Home Theater Systems Buying Guide
Home Theater Receivers Buying Guide
It’s no secret that wireless audio and music streaming have long been viewed by Hi-Fi enthusiasts as a sub-par listening experience more suitable for convenience, lifestyle and background music, than for “grab-your-attention” sound quality. And truthfully, many wireless speakers are compromised when it comes to fidelity. Streams over Bluetooth are compressed to fit the tiny bandwidth restrictions, and even higher-end proprietary solutions are prone to large stream delays and their own inconveniences. Simply put, wireless audio is still maturing to reach it’s potential, but we're happy to say that things are rapidly evolving.
Modern wireless technologies—particularly DTS Play-Fi—can now stream music and audio at better-than-CD quality via your home’s WiFi network. The result is a wireless audio experience that is indistinguishable from a hard-wired connection. Coupled with streaming services like Qobuz, Tidal, and now Amazon Music HD, anyone can easily enjoy over ten million songs in perfect lossless quality, with no ripping, labeling, or hefty storage. Gone are the days where streaming meant compressed and compromised listening experiences.
SVS Prime Wireless Powered Speaker System with DTS Play-Fi app.
McIntosh RS200 Wireless Loudspeaker System with DTS Play-Fi built-in.
World Wide Stereo System Designer and resident audiophile, Adam Domurad, weighed in on the topic since he’s as excited as anyone about the evolving landscape:
The quality of streaming audio is so good that it can actually out perform CD quality. And the catalogs that come with some of today’s streaming services are so large, 60 million large to be exact, you can be confident that you will be able to find everything you have ever owned on CD, plus all the stuff you wish you had owned. The sound quality of all of this will be at least CD quality or better. It’s a great time to be a music lover!! Adam Domurad, System Designer, Montgomeryville Showroom
What’s even more promising is that a select few of today’s wireless audio systems provide support for Ultra Hi-Res audio, the ultimate reference sound quality when it comes to streaming. DTS Play-Fi offers Critical Listening Mode, a setting that enables lossless audio streaming all the way up to 24-bit/192kHz without jitter or other artifacts inherent in other wireless systems. It’s as transparent as on a wired system, but with all the convenience of a smart wireless music system. Plus DTS Play-Fi offers modern conveniences like whole-home streaming to multiple zones, voice control, custom presets, app control and more.
Of course, none of this means anything if these wireless audio systems aren’t crafted by passionate brands that have been driving the audio industry for years, even before the advent of wireless. Thankfully, trusted names such as Klipsch, SVS, Audiolab, McIntosh, Rotel, Integra, Polk, Onkyo, Pioneer, Definitive Technology, Soundcast, and Martin Logan and have taken up the torch to deliver this future of Hi-Fi with DTS Play-Fi.
DTS Play-Fi is a multi-room audio wireless streaming platform and app that uses Wi-Fi to fill any room (or all of them) with your favorite music. Use the app on your smartphone, tablet, or PC to connect and control various Hi-Fi devices together - portable wireless speakers, A/V tuners, preamps, amps, stereo systems, media servers, and streamers - within one room or across multiple rooms in your home. Check out the video below to see DTS Play-Fi in action.
What makes Play-Fi different from other multi-room streaming solutions like Sonos or Bluesound is that you are not restricted to a one-brand setup, you can actually wirelessly connect your speakers or components with any other Play-Fi-enabled device, even across manufacturers. This gives you the freedom to mix and match products from multiple manufacturers so that you get the best possible setup and performance the way you want it in each room. Plus, you still have the unified functionality of having a single app to control it all.
Controlled via app (available for Windows, Android, or iOS) or Alexa voice control, easily connect to your preferred streaming service and have music play in one room, play in every room in perfect sync (great for entertaining), or go wild and play something different in each room with just a few taps of your phone. Imagine SVS Prime Wireless speakers playing in your home office while the McIntosh RS200 plays the same song in your bedroom and your Klipsch and Integra system shakes the Earth in your family room. What a party that would be!
Current music sources include Tidal, Amazon Music, Spotify (via Spotify Connect), Qobuz, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM and more. Some Play-Fi enabled devices also support AirPlay and AirPlay 2 so you can stream directly from your smartphone.
To assert their passion and commitment to innovating in this space, SVS president Gary Yacoubian shared the following:
Critical Listening Mode is a game-changer that puts DTS Play-Fi and SVS Prime Wireless on another level sonically because it lets you enjoy the full potential of ultra high-resolution streaming from services like Amazon Music HD, Tidal, Qobuz and more. Streaming is no longer relegated to compromised sound quality and background music. With DTS Play-Fi Critical Listening Mode and SVS Prime Wireless speakers; the clarity, dynamics, bass response and overall audio experience is at the pinnacle of what is possible wirelessly. To get the best, it’s easier than it’s ever been. You don’t need a massive configuration, large servers, or even fancy cables. Just get the SVS Prime Wireless speakers, Amazon Music HD, and enjoy listening like you never have before. Gary Yacoubian, SVS President
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