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Russound Multiroom Audio System Hockessin DE

Most people will listen to the music server and the radio tuner 99 percent of the time, anyway. All this fancy functionality takes only seconds to set up, thanks to Russound’s RNET technology.

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Russound Multiroom Audio System

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October 1, 2005 By Charles Crowley

Surely you’ve seen that iPod Shuffle thing that Apple makes; not since the heyday of Brut by Faberge can I remember a product so heavily advertised. The Shuffle looks tempting until you see it has no display, so you cannot pick which tunes you will hear, or even see what’s playing. Apple says its research shows that most people do not care what song comes up next. Maybe this proves people no longer enjoy the close connection to music they had in the days of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Ted Nugent—back when music mattered.

The UNO-S2 keypad includes F1 and F2 “favorites” buttons that provide fast access to your preferred programs. (Click image to enlarge)
But it still matters to me what song comes up next, and I bet it matters to you, too. It certainly matters to the multiroom audio specialists at Russound. Most multiroom audio systems tell you only what source device is playing; as with the iPod Shuffle, you end up hitting the track skip or disc skip buttons and hoping a song you like comes on. But with Russound’s latest gear—the CAV6.6 multiroom controller, the SMS3 music server, the ST2-XM satellite/AM/FM radio tuner, and the UNO-S2 keypads—you get all the information you need right there on the keypad.

The readout on the UNO-S2 tells you exactly what’s playing on each of the three simultaneous streams from your music server, including which playlist you have chosen, and which artist and tune are emanating from your speakers. It also tells you which XM station you have selected, and what song you’re hearing on that station. (You can also see the frequency of an AM or FM station you have tuned, although that capability is common.)

With other sources—such as CD, DVD, satellite or cable TV—it merely tells you which source is selected. But doing more would be practically impossible, because those source devices do not provide any information for the UNO-S2 to display. Most people will listen to the music server and the radio tuner 99 percent of the time, anyway.All this fancy functionality takes only seconds to set up, thanks to Russound’s RNET technology. RNET is an Ethernet-style connection that lets all the Russound components talk to one another. Just plug it in and it works. RNET is good for your installer because it simplifies and shortens the installation, and good for you because you won’t have some guy hanging around your house for hours while he programs the system.

The only complication is that the CAV6.6 is preset for the radio tuner to occupy inputs 1 and 2, and the music server to occupy inputs 3, 4, and 5. This makes setup easier—once you realize what Russound has done. However, it’s not really explained in the CAV6.6’s confusing manual. I must divulge that I had to make a tech-support call to Russound—a confession as painful to a tech pundit as it would be for Lance Armstrong ...

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