Music throughout the house!

piccadilly

Novice Member
We used to own a Bose wave system that played our extensive CD collection which we have had for more than 20 years! If we buy a CD it is usually second hand via ebay.

The Bose has broken down and was not worth repairing and consigned to the tip.

We would like to put wireless speakers in the 3 downstairs rooms- lounge, kitchen and dining room so we can listen to the music as we move through the house, for example when we have dinner parties etc. It would also be useful to be able to enjoy the music outside via a weatherproof speaker when we have BBQ’s and so on.

I am just about aware that I can digitise my CD’s (if this is the correct word!) and store the music on a hard disk drive, and control it via my iPad, or by buying an iPod Touch.

I own a desk top computer, a laptop, an iPad and an iPhone 8.

I assume I would need some amplification for the speakers in each room.

As you can probably I am not experienced in these matters.

Can anybody point me in the right direction on how to get started with this project?

Kind Regards and Thank You for your help.
 

xmb

Well-known Member
Forget wasting time digitising your CD collection and just invest in one of the many streaming services. Then just purchase some Sonos speakers for each room and job done.

if you want better quality or more flexibility then look at the Yamaha MusicCast system of Denon HEOS system.
 

TB Rich

Active Member
You could rip your CD's to FLAC (I use dBpoweramp CD ripper), store them on a NAS and use that as your source - or, as xmb suggests a streaming service for a monthly charge might be more convenient. I do both, I still like the physical media for my fav stuff and eBay is never more than a couple of pounds a used CD. Amazon HD for prime members is the cheapest CD quality streaming service at £12.99, I've been impressed on the whole - but my train journeys today reminded me 100% why I prefer FLACs on my phone!

I would also recommend Bluesound as the better multi room system. I've used a few and I own 2 MusicCast devices now but the software is not as nice as Bluesounds BluOS app, which I have 1 device for currently. Bluesound also works now with Amazon Music, whereas MusicCast does not and would require you to use the Amazon Music app on your iPad and then use AirPlay to it (note AirPlay 2 is needed for syncing multiple devices).
But for that purpose they're fine devices and to be fair are usefully cheaper than Bluesound equivalents, so you pays your money and take your choice pretty much! However if you're going that route of using AirPlay 2 to provide syncing, well then there's a whole ecosystem of devices for a lot less than even the MusicCast kit.
I think AirPlay is great personally as it's CD quality (unlike Bluetooth options which I won't touch, lossy and plain awkward and inconsistent to use!) and you're not tied in to a single vendors potentially expensive ecosystem... that said, BluOS to me IS worth the price premium.

One thing that may influence it is I know the Bluesound Flex 2i can have a battery pack added to it, so could be taken outside for garden use. I don't recall seeing a MusicCast speaker with that option?
 

piccadilly

Novice Member
Thank you for comprehensive reply - that I am not sure I understand with my limited technical abilities!

I have asked a consultant to advise on this and he has recommended Control4 Amplifier and music system ,with Control4 Portable Touchscreens in each room ,connected to Sonance VP66 cabinet speakers incl. Back Cans,in one room and Anthony Gallo speakers in the other rooms,and a network hard drive for collection of CD’s.

I am also buying kitchen and lounge TV’s - but will put a question about these on the TV’s forum on this site.

Kind Regards,
 

robotron

Active Member
Your consultant has gone straight in with what appears to be (IMO) an overly expensive and proprietary system.

One simple observation is that if the touchscreens are portable, why do you need one in each room?

In fact, why do you even need one at all? Most modern systems don't need an expensive dedicated touchscreen remote as they allow a phone or tablet (iPad etc.) to act as the remote, as well as integrating with voice control systems (i.e. Amazon's Alexa)

You could do exactly what you're after for a lot less. I would recommend you have a chat with your local Richer Sounds (or other hifi shop) about Sonos systems as a starting point.

Another option to consider is Amazon's Echo Studio:

Three of these and a spotify or Amazon Prime Music subscription would probably do everything you want.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Whether you prefer all-in-one powered wireless speakers, or prefer to use “normal” stereo speakers with a “smart” wireless amplifier then you may also want to take a look at Sonos. They have a wide range of options at a variety of price points, including soundbars that would work with you TVs too should you prefer to keep things all in a single ecosystem for ease of use. It will happily work with your digitised CD library (preferably ripped in FLAC format for CD quality lossless compression) as well as virtually all music streaming services. They have also just added a battery powered speaker to the range for ease of use outdoors (providing you have a decent wifi signal there).

It will be a fraction of the price of Control4, mainly as it needs very little setup/configuration to get it going, and does not tie you in to needing ongoing support from a dealer every time you want to make a change to the setup.

Depending on your existing wifi setup/performance you may also want to investigate the opportunity to use wired ethernet to the speakers/amplifiers - this will be more robust and avoid adding more wifi clients to your network (wifi uses a only-one-device-can-“talk”-at-once protocol so having lots of client devices using wifi means the wireless bandwidth is being shared across them all which may degrade performance to the point you notice slow responses or occasional dropouts/buffering on streaming content). Keeping wifi for devices that can only connect wirelessly means you will get the best wifi performance, while your wired/ethernet devices can run at gigabit speed with the right network switches in place.
 

piccadilly

Novice Member
Thank You.

