CEDIA Expo 2008: CasaTools Bows Computer-Based Multiroom Audio

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CasaTools is at the Expo with its first-ever PC-based multiroom-audio systems designed for the IT-centric music lover.

The $999-suggested CasaTunes XLi and $1,699-suggested CasaTunes XLe systems use PCI-e cards that effectively operate as multizone multisource matrix switchers.They're due in the third quarter to distribute PC-stored music, Internet radio, a USB-connected iPod or a connected legacy source to multiple rooms via a connected multiroom amplifier.

The system can be controlled by such Web-based control devices as UMPCs, Internet tablets, laptops and other PCs on the network. In-wall keypads are being developed by CasaTools and will be available at the beginning of next year. Provided software also enables PC control of Russound and NuVo custom installed multiroom systems.

The XLi device plugs into a PC to stream five sources simultaneously to six zones. The sources include four PC-based sources, including HDD-stored songs, iTunes, Internet radio stations and a USB-connected iPod. The fifth source is an external connected source. The XLi chassis incorporates preamp-audio outputs, an input for an external source and a port for IR remote control of the external source. It's sold with CasaTunes PC software and six 3.5mm-to-RCA cables.

For larger homes and offices, the XLe system adds an expansion box to create a nine-source/12-zone system that can be expanded to 48 zones. Five sources are PC-based, and four are external sources. It also integrates with home theaters, doorbells and paging systems. It ships with CasaTunes software and audio-only HDMI cable to connect to the expansion module.

Both devices distribute DRM-protected WMA files from a PC.

For amplification, CasaTools plans a 12-channel amp CasaTunes XLa at a suggested $1,499.

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