SpeakerCraft MODE Multiroom Audio System Page 2
Cat-5 wiring connects each MODE Base to its Adapter. (Runs of more than 250 feet - pretty unlikely in most residential installs - require local power supplies.) This means that you can place the docking Base wherever it's most convenient - in the kitchen, the bedroom, the office, or elsewhere. A single Cat-5 run then connects all of the Adapters to the MZC's expansion port. The Adapters feature 12-pin sockets that allow them to stack together, sharing power, metadata, and control information. Audio signals run separately from each Adapter to the MZC via stereo minijack outputs.
Both the Base and Adapter also feature stereo minijack inputs. Although only one can be used (selected during programming), these let you add local sources to your system, perfect for connecting a TV or cable box in bedrooms. For the price of a single cable, you can route the TV's audio through your far-better-sounding audio speakers. Sweet!
The last part of setup is the programming, done via SpeakerCraft's EZ Tools software. While not too difficult, it's meant to be performed by a professional installer, so I won't delve into it.
PERFORMANCE An audio distribution system lives or dies by its controller, and by that count, the MODE is a real success. With a 3.5-inch-high, full-color display, ice-blue glowing hard keys, and a screw-less bezel, it just looks cool. Unfortunately, it comes only in a black or white finish, which might be too stark (white) or high-tech (black) for some decors. Most manufacturers of similar systems also offer ivory and almond.