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We talk room acous­tics, CD rip­ping and Roon in the first of our re­tailer mini in­ter­views...

The HEOS multiroom plat­form was also show­ing its new Alexa skills at the In­te­grate Expo, and Qual­iFi’s Joe Sala­manca talked us through the new abil­i­ties.

“We’re show­ing Ama­zon Alexa ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the HEOS range — and also that cov­ers any of the HEOS-en­abled Denon or Marantz re­ceivers. Any­thing HEOS-en­abled now has the abil­ity to in­te­grate with Ama­zon Alexa — and down the track there’ll be other voice as­sis­tants too.

“There’s quite an ex­ten­sive range of con­trol, not only trans­port and play­back. Right now you can re­quest sta­tions to be played from, say iHeartRa­dio, and off it’ll go, it’ll do that.”

He then pro­ceeded to demon­strate, and very ef­fec­tively the sys­tem re­sponded, es­pe­cially given the noise lev­els and un­re­li­able Wi-fi of a show floor.

“Alexa, Play Bruno Mars sta­tion from iHeartRa­dio on Lounge.”

“Alexa go to vol­ume 30 on Lounge.” “Alexa pause Lounge”

“So it’s ex­cit­ing, it’s still a bit gim­micky, and you’ve got to be spe­cific,” Joe ad­mits, ”though it is get­ting bet­ter in that re­gard. If you say some­thing like ‘Alexa Pause’, it’ll ask you which room. I think with time, with Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, it’ll get bet­ter all the time. On a re­ceiver you can say go to HDMI 1, or go to Blu-ray, and re­quest­ing songs more and more. We can’t wait to get Ama­zon Mu­sic of­fi­cially avail­able on stream­ing de­vices here be­cause then you can ask for a spe­cific song, artist al­bum etc. Cur­rently you can do that on a Dot but it’s only en­abled for third-party stream­ing de­vices in the US.”

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