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Multi-Room Audio: Now Serving Digital Music at Home

Digital music has forever changed the way we buy and listen to music. Despite its overwhelming popularity, many of us don't take full advantage of all that it has to offer. Most MP3 aficionados know that storing music digitally on PCs and portable players gives instant access to entire music collections and the ability to organize and search that music by seemingly endless criteria. Songs in your collection that may have been forgotten about in shiny disc form are easy to access once "ripped" to the hard drive.

Digital music is not sentenced to life on the PC or portable player, only to be heard through white ear bud-style headphones and car adapter kits. Home audio systems ranging from simple shelf systems to high-end whole house music systems are another great, yet forgotten, venue for listening to digital music.

Connecting a portable player or PC to a home entertainment system is quite simple, and there are single- and multi-room digital music solutions for any house size and budget. Here are a few examples of systems that can help you get the most of your digital music listening experience.

High Quality, Low Frills

Digital music, whether served up by a portable player or straight from the PC itself, can compliment a high-fidelity home audio setup. An MP3 player is more than a portable playback device; it can be part of a listening experience at home as well. Using the headphone output, connect your PC or digital music player to any number of audio systems. This simple setup will provide good sound quality and the ease of plug-and-play connectivity while giving you one more opportunity to play your music collection. It’s perfect for the occasional evening of entertaining or casual listening. As with any audio source, the higher the quality of audio system and speakers the better the quality of sound.

Streaming Bluetooth Stereo
Many newer music players can stream music wirelessly over a Bluetooth connection. Similar to the hands-free profile that connects your smartphone to your Bluetooth headset or car radio, the Bluetooth stereo (“A2DP Profile”) lets you stream music to portable speaker systems and audio systems that feature Bluetooth audio streaming. You can also purchase inexpensive accessories for both your MP3 player and audio system to add this functionality.

Affordable High-Tech

Wireless Media Players take digital music listening to the next level by allowing you to play MP3 and digital music from a PC in another over room or from the Internet. Media players give you menu-driven access to music and playlists stored on any PC on your home network while a back-lit LCD display shows song and artist info in the listening room adding to the cool factor. This type of solution is perfect for those with existing home networks and music stored on multiple PCs throughout the home. When connected to an A/V receiver with multi-room capability, you can affordably design a two-room audio system on a budget.

The Dream System

For the ultimate in high-tech multi-room music listening, consider a whole-house music system. This setup, usually hard-wired through the home, consists of in-wall or in-ceiling speakers and LCD keypads in each room. You can not only control the volume and music source for a particular room, but some systems also allow you to see song and artist information and browse through PC music playlists, FM stations, and even satellite radio. Such a setup is a party host’s dream, giving him or her the opportunity to create custom playlists for the party and play different playlists in each area of the house. Systems from manufacturers offer the ultimate in multi-room music for your home and come in a variety of configurations depending on your needs. Those who are building or remodeling should strongly consider planning such a system as part of the construction, although retrofits to finished spaces is very common. Find a Tech Home installer near you who can install your system for you.

Both in portable form and as part of a home audio system, digital music offers the ultimate control for audiophiles and casual music listeners alike. Visit a specialty electronics retailer for a complete demo of some of the solutions mentioned above.

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