You make an interesting point regarding the ethernet - the router is in the kitchen - so would I have to pass a wire to (say) the lounge for the speaker if I didn’t want to rely in wi fi?

We already use NOW TV and Hive in the Wi-fi plus a laptop ,and often 2 iPads.The signal may be “too thinly spread”.

Kind Regards
 

larkone

Well-known Member
Music takes a very small amount of the available wifi bandwidth, especially streamed services. If you think it might be an issue then you could always put a mesh wireless system in to increase coverage and bandwidth but I would run it as is first to see if you really have an issue.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Thank You.

You make an interesting point regarding the ethernet - the router is in the kitchen - so would I have to pass a wire to (say) the lounge for the speaker if I didn’t want to rely in wi fi?

We already use NOW TV and Hive in the Wi-fi plus a laptop ,and often 2 iPads.The signal may be “too thinly spread”.

Kind Regards
It does not sound like you have a lot of wifi-connected devices, and providing you do not have lots of neighbours with wifi competing for the same frequencies then it does not sound like it will be an issue.

If you decide to go for wired connections then essentially you need some new cables run, at least one if will come from your router (you can add additional network switches to split/add more connections wherever you have a wired connection available).
 

danwel

Active Member
I did something similar and went for the Sonus for pure convenience as i have the playbase and 2 play one's for surround sound in living room and 2 more play one's in kitchen and bedroom and will add more in time for sure
 

xmb

Well-known Member
I have multiple items connected to my Wi-Fi including TVs, Hi-Fi, Surround Amp, Tablets, Phones, PC, Mac, Security Camera, Thermostat, Smart Plugs, etc. I can stream a Netflix 4K movie on a TV in one room and still stream music in another room while surfing the internet. I only have a 28MB internet connection and use a £80 Netgear Mesh router (just one satellite). So, forget wires, invest in a MESH Wi-Fi system and populate this with wireless audio of your choice. As I pointed out Denon or Yamaha have a good range of items to satisfy all levels of quality.
 

big boss

Well-known Member
Thank You.

You make an interesting point regarding the ethernet - the router is in the kitchen - so would I have to pass a wire to (say) the lounge for the speaker if I didn’t want to rely in wi fi?

We already use NOW TV and Hive in the Wi-fi plus a laptop ,and often 2 iPads.The signal may be “too thinly spread”.

Kind Regards
I've got 50+ devices connected to my router via WiFi. No issues.
 

larkone

Well-known Member
It's not the number of devices on a wifi network that matters but the bandwidth the connected devices require when they are transmitting or receiving.
 

shevans

Active Member
Some good advise, especially about not bothering to rip your CD's and just subscribe to a music service.

A Control4 system still needs hardware such as Sonos or Bluesound, whilst very nice the cost is quite considerable and suited for whole home automation, think blinds, locks, alarm, audio, heating etc.

Sonos and Bluesound will give you what you want, three rooms means three players and perhaps a spare tablet too use for controlling.

I personally have a mix of hardware, Sonos for the children bedrooms and Bluesound for master bed, lounge and dining area as the audio quality is in my opinion that much better.

Both Sonos and Bluesound do need a good / stable wifi signal, despite Sonos setting up its own network if the network it connect to is poor you will still suffer drop outs.
 

Zedd

Novice Member
I use Sonos, with my cd collection ripped to flac, also don’t forget that Sonos uses its own wedge network that is separate from your wireless network. I still have a Sonos bridge to do this but I believe the more modern Sonos speakers can do it themselves.
 

Zedd

Novice Member
I use Sonos, with my cd collection ripped to flac, also don’t forget that Sonos uses its own wedge network that is separate from your wireless network. I still have a Sonos bridge to do this but I believe the more modern Sonos speakers can do it themselves.
Wedge - Mesh oops
 

russelkhan

Active Member
I'd also recommend Sonos as the simplest and most cost effective choice. I have a pair in the kitchen, and a pair in the bedroom. The mobile app is brilliant, and you get voice control too with a choice of either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. If you subscribe to the corresponding streaming service then you can simply ask your speaker to play whatever you want - it's incredibly liberating. Assuming of course that the music you like is available on your streaming service. You can also digitise your CD collection and store on a computer or laptop (which I did years ago). Sonos can then access your music collection over the network. Note that voice control only works with the corresponding streaming service. You can't use voice control to access your own local music collection, but you can use voice for pause, skip, and volume control.
 

sezlez369

Novice Member
Another Sonos recommendation from me. Have a browse on their website and try the 100 day return with full refund if for any reason their products are not satisfactory. Sound quality from Sonos speakers are first class.
 

dunk05

Novice Member
Rip your CDs to a media server and share out via eg Plex if you want to keep them, then Sonos with a streaming service or two is simple to setup. You can buy a selection from Sonos, try them out and send back the one's you don't want. eg try the one, 3 5 and settle on what you need after a month or two, upgrade as you spread through the house. I started with two and an now on 8, 2 stereo pairs and 4 singles through rooms and in the hall. control via phone app or tablet. Dead simple. I've no experience of the soundbars but you can pair them up with your standalone speakers for 5.1 from the TVs as well.
 

