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AUTOMATION / MULTI-ROOM

Hot New Russound Retro Fit Audio System Sells Out

By David Richards | Sunday | 24/01/2010

After dumping trouble-plagued distributor LeisureTech, Russound is set to expand its presence in Australia with the release of a hot new multi-room audio system that has sold out within days of going on sale in the USA.


The new Russound powerline-based system, which is ideal for retrofit environments, will be distributed by Ness Corporation in Australia. According to the company, the system will have to be certified for use in Australian homes, with insiders tipping that the upcoming system will be revealed for the first time at the CEDIA show in Melbourne.

At the weekend, Russound said that it had underestimated the expected sell-in of its long-awaited Collage multi-room audio system with dealers across the US running out of stock within days of initial shipments.

Michael Stein, a senior executive with Russound, told US magazine TWICE, "There was more demand in the pipeline than we could fill. Shipments of the powerline-based system, intended for retrofit installations, went mainly to distributors but also to some direct accounts. So far, all installs have gone smoothly."

John Merce of Ness Corporation said, "I will be reviewing the system this week in Australia with a view to launching it here. We believe it has a big future in this market."

According to TWICE, the Collage Media and Intercom System was originally scheduled for October 2009; however, hold-up by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) resulted in the product not being released until this month.

The same delay is expected in Australia as powerline-based products are designed to inject high-frequency signals over powerlines, and certifying authorities have to check to ensure RF leakage doesn't interfere with other household products.

Collage relies on such new media sources as Internet radio, iPods docked in a networked docking/charging station, and digital music stored on a networked PC or network-attached storage device. Networked sources can be placed anywhere in the home. Up to 10 zones are supported.

Collage's main components include an in-wall amplified keypad equipped with RDS FM tuner. A Media Manager device connects to a home's Ethernet network and acts as a bridge between a home's Ethernet network and the powerline network. 

The CAK1 amplified keypad will retail for a suggested $1,000. Up to 10 can be installed in a system, but only one $600 CMM1 Collage Media Manager is needed. An iPod dock and IR source bridge, which connects legacy sources via IR, will ship later this year.

Demonstrations of the device for ChannelNews revealed a system that was extremely easy to install and even easier to manage.  

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