Back to listening to music, but lost now as to possibilities!

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by 748, Aug 23, 2017.

Tags:
  1. 748

    748
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2017
    Messages:
    3
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    4
    Location:
    Keswick
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hello.

    I have recently bought a town house, over three floors.

    So, we are looking at a way to get the music from the ground floor, likely from a digital source be it an iPad, iPod playlist or a CD, to speakers over this floor plus two floors above, playing in all three floors simultaneously.

    Not too sure about streaming services either, can you select a genre and let it just play a selection?

    This hifi exercise is not about the fidelity of the music any more, my bachelor days of Martin Logans, valve pre and 2x power amps, isolation tables and 3.5m Valhalla speaker cables are behind me.

    With a £2K budget, what can I realistically expect?

    Thanks
     
  2. Ugg10

    Ugg10
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    3,306
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,648
    The popular vote would probably be the SONOS systems. Designed specifically for what you are looking at. Various elements link together through your local wifi (assuming you have a signal that reaches the corners of your house) and you can control it form you ipad/phone playing stored music or streamed. IIRC it also can stream services like Spotify, Deezer and Tidal if you want to go down that route. Your are buying into a product line (bit like apple) that may be restrictive.

    As for streaming services I use the free version of Spotify (you can download and have a play to see if you get on with it). This has a number of ways of working - basically look at it as a juke box with 10million records in it. You can search and play single songs, albums, all material from an artist, there are also playlists for various genres/artists etc. (official or user generated), there is a weekly playlist generated based on your listening habits and if you play a song it will automatically carry on playing similar songs that it decides to choose (Deezer Flow is similar I think).

    The free version is only available as a streaming service, is of a lower quality and your have adverts, the paid for service (£10 per month, £5 for student with NUS card, or £15 for family pack of six users) has higher quality, allows download of tracks for off line listening (good for in the car as it is data hungry over mobile approx. 100mb per hour) and you get no adverts. Note quality is sub-CD quality, if you want high fidelity then there are lossless services (Tidal I think) but these are around £20 per month.

    Hope this gets you started.

    Edit - £2k will get you 10 Play:1 sonos speakers to dot around the house that can be controlled separately or all together. Or add a SONOS connect that can be linked toy any existing players/hifi for £250. The Play:1's can be used a stereo pairs or upgrade to a Play:3 for a better sound in the living room. So potentially Pair of Play:3 for the living room (£600) plus 7 Play:1 to dot around the house or trade 3 of the Play:1's for a connect to link in your CD player and NAS but to be honest if you are not too bothered about the last level of HIFI detail, with the streaming services you don't need a CD/NAS just use the service, may need to check that you can stream from one account through the SONOS different music in different rooms, may need the spotify connect paid service for that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  3. deantown

    deantown
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,753
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Location:
    watford
    Ratings:
    +2,992
    Is the free service for Spotify worth having in your opinion?
     
  4. Ugg10

    Ugg10
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    3,306
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,648
    I don't have any problem with it but have been with Spotify free since it was launched, only 160kbps but tried is alongside the Paid Service at 320kbps and the different was pretty marginal for general listening. I am happy to have advert every 20-30 minutes and currently don't need the offline service (may do if I get a car with Bluetooth audio playing).

    I have listened to a load more bands that I would never have heard of if I was buying CD's and have also been and seen a few discoveries live at small venues which was great (Monuments/No Consequence at Brighton Green Door Club and Derelict Dream/Bleed Again at Worthing Bar 42). Also good for boning up on support bands at gigs or smaller bands at festivals (discovered Cold Rain this way supporting BFMV).

    Love the weekly discover and also the "continue playing stuff" option and also the various back catalogues of stuff I listened to when I was younger (Rush, Led Zep, ten Years After, Yes, Genesis etc.).

    Not sure if you can cast it to things like SONOS with the free service but can control my PC form the IPad - you will need to look into Spotify Connect to check.
     
  5. muljao

    muljao
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    Messages:
    2,070
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Ireland
    Ratings:
    +754
    Are you prepared to pay a tenner a month for Spotify?

    If you are, is the cd player necessary?

    You could get a really good hifi set up streaming over the house for 2000, adding a cd player to stream over the house adds complexity and price to the system.

    Is your WiFi good?
     
  6. dollag

    dollag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2015
    Messages:
    2,020
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +843
    To get around the wifi issue, a few home plugs should suffice.

    Sonos is the likely the easiest and user friendly solution; however, £600 for two play 3's just feels like such a rip off (just my opinion)

    just for alternatives, most brands are doing their own multi room applications with the two below getting good reviews

    Yamaha music cast
    Denon/Marantz Heos

    Both sell individual speakers for additional room placements but what i prefer is that their multiroom function also included in their line of mini systems, soundbars and av receivers. so as long as you stay with the brand, future upgrades are easily integrated and not chained down to just the sonos speakers being offered.

    is there any home cinema being introduced to your new home? could play a role in your choice as they can be incorporated.
     
