When a well-respected audiophile brand known for an amplifier costing a cool $150k launches an AirPlay speaker system, you can be sure of two things. One, it’s going to be pretty special. Two, it’s not going to be cheap.
Sure enough, Naim’s first wireless offering – the Mu-so which I reviewed earlier this year – came in at $1500. I did, though, consider it worth every penny. It’s a true replacement for a hifi system, delivering room-filling sound that I couldn’t fault. The design is fantastic, build-quality first-rate and it offers every input source you could ever want: AirPlay, Bluetooth, UPnP, Spotify Connect, Tidal, wired Ethernet, USB, optical and 3.5mm analog.
If you liked the sound of it but thought that $1500 was pushing things a little, there’s good news and bad …
I love the concept of streaming music around the home. There are a lot of great wireless Bluetooth speakers for wireless music on the move, but it’s still unclear what to choose for a static home environment. Apple’s answer is AirPlay, but it has flaws: no multi-room support from iOS devices, limited adoption by speaker manufacturers, and spotty reliability at best.
I’ve been trying an AirPlay alternative, called Play-Fi, which is a competing industry technology for home Wi-Fi music streaming from DTS. Specifically, I tested the Definitive W7 wireless speaker which integrates Play-Fi. Read on for my review ….
Android has featured the ability to stream to AirPlay devices like the Apple TV by means of third-party utilities for some time now, but no Android device has ever shipped with native AirPlay support in tow. That’s all changed with the announcement of the HTC 10, the first device to ship with native AirPlay support.
December 23, 2015
Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days – Amazon lists more than 37,000 of them! Though our shootout should help narrow the choice if you’re in the market for one. But portable AirPlay speakers are rather rarer, pretty ones even rarer and the Sugr Cube goes one step further in its bid to stand out from the crowd: it offers gesture-based control.
You tap the top of the speaker to pause/play, tilt it 45 degrees left to return to the previous track or 45 degrees left to skip to the next.
When I saw this on our sister site 9to5Toys, I wondered whether this would be a gimmick that you use a few times, or a genuinely useful form of control. There was only one way to find out, so I took delivery of one earlier this month to put it to the test …
December 10, 2015
September 17, 2015
With the launch of YouTube Gaming earlier this year, Google’s Twitch competitor that lets users live stream and watch gameplay videos on YouTube, users can now live stream and browse gameplay videos on YouTube from dedicated apps. Google first enabled live streaming the desktop, and today announced plans for Android, but an update to the popular AirServer app is taking advantage of the lack of iOS streaming support by enabling users to live stream directly to YouTube from their iOS devices.
Google does have a YouTube Gaming app or iOS, but it currently only acts as a community-style app for letting users access live streams and recorded gameplay videos from their iPhone or iPad. AirServer, however, tells us it collaborated with YouTube to enable streaming from iOS apps using its mirroring technology: expand full story
September 16, 2015
September 11, 2015
While Apple hasn’t detailed the changes publicly, the company is planning what appears to be a major, undocumented overhaul of its AirPlay protocol with iOS 9 that should make the framework for streaming video and audio content between devices a much smoother experience for both users and developers. It is, however, breaking many screen mirroring apps in the process and forcing developers to scramble to implement workarounds ahead of the launch of iOS 9 on Wednesday and the new Apple TV in the coming weeks.
Perhaps the best example of these apps is Reflector from developer Squirrels. The app utilizes AirPlay to allow cross platform wireless mirroring from mobile devices to Macs, PCs, and other devices with the app installed. The developer first brought the change to our attention and warns that developers will have to follow in its footsteps to implement a workaround that will allow screen mirroring apps to continue functioning after iOS 9 is released… expand full story
September 8, 2015
Apple’s AirPlay wireless audio protocol didn’t really take off in standalone speakers, but that doesn’t mean every company has abandoned it. Moshi’s Spatia, which recently launched after first being unveiled at CES 2015, relies on AirPlay for wirelessly streaming and playing audio from iTunes and iOS devices. Spatia packs five dedicated drivers and two amplifiers behind a fabric speaker cover to deliver impressive sound within a standout design. AirPlay has some well-known benefits and issues, so is it worth investing $399 in a speaker that depends on Apple’s sometimes-shaky technology? expand full story
August 31, 2015
One of the downsides of being early adopters of new technology is that we tend to buy the best system available at the time, only for a better one to come along later. I’m sure we’ve all been there.
That was the case for me with wireless audio. I wanted, many years ago, to be able to stream music to two other rooms in the house. I invested in a couple of Logitech Streambox Booms, which did the job. My Mac acted as a music server, and I could stream both my music library and Internet radio to the Logitech boxes.
But it was a clunky setup, a scrollwheel used to select artist, album and track in much the same way as the original scrollwheel iPod – though viewing only one line at a time. AirPlay, when it came along in 2010, was a markedly better solution, but also came with a far higher price-tag.
However, the upside of Apple neglecting AirPlay is that there are a lot of heavily-discounted discontinued products around. It was only when writing that opinion piece that I noticed just how low prices on these had fallen. That means that you can now put together a multi-room AirPlay setup for way less than it would have cost when the system was launched … expand full story
August 26, 2015
I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved B&O Ouverture hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) – which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck – needed only a low-cost WiFi audio receiver to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.
With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes – whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music – plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.
I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi. No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.
But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems … expand full story
July 27, 2015
July 14, 2015
One of the long-running complaints among TiVo users has been the company’s decision to block Apple’s AirPlay mirroring feature, preventing users from streaming content from the TiVo iOS app to an Apple TV. That’s all changing today as the company plans an update to the app that enables the functionality for the first time, allowing TiVo hardware owners to stream any content accessible via the iOS app to an Apple TV connected to the same network. expand full story
June 24, 2015
June 11, 2015
April 28, 2015