NuVo Whole Home Audio System Review

Whole Home Audio - The Easy Way

NuVo Whole Home Audio System
NuVo Whole Home Audio. Image by AVSmarthomes.au
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The NuVo Whole Home Wireless Audio system combines internet and network music streaming with audio distribution that is similar in concept, but much more flexible, than a multi-zone home theater receiver.

With the NuVo System you can access streaming music services from the internet, music content stored on PCs or USB flash drives, and Bluetooth devices, as well as being able to plug in your CD player or audio cassette deck.

The Nuvo can then send music from any of those online, network, or connected sources to any room in the house where a compatible player is located.

To accomplish this, the Nuvo System provides a Gateway Router than connects to your own home broadband router. The Gateway serves as the wireless access point for the NuVo system players and control system. You can build the rest of your system be adding one or more Nuvo self-amplified wireless audio players, depending on how many rooms, or zones, you need. There are two players available, the P200 and the P100.

Product Overview - GW100 Wireless Gateway

1. Five Ethernet/LAN Ports - One provided for connection to home router, four can be assigned to compatible NuVo players.

2. Built-in Wifi (802.11n) - Dual Band simultaneous transmission capability (2.4 and 5.6 Ghz).

3. A total of 16 Nuvo player zones can be accommodated.

Product Overview - P200 Wireless Audio Player

1. Two channel audio amplifier - 60 wpc (8 ohms, 2-channels driven from 20Hz to 20 KHz at .5% THD).

2. Audio Inputs: One 3.5mm analog stereo, one USB

3. Audio Output: one 3.5mm analog stereo (for headphones or powered subwoofer).

4. Audio Processing: Audyssey Dynamic Volume, adjustable bass and treble equalization.

5. Wireless Audio Connectivity: Bluetooth (with aptX compatibility), Wifi (8,16, and 24 bit rate and 96Khz sampling rate compatibility over Wifi).

6. Network connectivity: Ethernet/LAN, WiFi.

7. Music Streaming Service Access: TuneIn, Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM.

8. Supported Audio Formats: Analog (via line-in). MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV (via network or USB).

Product Overview - P100 Wireless Audio Player

1. Two channel audio amplifier - 20 wpc (8 ohms, 2-channels driven from 20Hz to 20 KHz at .5% THD).

2. Audio Inputs: One 3.5mm analog stereo, one USB.

3. Audio Output: one 3.5mm analog stereo (for headphones or subwoofer).

4. Audio Processing: Audyssey Dynamic volume, adjustable bass and treble equalization.

5. Wireless Audio Connectivity: Wifi provided (same bit rate and sampling rate comp ability as P200 player), Bluetooth compatibility not provided.

6. Network connectivity: Ethernet/LAN, WiFi.

7. Music Streaming Service Access: TuneIn, Pandora, Rhapsody, SiriusXM

8 Supported Audio Formats: Analog (via line-in). MP3, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, WAV (via network or USB).

System Control Requirements: NuVo IP Control via Apple iPod Touch, Apple iPhone, Apple iPad or Android Mobile Phone, Android Tablet

The system provided by NuVo consisted of its GW100 Gateway and one P200 and one P100 wireless audio players.

Additional Components Used in this Review:

Apple iPad - Model MD510LL/A - 16GB (for remote control).

Loudspeakers: Four Radio Shack Optimus LX5s (two used on the P200 and two used for the P100).

Subwoofer: Polk Audio PSW10 (used with the P200 Player).

Headphones: Voxx International 808

Installation and Setup

After unboxing the components of the system, the first thing that needs to be done is to make sure that the necessary control software has been downloaded from the NuVo website onto the Apple or Android device you are going to use to control the system. The software provides all the needed instructions and illustrations, in the form of an online user guide, that you need to put your system together and make it operational.

After you have successfully downloaded the control software, you need to integrate the GW100 Gateway into an existing home network. To do this, you connect the Gateway to your home router using an Ethernet cable, and follow the remaining setup instructions provided from the online user guide.

After you have verified that GW100 is operational, the next step is to set-up your Wireless Audio Players. In my case, I chose to place the P200 player in my living room and the P100 in my office. I then linked the P200 and P100 to the GW100 Gateway via the WiFi option.

