So you want to play and control your music from your iPhone or Android device? But you don't want to sacrifice quality? This guide will show you the different ways available and which is the best.
We have purpose designed showrooms in Wellington and Christchurch to explain the differences and demonstrate all options.
Bluetooth is by far the most popular format for easily streaming music from your portable devices. It has some very severe limitations, but for applications where quality is not hugely important, and you want to play just about every device, adding a blue-tooth adapter can be a quick and easy way to get music from your portable devices to your stereo or portable audio system.
- Works with just about every device
- Cheap to implement
- Designed for use in small range (about 5m)
- Susceptible to strong interference from Wi-Fi Signals
- Compressed (Mp3) Sound quality if reception not perfect or not implemented properly
- Limited Control Over Other Devices
Streaming using your home network is one of the most robust ways to get music from your portable device to your stereo. However, just about every different manufacturer has a different way of implementing this.
Many different brands have put their own spin on network streaming, including Sonos, Yamaha and many more. There are so many choices on the market it can be hard to figure out what is actually good for your situation.
|Yamaha MusicCast||The Best of both worlds, combines just about every streaming option into one esy package. Easy app control, airplay, bluetooth, streaming and multi-room built into a huge range of products.|
|Sonos||An easy to use system for streaming to multiple areas around your house. The app is great for streaming services that are supported and internet radio, but can be a bit more limited than Yamaha MusicCast|
Sonos Play 3
|DTS Play-Fi||An open system designed to work for many different manufacturers products. The app control isn't perfect yet, but as many brands use the same system you can mix and match products|
|Airplay||Apple's proprietary system, very easy to use if you have an Apple Device. Relies on the strength of your home network, can have drop-outs and instability if your network isn't perfect|
Apple Airport Express
|UPnP / DLnA|
UPnP and DLNA are relatively well supported standards for streaming from a variety of network connected devices.
Quality can be excellent when implemented well and usually you can use a variety of 3rd party apps to control and playback to devices which support these standards.
Spotify Connect is Spotify's proprietary streaming system. It allows the smartphone to control the streaming device, which directly downloads the Spotify Stream from the internet.
This allows you to get the best quality out of Spotify (Which is limited to 320 kbps Mp3)
USB DAC's for mobile devices:
Many modern smartphones such as iOS devices and recent Android smartphones will allow a high quality digital output using USB connections.
This allows you to get the absolute most out of your device, if your device supports it, this is the best way to get a very reliable and high quality connection.
zFor iOS users: Some USB DAC's will require a camera connection kit to work properly. This allows the phone to operate as a USB "Host" If you don't want to use this, consider a device that is made to work specifically with Apple devices such as the Oppo HA-2
For Android Users: You will typically require a "USB OTG Cable" This allows the phone to work as a USB Host. To enable the highest resolution playback you may need to install a separate music playback app such as USB Audio Player Pro. Many standard portable DAC's will work in this way such as the iFi micro iDSD.