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Top 5 tips for designing a multi-room audio solution

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Multi-room audio isn’t really a new feature, as various consumer systems or software-based systems have existed for a while. What these systems do essentially, is help “distribute” the audio signal to multiple rooms, either over a wired or wireless network, so that they can be played on an audio system located in that room.

So a multi-room audio system plays “any source” to “any room” based on user selection. What the AV designer needs to do is to choose an audio distribution system appropriately and then use programming to enable listening to or routing any of the different audio sources available, at the same time, in each separate room.

Of course, multi-room audio is increasingly becoming popular in other scenarios too – in hotels, restaurants, retail settings, and now in office spaces too.

Our team recommends the following:

1. Ensure that you have multiple user interfaces distributed across the space so that audio control can be conveniently accessed from any room in the building. We have found that it’s best when a local keypad controller, with a wide LED screen and button controls, is installed on the wall in every room.

2. Audio output in the rooms (or sections of rooms), is achieved through “zone” control amplifiers that can be used to split audio routing to different zones, selecting separate audio sources for each zone. Every zone may consist of several ceiling speakers for background music as in the case of a hotel guest room, lobby, ball rooms etc.

3. Automatic gain adjustment should be enabled for all of the inputs so the listening level of the audio sources or the audio level routed to all destinations are at equal level. This can be done at the time of programming for the central audio distribution system.

4. Additional audio sources such as a Gaming systems, computers, CD or MP3 players (through an optional audio port) can be connected via RJ45 to the keypad, allowing system source expansion.  A digital FM Tuner card can be added to the centralised audio amplifier to enable tune into a local FM station for any room.

5. When the design has multiple keypads, the settings for each audio source have to be learned in via any of the keypads, and can be stored in the central Audio distribution center. The rest of the keypads can be trained by the central audio system so programming for the individual keypads can be avoided.  The IR codes can also be “learnt into” a laptop for successive installations.

For more information on Multi Room Audio, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or write to [email protected]

(image source – www.lutron.com)

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