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ANALYSIS: CONNECTED AUDIO Home Entertainment


26 Let the music play


Audio streaming is all the rage right now and the industry is pushing consumers towards increased adoption of wireless technology across the home, with ever- impressive sound quality to boot. So who offers what? Jack Cheeseman takes a look.


L


ast year, consumers made huge investments in their home theatres and audio technologies, largely thanks to big advancements in music and video streaming capabilities. People crave


ease-of-access to their entertainment, and streaming and connected technologies reduce friction to that end. Manufacturers tell ERT that we are at the tip of


the iceberg as Wi-Fi penetration, smart home devices and strength of platforms and ecosystems are all cited as reasons for the widespread adoption of wireless audio tech. The latest products from Yamaha consist of


Alexa-enabled soundbars – the YAS-109 and YAS- 209 and a new range of flagship AV Receivers the RX-A4A/RX-A6A/RX-A8A. These are categories that the brand continues to evolve. All these feature support for high res music


streaming services such as Amazon Music HD and multi-room functionality, Alexa Multi-Room Music for the YAS-109/209 and MusicCast for the AV Receivers. “But the age-old requirement of sounding great still remains a top priority for our customers and


our design teams,” says Simon Feben-Harknett, AV Product Specialist at Yamaha. “In everything we do, we strive for True Sound,


to reproduce music in as pure and honest way as possible. Our latest range of AV Receivers has taken more steps to reach this goal than any other AVR line up in Yamaha’s history, so it’s a very exciting time for us right now. “It’s all the seemingly small but very significate


changes we have made inside that are making such a difference, in much of the same way why one hi-fi amp sounds better than another. They might achieve the same basic goals, but when you listen, you quickly realise which one is a superior performer.” When it comes to powerful sound, there’s also


LG’s new XBOOM 360 RP4 speaker, which offers Omnidirectional Audio from a high quality titanium tweeter and glass fibre woofer. But more than that, it’s built to create an


immersive atmosphere to entertain, relax or party, thanks to its special light modes of ‘Ambient’, ‘Healing’ and ‘Party’. “Allow your customer to connect two XBOOM speakers with a compatible LG TV in store


through Bluetooth Surround Ready to give a surround sound experience and demonstrate to the consumer how versatile the product is for different needs,” says James Thomas, Product Manager of Home Entertainment at LG Electronics. Coming later this year as well, the Korean giant


is launching its UltraGear GP9 gaming speaker, specifically designed for gamers, with a premium Hi-Fi Quad DAC built-in and immersive 3D sound with game type sound fields. Users can also plug in any standard headphones to enjoy virtual 7.1ch surround thanks to DTS Headphone:X. Over at Ruark Audio, its latest connected


speaker is the R3 – which filled the void left by the outgoing R2 Mk3 and R4 Mk3 models – with features such as a CD player, aptX Bluetooth, Internet radio as well as music streaming services including Spotify, Amazon Music and Tidal. Looking ahead, Alan O’Rourke, Managing


Director of Ruark Audio, tells ERT that we’ll see a new premium line of products coming in 2022. “Using a powerful new platform, these will be able to handle hi-res streaming now and for the foreseeable future.”


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