August 27, 2012
| by Julie Jacobson
Imagine a multizone Squeezebox built for custom installation. That’s what Fusion Research will demonstrate at CEDIA Expo 2012.
Long known for its movie servers, Fusion will debut the Ovation Music Streamer for streaming music to as many as five zones.
For this product, Fusion didn’t reinvent the wheel. Rather, the company built this box around the popular Squeezebox audio system from Logitech.
“As we began architecting our own audio streamer system, we came across Squeezebox and all the other open source products built around it,” says Fusion VP of sales Ingo Schmoldt “It seemed an ideal base upon which to build because there are tons of users vetting the GUIs, and of course there are a host of free drivers and apps available for all the major automation companies and mobile devices.”
Indeed, many CE pros already use Squeezebox and other consumer devices in their fancy A/V racks – obviously not an ideal solution with the lack of margin, special rack kits, and multiple boxes with separate IP addresses for integrating with home control systems.
He adds that plenty of other vendors make excellent multiroom streaming products for the custom channel, but dealers “all seemed to say that they’re way too expensive.”
Ovation streamers start at $995 for the OMS1, which supports three analog zones, and tops out at $1795 for the OMS3, which supports up to five zones (four analog, one digital). The top model features a fanless chassis with a 1TB hard drive and a CD drive for ripping music (FLAC and MP3 simultaneously). In the middle is the $1,295 OMS2, which supports three zones (two analog and one digital) and offers 500 GB of internal storage.
All units support 96kHz/24-bit HD digital audio playback and most of the major file formats including Apple lossy, Apple Lossless (AAC & ALAC), MP3, OGG Vorbis, WMA and FLAC.
The units are designed to be Squeezebox compatible, meaning integrators can take advantage of existing drivers from home automation vendors, and utilize all the major mobile-device apps currently available.
Currently, two-way drivers are available for Savant Systems, RTI and Elan, but a Control4 driver is on the way, thanks to Kevin Luther of Blackwire Designs.
“We were brought in to develop a driver to allow Control4 to give the user two-way feedback from the Fusion product to every C4 interface including touchpanels, mobile devices and apps,” Luther says. “I have personally been using the product in my own home with a Control4 system and I find myself using it every single day. At this price point I think this product is guaranteed to fill a real need in the industry.”
He adds, “The entire line seems incredibly cheap and should be able to be spec’d into almost any multizone project.”
And, before you ask ... no wireless.
Julie Jacobson is co-founder of EH Publishing and currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro, mostly in the areas of home automation, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. She majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. Julie is a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player with the scars to prove it. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.