Hifi Stories May 18, 2016

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 …

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Hifi Stories September 28, 2015

Five years in the making and fifteen months since its last speaker release, all-in-one speaker maker Sonos is ready to unveil its next flagship speaker to the world with the all-new Play:5. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Play:5 is the same name as the previous flagship home speaker from Sonos before today. With its name unchanged, then what exactly is different with the latest premium connected speaker from Sonos? For starters there’s a streamlined design with a new input method for controlling playback. Sonically, the new Play:5 delivers an array of sound with volume that easily fills a sizable room.

And alongside the new Play:5, Sonos is releasing a new speaker calibration tool called Trueplay. Using the built-in mic on your iPhone or iPad, intelligent algorithms, and a bouncy sci-fi tone, Trueplay enables Sonos speaker owners to enhance their speakers to deliver enhanced sound in the home regardless of speaker placement. Current Sonos customers will be happy to learn that Trueplay isn’t just coming to the latest connected speaker either… expand full story

Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip

Hifi Stories August 20, 2015

If you want a Wi-Fi-based multi-room audio system, you so far haven’t had many alternatives to the market leader, Sonos. Other manufacturers offer their own solutions, but generally only in a handful of products. That looks set to change as Yamaha today announced that its MusicCast system will be supported by more than 20 products, with pricing starting from $250. That includes all but one of its 2015 receivers, reports CNET.

Unlike Sonos, MusicCast supports five different lossless audio formats, including Apple Lossless, FLAC and WAV. It’s controlled by an iOS app, which can stream both your own music library and services like Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody. Support for Apple Music seems likely further down the road …  expand full story

Hifi Stories January 6, 2014

Audio specialist Blue promises true hi-fi quality wireless audio by the spring

I take the view that wires are evil: anything that can be wireless should be wireless. My iOS devices sync via wifi, my keyboard and trackpad are Bluetooth, I have Wemo-controlled lighting, Tado-controlled heating and love cloud services.

But there’s one thing in my living-room that still relies on a wire: the connection between Mac and hifi system. I tried a Bluetooth link, and the quality just wasn’t there. I quickly reverted to the 3.5mm cable that runs around the skirting board.

Enter microphone specialist Blue. The company is teasing a true hifi-quality wireless connection between digital devices and headphones (and presumably hifi systems) under the name Mo-Fi.

Where digital music technology has advanced, headphones have lagged behind. We’ve seen dramatic advances in the quality and convenience of digital music, yet headphones –designed specifically to bring us closer to sound— have failed to bridge the gap from hi-fi to mobile. Headphones are the last barrier between us and the audio trapped in our digital devices. What if we liberated our music from overhyped lo-fi to true mobile hi-fi? We can. Blue is offering the first sneak peek at CES 2014.

We’ll bring you more details when we have them.

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