Since launching in 2005, Sonos has pretty much dominated the multi-room wireless speaker scene. But it may surprise you to learn that Yamaha customers could stream music around their homes at least a couple of years earlier courtesy of the company's MusicCAST network audio system. Originally comprising a CD ripper/hard drive server and receiver stations, Yamaha revamped the digital audio streaming platform in 2009 and included a touchscreen remote controller, the ability to connect to a portable music player over Bluetooth and support for streaming music services and internet radio. Now, MusicCast has been updated again, with Yamaha promising a range of more than 20 enabled products by the end of 2015.
Bluetooth wireless is so pervasive in our modern lives, it can be easy to forget about all the non-wireless, classic audio equipment out there. Although stereo receivers and high-end speakers are still a mainstay of many home entertainment systems, the convenience of wireless streaming tends to trump such cabled connections. While there are many gadgets that provide Bluetooth audio capability to legacy devices, the Auris bluMe does it with range and power.
Smartphones and tablets are convenient ways for consumers to enjoy music
on-the-go, but they have limits for audio reproduction – the internal
hardware is able to accomplish only so much. Portable digital-to-analog
converters (DACs) and AMP products solve this by providing the necessary
power, but most options tend to be bulky, battery-operated, expensive,
or all of the above. The Nexum Aqua aims to deliver an audio experience
without any of those drawbacks.
There are turntables and there are turntables. Living room decks by such manufacturers as Thorens, Music Hall, Project and Technics will likely be sufficient for the high quality audio needs of most mortal vinyl lovers. But for audiophiles with a fine-tuned ear and a bottomless wallet, names like the DaVinci, TechDAS, TriangleArt and Walker Audio will be more familiar. The latter's Proscenium turntables have been on the receiving end of numerous awards from industry experts and audio journalists since the release of the first version two decades ago. Now the premium audio equipment manufacturer has announced a new turntable named Procession that comes in at a fraction of the cost of the latest Proscenium – which essentially means US$45,000 instead of $110,000.
According to Nielsen, US vinyl album sales have grown by 260 percent since 2009. So, if you want to get in with the hip 12-inch disc crowd but find that your home hi-fi system doesn't sport a turntable, some eye-catching help may be at hand. Gramovox, the Chicago-based firm behind the horny Bluetooth Gramophone from 2013, has designed a stylish new sound system that boasts audiophile-grade components and plays records vertically.
Canadian loudspeaker maker Axiom Audio reckons its new AxiomAir brings something new to the wireless speaker system table. It's been designed to liberate listeners from the single user, low powered, low fidelity confines of Bluetooth portable speakers into the higher quality streaming world of Wi-Fi. But what really sets this speaker apart is the fully functional Raspberry Pi computer beating at its heart. While this allows future Axiom updates to be installed with the touch of a button on the user interface, it also opens the door to user-created applications.