Installing Centralized Multiroom Audio Systems vs. Decentralized ‘Toasters’

Russound’s Charlie Porritt argues integrators should focus on hardwired whole-house audio solutions… not wireless single-room ‘toaster’ options.


Do your clients put their toaster on full display in their living room? Probably not, which is why Charlie Porritt, CEO of Russound, says any way you “slice” it, it's not logical for integrators (if they want to make some “bread” installing equipment) or their clients to openly display often sterile-looking decentralized “toaster”-like multiroom audio systems on their coffee tables.

With the proliferation of single-room localized audio solutions, consumers are being led to believe there is no need for centralized whole-house audio solutions. 

So what should integrators do? If you ignore the decentralized solutions, you are ignoring a big chunk of the market. If you offer those wireless solutions, you are potentially undercutting your whole-house audio business.

Porritt says cites numerous reasons homeowners should lean toward centralized systems, including aesthetics, sound quality, and reliability.  

He notes, “Our systems are professionally installed, so there aren’t devices sitting out openly in a person’s home… like a toaster!”

Porritt adds, “Most of our systems are centralized, which basically means the wiring goes back to a home run. If you look outside the United States where they do not use drywall construction, wireless systems run into all kinds of problems. 

In. U.S. households, with the amount of devices that are trying to pull on the wireless bandwidth, it is much better to have a hardwired system to ensure that the system is installed in a person’s homes the way they want they want it.”

“Our systems are professionally installed, so there aren’t devices sitting out openly in a person’s home… like a toaster!”

— Charlie Porritt, Russound

Porritt stresses that if clients want to interconnect their audio system to other devices, whether it be HVAC, lighting or alarms, they need the skills of a custom installer. He also points out that if the homeowner wants hi-res audio (HRA), the multiroom audio system is likely going to have to be professionally installed.

Russound is among the few manufacturers whose systems can handle HRA.

To guide consumers to skilled installers, Russound two years ago launched its Russound Certified Installer Required program.

“We wanted to ensure that the homeowners got the best value for the money. The products are shipped and locked. The integrator has credentials to unlock that product. Since these products are complicated, we really didn’t want someone to buy it over the Internet and not know how to get the full benefit from the product,” says Porritt.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.


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