CEDIA Expo: Russound Expands Streaming Selection

Also adds new two-channel amplifiers for installation channel
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Russound’s XZone 4 combines a four-zone amp with four media streamers

Russound expanded its selection of streaming-media components with a CEDIA Expo introduction of the single-zone XSource and four-zone XZone4.

The company also unveiled a behind-the-TV two-channel amp and two half-rack amps intended for multiroom-audio systems.

The streaming components include the XSource, a single-zone preamp/streamer that can be connected to AVRs or used in a multizone-audio equipment rack. In the equipment rack, four of the quarter-rack-width components can be placed side by side to add four independent zones of streaming music to a multizone-audio system. It works with Russound’s current and previous-generation multizone-audio controllers.

XSource, due at year’s end at an unannounced price, connects to a network via Ethernet to stream cloud-based music services. It also connects to USB sticks and USB hard drives to stream their content around the house. Other features include DLNA, AirPlay, and support for high-resolution audio.

The other streaming component is the XZone4 four-zone streamer/amplifier, which incorporates four separate streamers and an 8x30-watt amplifier to deliver four independent zones of streaming music. Up to four can be used to deliver 16 zones of amplified streaming music.

Because the XZone 4 connects to an Ethernet network for control and music streaming, it can be connected to any Ethernet port in the house. That gives installers the option to install it close to the rooms to which it will supply music, enabling shorter runs of speaker wire.

Like all other components in the XStream series, the XSource and XZone work with the MyRussound App for iOS/Android phones and tablets and with the new XTS on-wall touchscreen, which just began shipping.

IP Touchscreen: The 4.7-inch $599 XTS Android-based touchscreen is the company’s first IP-based on-wall touchscreen controller. The touchscreen connects to an Ethernet port and makes it unnecessary to run a control cable all the way back to an A/V equipment rack. Its Ethernet connection also delivers control of audio in any zone of the house, not just in the room in which it is mounted. It gets power over its Ethernet connection or through a 12-volt input.

The streamers and keypad are part of the company’s Russound Certified Installer Program, which is focused on controlling unauthorized online sales to consumers. Under the program, only authorized installers are able to unlock the products before they can be configured and used. Installers enter their user name and password onto a smartphone or tablet web browser to access the Russound cloud, which automatically obtains the component’s Mac ID and sends an unlock command to the controller.

Amplifiers: The company’s new amps include the slim $299 2x30-watt TVA 2.1, designed to improve a TV’s sound quality. It mounts behind a TV and comes with IR learning and subwoofer output. It’s shipping.

The other two amps are the half-rack $199 A250 at 2x50 watts and $379 A2100 at 2x100 watts. Both are bridgeable. They can be added onto multizone amplifier/controllers to boost output to specific zones, such as outdoor zones or large rooms. Both are due in the first quarter.

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