January 07, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger
One of the biggest hassles to putting together your 5.1- or 7.1-channel surround-sound system is all that wiring from the speakers back to the source components. Wanna get it done without the wiring?
Here’s where you begin to get skeptical when we start mentioning wireless solutions—what about sound quality? Signal loss? Interference? Who better than the folks at THX to put their stamp on what promises to be a bulletproof wireless surround sound solution—the THX Roomcaster that the organization has partnered with Radiient Technologies to deliver, announced at CES 2009.
The THX Roomcaster consists of an audio source adapter and six “backpack” speaker adapters. The audio adapter has eight-channel audio analog inputs for your audio components (DVD/Blu-ray player, CD player, receiver, etc), a mini-jack for your iPod or other portable device, IR remote, and RF antenna. The device operates on ultra-wideband 3.1 to 10.6 GHz frequency, so you don’t get interference from the many 2.4-GHz band products that might be in your home.
It’ll transmit uncompressed, 24-bit, up-to-eight-channel digital audio up to 30 feet, so even your medium-to-large media room should be accommodating, and you can say bye-bye to speaker wire clutter.
The backpacker adapter has a line-level output to go to your powered speaker, speaker selector switch matrix and RF antenna. Smartly, the THX Roomcaster can detect if one speaker is getting a weaker signal than others and automatically re-transmit it until the signal and performance are optimized.
The audio adapter/backpack adapter set runs $1,999, and for $499 more you can grab another pair of speaker backpacks for a full 7.1 wireless system.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.
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