NAD Electronics explores multiroom setup options

NAD Electronics offers a variety of rackmount solutions for a full multiroom setup. Amy Stoneham talks to Peter Gibb to find out more about NAD’s CI580 V2 and CI720 V2.

More and more home installations incorporate a multiroom solution to allow audio to fill all or most spaces throughout a home. NAD Electronics has a complete range of rack mounted audio components, bringing multiple advantages to both installer and end user.

“There are obviously benefits to rack mounting multiroom audio solutions, in terms of locating everything in a central location to keep it hidden and out of the way,” says Peter Gibb, business development for custom install at Lenbrook. “But it’s also efficient as it’s not always the case to have an ethernet connection to every zone, so having it all hardwired at the network switch is the best way to do that without any Wi-Fi dropouts which creates a really reliable streaming system.”

One of NAD’s products in this space is the CI580 V2, a four zone network streamer which is powered by BluOS and fits in a 1U rack space. Among many advantages, it saves space and cost thanks to a reduction in equipment and cabling in the rack when compared to using four individual streamers.

CI580 V2

Being BluOS-enabled brings a whole host of extra features to the product. “It brings AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, as well as four Roon endpoints, because it has one per zone,” explains Gibb. “It also supports MQA and supports hi-res audio, so the quality is fantastic which improves the experience for the end user. It’s a really feature rich, but very cost-effective solution that surprises people because it’s not super expensive considering the quality and functionality available.”

A similarly efficient offering is the CI720 V2, a stereo amplified BluOS player, designed also to be situated in a central rack, taking up 50% less space than a traditional streamer like a Bluesound POWERNODE.

“For us, it’s all about giving the installer choice in terms of how they design the system,” adds Gibb. “Sometimes, you want to take a preamp into your power amp, which can allow you to tailor the amplification. If you’ve got larger rooms, low impedance speakers or long cable runs, you might want to go for a more powerful amp. The CI580 gives the flexibility to do that, but if the preference is to have a single zone redundancy, where you have one complete stereo unit per zone and run the wiring from there, the CI720 is a space saving way of doing that. We can get six zones into a 3U rack space, whereas if you were to use something like a POWERNODE, it would take up twice the space.”

The CI720 V2 is also thermostatically cooled, ideal for rack mounting. With extra connectivity options included, it allows for more install options, too. “If you’re doing a 2.1 system in a room with a TV, you can wire it out to your in-ceiling speakers as well as run a sub out,” says Gibb.

Being BluOS-enabled allows the system to be completely interoperable with any BluOS supporting brands. “This allows integrators to really tailor the system to the project or the specific property on a room-by-room basis. BluOS is also very reliable on the network. It brings an incredible flexibility to satisfy every need within a project that other brands can’t offer. Being on the BluOS platform means it has the same integration drivers, the same app interface, they all have AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, and more. It makes it simple to put together that system rather than using multiple brands and multiple drivers when you’re programming all the control systems.”

With multiple use cases for both products, it can depend on the size and type of installation, the number of other audio sources and integration with a control system.

Gibb explains: "The CI580 V2 allows an integrator to feed the audio into a matrix if they want to control the external sources and grouping that way, or they can use multiple CI720 V2 and connect the external inputs directly and manage sources and grouping via BluOS, with or without a control system. Connectivity within BluOS can be expanded to sources outside of the rack room by using the Bluesound HUB, which can take any analogue or digital audio source and put it on the BluOS network as a source in any zone, it's all about quality, flexibility and choice."

Click here to watch a video talking in more detail about NAD’s rack mounted multiroom solutions.

Main image: CI720 V2

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