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.

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?

YamahaFor 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 equipment and HTiB’s. But, there are many who can.

What will you loose with these systems? Not much, but those with other high end systems in the house will likely notice the difference, especially in the speakers. Everyone else will likely love these systems, especially if you’re mostly watching movies.

Airplay compatible
Of course these affordable home theater systems include AirPlay compatibility which means those with iPhones and touches will be thrilled that they can send their favorite music or internet radio station directly to the system. No video still but that is a feature lacking in AirPlay, not a drawback of the systems. Another neat feature is the compressed music enhancer which could help your Pandora or Slacker radio sound better. Nice.

DLNA too!
For those not inclined to use AirPlay or living in a dual OS household with Android devices, these receivers also include connectivity for DLNA.

These new Yamaha models include some pretty spiffy features including Dolby TrueHD and the ability to transfer 3D video signals. The models include the YHT-897BL ($850 suggested retail), YHT-797BL ($800), YHT-597BL ($650), which will ship in May, and the YHT-497BL ($480) and YHT-397BL ($450), which are available this month.

Save $100 Now – Yamaha YHT-897 5.1-Channel Network Home Theater System00 Now Yamaha YHT-897

On a slimer budget? AT only $429, consider the Yamaha YHT-497 5.1-Channel Home Theater System

Via Yamaha Unveils AirPlay-Ready HTiB Systems – 2012-04-09 18:02:46 | TWICE

Logitech AirpPlay Speaker – Shinny & Big – Nice!

Logitech UE Air SpeakerLogitech 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 speaker docks. The big difference is that you can use AirPlay to stream music directly from you iPhone or iPod touch to the speaker, bypassing using the dock or an external amplifier. This is convenient if you’re moving around the house with your phone but hardly necessary if you have a touch for example, that you can afford to have docked in the speaker. In general these speakers don’t sound any better or worse than other iPod docks, they just usually cost more.

It’s Not AirPlay Driving Prices

Apple does charge a manufacturer money to include the AirPlay technology, but it is typically around $4 per unit or so. This makes it hard to see why so many AirPlay compatible speakers charge such a premium. I’m sure part of it is caching in on the Apple brand mystique and some is getting what the market will bear.

If you don’t need to be further away than 30 feet from your speakers, then consider using a bluetooth speaker which is usually cheaper or the dock on the unit if it has one.

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 cabinet and finished in a  piano black, high gloss luster and mounts vertically or horizontally on a wall.
You can also set it on a table or counter on the  dark tempered glass  base.

The following specs are from the Klipsch website:

  • DIMENSIONS: Without Base: 6″ H x 16 7/8″ W x 3.5″ D
    With Base: 7″ H x 16.87″ W x 4″ D
  • ENCLOSURE TYPE: Bass-reflex
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 57Hz – 23kHz +/- 3dB / usable bass to 47 Hz (f10)
  • HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER: 0.75″ (1.9 cm) Aluminum diaphragm compression driver mated to 90° x 90° square Tractrix Horn.

Given its size it is hard to imagine just hom much bass you’d get. Typically Klipsch iPod products produce farily decent bass as has been witnessed by this writer in previously owned iPod docks. Your personal opinion on how much bass is enough may vary.

As is typical Klipsch includes horn loaded tweeters. I’ve never been overly fond of these in their larger speakers but they often sound pretty good in these smaller incarnations.

The unit gets some pretty good reviews on Amazon, 4 stars but please note that it does have some problems with iPhone 4S streaming. You can pick one up on Amazon or check out the user reviews there.

User review from Amazon  – Nice product, but won’t replace a full-sized stereo system.
Disclaimer!! Audio “quality” is ultimately a subjective notion that depends greatly on personal taste, room characteristics and recording quality, among other things. While this review represents my own experience with the G17, prospective buyers would be wise to test this system in person, with their own music, before drawing any definite conclusions.

Phillips AirPlay Speaker that Looks like a Stargate

This speaker does have AirPlay. For those of you who don’t get the Stargate reference, don’t worry, it’s not necessary to the review. This is a unique looking unit to say the least. As for what folks think about the sound? Most folks think this 9″ ring speaker, it’s mono by the way, sounds wonderful. There were some reported problems with AirPlay but it’s always difficult to tell if those are from the speaker or the user. And at $299, or less, this is certainly worth a go for those who want something a bit more out of the ordinary. Philips DS3881W/37 Fidelio SoundRing Wireless Speaker with AirPlay

NAD High Powered, Very Hot Bluetooth Speaker, and a Funny Review

VISO1_back OK, I’m going to tell you I’ve always been partial to NAD products. Clean design, function over flash, top of the line construction and overall high quality. I was intrigued when I saw they released a bluetooth speaker (sorry, no AirPlay here). But given their reputation, I figured it would be a knockout.

Well with nothing much to go on but a picture, some meager specs and a $700 price tag I thought I’d at least read a review. So when I saw that the folks at Audioholics had reviewed one I headed on over. Wow, they were just stunned by this unit. Well, they didn’t exactly say they liked it but the review was so funny I figured I’d just pass this along. Now I’m sure the unit will sound just wonderful, it does cost $700 and is made by NAD, but the pre-review… priceless.

Altec Live 500 Wi-Fi Speaker – No AirPlay, but so what

Though our site is called AirPlay compatible we really are taking the broader approach and talk about Wi-Fi and bluetooth devices as well. After all, it’s not the technology but the solution that fits your needs, right? Altec’s lastes LIVE 5000 speaker system lets you stream music from anywhere in your home to the speaker from any handheld device. We’ve always liked this better than bluetooth which limits you to being within 30 feet of your device. The live looks like a potential competitor to the Sonos, especially with a price range of $500. It will debut in early summer and comes with a tri-amp systems; two 3″ mids, 2 neodymium soft dome tweeters (impressive) and a 4″ subwoofer paired with a passive radiator. This just might sound pretty good, even for the price.

iHome expands AirPlay Speaker Lineup

iHome adds two new AirPlay compatible speakers to its lineup. The iW2 and iW3; the iW2 is a $179 smaller version of the iW1 without a battery, and the $199 iW3 adds a rechargeable battery pack like the iW1’s, but with a vertical format like the new Sony’s. They have also unveiled the iW5 which is a much smaller version with swappable grilles, which usually no one cares about (witness when Boston Acoustic tried this, as well as many others). With more and more DLNA, Bluetooth and AirPlay speakers hitting the market, it appears that Docks are becoming passe. Which do you prefer? DLNA, Bluetooth or AirPlay?

Sony’s New AirPlay Compatible Speakers

 Sony SA-N410 and SA-N310Sony’s HomeShare wireless speaker solution did not take off in 2011, being outflanked not only by Apple’s AirPlay but the many bluetooth speaker that hit the market last year. Not to sit on their laurels, Sony has quickly recovered and released 2 new speakers that are both HomeShare and AirPlay compatible speakers the SA-N310 and the SA-NS410. Since Sony’s HomeShare system uses DLNA, these speaker will work with both Apple products and non-Apple products like Android phones and tablets. The larger Sony SA-NS410 includes a subwoofer for deeper bass. No specs, no price, and it is difficult to tell what the actual size of these units is. Stay tuned and we’ll let you know when we find out.