Wireless speakers Stories October 12, 2015

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I’m a strong advocate of the philosophy of buying the right thing once. My view is for any activity you care about a lot, it’s cheaper in the long run to buy an expensive product that will keep you happy for a great many years – maybe even for a lifetime – than a cheap product you’ll end up wanting to replace a few years down the line. Buy cheap, buy twice, as they say.

My hi-fi system is a great example. When I was a lot younger, I splashed out on a Bang & Olufsen hi-fi system that was more than twice the price of everything else I tested. Twenty years on, it now looks like an extraordinarily good value. It’s so old it has a cassette deck (yes, really!), but all it took to bring it back up to date was the addition of a simple Wi-Fi audio receiver to add AirPlay support.

Standalone Bluetooth speakers have therefore been of very limited interest to me – and I’d never have dreamed that one could ever replace a proper hi-fi system. So I was intrigued by one that claimed it could: the Devialet Phantom. As if that wasn’t enough to capture my interest, Devialet is a company with a serious reputation when it comes to high-end audio: they make the amps B&W uses to demo their speakers at audio shows. And yes, I’ll admit that part of what made me want to try it was my profound skepticism that any Bluetooth speaker could be worth $1,990 … expand full story

Wireless speakers Stories November 2, 2013

Review: Sonos Play:1 Wi-Fi system is a fantastic and affordable audio solution

Update: Setting up the Sonos Play:1 is now easier due to the fact that the Bridge is no longer required.

The Sonos® Play:1 is a wireless audio system that uses your WiFi network to transmit audio to high-quality portable speakers. The Santa Barbara-based company has been producing audio components since 2002, and their new Play:1 demonstrates their experience in the industry. The Play:1 is very compact at only 6.36 by 4.69 inches, but it produces a refined but powerful signal.

Wireless speakers Stories September 3, 2013

Spotify Connect offers Airplay-like wireless streaming with greater freedom

Spotify has announced a new service launching towards the end of the year that offers a new way to stream music from iPhones and iPads to any compatible speaker system. Unlike AirPlay, once you set the streaming going, music is streamed direct from the Spotify server to your wifi-equipped speakers, freeing-up your device for other tasks.

Unlike other wireless music solutions, using Spotify Connect won’t drain your battery. Plus you can continue to use your phone or tablet to call friends or start playing your favourite game without missing a beat.

A lot of big players are on board, including Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Sonos and Yamaha. Some existing wireless speakers will also receive firmware upgrades to enable them to support the Spotify Connect service.

While the ability to be able to take the device out of the loop while continuing to stream music is a nice touch, it’s yet another standard and of course only works with Spotify. You’ll also need a paid Spotify subscription to use it. However, it’s likely that most (if not all) of the speaker systems supporting it will also support AirPlay, so you shouldn’t have to choose between the two.

The service will be iOS-only at launch (with apps updated to support it), with Android following later. Full press release below.

Spotify Connect: the new way to play at home

Today, in collaboration with the leaders in home audio, Spotify launches Spotify Connect – a new home audio experience giving you effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and speakers with millions of songs built right in. Simple, seamless and hassle-free.

Bring your music home. You’ve just walked through the door, listening to your favourite playlist on your phone. With Spotify Connect, simply hit play on your living room speakers and the music instantly fires up, right where you left off – making sure you never miss a beat.

Then pick up your tablet to keep controlling the music from your sofa, or seamlessly switch the sound to your iPod Touch in the kitchen’s docking station.

None of the hassle. Thanks to Spotify Connect, you won’t need to rely on unstable connections to stream music between your devices. No longer will incoming phone calls, loss of signal range, or watching a video spoil the party.

Unlike other wireless music solutions, using Spotify Connect won’t drain your battery. Plus you can continue to use your phone or tablet to call friends or start playing your favourite game without missing a beat.

Choose your home speaker system. Spotify Connect will be available on a wide range of speakers and home audio systems from music hardware specialists including Argon, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Revo, Teufel and Yamaha, with further brands coming soon. Look out for the Spotify Connect logo on compatible systems.

“Today, listening to music at home can be a frustrating experience – dropouts, below-par audio quality, signal range and phone restrictions, battery drainage, it’s basically a hassle,” says Sten Garmark, VP Product Management at Spotify. “Spotify Connect solves this by giving you effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and now speakers with millions of songs built right in.”

Spotify Connect will roll out to Spotify Premium subscribers on iPhone, iPad and home audio systems over the coming months, with Android and desktop updates to follow.

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