  7. Ambienz

    Ambienz
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Messages:
    177
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +30
    Ditch the CD idea. There is no place for and no value of CDs in 2017.

    I have everything on a NAS drive that I can stream to anywhere in/out of the house. Ripping a CD in lossless is the same quality as CD and you can buy better than CD quality (eg 24bit 192kHz) audio files anyway.

    Now you've saved a tonne of space from all those ugly jewel cases and CD racks.

    From my NAS, a number of devices can access the files. I have tied myself to Apple architecture, so use Macbooks, iMacs, iphones, iPads and soon to be Homepods to stream anything to anywhere. Having young kids means that I don't generally stream everything through the entire house (5 story), but just choose where I want, inside and out.

    However this is a lot of mucking around (one of my personality disorders).....

    I also use and really like spotify, and are debating the paid service. The £10 per month is equivalent to 1 CD, so makes sense. My issue is that at some stage I will likely ditch Spotify and lose the library, comp buying the media in FLAC format. They have free premium trials - just sign up and try. It works well and you can stick with the free service and have ads every now and this.

    I stream spotify around the house.

    I intentionally didn't go for Sonus, but for convenience I think it is a good and simple option. If you go down this path, I would use B&W ceiling speakers with Sonus networked amps but that is personal preference. If not about fidelity then why clutter the home with more ugly boxes.

    Lookup Netgear Orbi or Linksys Velop for whole home wifi.

    Good luck.
     
  8. 748

    748
    Novice Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2017
    Messages:
    3
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    4
    Location:
    Keswick
    Ratings:
    +0
    Wow, some really excellent advice and I thank you all.

    Ugg10 - a very comprehensive initial run-down, thank you.

    So, here is some more flesh on the bones.

    We have Mac and iOS products, iPad, iPhone, and are toying with an Air but that runs a separate OS, the same as the MacBookPro I guess (?).

    I do have a Denon AVR 3805 (?) in storage, it only came in a dusky gold colour when first released and cost £1k. It's in storage some 6hrs drive away as I type and I have not seen it since 2010, at least I think it's the 3805, it looks about the correct age and layout on the back and front.

    Am I correct in saying that this Denon can be used with a pair of older Mission speakers on the middle floor with speaker cables and a pair of similar on the ground floor? I believe that there is traditional cabling running in the house already in the lower and middle floor, so I could simply replace this with my own.

    This then brings 2x stereo speakers into the ground and middle floors... I believe.

    If the internet router is in this middle level, and I attach a Sonus Connect this will bring streaming into the amp and functionality I believe, giving music on the middle and lower floor (?).

    But do I need something like the Sonus Connect Amp if I want to stream music up stairs?

    The need for CD etc has long since passed so Spotify or similar will be the main interest from here-on-in. I can always plug in a CD / tape deck / etc into the Denon later if required.

    This then leaves me with the upper floor and there is no cable routing up to the two upper rooms I wish to "connect".

    So, do I use the wifi capabilities of the Sonus Connect to send the music up one floor to 2x 1 Sonus 3 speakers or is it best to add another amp? The Sonus 3 speaker seems to be a stereo speaker and operates over wifi.

    As you say, other manufacturers are also getting their products to market too, and so I will explore these. Deezer and Tidal too.
     
  9. Ugg10

    Ugg10
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    3,306
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,648
    How to setup multiroom music with Chromecast

    An alternative is to use active speakers and attach a google chromecast audio device to each one. You can get a decent pair of active speaker for around £250 and the cast is £30 each, no wires and controlled by your phone/tablet.

    Have a look at the m-audio bx8d3 speakers (bx5 smaller speakers are available if you want some smaller ones) as an example or go up a notch with the Yamaha HS series (5,7,8) or the Adam series with ribbon tweeters. You will need a power plug per pair but they should sound good.

    M-Audio BX8 D3 8" Active 2-Way DJ Studio Reference Monitor Speakers Black (Pair) | eBay

    For Speakers - Chromecast - Google

    If you wanted you could go down to 6.5" actives in the living room and add a sub (bk Gemini/xls200?).

    Link above seems to suggest you can control the chromecast boxes separately, or sync them in groups for parties.

    You could even buy an old iPad to act as a dedicated controller if you wanted. For around £1000 you could be well setup.

    This may be of interest, worth a ten minute watch.

    Hooking up whole house audio using only Google...
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  10. dollag

    dollag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2015
    Messages:
    2,020
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +843
    I'm tied into the apple tree myself and I use airplay for my multi room needs.

