Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Bose SoundTouch throws down multiroom audio gauntlet to Sonos

New SoundTouch Wi-Fi line includes three speaker models at launch: the SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable

All the speakers have six 'presets' on top of the unit. This speaker is the SoundTouch Portable, which has a built-in rechargeable battery

Over the years, Sonos, once a fledgling startup, has grown up to dominate the DIY multiroom wireless audio space. Now it has some serious competition.

Bose has officially unveiled a new line of Wi-Fi speakers under its new SoundTouch brand, which features simple setup and operation, and it’s definitely aimed at the same audience that Sonos has targeted.

The three new speakers that are available at launch — you can order them today — are the SoundTouch 30 ($699), a larger speaker designed for larger living spaces, and the SoundTouch 20 ($399) and SoundTouch Portable ($399), which are designed for somewhat smaller rooms. Bose will also introduce a Wave SoundTouch music system ($599) in December and other SoundTouch speakers and audio products in early 2014, signaling that it’s going all in on wireless audio.

It shares many of the same traits as the Sonos system, but one of the differences is that it’s designed to work with your existing Wi-Fi network and doesn’t require a special “bridge” like Sonos does. However, that Sonos Bridge, which connects to the Ethernet port on your router, sets up a separate “mesh” wireless network that’s dedicated to streaming your audio and helps remove the hiccups typically associated with a Wi-Fi network, which aren’t incredibly reliable.

But Bose is pushing the simplicity of its system and how easy it is to set up “using your existing home Wi-Fi network” and nothing else. The other simplicity theme revolves around Bose’s use of “presets”; both the new speakers and new apps –  Android and iOS devices are supported at launch along with Macs and Windows PCs — are equipped with buttons numbered 1-6. Each number corresponds to a preset in the app.

Using the apps, you can drag and drop specific Pandora radio stations onto a number to set it as a preset. You can also link one of the presets to the music library on your PC or a specific playlist.

To get your music up and running, you simply press one of the preset buttons that’s on the speaker or the included remote, or within one of the apps. Thus, the SoundTouch name.

Sonos comparisons
Like Sonos, the speakers and apps will get software updates that add new features and services. At launch, I was underwhelmed with Bose’s line up of services. Beyond Pandora there’s nothing: no Spotifiy, no Rdio, no Deezer, no nothing. Sonos has a huge roster of service tie-ins, so Bose has a big hole to fill there.

The other thing you can’t do with the Bose SoundTouch speakers is combine two speakers to get stereo sound. That starts to get a little expensive when you’re combining $399 speakers to make a pair, but these types of speakers that have their drivers very close together typically feature little to no stereo separation, so it’s a nice option to be able to go stereo like you can with Sonos.

The SoundTouch 30 and SoundTouch 20 both offer Ethernet connectivity, so you can use a wired network connection if you want, and there’s an auxiliary input, so you can hook up an audio device to a speaker using a cable.

The Bose speakers aren’t equipped with Bluetooth (neither are the Sonos speakers), but they do support AirPlay streaming from iOS devices and PCs running  iTunes. And like Sonos, you can stream music to a single room or have the same music play on all your speakers at the same time. You should be able to play different music sources in different rooms, but I didn’t test that feature yet.

Sound demo
Bose did a sound demo in a controlled environment with hand-picked music tracks, and like most of Bose’s demos, the speakers came across in their best light and seemed to sound quite decent for their size. I suspect the SoundTouch 20 will match up just fine against the Sonos Play:5, which is about the same size and also retails for $399. Currently, Bose isn’t offering any SoundTouch speakers for less than $399, but you’d think that may change in the future with Sonos offering more-affordable speakers.

However, the next batch of SoundTouch products will be more expensive except for the SoundTouch Controller, a swankier remote that will come out early in 2014 for $99.

As I said, a Wave SoundTouch music system is coming in December for $599. And a SoundTouch Stereo JC (Jewel Cube) system ($1,199), a SoundTouch SA-4 amplifier ($499) for select Bose products (including outdoor speakers), and a SoundTouch wireless adapter for Lifestyle systems and VideoWave entertainment system will ship in “early 2014.” (Bose did demo that new stereo Jewel Cube system, which also includes a subwoofer, and, needless to say, it sounded better than the single-speaker systems.)

I’ll let you know how the launch speaker systems sound — and how smoothly they operate — as soon as we get our hands on some review samples. Naturally, it will be interesting to see how the market responds to having a second major competitor in the DYI multiroom wireless audio space. But one thing is clear from Bose’s announcement: it’s going all in on wireless audio; it’s not messing around and will surely put big bucks toward marketing the new SoundTouch line and telling everybody how easy it is to use.

by David Carnoy

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57606930-221/bose-soundtouch-throws-down-multiroom-audio-gauntlet-to-sonos/

Custom Installation Services, LLC – Authorized Bose Dealer in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in Audio Demos, Audio Systems, Home Theater, Home Theater Setup, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Outdoor Speakers, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


9 Equipment Racks Fuel Tech-Heavy Home

CIS - NC's #1 Choice For Home Automation and Structured Wiring Services!

