CES
Meridian Shows Cat 5 DSP Speakers for Simple Integration with Sooloos Music Servers
After acquisition of Sooloos in December, Meridian is furiously at work to meld Meridian-quality audio with Sooloos music management.
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Prototype “Wedge” tabletop Sooloos controller and back panel showing new SpeakerLink output for direct connection to new Sooloos servers.
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January 07, 2009 by Julie Jacobson

Meridian Audio, developer of high-performance audio/video gear, is showing for the first time some of the fruits of its December acquisition of Sooloos, developer of music management systems.

Allen Boothroyd, legendary industrial designer and co-founder of Meridian, provided a sneak peek to CE Pro and Electronic House.

Boothroyd says that Meridian for quite some time had explored the media server category. “The question is, do we develop our own or acquire someone like Sooloos,” he says.

In the end, after examining similar products on the market, Meridian determined that the Sooloos was “the best.”

Even so, says Boothroyd, “We think we can develop it further.”

Future development includes photo and video capabilities – currently Sooloos just does music.

Right now, though, Meridian can marry the Sooloos solution with “Meridian-quality audio,” Boothroyd says.

Forthcoming Sooloos systems will feature a Meridian connector for simple integration with Meridian electronics and a SpeakerLink output for connecting directly to Meridian speakers.

As part of that solution, Meridian is adding an Ethernet port to some of its top-line speakers including the iconic DSP digital active loudspeakers. The connector replaces the existing bundle of S/PDIF, RS-232 and Meridian communications ports.

The redesign of the Ethernet-enabled speakers “make us plug-and-play compatible with the Sooloos piece,” Boothroyd says.

Brand New ‘Wedge’ Controller Coming Soon
Meridian is bringing its design expertise to Soolos with the forthcoming Control:20, a “wedge” that sits on a tabletop, serving up the Sooloos interface on a 15-inch screen. It connects via Cat 5 to a separate Sooloos server/audio controller.

What’s especially unique about the device – versus other Sooloos products – is that it will directly control the volume of the audio system. Other Sooloos products, on the other hand, can be used to select music, but not control the sound.

A ball on the unit can be used to adjust the volume – press it in to mute.

Click here to see images of the new media server.

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Julie Jacobson - Editor-at-large, CE Pro
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.

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