Review: Linksys by Cisco Premier Kit Wireless Music System

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Kit includes: Player/Extender (left), Director (middle), Controller/Touchscreen Remote (right) and IR Remote (bottom)

Ease of use and the ability to expand make the Wireless Music System a fit in any home.


Apr. 15, 2009 — by Audioholics.com

Cisco seems to understand the need to expand and grow. Needs change; we are not the same person we were 10 years ago, or even last year. If I want a house be full of music one day, and the next, I just want to listen to music on my headphones, then so be it. That progressive adaptability is what the Linksys Wireless Music System provides. Linksys takes some of the latest wireless technology, asks you where you want music, and then responds, “I can do that.”

Build Quality
I had the pleasure of working with three elements of the Linksys system; The Director, The Player, and The Controller. We also had access to the Docking Station for iPod, which allowed us to set an iPod into the cradle and send that music throughout our networked system. In addition to these items, Linksys also offers The Conductor (coming soon), and speakers. All items come in a sleek black matte finish.

As you can imagine The Director, as Cisco labels this component, is the brains of the Linksys system. Appropriately titled, the Director orchestrates synchronization of music files for your entire house. Music begins by plugging in the power cord and connecting speakers. With a built-in 50 watt per channel amplifier, the Director is designed to be connected to virtually any speaker or audio system via speaker cables. On the rear of the unit you’ll notice a pair of gold-plated spring clips which will connect to any bare wire up to 16 gauge in diameter. Of course, it can also connect to an amplified system through USB, S/PDIF (TOSlink), dual RCA or even 3.5mm outputs. The Director can also be linked with an iPod dock to allow direct access to iPod songs that may not be on your network. We were very surprised (but pleased) to find a dedicated subwoofer RCA output as well, so feel free to use this with your existing subwoofer to give your music some kick (though we still advocate running a digital output to your A/V receiver and using it’s bass management whenever possible).

Controlling the Director is very easy. Through its clear 3.5 LCD screen, you are able to scroll through several different music sources with the provided Controller, four buttons on the front of the Director, or by linking the Director with the touch screen Controller remote (not included). On the screen several different audio sources are available, including any computer connected to Linksys, libraries of music, Radio Tune, and Rhapsody (30-day trial included with purchase of the Wireless Home Audio system). To help organize your music, you can create playlists and favorites.

Expandability of the Director comes into play with the “Play to” feature, where you can link different rooms and control them through the Director. This is done through The Player which slaves to the Director and acts as a remote music hub to distribute audio throughout a home. A “Party Mode” allows you to link up all systems in a network to provide the same source audio throughout your home – perfect for parties. The Player is an extension of the Director but with some major differences. Unfortunately you cannot control content, skip songs or pause with The Player. You can only adjust volume with the provided remote or separate touch-screen remote (not included). Audio outputs on The Player are limited to S/PDIF, dual RCA, or 3.5mm.

Click here to read entire review on Audioholics.com.


Product: Linksys by Cisco Premier Kit Wireless Music System

Price: $999.99

Performance: 4 out of 5

Value: 4 out of 5

Pros:

  • Excellent styling
  • Uses the latest wireless networking protocols
  • Virtually unlimited expandability
  • Beautiful LCD touchscreen remote

Cons:

  • Lackluster website support and product information


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