February 11, 2013
| by Grant Clauser
The NuVo system is very versatile and scalable, but it does fall short of its main competition, Sonos, in variety of content. While Sonos currently supports 19 different internet music services, NuVo supports four: Pandora, Tune In, SiriusXM and Rhapsody. Of course, how many music services does a person need? With those four there’s practically no song on the planet or internet radio station that you couldn’t find, but people have their favorite services, and the lack of things like Spotify or Slacker might be a deal breaker for some. NuVo tells me that more services are being added.
In addition to internet music, you can access music from a USB drive or networked from your own PC. I had minor trouble with both methods. The desktop software for connecting my PC music to the system required me to temporarily turn off Windows Firewall, but after that it worked fine. I had to try three different USB drives before I found one that would talk to NuVo.
Related: Why You Want a Wireless Audio System.
The NuVo app is easy to use, though it may take you a few tries until you remember the sequence of commands. In order to pick a zone/room you first have drag it to a start area and then select your music. At the bottom of your screen are the music choice categories (Library, Tune In, Pandora, Bluetooth etc.) If you’re looking at your own music library, you can navigate by artist, album, track and playlist—nothing unusual here, which means anyone can figure it out. Within each zone, the app allows a little bit of audio tweaking with bass, treble and balance controls and the option to turn Dynamic Volume on or off. When playing either local USB music or music streamed off my PC, the NuVo app supplied album art on my iPhone. Track and volume control was easy as well.
If you’ve got speakers, or plan to get separate speakers, most people with a little PC knowledge can get a multiroom system based on Nuvo up and running pretty quickly. A professional can integrate the system with Control4 (using an Extra Vegetables driver), hide your speaker wires in the walls and hide the components on a rack somewhere, so all you need to worry about is opening the app anytime you want to hear music.
This isn’t the least expensive way to pipe tunes around the house, but it’s certainly not the most expensive either, and the flexibility makes it very attractive for people who want a fairly high-fidelity system with fairly little hassle.
You can find NuVo Wireless Audio System at Smarthome and Parts Express. The P200 sells for $599, the P100 is $479, and the GW100 gateway goes for $199. The app is free.
Simple basic setup
Choose your own speakers
Excellent sound quality
Less music options than competition
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 audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.