Working on the premise that a rising tide raises all ships, CasaTunes has launched a direct-to-consumer DIY multiroom audio/whole-house audio system formally called musicBox 6. For integrators, the $1,899 hardwired system audio system opens the door to new clients like Millennials who would not otherwise pay a custom installer, and users who often choose wireless distributed audio giant Sonos' solution.
Powered by CasaTunes’ technology, the musicBox 6 includes a four-stream CasaTunes music server, a six-room power amplifier, six keypads and an IR remote. Each stream is like a stand-alone music player, providing each family member a dedicated player. The musicBox 6 is available for 6, 12, and 18 rooms starting at $1,899.
musicBox 6 has its own website for information and as a purchasing portal. The target customer is someone who already has in-wall or in-ceiling speakers in the home, but does not want automation and does not want to hire an installer.
“Everybody is battling Sonos. Dealers are not in love with Sonos, but their customers are asking for it. How can we compete with that?” says David Krinker, CEO of CasaTunes. “We can’t create the same level of market awareness as Sonos, but we can create decent awareness for our brand. If a client has heard of it, the integrator has a better chance of selling it.”
He adds, “We found that Millennials not only tend to understand and adopt new technologies, but they also prefer a hands-on experience, preferring to install their own home audio solutions. While we believe CasaTunes offers a better and more cost-effective solution for homes with four or more wired rooms, CasaTunes is often not pitched to customers as they are not familiar with CasaTunes. Our goal is to become a choice in the consumer’s mind.”
CasaTunes Keeps Margin for CE Pros
Krinker admits “it’s a tricky environment” launching a DIY system while the company has its own dedicated dealer channel product. But he says integrators have to recognize that musicBox 6 is aimed at customers they “would not have gotten” versus being a product that is taking away business.
To help, CasaTunes has a program that allows integrators to not only sell musicBox 6 and make strong margin. The company also has set it up so if a consumer buys a musicBox 6 from CasaTunes as a DIY project and subsequently decides he or she needs professional installation help, the integrator can step in and earn the same margin on the product as if he or she had sold it.
Lastly, the system gives homeowners a potential upgrade path from the DIY musicBox 6 product to a full-fledged CasaTunes system if needed. There are no automation drivers for musicBox 6.
“We expect by increasing our brand and market presence, we ultimately will bring more opportunities to our dealers. Dealers can offer a comparable product with dealer margins utilizing CasaTunes’ 6X6 Matrix bundled with a CT-2 or CT-4+,” he notes.
Installation of musicBox 6 is simple, according to Krinker. The system comes with a Configurator Tool that lets the homeowner design and customize his or her own system. As a cloud-based service, the Configurator Tool allows users to create, save, and review the project at any time.
As the design of a musicBox 6 system is crafted, the Configuration Tool automatically displays the appropriate musicBox 6 server along with any other components. The detailed report includes a quote and a link to order the system.
When the musicBox system arrives, the user follows the included step-by-step instructions on how to wire up the system. After the wiring of the system is complete, the Configurator Tool prompts the user to power up the equipment and press a button to upload the project configuration to the system.
Then, it’s a simple matter of downloading the latest native CasaTunes Apps for Android and iOS to control the musicBox 6.
Speakers can be configured in the normal stereo mode, or under Advanced Options, they can be configured in Bridged mode, which provides up to four times the power to the speaker.