Solving wireless audio

The answer to the title of the post is often “Sonos + Spotify.” The Spotify piece of this is all well and good - although I use Rdio - and in some circumstances the Sonos part is too, for your TV. But if like me you have an amp, a CD player and hand built speakers, you’ll want to make sure you’re making the most out of them too.

I’ve gone through a few iterations of the same solution. Essentially connecting some receiver plugged directly into my amp that can connect to another device to control Rdio. My first port of call was an Airport Express which at £79 was the most expensive of the options, it’s also white which in my opinion is an odd choice for unit in a stack as they are typically black. These things can be forgiven if it actually worked and I’m afraid to say it was temperamental at best. It would constantly lose connection to the wireless network and when playing music would constantly skip - like the 21st century version of warped vinyl. I tired boosting the signal but it seems to be a widely acknowledged problem with some setups. On to solution two.

Solution two involves a cheaper tablet device that acts as the receiver and using Rdio on another device to control it. The system works well, but you’re forced to boot up Rdio on the tablet when you want to use it which makes it a little less “wireless” and you can’t really escape the feeling that it’s a waste of all that computing power.

Which leaves leads me to where I am now. The receiver is a black Logitech device that uses Bluetooth rather than WiFi. If you live in a central London flat you’ll be lucky to have 1000 sq. feet of floor space so the range isn’t really an issue. What’s more, because it uses a different frequency there are none of the bandwidth issues that come when someone else is gaming, streaming a movie or updating to iOS7.

Logitech's bluetooth audio receiver

It’s a great solution, and at £25 for the receiver it’s also one of the most cost effective I’ve found; and as you can tell from the length of this post. I’ve spent a long time looking.

Daniel Bower

Blogging about platform regulation: algorithms, interoperability, kill zones as well as other bits and bobs. Read about my research, or read more about me.