Crestron Brings Music Distribution To the Masses

The initial roll-out, like many new product offerings that represent a shift in strategy, has been delayed several times since it was announced last September the CEDIA Expo. Sound Solutions, a high-end home integrator liked what it saw and began speccing the Adagio line into jobs in January. Mark Elson, Sound Solutions' director of marketing, said the delays are worth it if they help produce a bug-free product.

"This is the first offering where Crestron has moved into a different market. Adagio offers a really good opportunity for entry level applications that previously were unavailable to us, especially since the system is expandable," he says, adding that the line gives Sound Solutions the opportunity to upgrade solutions over the years. "We're excited that it's appropriate for many more households and commercial opportunities."

Last month, Crestron began shipping three versions of its Adagio Audio server, which begins at $3,200 and features 80 Gbyte, 160 Gbyte and 250 Gbyte disk capacities, and its iPod Connect interface. This week, Crestron begins shipping four models of the Adagio Entertainment System, which starts at $3,700 and features six-room audio distribution with up to six tuners and expanded control functionality; and the Adagio Audio Expander, which expands any Adagio processor to six additional rooms.

In June, integrators can expect the Audio Distribution System, which retails for $2,500 and features six-room audio distribution with two built-in tuners. The Rockleigh, N.J.-based manufacturer also has several packages it will sell at special prices. The company will continue adding features and additional Adagio products throughout the year, a spokesman said.

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Jon Robbins, COO of Hifi House, an integrator in Broomall, Pa., that is using a full line of Creston products as the core of its new home showroom and retail store, says Adagio comes in at the right price at the right time.

"I'm very excited about it. It really creates a new market," Robbins says. "The product slides in underneath the traditional Crestron merchandise. It will become far more consumer centric because of the pricing. A broader range of consumers will be interested in having control in their home."

Over the last year, many integrators say they are expanding their offerings beyond the limited large, high-end homes that traditionally made up their markets to smaller homes owned by professionals in the upper middle class. They will also use Adagio for multi-dwelling units (MDUs) such as condominiums, second homes and guest houses.

"There are fewer people building large homes and more opportunities in different categories," says Elson. "This allows us to provide a Creston solution for our existing condo base. Those can't be robust or widespread because there is no need for security features or a pool or spa control."

George Fallica, co-owner of CIMAX USA, North Miami Beach, Fla., says Adagio will make selling into those markets much easier. "Crestron made a full control system available to everybody, available for only two to three thousand retail."