Audac XMP44 Professional Audio Player
Review:/ Christopher Holder
One thing I’ve noticed from my trips to ISE in recent years is just how rapidly Audac is developing as a company. Belgium-based Audac is an audio specialist and, in years gone by, from this distance at least, felt like another beige purveyor of install loudspeakers.
Things have changed. Although retaining its focus on audio, Audac has poured considerable resources into some very elegant software control. What’s more, Audac gear now looks sharp, feels very solidly built and is releasing some innovative product, such as the XMP44.
PASS THE SOURCE
The XMP44 is a 1U music source device. That’s not the innovative bit. A few years ago we had the 1U Bosch PLE-5DT through the AV Asia Pacific office and there are other install tuner/playback devices on the market. Audac has devised a clever modular approach to the product. Each of the four slots allows you to plug in a FM tuner, DAB tuner, media player and more.
The module system is called SourceCon and it’s easy to slot your perfect combination of modules into the back of the unit. When it’s inserted/installed the module is instantly installed, discovered and ready to roll.
So the idea is you can have one slot populated or two, three or four. You can mix and match modules to best suit your needs. Given you can have four sources playing at once you could easily have four channels of FM playing simultaneously to four different zones if that was your (admittedly peculiar) need.
The combination of a hi-res 2.8-inch TFT display and pushbutton dial makes for an instantly familiar approach to navigating the menu. The four pushbuttons takes some of the load off the rotary knob and makes navigation even easier. Four USB ports correspond to the four card slots and support data storage, media playback or any other supported function. For example, if you have the IMP40 internet audio player module inserted, audio from the USB stick will kick in if there’s an interruption in the connection, and when the connection returns it’ll switch back.
Generously, there’s even some confidence monitoring (built-in speaker and a volume knob) — a godsend for installers in a subterranean rack room. All up, it’s easy to configure the XMP44… you can be setting it up with one hand and checking your phone messages with the other.
Controlling the unit away from the equipment rack is well catered for. The XMP44 is both RS232 and TCP/IP controllable allowing implementation with home and commercial automation systems. What’s more there’s a free app and browser-based control. In fact, you can do more than basic volume control, it’s possible to fully configure the device from any anywhere you have internet.
If you’re after a single-source music player, no problems, Audac does those as well. The XMP44 is best applied to multi-zone/multi-source installs. Whether that be club/pubs, schools, office building or even churches. This is where the modular approach will save you money and provide a more elegant solution.
IMP40 Internet audio player module: Synchronises with the vTuner database which contains over 30,000 channels ($369).
DMP40 DAB/DAB+/FM tuner module: Preferential station storage (10 entries) and signal strength indication ($229).
FMP40 Voice file media player module: External (USB) and internal (Micro SD) media support, 15 trigger contact inputs, 50 programmable timer triggers ($259).
MMP40 Media player & recorder module: Audio playback & recording; Repeat & random, single & continuous play ($239).
TMP40 FM tuner module: Worldwide FM band support; station storage ($149).
NMP40 Network audio player module: Spotify, AirPlay and DLNA compatible.
BMP40 Bluetooth module: Long distance Bluetooth transmission with pairing protection ($209).
ANX44 Dante network interface 4-in/4-out: Integrate into any Dante-enabled AV network and transfer digital audio with any compatible product on the market ($599).