“Your music.. everywhere.” That’s the tagline for American based music server, Autonomic, whose CTO and co-founder, Michael Toscano, popped in to the office yesterday afternoon, to showcase his new product.
The presentation started, as all good things do, with how it all began. A keen enthusiast, Michael had his own home automation system set up in his New York home, which was sadly lacking in one area; he found it impossible to connect all of his music sources in one simple, easy to navigate, intuitive system. With a background in IT stemming back almost 20 years, Michael and his co-founder created a Media Player software solution that allowed the whole family to enjoy their On and Offline music libraries, wherever they are in the home.
Now Autonomic has 15 members of full time staff, operating from their New York headquarters. Down the road in New Jersey, lies the Crestron HQ and manufacturing facility, which accounts for the seamless integration with Crestron systems. Now no-longer just a software solution, Autonomic – distribute the Mirage Audio Server, high powered IP controllable amplifiers, and intelligent keypads across Europe, America and the UK. And although you won’t see them in any leader boards, Autonomic are up there with main competitors SONOS, providing solutions to Crestron, Control4, Savant, Elan, AMX, & NuVo.
To cut out confusion and really get to grips with user experience, these guys have two key questions; ‘where are you?’ and ‘what do you want to play?’ Whether controlling via static touch screen, a roaming iPad or on the go via mobile, the Mirage Audio System has up to 1Tb of internal storage and uses AirPlay to send the track to any room in your house, from any on or offline library you’ve synched.
Here are a few of the team’s favourite features:
(the techy one – programmer, designer extraordinaire)
- Continuous Crestron/Apple integration is a key point. The ability to seamlessly switch between GUIs, without even realising it, is a definite plus for the end-user. If they can add that same functionality to other interfaces (such as Control4), it would make our lives easier.
- It seems to have tried to tackle all the common problem an Integrator faces when putting together a client spec (exclusively dealer to dealer in the states, Autonomic, prides itself on being built ‘with control in mind’).
- Having 5 source streams in a 1u box is useful (the MMS5 has 1 digital output and 4 analogue)… a 24-bit/192 kHz output… cloud based or local… master/master or daisy chain… 96 audio zones…
(Project Manager – IOS enthusiast)
- Consolidate multiple iTunes libraries and sync across multiple sites – so every member of the family can add their music libraries from various on and offline sources. You can even choose whether to shuffle the entire collection, or just listen to a select few; so the children are saved a trip back to the 70s, and mum and dad don’t have to listen to Pitbull’s latest attempt to ‘take it down’. Guests can also log into their own music accounts (whilst less availability than in the stats, the system offers iTunes, Spotify, Napster, TuneIn and Slacker).
- Once synced, all music is streamed from the M6 – which means you can listen to your tracks, even if you leave your laptop in the office. So if mum and dad both have the same Elton John track – but mum ripped it from a CD and dad bought the HD version from iTunes – the server will automatically use (and store) the version with the highest bit rate. Not only that, but if mum is listening to her playlist… the higher version is automatically played without interrupting the gapless playback. Intelligent cover art will also pick the highest quality – a feature which is soon to be enhanced to cover automatic updates/ replacements.
- Intuitive control. Different GUI for Android and IOS users, so the control system seems natural, and you don’t get any stretching.
(resident redhead, also in design)
- The (almost) real time synching. Synchronisation takes place 15 seconds after the last update to the server – so ripping or downloading a whole album can be done smoothly, without any judders. As Michael described it, “you can be at dinner in this really great restaurant, when suddenly a song comes on that you love. So what do you do? Whip out Shazam, find your track, buy it, and by the end of dinner that track will be on your home server and have been synchronized to every device on the system. By the time you’re back from dinner, it will be in your holiday home.”
- It’s an Intelligent System. If a touch screen is located in the kitchen, the system will already know where you are, and where you want the music – so there’s no need to choose different zones.
(purchasing manager, king of networking)
- Always looking for versatile products that offer control, straight out of the box.
- Their reactionary support for certain bugs is also good to know.
More info about the MMS2, MMs5, MMs5A and all other products can be found on autonomics website. For any questions on application or tenders, please call us here at the Inspired Dwellings. We’ll be happy to talk through Autonomic or all other sound solutions.