As the technology has improved and become more affordable, wireless sound systems have become increasingly popular. London-based Musaic is one of the latest manufacturers looking to enter the market. Musaic promises high quality, compatibility and smart-home integration.
Musaic was established by Matthew Bramble, the former Technical Director of Cambridge Audio of 10 years. Bramble explains to Gizmag that he was inspired to create Musaic by the the rise of streaming audio and, in particular, Sonos. Working with his partner, Carolyn Van Dongen, it has clearly been a labor of love for Bramble.
"I’ve been thinking about it for years," he says. "The big leap came when Carolyn and I were thinking about moving house. We realized that if we wanted to do something new whilst still relatively young and untied-down, this was actually the time. So last May instead we gathered our savings, put the move on hold, I left my job and we started Musaic."
Both Musaic and Sonos provide highly customizable systems that can be set up to the user's preferences, manage multiple speakers throughout a home and provide innumerable sources from which to stream music. They don't have the stripped-back approach to music listening for which companies like Aether and Bang and Olufsen have recently released products. Musaic goes a little further than Sonos, though, by also providing smart home functionality.
The firm points to three main benefits of its speakers – high levels of sound quality, a wide range of device and file-type compatibility, and the ability to control lighting and other devices around the home. Musaic has been designed and developed from scratch, a process Bramble says was hard work, but rewarding.
There are two Musaic models, the MP5 and the larger MP10. The MP5 measures 34.3 x 9.5 x 12.4 cm (13.5 x 3.75 x 5 in) and is designed for smaller spaces, such as bedrooms, dens or kitchens, with a total power of 36 Watts RMS. The MP10 measures 41.2 x 11.5 x 14.6 cm (16.25 x 4.25 x 5.75 in) and is designed for larger spaces, like lounges or offices, with a total power of 60 Watts RMS.
Musaic connects to the user's home Wi-Fi and can be controlled by apps for iOS, Android, Mac and PC. Bluetooth connectivity can also be used if required. Users can stream music from services including Grooveshark, Aupeo, Rhapsody, Napster, SomaFM, Murfie and TuneIn and Musaic also supports FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless and AIFF file-types for high quality playback. Users are able to play the same music on every Musaic device in their home, or can play different music on each speaker. Each Musaic speaker allows users to set alarms and save presets.
In addition to its audio functionality, Musaic is able to control LightwaveRF bulbs and switches, as well as other smart home devices, such as lighting and security, via its integrated AllJoyn technology. The company is a founding member of the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry consortium aimed at driving uptake of the Internet of Things. Other members include Qualcomm, HTC, AT&T Digital Life, LG, Panasonic and Cisco, amongst others.
Having been established using personal savings and some private investment, Musaic is now raising money for the tooling and approval aspects of production. Its Kickstarter campaign is on target to meet its £60,000 (US$98,980) goal, having raised over £15,000 ($24,750) in five days so far. Bramble says he will look to secure funding from elsewhere, should the target be missed.
Kickstarter backers can make super early bird pledges of £160 ($264) to receive a Musaic MP5, or £230 ($379) for an MP10. Assuming the campaign is successful, devices are expected to be on sale from September, costing £199.95 ($330) and £269.95 ($445) respectively.
The video below provides an introduction to Musaic.