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Sanus ELM501 IR Repeater Kit First Look

Sanus ELM501 IR Repeater Kit

Sanus ELM501 IR Repeater Kit


  • Product Name: ELM501 IR Repeater Kit
  • Manufacturer: Sanus Systems
  • Review Date: March 31, 2010 02:15
  • MSRP: $119.99
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Effectively replicates infrared signals from remote controls to reach components stored remotely or hidden in enclosed cabinets.
  • Filters undesirable signals from sunlight and Plasma TVs to provide error-free operation.
  • All-in-one kit contains all necessary elements to control up to 4 components.
  • LED status lights provide power and IR signal indication.

So you've got a new big TV, a new receiver, new speakers, and a top of the line upconverting universal Blu-ray player still in the box. Your spouse has stood by stoically while watching you spend a small fortune on your new "toys" suffering through your stream of consciousness justifications for how you just saved thousands by researching on Audioholics and reading the Audioholics forums. She's listened to segments of AV Rant (she thinks Dina is a saint for putting up with Tom) justifying your purchases. She's taken your baubles you've bought as way of placating her (another great suggestion from the forums) with a smile and thanks that, if you had been paying attention, wasn't as convincing as you assumed. She's not said a word as you've taken time off work to meet the delivery driver, as boxes have stacked up in the garage and living room, and as date nights have been canceled so that you could research custom calibrators and installers.

But no longer.

There is just one thing left to purchase. Just one last thing. An equipment stand. You need something to put all your stuff in and on. And you've found a doozie. It's chrome and granite. It's got isolation and suspension. It's industrial and beautiful. The guys on the forums love it. On top of that, it's on sale. But you know it has to pass one last test. Her.

Her arms are crossed, her jaw is set, and through her teeth she says pointing to the boxes on the table where you once ate your family meals, "You see all that?! I don't want to see all of that in MY living room!"

Deflated, it's back to the drawing board. You're back on the forums looking for suggestions. After suffering the numerous, "You're so whipped," and, "That's why I'm single," comments, you get a few helpful suggestions, one of which she approves. It resembles an ancient armoire - something you gave to Goodwill after your Great Grandmother passed. In the end, there is only one more thing to buy - an IR Repeater.

IR Repeaters basically capture an IR signal as it is being sent and redirect it, through wires, to other places. This allows you to place your gear inside of a cabinet (and more importantly in the example above) behind opaque doors and still control it. Now, most mid-level and up universal remote controls will have an IR Repeater system but perhaps you just have a few pieces of gear and you don't feel the need for one. What you need is an IR Repeater Kit like the one that Sanus has just released.

Sanus Systems has long been known for their home theater furniture so it makes sense that they'd also offer an IR Repeater solution. The ELM501 consists of a small IR receiver that can be placed at the front of the room connected by a three foot cable to a hub with four IR remitter outputs, and two dual IR blaster cables. This gives you everything you need to control up to four devices with the ability to add two more dual blaster cables for a total of eight devices. Basically, the receiver grabs the signal and sends it to the hub which broadcasts it to all the the remitter outputs. The blaster cables have an IR flasher at the end which you attach to the device on top of the IR input. This flasher rebroadcasts the signal to the device and thus controls it. The hub has indicator lights for power and IR signal. This allows you to troubleshoot better. It can also be mounted with screws to keep it out of the way.


None of this is all that new to those familiar with such devices. Sanus, however, has done a few things different that we really like. First, instead of connecting the emitter directly to your gear, you connect a holster. You snap the emitter into the holster for control. This allows you to remove the emitter as much as you want. With the direct stick method (which is what we normally see), you can usually remove an emitter two or three times before it loses its stick.


Second, Sanus has really thought through how you might want to mount the IR receiver. The ELM501 kit includes a tabletop and hole mount. The tabletop mount is essentially a frame for the receiver that allows it to sit securely on a cabinet or table. The hole mount allows you to drill a hole in your furniture (or wall or wherever) and securely hold the receiver flush to the face. 


While the Sanus ELM501 IR Repeater Kit isn't the cheapest on the block, it isn't overly expensive either. The receiver can handle frequencies in the ranges from 30KHz to 60KHz (so check your gear specs) and includes filters for undesirable signals from sunlight or plasma TVs. We really like the holster idea for the IR blasters and think that this feature alone might be worth a bit of extra cost. Add in the discrete tabletop and hole mounting options and we think Sanus just might have a winner on their hands. (Note - When this First Look was initially released, the price was erroneously listed as $199 instead of $119. That was a typo that has been fixed. The First Look's text, and it's comments, are unchanged because the original author had the $119 price point in mind when it was written. We are sorry for any confusion this might have caused.)

For more information, please contact www.sanus.com

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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