Aton DLA6 Six Zone Speaker Selector Preview
- Product Name: DLA6 - 6 Room Remote Controllable Speaker Selector
- Manufacturer: ATON
- Review Date: February 15, 2013 09:35
- MSRP: $499
- First Impression: Pretty Cool
- DLA (Dynamic Level Adjustment) Technology delivers maximum available volume levels to each room while protecting your amplifier from damage (patent pending)
- Advanced Control Options (sold separately)
- ATON RF Remote (Up to 200 ft. Range)
- ATON IR Receivers
- ATON In-Wall Touch Pad
- Adds up to 6 pairs of speakers to your home theater/stereo receiver or amplifier
- Expands Multi-Zone audio system capabilities with additional speaker and control locations (sub-zones)
- Programmable "Scene" command for one-touch recall of your favorite system settings
- One-touch "All On" command turns audio on in all rooms
- One-touch "All Off" command turns audio off in all rooms
- Room labels with adhesive backing included for easy front panel room identification
- 2 Year Limited Warranty
- Slimline Infrared (IR) Remote Included
ATON is a name that you may not be familiar with, but if you're in the market for a speaker selector, it's one you may want to learn. A subsidiary of Nortek Technology, ATON's siblings include more familiar names like Furman, Niles, Panamax, Speakercraft, and Sunfire. While ATON does offer a variety of equipment, including speakers, their core focus is on Audio/Video routing systems. The DLA6 being previewed here is ATON's most capable speaker selector, with the ability to deliver audio to as many as six zones.
Unlike a lot of seemingly similar but less costly solutions, the DLA6 is a fairly advanced piece of hardware. The core technology for example, Dynamic Level Adjustment, actually auto-senses how many speakers you have connected/selected, and will impedance match to ensure the most efficient delivery of power while at the same time ensuring your amplifier/receiver doesn't spontaneously combust. This can be a huge advantage over other solutions which do not offer the same granularity in impedance matching, thus leading to significant losses and consequently less power to your speakers if you are only using two or three zones.
What makes this product even more interesting is one of the optional accessories: the DLA6RKT RF Remote & Receiver package, which is available for an additional $139. Naturally the remote offers you full control over the DLA's features, including volume, muting, and zone selection, but unlike a typical IR remote (which is included in the base package), you get 200 feet of range and pesky things like walls and furniture aren't an issue. Whether you're enjoying some fresh air along with some tunes on your patio or happen to be partying a few rooms away from the selector itself, you still have full control at your finger tips. ATON boasts that they are the only manufacturer to offer a RF remote with such a system, making this a unique offering.
ATON's RF Remote/Receiver Package For The DLA6
Now of course there's the matter of price. $499 isn't chump change by any means, but the ability to seamlessly control up to six zones of audio with the knowledge that you're not wasting a chunk of your receiver/amplifier's power on an inefficient impedance matching system is a nice perk. If you want to feel a little better: consider that same $499 could be used to purchase a little under 3.5 inches of Audioquest's WEL Signature speaker wire (not that we'd suggest anyone actually touch that with a 10 foot pole). And of course for those concerned with reliability, ATON does warrant the DLA6 for two years.
ATON seems to have an interesting piece of gear on their hands with the DLA6. The ability to route audio to six zones is nice for those interesting in whole house audio, and the fact that the DLA6 can do it efficiently is a big plus. With the optional RF remote, the DLA6 is truly a unique option in the market, giving you control at your fingertips whether you're in the back yard enjoying some music or in your laundry room folding a load fresh from the dryer. All in all, it seems worth a serious look for those who want high quality audio throughout their home. So if you've got a 7.1 A/V receiver and currently only using it in 5.1 mode, you can now power up to 6 zones of audio off of the unused remaining two amplifier channels with ease. Imagine a whole home solution with just two boxes and no need for additional external amplification. We like this solution a lot!
Also note that Roomie Remote IOS app works well with Aton thru the IR interface - you may not need the RF in that case. You will be limited by the range of your WiFi.
Unit does run pretty warm , other than range on RF the unit works well.