Eos Pro Wireless Audio System Perfect for Light Commercial
Eos is targeting the custom channel with a pro version of its Eos Wireless Music System that will be on display at CEDIA Expo 2012.
Any CE pro who has ever heard of Eos (CEDIA Exp booth #1831) probably knows them as the maker of some cheap (OK, inexpensive) little wireless audio products. Now the company is targeting our channel with a pro version of its Eos Wireless Music System.
“We started in consumer, but found that about 40 percent of our business was coming from the commercial market,” says Jeff O’Shea, founder of IntelliTouch, the company that makes Eos.
The system found its way into many a doctor’s office, hair salon and café, he explains. “Our products weren’t really geared for that.”
So Eos “took a look at the product line and asked, ‘How can we make it more purposed for the custom install channel?’”
The Pro Eos line comprises a wireless transceiver (commissioned as either a transmitter or receiver), powered wireless speakers, and a two-zone streaming music player (made wireless with a snap-in card).
Eos employs its own proprietary 2.4 GHz spread-spectrum wireless technology, which is the company’s claim to fame, according to O’Shea. Latency is a maximum 18 milliseconds, which is “considered the Dolby standard,” O’Shea says, and it plays nice with Wi-Fi. “We don’t tramp on anyone’s Wi-Fi; they don’t tramp on us.”
The new system supports up to eight wireless audio zones, or twice as many zones as the consumer model. It also doubles the wireless range to about 300 feet versus 150 for the consumer version. And, unlike the consumer version, the pro system can support two different audio streams simultaneously with the addition of a second wireless transmitter ($200).
The speakers ($249 each) can plug directly into any wall outlet via the built-in plug, or they can be mounted with a bracket. They boast a 40W digital amp with a 4-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. Via switches on the speakers, each can be designated as left, right or mono and zone 1 or zone 2.
Also included is an IR remote for controlling the volume of each individual speaker. O’Shea says, “You want to be able to change every speaker without software. You can kind of sound-balance the speakers and then control the master volume at the source.”
The two shark-fin antennas poking out of each speaker aren’t that pretty, “but to get good range, you really need to have antennas on the top,” O’Shea explains.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the pro Eos line is the Eos Dual Zone Streaming Music Player (EOSP-500, $300) which streams more than 50 channels of music from CloudStream. O’Shea owns that service (under a different company) and has done all the heavy-lifting to ensure that the commercial-free music service passes DRM muster in commercial venues. It costs $29/month but dealers don’t have to hassle with music streaming licenses … and they get a decent cut of the recurring revenue.
Perfect for small businesses, the streamer supports 10-station presets, offers a Zone 1 paging input, and features an SD Card slot for music backup, which activates in the event of an Internet failure.
An optional Dual Zone Wireless Transmitter Card (EOSP-510, $80) lets users stream music wirelessly to Eos speakers or transceivers.
The wireless card brings some interesting opportunities to diverse applications. For example, Eos is working with PA companies to make all of their equipment wireless, says O’Shea. He also suggests, “You can put it in mixing boards. We’ll have a version of the transceiver with an XLR 0.25-inch connection.”
Eos is going through distribution with the new audio product, initially via organizations that sell commercial sound brands such as Bogen. O’Shea says, “We also have new partners in the custom channel, and we have a way to buy direct. The consumer product didn’t have enough margin to go through distribution. This has decent amounts for everybody.”
Eos will sell the Pro products to anyone online, but at full retail price.
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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