Media Streamers: choices, choices, choices

This page edited on 17 April 2019 to remove or update broken links, referring to now retired or obsolete products.

Relationship status: It’s complicated.

Yes, it is complicated. Gone are the good old days when being faithful and true to one is enough. Now, you have options. You can pick and choose, if you can afford to, whatever you like as along as we’re ‘compatible’. And while you are at it, why stop at two partners? Multiple partners are definitely the game. But will this open relationship work? Well, apparently it does and from the little I had experienced, I think I quite like it.

And for those who haven’t got a clue what I am going on about; I am talking about you Apple, Linn, Logitech, Western Digital, Zyxel, iMerge, Microsoft, Sony, Kaleidescape, Sonos, etc., etc,

When I thought about what my next superficial view was, I was going to just write about my favourite multi-room digital music streaming system, the Sonos. Yes, records/vinyl is cool but I have to admit no one likes having to run to the record player every 15 minutes to flip the record over.

For ultimate music control convenience this is where Sonos comes in, a nifty little gadget that allows you to stream music continuously from your library or the internet. We use a few and they’re brilliant!

Well, that’s what I first thought until their touch screen controller started giving me grief. Note to Sonos; guys, fix your touchscreens – too many have failed for it to be ‘just a bit of bad luck’. (ed – Sonos dropped their touchscreen products sometime ago in favour of the Sonos App)

But having said that, it really doesn’t matter any more (please read on…)

I was recently introduced to another range of multi-room digital music streaming devices – the Linn DS and I have to say, it’s mighty mighty impressive. Like Sonos, the Linn-DS is a digital audio streamer. So, you ask: why the Linn-DS when Sonos is a fraction of the price? Well, ladies and gentleman, this is like asking why a Rolls Royce when a Renault Clio would do the trick. It’s like comparing Chanel to Topshop, Fortnum & Mason to your local Tesco (nobody should shop in Tesco anyway).

It’s all about quality, from design, materials and actual audio quality. Linn-DS delivers amazing sound (through a suitable, high quality speaker and amplifiers combination of course – no point in hooking your iPod docking station up to this). Linn are capable of converting Studio Master quality audio files from the highest quality music formats.

They say see it to believe it, with the Linn DS, I say hear it to believe it! If you are a proper audiophile, or just totally uncompromising in quality standards, the Linn-DS series is the one you are after.

But hey, most of us live in the real world. So, unless you are Wayne Rooney, to actually have a Linn-DS in every room of the house is a little bit errr… ‘expensive’. The solution is to have a Linn-DS in the room or rooms that matter (e.g. the lounge, listening room) and the rest of the rooms (bathroom, kid’s room) can have a Sonos. It’s kinda like mixing your designer goods with your high street labels, works every time without breaking the bank.

Back to the controller. One word, iPad (or is that two words?).

It looks fabulous and it’s response time is fantastic when using Control4 with a suitable Extra Vegetables driver. And we all know there’s so much more an iPad can do so, it’s a win-win situation. But seriously, I wouldn’t recommend using it as a book on the tube ‘cos it looks naff. Besides, books are great. Trees die happy if they know they are gonna become a book. But somehow, I got a feeling that in a few years time, many of us will be walking around with an iPad or a derivative of it. I hope I am wrong…

The view of Bunny Ears does not necessary represent the view of Tea London