The next step is to establish linkage to your source content. In addition to the online streaming options, I linked the iTunes library located on my PC to the system using the Music Share feature (requires software download to PC), and I also plugged in a Blu-ray disc player (using the two-channel audio connection option) into the P200. In addition, I also added a powered subwoofer to the P200's audio output, and a pair of headphones into the audio output of the P100.

With those steps completed, I was ready to enjoy some music.

System Navigation

When I received the NuVo system for review, I didn't quite know what to expect, and will admit that it took me a little while to get used to the iPad, and the NuVo control interface. However, once I got used to the menu flow, navigation was easy.

Using the iPad, I was able to control both the P200 and P100 players from anywhere in my condo, and was especially pleased that I could play a different source on each player (or zone).

For instance, I was able to a send different internet radio station to each player.

Also, the Music Share feature that works with your PC sources, can access two different pieces of music content stored on your PC and send those to different rooms. The system also allows you to send the same music content to both rooms, in both a simultaneous or trailing mode. Let's say you come home and your significant other is listening to a great song accessed from your PC, or other network connected device, on one of the players, but you are bummed because you missed the start of the song. No problem, you can send the same song to another player and start it from the beginning while it is still playing on the first player (except for real-time local or internet radio broadcasts).

With the Nuvo system, depending on how you group your "zones", you can send one source, including an analog line source, to all the zones. Likewise, you can send any combination of sources to any individual player, or group of players. The only limitations may be service dependent. For example, while you can send two or more TuneIn radio stations to different zones or group of zones, Rhapsody only provides one stream at a time. So you can't send multiple Rhapsody feeds to different players.

Audio Performance

With the speaker setup I had, I found that the sound quality was very good overall, which good channel separation and clear detail. In both the living room and office setups, the power output from both the P200 and P100 players filled the room from whatever source was selected.

Also, since the P200 and P100 players both have an analog audio output (via 3.5mm jack), if you don't want to use it as a headphone plug-in, you can connect a powered subwoofer and "voila!", you now have a mini-2.1 channel audio system that can provide a fuller listening experience.

However, it must be pointed out that you cannot incorporate the NuVo system as part of your TV, DVD, or Blu-ray disc viewing and listening experience. Although you can physically connect the analog audio output of a TV, DVD, or Blu-ray Disc player, to either the P200 or P100 player, the audio from those sources will be out-of-synch with the video. This is due to the audio distribution and processing characteristics of the NuVo system.

However, if this problem can be corrected via a possible audio delay compensation firmware update or hardware modification, and add some sort of virtual surround processing on the playback side, it would be great to be able to use the NuVo's 2.1 channel audio output capability in a modest home theater system setup. If that does occur, then also adding a digital optical input option would also give the NuVo players some added audio connection flexibility.

Final Take

I definitely enjoyed using the NuVo Whole Home Audio System that was sent to me for review. Although the system I used was only a two-zone system, it was enough to give me a good idea on how this system can be employed throughout a home, bringing music from just about any source to anywhere a P200 or P100 wireless audio player is located within Wifi or Ethernet range.

As stated earlier, the NuVo system provided easy access to content from several sources and allowed easy distribution and management of those sources in different zones using an iPad as the controller. In addition, volume and tone settings are provided for each zone independently. The sources I had access to included internet radio, networked PC content, USB flash drive stored content, and CD audio content via analog audio input connection. I did not have access to a Bluetooth source device, so I was unable to test the streaming functions or audio quality from that type of source.

For those not familiar with iPads and tablets, there is a short learning curve as you get used to the screen tapping sensitivity of those devices. I sometimes found myself navigating to the wrong step, but fortunately, it is easy to backtrack to the proper navigation steps.

The one thing that did bug me is that the actual volume controls on the P200 and P100 players are quite sensitive and you can lose control of your volume settings quickly. However, using a video tip provided by NuVo, controlling the volume using the controller, instead of the front of the players, can provide very precise control - watch video.

If you are looking for a way to provide music throughout the house from a central source point but don't want to tear up the walls and install lots of cabling, the NuVo Wireless Whole Home Audio System may be just the ticket. It is also easy to set up and use. However, as you add more rooms, the system can end up still being pretty pricey.

For a close-up physical look at the NuVo GW100 Gateway, P200 and P100 Wireless Audio Players, check out my companion Photo Profile.

The NuVo Wireless Whole Home Audio System components are available through Authorized Dealers.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.