Supersonic

Well-known Member
I have Yamaha Musiccast in our house and also out in the garden via wifi. Works without issue.

Our CD collection has been stored on a Synology NAS. Playback is done via phones, laptop or even kindle fire tablet.

I honestly can't bring myself to commit to renting music, and my experience with Amazon Music was very hit and miss. Quality wasn't great and not all the music I wanted to listen to was available. But that's a taste thing, you might find it's fine for you.

Would add that musiccast also lets me listen to radio, vinyl, sacd, dvd audio, in fact any source (handy for football tv commentary in the kitchen for example), anywhere I like at home.
 

waldopepper

Active Member
Just for balance because most people as per usual (with reason!) recommend Sonos as they started the whole high-end streaming speaker craze... we have Denon HEOS which is very similar. If you're comparing them side by side, Sonos is slightly better sound quality and I hear their software/app is much better, but HEOS I think are more flexible and are a bit cheaper if price is a concern.

They have similarly sized speakers to Sonos but our specific needs made us plump for them. Their smallest speaker is much more flexible vs Sonos - you can buy a battery pack for it for outdoor/portable use and it's splashproof so we have it plugged indoors, then take it outside during the summer and also the bathroom. The new Sonos Move does this but is twice the price, but looks more bassy/meaty too. You can connect to all Heos speakers via apps like Spotify Connect/Apple music easily enough but also they all have Bluetooth and 3.5mm jacks as inputs, so when people are over and want to take over the playlist, they can just do this easily enough.

We also invested in a decent home cinema room and have a Denon amp with HEOS built-in powering that so we can add the cinema room to any grouping of speakers when we want a whole house full of music! There's also a AVR so you can add any brand of speakers e.g. towers to the network (I think Sonos have this too now), and also a bridge so you can add any input like vinyl or CD player if you want. Highly recommended, but the app is occasionally a bit flakey and you might need to restart it when it misbehaves. I just use Spotify Connect directly for music playing and the HEOS app occasionally for grouping speakers and other music sources like digital radio. You can use the Spotify phone app or on your laptop etc. If you didn't want to subscribe to a streaming service, you can just add your ripped CDs to a music server and play that via the app, or from your phone directly if they're on there.
 

wellsi

Active Member
Few points. Sonos' biggest drawback is its lack of remotes. Using a phone is not always the answer unless you're sad enough to always walk around the house with your phone and everyone in the house also has a phone connected too. For the money Sonos charge, it's pretty rubbish to only offer your phone as a controller. The old remotes Sonos offered were insanely elegant. And insanely expensive too.
I actually use Logitech Duo. Sadly this is 10 year old technology you can't buy unless second hand on eBay now. Why it was stopped I don't know; each room has an elegant phone-like remote and all the house has streaming music in simultaneous synchronised mode or can separately play different music in each room. And crucially it is a component that feeds each rooms existing sound system, not a new speaker system in its own right.
Considering Logitech's duo was around £90 per room, it was a fantastic option for the 6 rooms I wanted it installed in. I look at the Sonos Port and that would be £2,400 and all I get is black boxes with no remote controls.

There surely has to be another option here? Sonos is not the solution in my case. No remotes and stupid expensive for 6 rooms.

Ian
 

shevans

Active Member
Talking of remotes...

There is the iPort for basic Sonos control.

Bluesound does however let you pair an IR remote for a few functions including access to presets which can be assigned to playlists or radio stations.
 

russelkhan

Active Member
You don't need to carry a phone around with you. You can have an inexpensive android tablet in each room, much like a dedicated remote. I keep one in the kitchen. I also invested in Logitech's ecosystem back in the day, but the Squeezebox line is now dead. My kids are still using a Squeezebox Boom and Radio, but when these devices die they're going to be replaced by Sonos gear.
 

russelkhan

Active Member
Another plus point for Sonos is that the power supply unit is integrated into the speaker. I looked at competing devices and many of them have external power bricks. This is a problem when you need to put your speakers on a kitchen worktop and don't really have anywhere to hide away an external power brick.
 

xmb

Well-known Member
The Yamaha MusicCast speakers also have a direct mains power connection. However, Yamaha has a wider range of playback devices, such as surround receivers and amplifiers that allow better quality speakers to be used for more "critical" listening. If you just want all-in-one speakers then SONOS is fine but for anything else look elsewhere.
 

rld

Novice Member
Hi
I would avoid Sonos like the plague. Not only are they very expensive they are unreliable. Until not so long ago you could have tunes on your phone and play them on the Sonos via an app. on the phone. Sonos has now stopped that. So you now have to pay for programmes you may not want and some of these 'let you' import tunes/songs from your phone into them.
Much cheaper and better is to have small speakers in any room you want and connect them with wires.
It may sound old hat but it's the only way that will be reliable.

CDs. Download itunes for free onto computer. Slot CD into machine and tell itunes to suck it in to make it an itune tune. You can then download whatever you want into your phone and then plug phone into amplifier that serves the speakers throughout the house
 

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