The Display - Playing Music
Selecting a Source
More about the Music Port
Actions - Queues & Favorites
The Essentia music system is designed to enable flexible listening. Different music can be enjoyed by different people in different areas. For example, one person might be listening to a radio broadcast in the kitchen, whilst another listens to a classical music album in the lounge, someone else tunes in to rock music in a bedroom, and so on.
All these different choices, or "Sources" of sound, can be sent simultaneously to the various destinations, or "Zones", from a central location, where the music system is installed. The system consists of various devices, which, to all intents and purposes, the user does not need to know about; interaction is provided by means of keypads located in each Zone. These are wall-mounted, and provide the means to select the sound Source, and control its quality and volume. A small LCD screen displays details of what is being played, and menus to make changes to the configuration.
The number of Sources available depends on how the system is set up, and does not correspond simply to how many physical devices are installed. For example, a digital radio unit in the system can provide two different channels simultaneously, so that, for example, one person can listen to Radio 1 in the living room, whilst someone else has Radio 4 playing in a bedroom. The system may also have a 'Music Port', a device on which digital music can be stored, taken from CDs or downloaded from the Internet. The Music Port is capable of streaming three different Sources simultaneously.
In the keypad images that follow, the screen text has been enlargened and simplified, for the sake of clarity; the number of lines of visible text may also not coincide with what you see on your keypads - additional options in a menu are accessible by using the arrow keys to move up or down.
Fig.1 Music Port Playing
Fig.2 Main Menu - Sources Selected
Fig.3 Sources Menu
Fig.4 Music Port - Select Music
Selecting a Source
At the top of the screen in Figure 1, you can see 'MPA' displayed. This is where an abbreviated form of the Source from which the song is being sent (or "streamed" as the jargon has it) is displayed. In this case, 'MPA' refers to 'Music Port A'. As mentioned above, the Music Port can stream up to three different songs simultaneously, hence the 'A'; other potential Sources would be 'MPB' or 'MPC'. The Source name abbreviations are configurable, and thus may vary from one system to another.
Figure 2 shows a representation of a Main Menu, with the 'Sources' option highlighted. The options that appear in a Main (top-level) Menu are determined by the Source currently selected, but you will always find 'Sources' there. The 'MENU' button is used to move "up a level", after accessing options at a lower "nested" level. Keep pressing the button until the top of the screen reads 'Main Menu' to return to the top level. In any menu, the up and down arrow buttons are used to move between options. Press 'OK' to select an option.
Once you have selected Sources by pressing 'OK', a list of possible options comes up. This may include, for example, each channel of the Music Port, two DAB radio channels, an iPod dock - the exact list will vary depending on what is installed on your system. The Source currently selected is marked with a tick. Highlight a different Source, and press 'OK' to change Source.
Once you have the Source selected, you can return to the Main Menu (by pressing the 'MENU' button), from where you can select what you want to play from that particular Source. This is perhaps a little counter-intuitive, going back to the Menu to control the Source you have just selected. For example, if you have chosen the Music Port Source, you can then choose music in various ways, for example by Genre, Artist, Composer or Song (see Figure 4).
Continuing with the example from the last section, suppose you have selected 'Music Port A' as your Source, and then selected 'Songs' from the Music Port Main Menu. Within the Songs Menu (Figure 5), you can choose to either let all songs on that collection (album) play at random ('Shuffle All'), or select a track and press 'OK' to play just that tune.
If you take a different route to select your music, you will see different options. For example, supposing you select 'Artists', at the Main Menu; at the next level, you select the Artist of your choice, and click 'OK'; now, you are presented with a list of albums for that Artist (Figure 6), and can choose to play just one album, or all the songs. If you choose to select an Album, the next menu that comes up is the 'Songs' Menu, from which you can then play a particular track, or the whole album.
The choices on offer can make it a bit bewildering at first, if you are not already familiar with this kind of system. It is all about "permutations" - a myriad of ways to make your personal choice. This is why experimentation with the system can sometimes be the best way to learn. Navigating through the menus and seeing "what's what" allows you to get to know the system when you have the time available; there are so many possible combinations of options that it is not feasible to cover them all in a conventional manual style.
You can find some other options to investigate under 'Advanced Zone Control' (Figure 2). 'Party Mode' allows you to nominate one keypad as the "master", and control the same music in all Zones at once. 'Do-Not-Disturb' locks a given Source for the Zone it is selected from; if somebody starts playing that Source in another room, it will not disturb the occupant of the Zone where Do-Not-Disturb is invoked. 'Sleep Mode' plays a Source in the Zone for a selected amount of time, gradually lowering the volume, after which it automatically extinguishes.
The next sections look two of the Source devices which are typically installed: digital radio, and a music server.
Fig.5 Music Port Song List
Fig.6 Music Port Album List
More about the Music PortSo far, the capabilities of the Music Port (also sometimes called the "music server" have been mentioned in terms of its ability to act as a server of music stored on its hard disk. It also has other capabilities.
Being part of the system which can take advantage of an Internet connection, the Music Port can also connect your system to Internet radio channels (Figure 7). This can give rise to confusion, since this is not the same as DAB radio, which is accessible to those who have a DAB receiver as part of their system. The reception of the Internet radio channel may be compromised by bottlenecks or restrictions on the Internet, so you may see "Buffering" appear on the screen in these circumstances. This is a reflection of the service offered by the Internet streaming provider, and is not a fault with your music system.
