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Using Home Automation to Make Vinyl More Portable

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Whether you want to call it a fad or a genuine comeback, the market for vinyl LPs is booming in a way that most of the music industry simply isn’t. The reasons for this trend are numerous and varied, and run the gamut from nostalgia to hipster irony to a genuine preference for the sound of records in an age of compressed downloadable music and poorly mastered CDs. Music collectors also dig the intimate, physical connection with their tunes, large cover art, often extensive liner notes, a genuine sense of ownership, just to name a few more reasons that vinyl sales climbed nearly 20% last year, whereas the industry as a whole suffered a 4.4% decline.

Of course, that’s not to say that vinyl is a panacea. No music format is perfect, and vinyl’s biggest drawback has always been its biggest drawback: its lack of portability, not just when you’re away from home or on the road (that would just be silly!), but even at home, you likely don’t bring your record collection with you from room to room. Instead, you’re a slave to your turntable’s location—unless, of course, you crank the volume loud enough to rattle the foundations.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. With home automation systems like Control4 and URC, you can leave your record player where it is, and enjoy its soothing sounds from any speaker in any room of the house. We tend to think of multiroom distributed music as a wholly digital affair, revolving around servers and streaming music services and the like. But there’s absolutely no reason you can’t plug in an entirely analog source like a record player and enjoy your record collection whether you’re in the kitchen, the shower, or even out back on the deck.

Control4 offers several solutions for accomplishing just that, depend on the size of your house and how many zones of audio you need. Connect your turntable to either the 4-Zone or 8-Zone Amplifier from Control4, and at the touch of a button, you could be listening to records in any room of the house, or every room in the house. And if you have a room that’s inaccessible via wires, there’s no need to worry: the company’s Wireless Speaker Point will beam your old-school analog audio to practically any location accessible via Wi-Fi. You could even use the Wireless Speaker Point’s stereo audio outputs to bypass its internal amp and use an audiophile-grade vacuum tube amplifier instead.

URC’s new entirely network-based Total Control home automation system also makes multiroom vinyl audio distribution easier than ever before. Simply route your turntable into any of its single-zone or multi-zone amplifiers—or even the DMS-AV Home Theater Amplifier / Processor, which serves double duty as a home automation controller and home theater preamp/amplifier—and your tunes will be accessible via any other network connected device in your home automation system.

Of course, whichever home automation system you opt for to distribute your vinyl collection around the home, you won’t have access to all of the digital goodies like onscreen artwork, metadata, track listings, and so forth. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own playlist! Load up a record changer with a stack of 45s in any order you want, and you’ll have the hippest multiroom audio system on the block.

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