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Suppliers Unveil Next-Generation Music Servers

Escient, ReQuest Multimedia and Revox are among the companies showing the next generation of their HDD music servers.

For its part, McIntosh will show a concept of its first HDD server.

In its new $3,999-suggested FireBall E2-300, Escient has expanded capacity to 300GB from its predecessors’ 40GB and 120GB, added Ethernet connectivity to transfer music files from an Ethernet-connected PC, and incorporated a Web server. The Web server makes it possible to control the single-zone FireBall from any Web-browsing PC or PDA or from the company’s first Web tablet, the 802.11b-equipped browser-equipped EWP-1000 with 8.4-inch color screen at a suggested $2,499.

For wireless connectivity, consumers plug a wireless bridge into FireBalls’ Ethernet port.

Escient also added the lossless-compression FLAC codec, joining WMA, MP3 and WAV. The new model, due in October, also offers faster and easier ripping from an internal CD drive and from connected megachangers, the company added.

Software upgrades will be available free so that previous generation FireBalls can be upgraded to offer PC connectivity, Web server and Web tablet control.

For its part, ReQuest plans to preview its fourth-generation HDD music servers, including N series models that represent ReQuest’s first entry-level models for single-zone entry-level installs and home theaters.

ReQuest’s new flagship F series includes the company’s first servers with built-in independent multizone capability. Previous generations required the hookup of additional black boxes, one per zone, to add independent zones. The F series models deliver three zones, but they can be expanded to six zones. Additional details were unavailable.

Revox’s company’s next-generation HDD music server, the $5,700-suggested 160GB two-zone M37, adds a higher capacity HDD and analog inputs, which are intended for recording and storing music from vinyl and tape. It shipped in August.

McIntosh’s server will store 300GB of music so the high-end audiophile supplier can store uncompressed music. Details and ship date were unavailable.