Suppliers are staking out multiple positions in the wireless multiroom-audio market with their latest product launches, with some companies focused on mass-market products and others, such as Yamaha and BlueSound, focused on high-performance music enthusiasts.
Here’s what’s coming:
Yamaha To Offer 20 MusicCast Products
Yamaha is bringing wireless multizone audio to a broad array of home audio products, not just to tabletop speakers and soundbars. All of the products will feature high-resolution audio decoding and playback.
The company plans by year’s end to offer 20 audio products featuring its proprietary MusicCast technology. The first products are 10 networked RX- and Aventage-series AVRs, a home theater AVR/speaker package, and a flagship preamp/surround processor.
MusicCast technology streams music from networked computers, NAS drives, mobile devices, and any sources connected to a MusicCast product, including USB sticks, turntables, CD players, and TVs. In a MusicCast system, up to 10 different MusicCast devices can wirelessly stream up to 10 different songs simultaneously, though a two- or three-zone AVR could send one of those streams via wired connection to additional rooms.
BlueSound Expands, Upgrades
BlueSound packed its second-generation wireless multizone-audio products with enhancements and expanded the selection of amplified tabletop Wi-Fi speakers with smaller sizes at lower price points.
Like before, the products support high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz music decoding and playback. With the six models in the BlueSound Gen 2 lineup, the brand continues to position its products as a step up from Sonos and Bose.
The latest models consist of the $799-suggested Power Node 2 streamer/amplifier, which drives separately purchased passive speakers; the $499 Node 2 streamer, which lacks amplifier and connects to existing sound systems; the $1,199 Vault 2 streamer/transmitter with CD ripper and 2TB hard drive; and three single-chassis amplified speakers. They expand the tabletop-speaker selection to three from the first-generation’s sole $699 model.
The three new speakers are the $699 triamplified 80-watt Pulse 2, which replaces the original Pulse, and two line additions, both of which are smaller than the Pulse 2. One is the $499 Pulse Mini 60-watt biamplified 2.1-channel speaker, and the other is the 20-watt mono $299 Pulse
Russound Readies New Streamers
Russound will go to October’s CEDIA Expo with two new models in its expandable XStream series of wireless multiroom-audio solutions.
The new streaming models are the XSource Streaming Audio Player and the XZone4 Four-Stream, Four-Zone Audio System.
The XSource Streaming Audio Player is a small tabletop streamer/preamp for use with an existing stereo system or powered speakers. It features native support for high-resolution audio as well as AirPlay, Spotify, Pandora, and TuneIn. It can also be used as a source with Russound’s MCA-Series and C-Series wired multizone-audio controllers.
Expressly for custom-installed systems, the planned XZone4 F 1U rack-mountable streamer integrates with installed multiroom-audio systems that send music over speaker cables to in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. It wirelessly stream up to four independent audio streams from networked computers and NAS drives, and it’s expandable to 16 zones.
Samsung Expanding Omnidirectional Speakers
Samsung expanded its selection of wireless-multiroom audio speakers with 360-degree sound dispersion.
The omnidirectional R5, R3 and R1 speakers in the Wireless Audio 360 series will be available in the fourth quarter at prices ranging from $199 to $399.
In the U.S., Samsung currently offers the omnidirectional egg-shaped R7 and three wedge-shaped wireless multiroom-audio speakers.