Fig.7 Music Port Menu
- Internet Radio
If you select 'Radio' from the Music Port Main Menu, you can "tunnel down" through further menus which enable you to select a station based on categories. For example, you can select geographically by continent, then country, then local radio, and so on.
To sum up the potential radio source confusions: Internet Radio is availabe from the Music Port Sources; DAB (digital) Radio is available from the DAB Receiver Sources; FM Radio is available from the same DAB Receiver device, but only if you have an analogue aerial attached (which you may not have if you already have digital radio).
The Music Port is, above all, a digital music store. Another section deals with setting up the software which can be used to update music. Because this device is also capable of connecting to the Internet, you can also configure it to use the Internet service 'Spotify'. Like 'Napster', 'Spotify' is a service which allows you to listen to music by subscription, rather than buying it outright. Your choice of music is downloaded over the Internet, and listened to as the mood takes you.
DAB RadioWith the advent of digital ("DAB") radio, system owners now have the opportunity to incorporate a long list of digital channels into the system's repertoire. If you have a NuVo T2 DAB Tuner installed as part of your system, two different DAB channels can be listened to simultaneously.
Again, the DAB options are available only when DAB is chosen as a Source. If you have a Music Port in your system, and that is the chosen Source, 'Radio' may appear as an option, but that is Internet Radio, not to be confused with DAB. Furthermore, DAB is distinct from FM radio; FM radio will be available only if you have an FM aerial fitted to the system.
Now, assuming that DAB radio has already been selected from the Sources list, how is a channel then selected? First, press the MENU button to get to the Main Menu for DAB (Figure 9). Select 'DAB Channels' from here, and then 'All Channels'; this gives rise to a listing of all the available DAB radio channels (Figure 10). You can now scroll up and down through the list, using the arrow keys, to find the channel you want, and then press 'OK' to select.
This is all very well for selecting the channel the first time around, but the list is not short, so it is more convenient to have a more compact list of favourite channels which can be accessed more easily. This can be achieved by setting up 'Preferences'. First, tune in to a channel you would like to add to your Preferences list. Then, return to the Main Menu for DAB, and select 'T2DAB Options'. From the Options list, select 'Edit Presets' (Figure 11). This leads to another menu, where you select a Preset list (Figure 12); the system provides for having several Preset lists, so that, for example, individual people can have their personal tailored settings. Select one of these to go through to the next level, where you can modify a Preset list. It is here, where you will find the options to edit your Presets, including the option to add the current radio channel to your Presets. You can also personalise the name of the Preset list itself - for example, each person in the property might have their own personal list - a little experimentation with the keypad will reveal how the keys can be used to change from lower to upper case, to numeric input, and so on.
Fig.8 DAB Radio Playing
Fig.9 DAB Main Menu
Fig.10 DAB Channels
Fig.11 DAB Options
Fig.12 DAB Presets
Fig.13 Actions Menu
Fig.14 Actions - Adding Favorites
Actions - Queues & Favorites
Another option which can be found in the Main Menu is 'Actions'. The entries available in menus may vary from one Source to another; let's look at the Music Port as an example.
Under 'Actions', you can create a queue of music to be played - select 'Manage Queue', and you will find options to save, clear and edit a queue. Under 'Edit Queue', you can add, for example, an album or song to the queue (Figure 14).
Another 'Actions' option is to add to 'Favorites' lists (see Figure 13 - the menu options scroll round in a live system when you highlight them with the arrow keys, so you can read all the text). Whatever you add here will then be available under 'Favorites' on the Main Menu. You can do the same sort of thing with other Sources. Another component which some systems have is an iPod dock. Inserting the iPod into this device will enable it to be played from the keypads. Music can also be added to Favorites from your iPod.
You may also see 'Rescan Media' listed as an Actions option. This applies to the Music Port. This is used to refresh the synchronization with your computer. However, this action is performed automatically if the software on your computer is already set up to automatically synchronize.
Some methods of changing the settings of Zones have already been mentioned. 'Advanced Zone Control' allows you to set 'Party Mode' and other Zone-specific behaviours; the keypad can be used to control volume and choice of sound. There is also another category available, entitled 'Zone Settings', which is to be found under 'Setup' in the Main Menu (Figure 15). Assume the DAB radio Source is selected, for example. From the Main Menu, select 'Setup'. From there, select 'Zone Settings' (Figure 15).
The Figure shows an option already selected (indicated by the tick). Loudness Compensation boosts the bass and treble when volume levels are low. Here also, you can adjust the sound quality in terms of bass, treble and balance. In addition, you have a 'Volume Settings' option in the list; you can always adjust volume locally on the keypad, but supposing you always like volume to be at a certain level when you turn the system on - this is where you can make that adjustment.
Even the display itself can be adjusted under 'Zone Settings', for example to change the intensity of the backlight.
Fig.15 Setup Menu
Fig.16 Zone Settings
As frequently happens with these types of menu-driven technologies, the labyrinthine possibilities can lead to confusion; however, the intention at least is to give you as many options as possible, for you to be able to exercise choice. The best approach is often to try a few things out, and get acquainted with the system bit by bit.
We have done our best to make this guide accurate, but please refer to the manufacturer if you require definitive information.