Raumfeld multi-room wireless music system
From Wi-Fi to Hi-Fi
First UK Review If you want a wireless music system with a trick remote control you have two options: spend a lot of cash and get a Sonos set up, or spend a lot less and get a Logitech Squeezebox Duet. Both rigs require your music library to be housed on an PC or Nas drive, and with the Logitech you also need some hi-fi kit to hand.
Raumfeld's wireless music rig: sexy kit
Now German audio maker Raumfeld is pitching a third option. The basic Raumfeld system consists of a Base, a Connector, a Controller and a pair of wireless active speakers. In a nutshell, the hard drive-equipped Base handles content, the Controller lets you manage the system, and the Connector lets you link the system to your existing AV kit. The speakers do what speakers do.
Set up is extraordinarily simple: just plug everything in, connect the Base to your router with the supplied Ethernet cable, pair each unit to the Controller - a simple matter of holding down the pairing button on each when the remote asks you to - and you're done.
Then you can copy your music library onto the Base's 160GB HDD through its second Ethernet port or over your wireless network, or access the UPnP/DNLA music server on your PC or Nas, or even connect some external storage to one of the Base's two USB ports.
The Base is the heart of the system
MP3, WAV, Flac, Ogg Vorbis, ASF, WMA and M4A/AAC music files can all be handled no matter what the sample rate providing they are DRM free. The Base can tap into shared iTunes libraries.
If I were a rich man...
I would certainly value ease-of-use over saving money and dicking about with setting up my own system which ends up with me having to use my laptop to control it.
In my eyes the ideal setup is speakers in each room and something like an iPad on the wall next to (or replacing) your light switches, with a central server hidden some place (or each pad clones data).
Does this already exist - using standard standalone speakers with a bluetooth/wifi connection and an iPhone app?
Top end audio kit has always cost a lot be it conventional hi-fi separates of techie stuff like Sonos. If you want it, you pay, if not you go for one of the myriad of cheaper options. I have German friends who own a Raumfeld (the system has been on sale in Germany since late last year). They bought it as a house warming present for themselves and are very happy with it. It's got their music library off the family laptop and replaced their old stereo & TV 2.1 system, lets them run music in three rooms - or in the garden, all you need is an extension cable - and control the whole thing from the remote. The convenience of being able to relocate the wireless speakers in seconds should not be overlooked. I was impressed with the sound too, especially from the larger speakers. Expensive? Yes. Do I want one? Yes.
Please, tell me the price was a joke!
£1,200 for that? It's not as if they spent a lot on styling or the speakers.