CIS - NC's #1 Choice For Home Automation and Structured Wiring Services!

This home is loaded with controls and A/V, including Wilson Audio speaker systems in the theater and the gym.

We’ve seen some large home technology installations, but this is definitely one of the most comprehensive—and top-notch for A/V considering there’s not one, but two rooms that contain high-end Wilson Audio speaker systems.

It’s not even a mega, mega 20,000-square-foot home, though it does amount to about half of that area when you combine the 8,000-square-foot main house and 2,500-square-foot guest house. But this home is tech-savvy from top to bottom, with nine Middle Atlantic equipment racks throughout the house loaded with brains and brawn.

For starters, there’s full Lutron lighting controls, six zones of HVAC control, Jandy controls for the pool, spa and front fountains, security system with pan-and-scan cameras, intelligent multiline phone system, and all of that plus the A/V throughout the house is under the easy operation of a Crestron home automation system.

There are 26 zones of audio and 24 zones of video, including a powerful Kaleidescape media server system that’s routed to all the main rooms, bedrooms and gym. The gym also features those wonderful Wilson Audio speakers to rev things up for a workout.

Where Wilson really rocks the house, though, is with its full surround system, driven by mighty Halcro amplifiers, in the dedicated media room. The video is just as sweet, too, with a Meridian projector beaming onto a motorized Stewart Filmscreen masking screen system.

There are even outdoor rock speakers and three outdoor subwoofers to cover the outside, where the family can also relax in a fully loaded BBQ area. Of course, Crestron touchpanels are everywhere in the home for truly simple command of all the systems, from all of that lighting down to the motorized TV cabinet doors in the master bedroom.

by Arlen Schweiger

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/9_equipment_racks_fuel_tech-heavy_home/

Custom Installation Services, LLC - Charlotte and Asheville NC’s Source For Your Custom Home Electronics and Automation Needs!

Posted in Audio Systems, Automation, Flat Panel TV's, HAI, Home Theater, lighting control, Media Rooms, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Top 10 Blu-ray Releases for March 23

CIS is Charlotte, NC's #1 Source For Home Theater Design & Sales!

CIS is Charlotte, NC's #1 Source For Home Theater Design & Sales!

Pixar is at it again with the pristine additions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 on high-def Blu-ray this week.

Pixar’s at it again. Whether you’re looking for razor-sharp demo material as a custom installer or a good reason to sit through some high-def animation with your children, Pixar has always come through with its standard-def and Blu-ray releases. This week is no exception, as we get both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 sequel on Blu-ray for the first time.

We can’t wait to see all of the details of Andy’s room and his toys in high-definition, along with the enveloping surround sound. No, the Toy Story movies aren’t in super-wide 2.35:1 format like some more recent Pixar Blu-rays such as Wall-E and A Bug’s Life, but those of you with traditional 16:9 screens (especially projection screens) should still have a blast taking in the game-changing animation of the 1995 original and its 1999 sequel.

For a more recent children’s-oriented theatrical release, Fantastic Mr. Fox arrives on Blu-ray format as well this week. Unlike Pixar you don’t get the voice talent of John Ratzenberger (hey, we know he’s not the Toy Story star but we love that he’s in every Pixar movie), but you do get to hear the likes of George Clooney, Bill Murray and Meryl Streep in this Wes Anderson-directed movie.

Speaking of Clooney, even if you’re a fan of his films you may have missed the short-lived Men Who Stare at Goats in theaters. Obviously it’s no Up in the Air, but the solid ensemble cast includes Clooney, Kevin Spacey, Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges and Ewan McGregor, and at 94 minutes it could make for a good high-def rental. For an Oscar-acclaimed release this week, check out Sandra Bullock’s performance in The Blind Side—and it doesn’t matter if you’re a football fan or not.

If you’re interested in catching up on some TV, the best bet this week is the continuing saga featuring the men and women of AMC’s Mad Men—this week marks Season Three’s arrival on Blu-ray disc.

And in case you missed it, the tweeny-bopper fave Twilight got a jump on the traditional Tuesday release date by sending out Twilight Saga: New Moon just after midnight on March 20.

Here’s the full slate of Blu-ray releases for the week (schedule and slideshow synopses courtesy of Blu-ray.com):
The African Queen
Alter Bridge: Live from Amsterdam
Bigger Than Life
The Blind Side
Brothers
Days of Heaven
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Mad Men: Season Three
Nabari No Ou: The Complete Series
Phantom Punch
Red Cliff Part 1 & 2
Smokin’ Aces: 2-movie collection
Spring 1941
Toy Story
Toy Story 2
Trinity Blood: The Complete Series
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
The Vans Warped Tour 15th Anniversary Celebration
Yojimbo/Sanjuro

 by Arlen Schweiger

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/top_10_blu-ray_releases_for_march_23/

Custom Installation Services, LLC - Audio/Video Sales, Service and Installation in North Carolina and South Carolina

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Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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