2015 – the year of wire­less mul­ti­room

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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

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