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Artison Readies Multizone Light/Speaker System

Speaker maker Artison has become
the second company to unveil a wireless
multizone audio system that uses
combination LED-light/speakers that
screw into existing recessed-light fixtures
in the ceiling.

The company teamed up with lighting
maker Osram Sylvania and fabless semiconductor
company Eleven Engineering
to develop the do-it-yourself four-zone
system; Eleven developed the 2.4GHz
wireless technology.

At January’s International CES,
Klipsch unveiled a two-source, two-zone
multi-room-audio system that supports
up to eight speakers for four rooms of
synchronized stereo playback.

Artison founder Cary Christie said
his system, marketed under the MusicLites
brand, will expand the multiroom-
audio market to renters who
wouldn’t be allowed by landlords to install
custom speakers in walls or ceilings.
The company, however, plans to
offer a MusicLites system for custom installers.
The system could be controlled
from home-control systems that use the
ZigBee wireless standard.

Artison’s system will ship in September
or October following more input
from dealers and reps, Christie said.
Pricing hasn’t been announced.

Artison also plans in-ceiling LED lights
without speakers to match the light emitted
by light/speakers in the same room.
A table lamp is also planned.

Each in-ceiling light speaker operates
as a left or right speaker, and each
incorporates a 70mm driver, 25-watt
Class D amp, and LED light.

To supply music to the speakers, consumers
could connect up to three ACpowered
wireless transmitters into separate
audio sources, whose music would
be transmitted up to 30 meters. Each
transmitter could serve up to four speakers,
but repeaters would expand that capacity
to 16 speakers. Each transmitter
would stream only one source at a time,
and three transmitters could operate simultaneously
when located within 50
meters of one another.

In addition, music in a single room
could be supplied by an iPod Touch,
iPad or iPhone connected to a 30-pin
wireless dongle, whose output would
extend 10 meters and would override
streams from a 50-meter transmitter.

A USB dongle for laptops, as well as
a dongle that connects to the 3.5mm
analog headphone output, could also
be used to deliver music to light speakers
in a local room.

Up to three dongle-equipped sources
could be used simultaneously, each
in different rooms.

A credit-card IR remote aimed at a
speaker would control source selection,
volume and light dimming in a local zone.

MusicLites speakers are small
enough to screw into 4-inch in-ceiling
cans as well as into 5- and 6-inch cans,
Christie said. Trim rings are provided
to hide any gaps.

Klipsch’s system is designed for use
in 5- and 6-inch in-ceiling cans.