    I currently have my av receiver (airplay enabled) in my lounge stream directly from my PC itunes account. I I use my ipad or iphone as a remote for all my stored music. almost all modern recievers have are apple aiplay enabled so no need for a separate box.

    In my bedroom I have a 2 channel stereo amp that's being fed from an apple airport express. This enables me to play music from any of my devices simultaneously.

    basically by adding an apple airport express or apple tv to any amplifier will enable it to stream on the network. the same as a sonos connect. In addition, Apple is launching airplay 2 within the next month which will enable you to manage multiroom media from the content on your phone or tablet too which is something I am really excited about.

    In a nutshell, there are numerous way to achieve what your after. imo Sonos is the most convenient but also expensive.

    Apple's airplay is what I use and works for me perfectly. (can pick up airport express for £25 on ebay) or use an apple TV.

    Yamaha's music cast is great and also has a connect box that can be plugged into pretty much any system to connect it your network. (also cheaper than a sonos connect at circa £150 new)

    And then you have chromecast which again will pretty much enable any system to be linked into a multi room. Naim's new all in one unit which is featured on the homepage has chromecast built in and I can see numerous models adding this in the future.

    using active speakers connected to any of these devices will ultimately give you what your after.

    Connecting any of these devices to your Denon receiver will integrate it into your network. If your receiver has a separate zone ouput, there is no reason why you cannot use the existing wiring in the house to connect an additional pair of speakers to the bottom floor. really depends on your receiver but is possible.
     
  11. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    22,626
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,308
    Just a few general suggestions. Indeed Sonos can make a very nice whole house system, though there are other choices. But Sonos make the Connect:Amp with a 50w/ch amp build in, the Sonos Coonect which has streaming only (no amp), and they make a range of Network Enabled Active Speakers.

    That allow you to customize what to buy to fit the need of each room. For some rooms, a Simple Sonos Speaker, which are relatively compact will do. In other room, perhaps a Sonos Connect:Amp.

    Wireless Speakers | Sonos

    Wireless Stereo Components | Sonos

    SONOS Connect:Amp - £449 -

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SONOS-CONNECT-Wireless-Stereo-Adaptor/dp/B001G7PLT6

    SONOS Connect - £339 -


    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SONOS-CONNECT-Wireless-Stereo-Adaptor/dp/B001G7PLTQ

    SONOS Play:3 Streaming Speaker System - £269 -

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SONOS-PLAY-Smart-Wireless-Speaker/dp/B005CI5H3U

    SONOS Play:5 Streaming Speaker System - £449 -

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/SONOS-PLAY-Smart-Wireless-Speaker/dp/B015MWSBME

    though not necessary, the Sonos Play speakers can be paired into Stereo Pairs, though that's not necessary, the can play music on their own.

    However, I would recommend that your main system be something more. Though it is really down to your personal needs. For the main lounge or what ever you would consider your main primary listening system, you add the Sonos Connect to a Stereo or AV Receiver system.

    Most AVR's already have Network Streaming built in. But they will not likely share the same control app. One Sonos Control App on a Smart Device like a Phone will control all the Sonos device in your house. However, it will not likely control the AV Receiver, and the AV Receiver Control App will not likely be able to control the Sonos Device. So, best to have the same brand of products in each room.

    Sonos is good up to CD Quality. However there are other slightly to significantly more expensive devices that will stream High Resolution files. CD is 16 bits and 44.1k samples per second. But DACs have advanced significantly, and there are download services that that have 24 bit / 96k music, and even up to 24b/192k. Though extremely rare, I have seen commercial audio products with 32b/1.5m DACs, and 32b/384k are common. Though no music exists at those high rates.

    So, for CD Quality Sonos is a good choice, reasonably cheap, and they have been doing this the longest, and there products are pretty reliable.

    Most Streaming Services have near CD quality in the paid version, though the free version is still pretty good.

    The Google ChromeCast is pretty good but it focuses mainly on access to Internet Streaming Services like Spotify. If you download the Spotify App, and you have ChromeCast running in your house, you will see an option on the Spotify App screen to "ChromeCast". That will send all output to the ChromeCast device and whatever the ChromeCast device is connected to.

    But ChromeCast works less well with the streaming of locally stored files. I have heard of people introducing Streaming Server Software that could access ChromeCast, and that enhanced the Streaming from local storage ability. I think they were using the PLEX software server. But that adds a layer of complication to the system. For what it might be worth, I have seen Network Routers that have PLEX built in. Though I don't have much information on that.

    The advantage to having PLEX on a Router, a Router with USB inputs, is that you can plug a USB drive into the Router, and PLEX will Stream Audio from that hardrive. That means you don't need any computer ON to access the music.

    The advantage to ChromeCast is that it cost roughly £30. The disadvantage is that you need something to connect it too like a Stereo or Active Speakers or Similar.

