February 11, 2013 by Grant Clauser
I remember the first time I set up a multiroom music distribution system. Actually, I don’t. I wiped it from my memory because it was such a pain in the butt. Today I set up a three room music system that included multiple music services, a vast local library and an elegant touchpanel interface. The entire process took about 15 minutes, and half that time was me digging through boxes looking for spare speaker wire.
I’m talking about NuVo Technologies’ new Wireless Audio System (come on guys, give it a snazzier name than that). The NuVo Wireless consists of a Wi-Fi gateway (the GW100) and two Wi-Fi player/amps: the 60 watt x2 P200 and the 20 watt x2 P100. The gateway connects to your home network and lets each player receive streamed music independently. You just add your own speakers.
NuVo’s is the latest in a short list of new music systems designed to allow easy music access around the home without the tedium of installing wires, keypads and racks of gear. This category is mostly led by Sonos, who’s products are installed by homeowners and professional integrators alike. NuVo has a long history of selling professionally-installed music systems (see one reviewed here), but this is the first that, while offered through CE Pros, will also be available for consumers to install on their own.
When I said that this was easy, I’m not messing around. The units themselves actually come with no instructions. Well, that’s not exactly true. The in-box instructions direct you to download the app and do what it says. OK, so I downloaded the app. The app instructions didn’t go much beyond “plug it in, turn it on, press a button” or something like that. In 15 minutes I had three rooms set up, each one named appropriately on the iPhone app (I later added the Android app to my tablet).
A basic system requires two pieces, the gateway and one of the player/amps. The gateway connects directly to your broadband router with an Ethernet cable. It then sends music wirelessly via dual-band 802.11n to the various players around the house, similar to the way a Sonos Bridge works. The major difference is that a NuVo player won’t work wirelessly without the gateway (you can connect each player directly), but with a Sonos system any of the other components can act as a bridge if it’s close enough to your router for an Ethernet connection.
The NuVo gateway also doubles as a 5-port gigabit Ethernet switch, which is something nice to have on your gear rack.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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