Bravo and Bravado Music Servers

Media servers are one of the hottest trends in home entertainment, as mentioned by Jon Iverson last week.

Emeryville , CA–based Meda Systems, Inc. is among the companies on the leading edge of this technological frontier. On September 10, Meda introduced four new models of its Bravo and Bravado music servers, using new software developed for multizone applications.

Launched at this year's Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) show in Indianapolis, the full-featured Bravo 16 and Bravo 20 music servers are intended for large homes with many rooms and listening zones. The compact (3" H x 11" D) Bravado 1 and Bravado 4 music servers are "space-saving alternatives for smaller residences" that include the Bravo line's most important features.

The Bravo 16 can manage 16 analog zones plus four digital zones of output, for a total of 20 available zones. It includes four line-level inputs, and can be controlled by up to 16 users at the same time. The Bravo 20 offers 20 zones of analog output and an additional five zones of digital output for a total of 25 available zones, and also includes four line-level inputs. The model 20 can also be controlled by up to 16 users at the same time. Each of the units comes equipped with a 250GB hard drive claimed capable of recording over one million hours of compressed digital audio.

A Bravo music server can "replace the user's CD player and holds an entire music collection of tens of thousands of songs," and each one can be operated "from any of a multitude of visual or tactile control devices, including universal remotes, TVs, PDAs, wireless Pocket PCs, computer browsers, web pads, and in-wall keypads," according to a company announcement. Each zone in the Bravo 16 and Bravo 20 offers independent control of each server's built-in preamp and digital matrix switcher "via built-in TV, infrared, web browser, wireless Pocket PC, or PC desktop interfaces." Multiple zones can be linked and synchronized via Meda's patent-pending "MZSync" technology, a key element of Meda's "Digital Entertainment Operating System," or DEOS. The matrix switcher can direct content from any source to any zone or combination of zones simultaneously, while other sources continue to play in other zones. MZSync technology is claimed to "keep each zone in perfect audio sync with other zones throughout the house."

Each server includes a digital preamplifier with a whole-house master volume and mute control; per-zone volume, mute, and source-selection controls; and 10-band equalization for each source. The built-in CD player boasts a high-speed engine that provides fast rip speeds for uncompressed WAV- and MP3-formatted audio. Internet and local database search engines can quickly find genre, artist, and album information; track names; playlists; album cover art information; and Internet radio stations. Users can browse any of those categories. Bravo servers play a wide variety of music formats, including uncompressed, WAV, lossless FLAC, MP3, standard WMA, OGG, and industry-standard M3U multi-song play lists.

The devices also interface with home computers and local area networks. Adding extra hard-disk drives can boost storage capacity. Each Bravo system includes ready-to-use control software for wireless touch-screen control from a Pocket PC, desktop PC, TV screen, or other computers' web browsers, with no additional programming needed. Meda Systems' technology partners include Crestron, AMX, D-Tools, Microsoft, Xantech, ADA, RipDigital, MusicBrainz, Universal Remote Control, Inc., and Logitech Harmony Remote.