Request iQ Hockessin DE
June 13, 2008 By Brent Butterworth
From One to Many
Request built its name as the Mercedes of music servers. Other music servers work fine, but most of them are as dully competent as a Toyota Corolla. Like an E-Class sedan, Request’s servers rise above mediocrity with superior construction and thoughtful, unique features.
Music servers make the most sense when you can access them from any room in your home, which hasn’t been so easy to do with Request’s products. The company set itself to fixing the problem—and, in the process, its engineers rethought the way a multiroom system should work.
The result is the iQ, an entire multiroom system built around a music server. Even though it’s structured differently from most competing systems, the iQ is not really so different in day-to-day operation. Once again, it is Request’s unique, thoughtful features that distinguish the product.
Most multiroom systems center around a switcher/amplifier. Your installer connects source devices, like a CD player and a radio, and the switcher/amp routes the sound to multiple rooms. With the iQ system, the iQ.IMS music server is the core. The IMS can emit as many as four separate music streams, plus radio from optional XM and AM/FM tuners, streaming audio from the Internet, audio from cable boxes and satellite tuners, and music from the Finetune online service. Instead of having a closet full of gear, you have just a few boxes—and your installer has a lot less programming and configuring to do. Request’s 16-channel iQ.IMA amplifier provides the power; no other amplifier will work with the iQ.IMS.
Your principal interface will probably be the iQ.TS35, a 3.5-inch, in-wall touchscreen. When you’re not fussing with it, the screen shows the weather and/or the latest numbers in your stock portfolio. Personally, the thought of my music collection flowing through the same device that delivers my financial market news makes me queasy, but I’d probably better get over it. How much aesthetic purity can anyone who lives in the same county as Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan really achieve, anyway?
Back to the iQ.TS35. Those who aren’t afraid to punch a button will quickly figure out how to use the TS35 to browse their music collection by artist, genre, song, or album. Hard buttons on the right let you navigate through the music collection, while hard buttons on the left adjust volume and mute the sound. The screen also displays album art, which gives it a certain “wow” factor compared with more basic control devices.
Request offers other control interfaces, too. The TS.15 is a jumbo, 15-inch touchscreen that’s somewhat easier to navigate than the iQ.TS35 but is rather bulky. It’s best suited to sit on a tabletop or bar. There’s also the Freedom, a wireless Nokia Web tablet with a 4-inch screen that employs the same exact control interface as the TS35. Like all of these interface devices, the Freedom can control the sound in any room, so it’s practi...