Finest AirPlay audio system Shopping for Information: Welcome to What Hello-Fi?’s round-up of one of the best AirPlay audio system you should buy in 2021.
AirPlay audio system do not must be made by Apple, though it does assist. There are many different five-star methods of streaming wi-fi music from an iPhone, iPad or Mac, however AirPlay is an efficient solution to do multi-room with out getting locked right into a single audio model. AirPlay is straightforward, and, whereas Bluetooth is ubiquitous, there are nonetheless benefits to picking among the finest AirPlay speaker as a substitute.
Apple’s streaming know-how can stretch over an extended distance. AirPlay makes use of lossless compression reasonably than lossy Bluetooth, and the direct connection between the iOS machine and the AirPlay speaker provides you management over each the quantity of your speaker and the quantity of your machine.
Because of AirPlay 2, multi-room playback is now on the menu too – and never restricted to Apple-branded merchandise – plus there’s the promise of improved audio buffering and a number of management entry throughout iOS gadgets (a helpful contact for multi-room streaming).
For those who’re not fairly prepared to surrender one know-how for the opposite, you then’ll be happy to notice that almost all AirPlay audio system will even provide Bluetooth, so you will not miss out on any performance and it means you need to use them with non-iOS supply gadgets too.
If you wish to preserve your Apple Music expertise totally on model, these are your excellent AirPlay speaker choices. You could be stunned to see that the Apple HomePod is not on this record. The explanation? Oh it is nothing to do with efficiency. Regardless of its five-star ranking (and the truth that it is a belter of an AirPlay sensible speaker) in March 2021 Apple introduced it was discontinuing it to focus its efforts on the HomePod Mini – which is totally on our record.
Whereas the Apple HomePod Mini (beneath) comes with all the corporate’s signature applied sciences, if you’d like high-quality sound from an AirPlay 2 speaker – and have the finances to stretch – it’s properly price wanting on the Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Technology.
Able to hi-res playback as much as 24-bit/384kHz, the brand new Qb betters its predecessors efficiency with even larger readability, precision timing and gorgeous dynamic vary. We liked it a lot we named it our wi-fi audio system Product of the 12 months for 2019 and 2020.
Learn the complete evaluate: Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation
The 2021 replace (sensibly titled MkII) to the three-time Award-winning Audio Professional C10 (beneath) provides AirPlay 2 and Google Forged to finish a multi-room house run.
After we examined its older sibling, we pitted it in opposition to fashions virtually double its value and located it bettered them. We’re completely satisfied to report that it is nonetheless the case right this moment – if £500 ($500) is your most finances, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a speaker that comes near the Audio Professional C10 MkII.
We miss the leather-based deal with and enjoyable, barely rock’n’roll aesthetic and sonic presentation of the unique, however we will not argue with three choices for multi-room streaming (AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Audio Professional’s personal slick and practical app) or the levelled-up grippy bass and improved hi-fidelity efficiency.
Learn the complete evaluate: Audio Pro Addon C10 MkII
Audio Professional presently makes a few of the best wireless speakers in the marketplace and the Addon C10 is one other spectacular Award-winning mannequin – even when it has been outmoded by the MkII above. Connectivity is among the many most thorough you possibly can count on on the cash, with AirPlay joined by the choice of wi-fi and Bluetooth, plus aux and RCA inputs. It has all the main music streaming providers, together with Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz.
The Addon C10 sounds large and daring, however is equally capable of seize the subtler, extra nuanced tracks as it’s firing out large bassy numbers. Each inch the 2020 Award winner and a great iPhone companion.
Learn the complete evaluate: Audio Pro Addon C10
The market is full to bursting with transportable Bluetooth audio system within the sub-£150 bracket, however not all of them have the JBL Hyperlink Moveable’s neat options which embody hands-free voice help, a charger cradle, wi-fi streaming by way of wi-fi and, most significantly, Apple AirPlay 2.
An IPX7 ranking means it’s absolutely waterproof (to a depth of 1 metre, for as much as 30 minutes) and, as soon as USB-C-charged, you’ll get eight hours of wi-fi music out of it.
Soundwise, it has oodles of element for a speaker of its dimension and an expansive combine with every little thing current, together with bass. Offered you have got a stable floor at house and also you’re not trying to daisy-chain it with one other JBL speaker, it has lots going for it.
Learn the complete evaluate: JBL Link Portable
The HomePod Mini actually is bijou. At simply 8.4cm tall and 9.8cm extensive, it’s fairly a bit smaller than the equally spherical new Amazon Echo. In actual fact, it’s even dwarfed by the brand new Echo Dot. Get its swirling orb of colored mild up and working (when Siri is listening or processing) although, and also you realise you have bought an aesthetic performer in your fingers.
It goes loud, too. From the second we begin enjoying music, it’s clear that the HomePod Mini comfortably outperforms its dimension and value, fairly frankly embarrassing its direct competitors with the sophistication and maturity of its sound.
