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UNTIL RECENTLY, a person who wanted to extend stereo sound beyond the walls of the main listening area placed a second pair of speaker boxes elsewhere in the house and used a switch on the front of his or her receiver to turn them on and off. Adjusting volume or tone, changing a record, tuning a radio station or starting a tape required hiking back to the central system installation.

Now a growing number of manufacturers, supported by dealers and installers, are providing ways for you to "have sound where you want it, when you want it and how you want it." That's the Russound company's description of what its sound switching systems will do for you. The company has been around for more than 20 years and offers an extensive selection of switches and controls that will link amplifiers, speakers and various sources.

The Russound products are fully manual, however. Room-to-room remote control extenders are available from other sources. These systems have sensors that mount in or on walls in rooms far from the central system. The sensors pick up signals from any existing infrared remote controller and send them along low-voltage wires to an emitter mounted in front of the system to be controlled. The emitter repeats to the system what the sensors picked up in the other room.

These simple but effective systems are available from Onkyo, Sansui, Denon and other major manufacturers. They are designed to carry signals from remote controls that you already have so they will work with any infrared remote device. They don't add remote control to installations that don't have it already.

You can add remote control of volume, power, balance and limited input switching to any system with AR's Stereo Remote Controller. This device patches into the tape monitor loop and adds '90s convenience to any stereo system.

Bose's new Lifestyle system uses radio waves rather than infrared to extend remote control functions throughout a house. This means that it does not require any control wiring to do its job. You still need signal cables from the central system, however. And it's those signal cables that serve as the antenna that carries the radio control signals back to the central installation.

Bose designed the Lifestyle system to work with the amplified speakers that the company uses for built-in applications, but it will also work with an existing stereo installation using conventional components.

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