In a world dominated by Steven Jobs and his almighty iPod, far too many AV installers and home integrators simply give-in to the simplicity of using a low-resolution Apple iPod as the audio source in a home automation or home theater system. At 128 kbps, an iPod packs about one quarter of the resolution of a 25-year-old compact disc, which is hardly anything to get excited about. An iPod is pretty special when you are at the gym or on an airplane, but don't you want beamingly beautiful, uncompressed music gracing every corner of your home? Then perhaps you need a ReQuestF-Series music server.
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Configurable in terms of hard drive space, this ReQuest F-Series review unit packs a 160GB hard drive and is priced at $5,000. The ReQuest server is a close-ended system, meaning it isn't a home theater PC and therefore isn't susceptible to the viruses and Microsoft-based ills that come with that. The ReQuest F-Series server is also configurable to play over four unique zones, so it is very well-suited as the front end to a home automation system in ways an iPod cannot even dream of. The ReQuest unit is RS-232-controllable, so a Crestron
remote and or keypad can be programmed to give you very smooth access to your music. Most importantly, the ReQuest can and should be used to rip full-resolution music when iPods are at a fraction of the resolution. Yes, you can use a Web-based online tool to manage your music, including songs from iTunes, but the real draw of the ReQuest is its resolution.
Sonically, I have tested the ReQuest against some of the best sources in the audiophile market and, while there is a tiny difference between plunking a disc in a $20,000 player and playing it on the ReQuest, I must say I more frequently reach for the old Crestron and search my music collection on the ReQuest. More importantly, the ReQuest, thanks to my Crestron home automation system, allows me to access uncompressed CD-quality music managed into meaningful play lists in ways that an audiophile CD player cannot duplicate. In late 2008, being able to dial in a musical mood and play it in one of four zones in my house is worth a pretty penny. Want Zen-spa music in the gym for a post-workout cool-down session? No problem. Want classical guitar playing gently in the background of your wine cellar? You can have that, too. This is not an iPod - the ReQuest F-Series server is a powerful home automation source component.Read The High Points and the Conclusion on Page 2.