2015 – the year of wireless multiroom
So the wireless multiroom market is now officially in full swing, with multiple brands competing for the market established by Sonos. All have in common app-based control of a range of wireless speakers together with a receiver which can connect to an existing hi-fi — some also have receivers with internal amps as a “just add speakers” solution, plus various other variations as detailed below.
They all aim to stream a variety of cloud music services in addition to music stored on smart devices and home network shares, and the various units are linked either via your own home network or using a separate network created by the system itself. Noting that some brands were pushing this home network use as an advantage, Sonos recently revised its software so you can link its own range of products either way (we’d recommended sticking to its own reliable mesh network).
Of the new competitors, we have recognised the three earliest arrivals in our Awards this year (see p53) and have covered them extensively in our News section — Bose SoundTouch, Pure Jongo, and HEOS by Denon. Here we take a look at the new and incoming arrivals.
Meanwhile we are preparing a monumental comparison of many of these wireless multiroom systems, currently planned to publish in our April-May issue, and will continue to investigate newcomers as the market continues to expand. Bluesound: Bluesound pitches itself a little differently, focusing on high-quality ‘HD’ music and on the ‘Node’ unit, which is its receiver unit for upgrading an existing system. But it also has a ‘Pulse’ speaker unit and a 2.1-channel ‘Duo’ solution, the PowerNode as a ‘just-addspeakers’ solution, and very interestingly the Vault, which rips CDs in lossless FLAC or lossy MP3 formats, storing them on its internel 2TB drive and protecting your digital library while streaming it to other devices. Bluesound points to its audio credentials saying it was developed by “many of the same people from world-famous NAD that pioneered HiFi in the 70s”, which curiously underplays that it is part of the Canada-based Lenbrook Group of Companies, which owns both NAD and PSB Speakers. It is distributed here by Convoy: www.convoy.com.au Fine Sounds Group (McIntosh, Sonus faber and WADIA), Paradigm, Polk, Anthem, Control4 and others. The DefTech range itself has the W7 and W9 wireless speakers, the W Adapt (links to a hi-fi) and W Amp (just add speakers), plus a ‘W Studio’ with a soundbar and subwoofer. Definitive Technology is distributed here by Advance Audio — more info: www.advanceaudio.com.au