Juke+ Review: Revolutionizing Multi-Room Audio for Every Home



Imagine: your own personalized soundtrack following you seamlessly throughout your home - inside and out. Or not missing a play because the audio from the game is playing in the living room, kitchen, and (dare I say) bathroom. With a distributed audio system, often referred to as multi-room audio system, you can play different audio sources simultaneously in different rooms or zones, or synchronize playback across all zones for a cohesive listening experience throughout the entire space.

These systems offer several benefits for those looking to enhance their home entertainment experience, but all too often are not considered because of the seemingly daunting task of setup, configuration, and the cost of the required gear needed to deliver an effective multi-room audio system. Multiple amplifiers, streaming devices, bus inputs... and what do you do with those volume knobs? 

Juke Audio simplifies all of that at an affordable price point. Juke Audio's multi-room amplifiers allow you to play to any combination of rooms (or zones) and control all aspects of your system wirelessly from an easy to use app.

Juke's lineup consists of the Juke+, Juke-6 and Juke-8 amps. In this review I’ll be focusing on the Juke+ 6 Zone Wireless Streaming Audio Amplifier, the newest and most feature-rich of the three units.

Juke Audio Juke+ 6 Zone Wireless Streaming Audio Amplifier


First Impressions: Unboxing the Juke+

Unboxing the Juke+ is very straightforward. First we find a cardboard accessory box with the Juke logo, and inside we can find a power cable, ethernet cable, Wi-Fi antenna, rack ears, and a bunch of blue phoenix connectors (more on these later). Underneath the accessory box we have the Juke+ Streaming Amp, held in place with two large pieces of packing foam.

The Juke+ isn’t a flashy product on the surface, but that’s to be expected. It’s designed to be installed in a rack or on a shelf in a rack, somewhere nondescript where you won’t be displaying it for the public eye. We have a black anodized metal chassis, with the wifi antenna on the front, and a big red power switch.


Exploring the Back Panel: Connectivity and Setup

Moving around to the back panel of the Juke+, we have a couple of familiar jacks and some that may look a little foreign. We have our ethernet connection, USB ports, RCA in and out, and optical in and out. The speaker terminations use Phoenix Connectors, which is a standard found mostly in the Custom Installation side of the AV business, and less common on consumer level products like this.

To connect speaker wire into these, you'll need a smaller flat head screwdriver to loosen the bolt that locks in the wire. Once the opening is wide enough, twist your wire into a fine point, thread it into the opening, and tighten the screw down to lock the wire in place. Then you can plug the connector into the receptacle of the amplifier and you're good to go. A little more work than your typical spring clip or binding post, but you have a much more secure and reliable connection for sure.

The back sides of the Juke-6 and Juke-8 are less involved, and only have the ethernet, usb ports, and the phoenix connectors for speaker wire. Something to note about the USB ports, is that they do support music playback, but only with a specialized USB to analog adapter. I wasn’t able to personally test this particular feature, but other sources confirm it works if you really need to connect an analog source into the Juke-6 or Juke-8 Amp.

Juke Audio Juke+ 6 Zone Wireless Streaming Audio Amplifier


The Juke Mobile App: Navigating Your Sound Experience

The Juke Mobile App is mostly a configuration tool. From here, you can set up your Juke+ Amp for the first time, and label your separate zones. Zone names can be anything from "Kids Bedroom" to "Back Porch". Really, you're just naming the amp channels that are connected to the corresponding speakers in the room or location they reside in. To control music playback in these zones, Juke really pushes you to use one of the several wireless playback options they support. With the Juke+ however, you are able to use the app to set custom EQ curves for each of the 6 zones. All of these features are also available from a web based interface if you’d prefer to work from a laptop or computer for the setup process or to make tweaks to your system down the road.