    There are currently three models, two are roughly £30.

    ChromeCast for TV, or ChromeCast-Video
    which uses an HDMI Output and Streams both Video from services like Netflix and Audio from services like Spotify.

    For TV - Chromecast - Google

    ChromeCast for Speaker, or ChromeCast-Audio, which is Audio only, and can connect either with Analog connections (3.5mm) or with an Optical Connection.

    For Speakers - Chromecast - Google

    And the New ChromeCast Ultra which has 4k video streaming.

    Chromecast Ultra - Chromecast - Google

    The ChromeCast Audio and the ChromeCast Video are currently on sale at Curry's for £20 -

    GOOGLE Chromecast Audio

    GOOGLE Chromecast

    The ChromeCast Ultra is £54 -

    GOOGLE Chromecast Ultra

    So, coming back to my main point, while you should use the same brand of system through out your house, you can find custom variations to suit the specific need of each room. In the Kitchen or Bathroom a simply basic self-contained Play:1 is probably enough. In other rooms perhaps a Connect:Amp with separate speakers. In the main lounge perhaps the Sonos Connect connected to a Stereo system.

    So, two main points, with SONOS you have flexibility to customize each room. Though you have similar flexibility in other brands, just at a higher price, and you have the option of Hi-Res files - (Cambridge, Bluesound, and others).

    Wireless Speakers - Bluesound

    Wireless Stereo Components - Bluesound

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bluesound-NODE-digital-players-Cortex-A9/dp/B014H9NWPY

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bluesound-POWERNODE-digital-players-Cortex-A9/dp/B014HJHGHO

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bluesound-Hi-Res-Wireless-Speaker-System/dp/B019P2W4QG

    And, I would recommend that you use the Sonos Connect plus a nice Stereo system in the main room for TV and Movie watching, as well as Music listening.

    As to CDs, they do still have value. If nothing else, you have a back up of your music. And many many people prefer to keep a hard copy, the CD itself around. Also, remember that SONOS, as it stands now, is limited to CD Quality (16b/44.1k).

    If you feel that you are likely to start buying and downloading music files at higher than CD Quality, then you need more expensive streaming equipment.

    Vinyl is more of a hobby. Something for collectors. I don't think I would recommend that people start with Vinyl unless they have a strong interest or they already have a collection of vinyl.

    There are many brands of Streaming Device that offer the same range of flexibility, perhaps faster response times, access to Hi-Resolution files, but they tend to cost more. Whether those advanced feature are something you need, only you can determine.

    Also, all these brands offer the option to start with a basic system or two, and gradually expand as money and need become available.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  12. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    22,626
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,308
    As you can see from the Responses so far, that for £2000, you can expect a Start, but you are not going to be able to service each room with that limited amount of money.

    With that, I would concentrate on one good system for the main room, and some very minor systems for other room. But as you can see, SONOS gives you a range of options. But if you expect music in every room, you need a considerably larger budget.

    However, that is the nice thing about systems like this, once you pick a brand, you can slowly expand over time and achieve your ultimate objective.

    If we say a £1000 system in the main room, and two £500 systems or three £300 systems on the other floors, you've eaten your entire budget. For an Amp, Speakers, and a Sonos Connect in the main room, you will have no problem eating an entire £1000 budget, leaving another £1000 for the other two floors.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  13. Ambienz

    Ambienz
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2015
    Messages:
    177
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +30
    Before you get too excited, I should warn you that Apple has not included Airport Express in Airplay 2. I have a developer account so have been using IOS11 since Beta 1 and cannot multi stream to my AEs (all around the house). Other than Apple TVs (which will necessitate HDMI input on your amp or HDMI to RCA converter to swap data format ) and airplay enabled receivers, there is nothing that will allow you to multi cast from a phone / iPad to audio systems. I also understand that the team that did these was disbanded so am not holding out hope.

    You can of course already stream from a PC using iTunes to multiple AE and control via remote, but it misses the point - especially when all is integrated with Homekit.

    :mad:



    @748 - another idea is to buy an Apple Homepod for every room you want sound. Maybe you get 5 or 6 for your budget, so that should be enough

    HomePod

    We are waiting to see how this sounds, but expect to be reasonable, given the size and that it wants to be a Sonos etc killer. Then you will have a connected smart home with audio and Siri integration through out and you can start on the home automation process at the same time. :clap:

    Further you can move them around as you like need, rather than worrying about wires and boxes, holes in ceiling etc.
     
  14. dollag

    dollag
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2015
    Messages:
    2,020
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    116
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +843

    That's great to know I had no idea that happened.

    That's exactly what I do now I use itunes for my multiroom needs via remote from my ipad or iphone.
     

Share This Page

Loading...