Clever Home Automation - Frequently Asked Questions.
What is multi-room audio hi-fi?

Multi-room audio hi-fi can be a really enjoyable asset in your home.

You should consider multi-room audio hi-fi for your home if you:
  • Enjoy listening to the same audio source (e.g. music, radio or TV) in more than one room.
  • Want the flexibility to sometimes also listen to different sources in different rooms at the same time.
  • No longer want to have your favourite audio blaring in one room so you hear it in another room or outdoor area.
  • You would like to be able to control your audio system in a number of different ways, possibly including from your home automation system and its mobile device user interfaces, touch screen controllers, or wall switches.
What is multi-room audio and multi-room audio hi-fi?
An easy way to introduce multi-room audio hi-fi is to compare four types of audio systems;
Standalone single-room audio, Multi-room audio, Multi-room audio hi-fi, and Public Address:

Standalone single-room home audio.
Any audio system that does not have any special support for providing audio to more than one room (or for receiving and controlling audio from a remote main room) is a isolated standalone single-room audio system. Examples include most home stereo systems and home theatre systems. Some multi-room audio components may also be used as great standalone products if you don't need to use any of their multi-room features, such as the Clipsal C-Bus Desktop Room Amplifier that also has local controls on its front panel and supports local analog and digital audio inputs.
Go to Clipsal C-Bus Multi-room Digital Audio page.

Non-hi-fi Multi-room audio.
Non-hi-fi Multi-room audio systems are low quality multi-room audio systems that provide basic multi-room audio features but poor sound quality. Such non-hi-fi multi-room audio systems usually have all their room amplifiers in one location, sometimes inside one shared case, with long speaker cables radiating out to distant multi-room speakers. They may also use old-style rotary analog volume controls on wall plates in the remote rooms wired between the amplifier and the speakers that seriously degrade audio reproduction quality. It does not matter how well known or reputable an audio manufacturer is, this type of non-hi-fi multi-room audio system is inherently not cable of quality audio reproduction for basic technical reasons.
     Non-hi-fi Multi-room audio systems are the most common type of multi-room systems because they are easy and inexpensive for manufacturers to design and manufacture. Also, store salespeople and electricians require little technical knowledge to "design", sell and install them. Home owners usually don't discover how poor non-hi-fi multi-room audio systems actually sound until they listen to them in their own home, or they hear a quality multi-room hi-fi system (see below) in someone else's home.

Multi-room audio hi-fi.
Hi-fi (Hi-Fidelity) multi-room audio is a delight to listen to. It differs from multi-room audio systems in that every aspect of its design contributes to delivering more enjoyable audio reproduction in every room. A well engineered multi-room hi-fi system does not necessarily involve installing expensive equipment in every room. It is instead about engineering a cost effective audio system that provides much better value for money by delivering enjoyable hi-fi multi-room audio through your home.
     For example, even in a steamy bathroom with exhaust fan noise, a properly designed multi-room hi-fi system will deliver surprisingly enjoyable reproduction using moderately priced (moisture resistant) speakers and amplifiers. The quality, maximum power level and cost of equipment would increase as you go from bathroom to dining room, to bedroom, to study, to lounge, reaching truly delightful levels in your home theatre or stereo listening room.
     To realise a delightful multi-room audio hi-fi system in your home each aspect of your audio system needs to be carefully engineered with audio expertise to produce an enjoyable standard of musical audio reproduction. To ensure you have the opportunity to enjoy genuine hi-fi multi-room audio in your home, explore your options well before plaster goes on during construction. This way the required cable types and configurations, and other multi-room hi-fi equipment, may be installed while wiring access is available.

Public Address (PA) systems.
Finally, and only to avoid possible confusion, we mention PA systems. Examples include those PAs installed in schools, airports, large commercial buildings and elevators. These PA systems are designed to distribute voice announcements and/or very low quality background audio over large noisy commercial areas as inexpensively as possible. Visitors are able to listen to music from these systems for a short time as a distraction while waiting to be served or or to reach your floor. However PA systems are unpleasant to listen to in a home environment for extended periods - you will actually feel a wave of relief when you turn them off! For multi-room audio that you will enjoy listening to for years to come, multi-room audio hi-fi systems are the way to go.

Krix multi-room audio speakers
Niles SI multi-room audio amplifiers
Clipsal C-Bus multi-room audio hi-fi
Clipsal C-Bus multi-room audio amplifiers
What multi-room audio hi-fi features do I need?
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