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Denon is known for making mid level high end amplifiers and receivers. They were also first to announce AirPlay compatibility in the AVR Home Theater Receiver line a couple of year back.  What Denon is not known for is speakers.

It appears they are trying to change that. The last entry into the streaming world was a giant bust with the RCD-N7. It was cute but came with crappy speakers (go figure) and a dock, but did all the heavy lifting of steaming on its own. It was sort of a mini receiver with wifi.

The Denon Coocon is an AirPlay compatible speaker dock that hedges its bet by including DLNA, which we think is the way all such docks should be. This way iOS or Android, you’re good to go.

Specs, with 100 watts of power and split 25 each for 4 drivers this unit is sure to have enough power to fill most normal size room with adequate sound. It is ported and of course like anything its size, some significant DSP goings on.

Price: $500. Is it just me of is $500 just a bit much to spend on a speaker dock? I have not yet heard this unit but for casual listening, for which even Denon would not argue this is for, there are many other AirPlay compatible spekaer docks that are much less expensive which will sound either as good, or almost as good.

That said, if you’re a big Denon fan then this might make a great addition to your kitchen, bedroom or porch.

Sending Audio from Mac using OS X Mountain Lion

So you’ve downloaded the new Mac OS, Mountain Lion and cannot wait to start using AirPlay to send audio to your AirPlay compatible devices? Well this tutorial at CNet shows you how.

AirPlay only the audio from your Mac using OS X Mountain Lion | How To – CNET

Google’s Nexus Q – AirPlay & Apple TV competitor?

Back of Nexus Q. The front is solid black orbAirPlay landed with a splash and continues to dominate the in-home streaming discussion despite bluetooth having been around for much longer. There have been speakers and docks but as for well designed audio amplifiers that allow you to BYOS (bring your own speakers), there has been no one. Enter Google and the Nexus Q.

This little deivce has an Apple like design quality without the white. It’s a simple design,streams audio and video via bluetooth and can power a modest pair of speakers of YOUR choice. The great thing here is there are many great sounding speakers out there you can hook up to this deivce. Don’t want to hook up speakers? No problem. Just hook it up to your current audio setup and you’re good to go.

Ease of Use

The key factor is except for the simple dial the top of the unit acts as, the entire experience is controled from your android device, your phone or tablet. At $299 it’s a bit pricy but still a good deal given the simplicity and incredible design. See it here.

Onkyo AirPlay Home Theater Receivers

Onkyo has 4 receivers in their regular line that are AirPlay compatible. All are well worth considering. In audiophile circles these are often considered a notch below the Denon receivers however, what they may every so slightly lack in sound they make up for in ease of use. In general, most folks well never hear the difference, really. But you will notice the difference in the day to day use of product. Especially in user interface with AirPlay. We left off the last receiver in the line in this chart because it does not have wireless capability.

How to choose an Onkyo AirPlay compatible Receiver

First and foremost you should almost NEVER purchase a receiver based upon the stated wattage. The difference between the wattage here are tiny. The main reason to choose one receiver over another form most brands, including Onkyo is the number and configuration of hte Zones. In simple terms this means how many different sources (CD, Radio, Internet) you can play back at one time.

Zones in Onkyo AirPlay Compatible Recievers

For instance the NR616 offers the most flexible solution with two zones that are powered and one that is a line out, meaning you’ll need another amp to power it. The NR515 only had 2 zones but you can use a line out for the second zone if you’d like. The NR414 however only offers one powered zone, meaning you’d need a separate amplifier to play music through the second zone.

Our choice would be the NR515.

Power Output (per channel)
115 W
100 W
80 W
Apple AirPlay
Channels
7.2
7.2
5.1
THX Certified
Select2 Plus
3D-ready: HDMI In/Out
7+1/2
7+1/2
6/1
Surround Sound Formats
Audyssey DSX,
Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby TueHD,
DTS-HD Master Audio
Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby TueHD,
DTS-HD Master Audio
Dolby TueHD,
DTS-HD Master Audio
Audyssey Room Calibration
2EQ
2EQ
Cloud Audio Streaming
Internet Radio
Remote App for iPhone /
Android / Kindle Fire
Video Upconversion (Analog to HDMI)
InstaPrevue Technology
Multi-Zone Playback
Powered Zone 2, Zone 2/3 Line Outs
Powered Zone 2, Zone 2 Line Out
Zone 2 Line Out
Hybrid Standby Energy Saving State
On-Screen Display via HDMI
1080p
1080p
Text
USB Ports
2 (Front/Rear)
2 (Front/Rear)
1 (Front)
Wireless Ready

New AirPlay Receivers from Denon Starting at $399.99

Denon - AVR-1613 Home Theater Receiver Product ShotDenon has broken the $400 for an AirPlay compatible home theater receiver. (the Denon AVR-1613) With 75 watts per channel this 5.1 receiver includes 3D pass-through and 5 HDMI in. It even includes an HDMI port on the front of the unit. This does not seem important until your think about all the other HDMI devices you might want to get on your big screen like your phone, tablet, camera and video camera. Of course AirPlay will let you play all your favorite iTunes musics directly from iTunes or your AirPlay compatible Apple device. The unit also includes streaming Internet radio and Pandora. The up front USB port also lets you plug in your iPod or other non AirPlay devices.

