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So, I am helping someone out get a new music setup for their house, they presently play mainly from iTunes accessing music on networked drives or Spotify in their office, or plugging an ipod or iphone into their stereo setup (with vinyl) downstairs. Ideally they want a stereo speaker setup in possibly two areas downstairs, and upstairs in their office, with an easy way to control which speakers the music is coming out of using their iPhone. Is a system such as Sonos best suited for this, or would it be possible with separates i.e. a Marantz network player in each room, or would that be a bad way of doing it?

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So, I am helping someone out get a new music setup for their house, they presently play mainly from iTunes accessing music on networked drives or Spotify in their office, or plugging an ipod or iphone into their stereo setup (with vinyl) downstairs. Ideally they want a stereo speaker setup in possibly two areas downstairs, and upstairs in their office, with an easy way to control which speakers the music is coming out of using their iPhone. Is a system such as Sonos best suited for this, or would it be possible with separates i.e. a Marantz network player in each room, or would that be a bad way of doing it?

 

If you could describe what components (speakers included) they have now and which rooms are already active it would help a lot.

David

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If you could describe what components (speakers included) they have now and which rooms are already active it would help a lot.

A bit of a hodge podge :) Downstairs they have old 80s separates amp, tuner and turntable connected to wall (top corner) mounted speakers, and a Sony mini CD hifi with DAB tuner and ipod input. The downstairs is fairly large and open plan so more than one set of speakers may be preferable. They prefer the idea of stereo speakers rather than the all in one types. Upstairs in the office they use their laptop as the 'controller', and play music through iTunes or Spotify with this, through the aux input on a mini hifi system, with the speakers mounted in the corners of the room.

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A bit of a hodge podge :) Downstairs they have old 80s separates amp, tuner and turntable connected to wall (top corner) mounted speakers, and a Sony mini CD hifi with DAB tuner and ipod input. The downstairs is fairly large and open plan so more than one set of speakers may be preferable. They prefer the idea of stereo speakers rather than the all in one types. Upstairs in the office they use their laptop as the 'controller', and play music through iTunes or Spotify with this, through the aux input on a mini hifi system, with the speakers mounted in the corners of the room.

 

Sounds like a lot of moving parts in a number of locations so really not sure how I'd approach it to be honest. It also sounds like you've volunteered to help straighten them out on things and nothing is more valuable than being there in person and getting a "feel" of what they'd like a system to do for them. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

David

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Chromecast Audios should be able to connect to all of the existing kit, assuming decent WiFi reception, though they can also be wired to the network. The only issue is that they don't support gapless playback when streaming music files from a media server and using playlist.

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A bit of a hodge podge :) Downstairs they have old 80s separates amp, tuner and turntable connected to wall (top corner) mounted speakers, and a Sony mini CD hifi with DAB tuner and ipod input. The downstairs is fairly large and open plan so more than one set of speakers may be preferable. They prefer the idea of stereo speakers rather than the all in one types. Upstairs in the office they use their laptop as the 'controller', and play music through iTunes or Spotify with this, through the aux input on a mini hifi system, with the speakers mounted in the corners of the room.

 

If they are "casual" listeners and prefer simplicity and ease of use over audiophile sound, I would suggest a Sonos set up. Not sure of current names, but we for casual listening we have two Sonos boxes connected to 5.1 channel systems plus several other Sonos amps connected to in-ceiling speakers in several rooms. Sonos accesses a library on a NAS that is managed through iTunes. No computers needed to control the Sonos boxes. CD quality files plus Internet and various streaming options. Sonos boxes can be connected by Ethernet and/or wireless...one box needs to be connected to the home network for Internet access. We've been running the Sonos set up in our house with 6-7 zones for about 6-7 years with very few glitches. And on the 2-3 times they've occured, customer service has been exceptional.

 

If they're looking for higher quality listening there are probably many solutions but I'm less familar with those b/c I have a two-channel system in one room for "serious" listening...using Aries+DAC+separate NAS with dedicated library (not used by the Sonos boxes).

 

Hope this helps and good luck with the consult!

QNAP TS-251-->Netgear GS116 Switch--->Asus router--->wireless to Aurelic Aries--->USB to NAD M51--->Bryston B135--->Thiel CS 2.7 speakers

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Sounds like a lot of moving parts in a number of locations so really not sure how I'd approach it to be honest. It also sounds like you've volunteered to help straighten them out on things and nothing is more valuable than being there in person and getting a "feel" of what they'd like a system to do for them. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

Thanks :). I think, but am not certain that they have all the iPod and iPhone content on network drives so that might not be as important issue as I thought.

 

 

 

Sounds like a job for an AV receiver. Links below should cover speaker switch and iphone control. No affiliation.

 

 

Receivers FAQ

Receivers buying guide

I hadn't thought of that, so I can basically merge the amp and the network player into one?

 

 

 

Chromecast Audios should be able to connect to all of the existing kit, assuming decent WiFi reception, though they can also be wired to the network. The only issue is that they don't support gapless playback when streaming music files from a media server and using playlist.

Thanks, I'd never heard of this Google thing, I'll have a look into it :).

 

 

If they are "casual" listeners and prefer simplicity and ease of use over audiophile sound, I would suggest a Sonos set up. Not sure of current names, but we for casual listening we have two Sonos boxes connected to 5.1 channel systems plus several other Sonos amps connected to in-ceiling speakers in several rooms. Sonos accesses a library on a NAS that is managed through iTunes. No computers needed to control the Sonos boxes. CD quality files plus Internet and various streaming options. Sonos boxes can be connected by Ethernet and/or wireless...one box needs to be connected to the home network for Internet access. We've been running the Sonos set up in our house with 6-7 zones for about 6-7 years with very few glitches. And on the 2-3 times they've occured, customer service has been exceptional.

 

If they're looking for higher quality listening there are probably many solutions but I'm less familar with those b/c I have a two-channel system in one room for "serious" listening...using Aries+DAC+separate NAS with dedicated library (not used by the Sonos boxes).

 

Hope this helps and good luck with the consult!

Thanks very much for your extensive reply :). I think Sonos might well be the way to go. Having a look at their website I could use a Sonos Connect and connect this to the aux in of their existing amp, allowing them to use their present hifi setup. I could then setup Sonos Play speakers in their office, connected with thin Ethernet cable to the router or maybe a separate switch? The Sonos apps certainly seem to be well developed and user friendly, although I may look at some of the AV receiver options above and see if they can compete!

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If they like controlling their music via iTunes, I'd suggest an AirPort Express ($100) for each additional room where existing equipment can be used for playback. The AirPort Express has both digital and analog output to interface with just about any existing DAC or amplifier. Using AirPlay and Apple Remote each room can be independently controlled as to program and volume. Content on any iPhone/iPad (and some iPods) can be wirelessly sent to any room. An added benefit is that the AirPort Express units can be configured to act as wireless network extenders.

 

If you need additional stand-alone speakers, there are many that have built-in AirPlay support; just search "airplay wireless speaker" at Amazon.

 

More information:

How to Use Apple AirPlay as a Cheap Sonos Alternative - Jack Marshall

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202192

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