Siri is your voice assistant, and after a brief interval of studying it will reply to the phrase “Hey Siri, play one thing I will like” not by streaming your most performed monitor of the previous couple of weeks, however by enjoying one thing that you could have by no means listened to earlier than however is an efficient match for what you usually do take heed to. It’s a very highly effective solution to uncover new music, and Alexa is nowhere close to nearly as good at it.
Learn the complete evaluate: Apple HomePod Mini
The Sequence Three is one of the best sounding AirPlay speaker there’s. Little doubt. It is also severely, severely costly for a wi-fi field.
A part of that outlay goes in direction of Linn’s proprietary Exakt know-how which goals to scale back section errors by deliberately delaying larger frequencies in order that they arrive at your ear concurrently decrease frequencies. It additionally retains the music sign’s knowledge within the digital area for so long as doable to keep away from any degradation brought on by sign processing.
We’ve heard Exakt do its factor in lots of a Linn product earlier than, and right here once more it contributes to an absorbing efficiency. What’s placing is the gorgeous midrange readability and low-end agility which make the Sequence Three a pointy performer and way more insightful than its extra inexpensive rivals, too.
There isn’t any Tidal Masters assist however there’s an HDMI ARC socket which permits you utilize the Sequence Three in your TV sound.
Learn the complete evaluate: Linn Series 3
Dear, expensive however oh so good. The Wedge is the religious successor to the super-successful B&W Zeppelin however it’s bought a lot extra apart from. Roon-ready, this elliptical multi-driver speaker is among the firm’s Formation multi-room merchandise and permits you to stream 24-bit/96 kHz hi-res audio by its tweeters, woofers and sub.
Sound-wise, it is clearly a deal with. Vocals are textured and emotive, audio is detailed and distinguished and there is some nice dynamism on provide. Not as authoritative on the backside because the Mu-so beneath however it beats it for refinement and readability.
Learn the complete evaluate: Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge
Such is the breadth of alternative with regards to AirPlay audio system, you possibly can spend underneath £100 or properly over £1000. Take the Naim Mu-so-2. It is in depth characteristic set contains all method of wi-fi streaming applied sciences akin to AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. Streaming providers like Tidal and Spotify are additionally supported as is high-res audio to the tune of 24-bit/88kHz. It is not nearly streaming, although, with a HDMI ARC enter permitting you to hook up a TV and increase its sound on the similar time.
The Naim seems to be like a premium speaker and it seems like one too, with a wealthy, assured sound, packed stuffed with element and delivered with immense rhythmic drive. Bass is plentiful and of a top quality. In case your finances permits, you will be appropriate impressed.
Learn the complete evaluate: Naim Mu-so 2
The second-generation Sonos One is known as a Sonos Play:1 in new clothes, however that is no unhealthy factor. It now boasts Amazon’s Alexa sensible assistant for voice controls, and it is all the higher for it. In actual fact, with its room-filling sound, it stands other than the glut of sensible audio system which can be sensible first and audio system second. Throw in Apple’s AirPlay 2 tech and the truth that the One suits seamlessly right into a multi-room set-up, and you have a winner in your fingers.
Learn the complete evaluate: Sonos One
The Audio Professional C3 sports activities the identical minimalist look that the Scandinavian firm is understood for, with textured surfaces and embossed leather-based carry deal with, however the wi-fi tech provides an entire new dimension to your listening. It is only a disgrace that controlling it utilizing the smartphone app is not a bit higher thought by. Nonetheless, it is a belter of a speaker, full with as much as 15 hours of battery life, to make it a advantageous house or outside speaker.
Learn the complete evaluate: Audio Pro Addon C3
Though we’re ready to present it some good-natured ribbing for an aesthetic that abandons the pattern of different Audio Professional audio system, the Drumfire is put collectively very properly. The massive backside portion of the Drumfire homes a 20cm subwoofer powered by a 200W Class D amplifier to pump bass into the room. And you’ll hear it.
In order for you a severely highly effective, severely spectacular sound, then look no additional. You get loads of quantity and weight however do not be pondering this speaker cannot additionally do delicate – it is a highly-accomplished wi-fi speaker, no matter you throw at it. Add in multi-room connectivity and the choice to increase the Audio Professional household and you’ve got an attractive, wonderful high-end speaker.
Learn the complete evaluate: Audio Pro Drumfire
Devialet would not do delicate, easy, or understated. The Silver Phantom is the optimum instance of its wi-fi speaker design. Packing enormous quantities of energy inside a smooth cupboard full with side-firing drivers, it might go louder than the typical motorcycle and fortunately sounds a lot sweeter on the ears.
And it is not only a fairly face. The Silver Phantom is well-specified with AirPlay, Spotify Join and multi-room choices, and delivers among the finest performances we’ve heard from an AirPlay speaker – bolder, larger and louder than its dimension would counsel.
Learn the complete evaluate: Devialet Silver Phantom