Key features include

  • Fully discrete power amplifiers for all 5 channels (120 W x 5 ch, 6ohm 1kHz 0.7%).
  • 3D pass-through technology Enjoy 3D video entertainment with dynamic surround sound.
  • 5 x HDMI in / 1 x HDMI out Lets you connect your HDMI-equipped devices with a single cable. Enjoy high definition audio and video.
  • Front Panel HDMI Input Provides an easy connection for quick hookup and playback of your HDMI-equipped portable devices.
  • AirPlay Stream music from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch or from your iTunes music library.

You can get the Denon AVR-1613 for $399.99 at Amazon (currently on pre-order)

Klipsch Gallery G-17 AirPaly Compatible Speaker Bar, Is it for you?

Here is what CNET has to say about the new Klipsch Gallery G-17 AirPlay compatible speaker. $549 USD

Review: Klipsch Gallery G-17 AirThe Gallery G-17 Air looks very similar to the other speakers in Klipsch’s Gallery range of speakers. It’s made of glossy black plastic, has two 2.5-inch mid/bass drivers and two 0.75-inch aluminum horn tweeters. There isn’t a dedicated bass driver (which makes these two-way speakers) and the unit is quite small, measuring about 43cm across and just 10.2cm deep, making it more compact than popular AirPlay speakers such as the Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Air and iHome IW1. However, it is still pretty hefty thanks to a solid glass stand and possibly larger magnets required for the long-throw full-range drivers.

I love speaker reviews from CNET. In fact I like them from almost anywhere. Having been the GM for The Speaker Company, (now defunct) I actually know what goes into design and pricing decisions. Seldom do the reviews even remotely “get it”. Combine that with the subjectivity of review how a speaker sounds or looks and you get a “kind of” idea as to whether or not you’re going to like the product. With that, CNET says the speaker is warm and detailed but lacks any substantial bass. They say this speaker won’t stand out in your decor. I don’t know, this looks kind of “look at me, I’m a speaker” kind of design. I’m betting the solid glass stand added quite a bit to the price of this puppy.

As is expected from Klipsch, the tweeters are “hornish” in nature, and with only 2 2.5 mid/bass drivers it’s doubtful there is much bass to speak of.

That said, while at the Speaker Company we did base our IDV1 speaker dock on a Klipsch product that did produce some decent bass from a pair of 3″ speakers with tweeters.

Though you can likely get an AirPlay speaker for less that will sound as good if not almost as good, Having the Klipsch will at least give you some bragging rights.

I should note that as of this writing, 8 customers gave this unit 4 stars on Amazon where it is available with Prime free shipping at $549.

Buy the Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air AirPlay Speakers (High Gloss Black)

Should you Buy a HTiB because of AirPlay?

For those who don’t want to think about having to match speakers with a separate receiver you’re certainly considering a home theater in a box. Though many will scoff at the idea as less than optimal, it can be a real time and money saver. Many folks cannot hear the difference between high end . . . → Read More: Should you Buy a HTiB because of AirPlay?

Logitech AirpPlay Speaker – Shinny & Big – Nice!

Logitech has jumped into the AirPlay compatible speaker fray. As is common in AirPlay speakers it is a bit on the expensive side. One does have to wonder why prices for this category of speaker are so high. For the most part most AirPlay compatible docks are fairly standard run of the mill type . . . → Read More: Logitech AirpPlay Speaker – Shinny & Big – Nice!

Recommended AirPlay Reciever for Under $400

So for full disclosure, I did work for Denon in a past life. I’ve also owned some Pioneer receivers. We’re approaching the time of year when receivers go on sale and this year is no different. The first salvo comes in the form of the Pioneer VSX-1021-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver  selling for . . . → Read More: Recommended AirPlay Reciever for Under $400

Should you Buy the Klipsch Gallery G17 AirPlay Speaker?

 The new Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air AirPlay® Speakers are not inexpensive at $549 each, but then nothing from Klipsch is inexpensive. They are however AirPlay compatible allowing you to stream music directly from your iPhone, iPod touch without the need for a separate amplifier.

The soundbar shaped speaker is made of  high density resin . . . → Read More: Should you Buy the Klipsch Gallery G17 AirPlay Speaker?