Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wireless Speakers Let Music Roam Free

The simplicity and reduced size of many of the new wireless speakers make sense to me. They are easy to move physically and boss around mechanically, usually with simple controls on a smartphone. I like the idea of shifting my speakers to another place or banishing them from my sight, when I want to. With wireless speakers, especially smaller ones, this is reasonable.
Multiroom wireless systems, with speakers placed in as many rooms as you like, bring on different concerns. Until recently, I saw only three uses for them. One was to become a crisper family autocrat. (We will now all, in different rooms, listen to my No. 1 record of the year.) Another was to help with hearing podcasts, so you don’t forget where you are in someone’s run-on sentence while you move from the living room to the kitchen. And the third was to help you imagine that you live in a department store, where your ambulatory shopping experience is made more elegant by an unbroken soundtrack.
But my family and I just moved, and I’ve been rethinking the audio question down to the root. Maybe there’s more to it than I thought.
My rethinking really started when I got my hands on the wireless Sonos speakers. The company’s speakers have been justifiably popular since 2009, when it introduced what is now called the Play:5 speaker: $400 and roughly 8 inches by 14 inches, a rectangle that sits on its long end.

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