Download the Juke Audio App for iOS and Android:

Juke Audio for iOS

Juke Audio for Android


Wireless Playback Options: Flexibility at Your Fingertips

Juke supports 4 forms of wireless music playback for now, and they are airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 5.0, and DLNA. Airplay is great, and was what I used to test out the Juke amps, and Spotify Connect is also fantastic seeing as the user base for spotify is massive. Bluetooth 5.0 is a great fall back if you don't have an iOS device or use Spotify. DLNA, which stands for Digital Living Network Alliance, allows you to stream music off of music servers, computers, or NAS drives.

Juke supports all major streaming services.

The real benefit with these playback options is the flexibility and ease of use. Fire up your favorite streaming service, and it’ll connect to the Juke Amp. No need for a proprietary app to communicate with Juke. So if you’re a dedicated Spotify listener, prefer Apple Music, Pandora, Tidal, or any other music service, you’re good to go.


Expanding Your Soundscape: Multi-Zone Connection Capabilities

The Juke+ is a 6-zone 12-channel amplifier, with 100 watts per channel. That means you can have up to 12 speakers connected, configured into 6 stereo pairs, connected to this amplifier. Each pair is addressable via AirPlay or Spotify Connect as a separate zone, and can be controlled independently of each other. But what happens if you want to connect to more than 6 zones? Well you can simply get a second or third amp to add more zones to your system. And as long as each amp is on the same network, they will see each other and allow you to expand your system throughout your home. This also allows any source, wether streaming or a physical input, to be played in any room. Finally, you can even mix and match the different Juke Amp models on the same network. 



The Value of Juke

Normally, to do what the Juke amps can do, you would need several more devices. Let's look at a similar 6-zone set up with some generic parts. With Juke all you need is a source and the Juke+, for $2,500. To do a 6-zone set up in a more traditional way, you'd need a 6-zone amp which goes for about $2,000, plus 6 network streaming devices going for about $450 a piece, so $2,700. That's a combined cost of $4,700, almost double the price of the Juke+. A huge win for Juke Audio—incredibly cost effective for a basic 6-zone multi room audio setup.


Comparing Your Options: Juke+ vs Juke 6 vs Juke 8

Juke 6 and Juke 8

Juke-6 & Juke-8 6 Zone Multi-Room Audio Amplifier

  • 6-8 Audio Zones
  • 40 watts per speaker channel
  • App Control 
  • Stream via Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 4, and DLNA

Juke+ Streaming Amp

Juke+ 6 Zone Wireless Streaming Audio Amplifier

  • 6 Audio Zones
  • 100 watts per speaker channel
  • App Control 
  • Stream via Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 4, and DLNA
  • Equalizer for every zone
  • Analog and Digital Audio Connections

The Juke-6 and Juke-8 were their first products, followed more recently with the Juke+. The only difference between the Juke-6 and Juke-8 are the number of zone and channels available. The Juke-6 offering 6 zones and 12 channels, while the Juke-8 has 8 zones and 16 channels. Comparing the Juke-6 and Juke-8 to the Juke+, the Juke+ is going to offer more power per channel at 100w vs 40w in the 6 and 8. It has Analog and digital inputs which you can use for external sources. And the Juke+ also gives you the ability to use the equalizer found in the mobile app, to customize each zone. And the final difference being the price, of course, starting at $1,500 for the Juke-6 and going up to $2,500 for the Juke+.


Final Thoughts: The Value of Juke in Multi-Room Audio

In closing, I think the Juke line-up of amps is a great value, and a much needed addition into the world of multi-room audio. Oftentimes the pricing of a traditional distributed audio system can be intimidating, on top of complicated installation procedures. I’m glad juke has made it simpler to install, and brought down the price of entry. All-in-all a great option for people looking to have music piped through the whole house, and I hope to see more innovation and additions from Juke Audio.

Juke Audio Juke+ 6 Zone Wireless Streaming Audio Amplifier

Shop Juke Audio Juke+ 6 Zone Wireless Streaming Audio Amplifier

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