drives, embedded Internet radio apps, and a connected
external source such as a satellite-radio tuner, but with
newly developed CasaTunes Air technology, the servers
add AirPlay-enabled mobile devices and iTunes-equipped
computers as music sources. No matter what the source,
music is directed to wired custom-installed speakers, wireless
AirPlay speakers, and other AirPlay-enabled devices
such as AppleTV and Apple’s wireless AirPort Express.

“To my knowledge, we are the first [multi-room audio] company to provide this kind of integration,” said Casa-
Tunes president David Krinker.

The servers, which are available, connect to multi-roomaudio
amplifiers to drive custom-installed speakers.

CasaTunes Air automatically discovers all AirPlay enabled
devices on the network, and from a multi-room system’s
in-wall keypads or touchscreens, consumers can select
a particular handheld iOS device as a source, though
particular iOS-device apps have to be selected from the
iOS device itself.

Up to nine different iOS handheld devices can stream
music at a time, including music from AirPlay-enabled
apps. Because most iOS music apps are AirPlay-enabled,
Krinker noted, consumers’ multi-room-audio systems can
access more music services than ever before. The Casa-
Tunes servers themselves stream music from Grooveshark,, MP3tunes, Shoutcast, Spotify and TuneIn as well
as Internet radio stations.

Besides adding more music sources to a multi-room system,
CasaTunes Air technology “is ideal for retrofit installations
and to extend existing systems where customers have
maxed out their wired solution but are still looking to add
music in more rooms,” Krinker said. CasaTunes Air servers
can also be used to add music to rooms where hardwiring
isn’t feasible. A wireless solution is also an efficient way for
consumers to expand their systems over time, he said.

Four new stand-alone CasaTunes servers priced from
$1,499 to $2,799 feature CasaTunes Air, as do two PCbased
solutions, the $749 Xli and $2,499 XLe.

The stand-alone servers start with the $1,499 CT3S,
a three-source 320GB server designed to integrate with
third-party multiroom-audio systems from Russound, NuVo,
Channel Vision and Audio Authority. A step-up $2,199
version integrates with the same other-brand multi-room
systems but adds four-source capability and 1TB server
capacity. At $2,799, CasaTunes’s XLi music server with included
output switching features 1TB capacity, five-source
six-wired-zone capability, and six wireless AirPlay zones. At
$4,299, the XLe server steps up to nine-source, 12-wiredzone
capability plus additional AirPlay zones. The number
of wired zones supported by the XLe can be expanded to
48 with three expansion boxes, each at $1,499.

All four servers also stream music from a networked PC
with Windows Media Player.

To turn a PC into a music server, CasaTunes offers two
new CasaTunes Air server solutions.