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Home Audio System for Streaming from Phone

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If it weren’t for football, we would never turn our TV on. Instead we play music nightly. Right now I am connecting to either a portable Bluetooth speaker or through an Alexa and then playing Spotify. Tired of the crappy mono sound and want to get a solid setup. 
 

The room for the install is pretty big and is a combined kitchen/living room open space. I can place speakers on top of kitchen cabinets or the like. 
 

Portability is not important. I will hook it all up and then leave it be. Will just need to Bluetooth in or I guess I could go with some Aux cord setup if needed. 
 

Have looked at a receiver system where I buy it and speakers. Have also looked at some all-in-ones like some Bose deals or sound bar type devices. 
 

I also have some built in speakers in the ceiling throughout the house and out by the pool but I know nothing about them. They are in the ceiling. Look like 6x9s. No idea on quality. 
 

My budget is about $500 but I could be talked into more if necessary. It’s really our main entertainment, and I would like a better option than what I am working with now. 
 

Anyone have some recs or can point me in a good direction?  Thanks in advance. 

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If you already have the in-house speakers, you should find what system was previously installed or find where they are wired; if they have no amp, you'd need to add an amp, but then all you need is to add a bluetooth receiver as an input. This has the advantage of giving you many more rooms of sound since you already have multiple zones of speakers. Amazon has a bunch of them, this is a random result (I have no specific recommendation for model):

https://smile.amazon.com/B06-Plus-Bluetooth-Receiver-Streaming/dp/B078J3GTRK/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=aptx+receiver&qid=1599536440&sr=8-4

 

Sonos is a solid product, but very expensive if you consider multiple zones or even wanting stereo sound. If you want to just put some speakers on the cabinets or on a shelf, and stream to them, I'd recommend Audioengine. These are the cheaper A2, your budget of 500 allows their A5.

https://smile.amazon.com/Audioengine-A2-Wireless-Bluetooth-Amplifier/dp/B07MYV2527/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=audioengine+bluetooth&qid=1599536664&sr=8-4

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Fuck Sonos. They are as bad as Apple is when it comes to proprietary bullshit and planned obsolescence. Plus if you put a little time into it, you can get much better system for less.

Get a 2.1 system. Receivers are cheap. You can get a non-AVR (no HDMI system) receivers for cheap (like $30-50) on Facebook Marketplace, aidslist, fleabay, etc. Facebook marketplace is a great place to buy pre-owned hifi gear. You can get great speakers (many great sounding speakers for $200 or less) and audio equipment for a fraction of the cost. 

You can buy a BT 5.0 aptx dongle for about $20. Hook up that dongle to L R jacks in the AUX ports of the receiver. Paired with decent speakers and you have a system which sound 10X better than BT speakers or Sonos.

Really depends on how much you want to spend.

 

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where are you located. I can do a quick FB Marketplace search and find you a good system for $3-500. Will try to find a zoned receiver to connect your other speaker systems.

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I’m in a new build now and installing indoor/outdoor at the same time on a 2 zone system. 

I’m going with a Denon receiver/Heos Amp,    12” Martin Logan subwoofer, 2 pair of Elura 8” speakers inside along with a Keff center speaker under TV. Outside are two Elura outdoor speakers. 

There is nothing wrong with going Sonos. Although you will pay a bit more, generally speaking, there are less problems with it, and you have more expandability optIons down the road. It is the quintessential apple of audio. I think if you go Sonos as opposed to heos (which you can do with pioneer and integra receivers as both new models are Sonos ready) you also need to buy a Sonos port for multiple zones.

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If you don’t want to mess with receivers , wiring , shitload of cords. Go Sonos, love mine , their play one speakers sound excellent for the size , can group speakers together , expand slowly , works with almost any music service etc.



I do wish they would let you integrate with other systems but it is what it is.

Started with 1 speaker and now have 7.

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19 hours ago, crash_davis said:

Fuck Sonos. They are as bad as Apple is when it comes to proprietary bullshit and planned obsolescence. Plus if you put a little time into it, you can get much better system for less.

Get a 2.1 system. Receivers are cheap. You can get a non-AVR (no HDMI system) receivers for cheap (like $30-50) on Facebook Marketplace, aidslist, fleabay, etc. Facebook marketplace is a great place to buy pre-owned hifi gear. You can get great speakers (many great sounding speakers for $200 or less) and audio equipment for a fraction of the cost. 

You can buy a BT 5.0 aptx dongle for about $20. Hook up that dongle to L R jacks in the AUX ports of the receiver. Paired with decent speakers and you have a system which sound 10X better than BT speakers or Sonos.

Really depends on how much you want to spend.

 

This is.......wrong

 

1.  Sonos has longgg history of very deep produt support.  They don't pump out annual replacement products, and they had their first ever software-based system split.  The current software supports products that are almost 10 years old.  The "old" system are still functional, and can still be driven on software that runs concurrent with new software.

2.  Likewise, Apple probably has the longest and most consistent level of software support compared to competitors on both desktop and laptop.  The "proprietary bullshit" is why their products have better longevity.

3.  Sonos (and other smartspeaker) is a different use case than wireless BT.  Bluetooth requires constant connection to streaming device i.e. phone.  Smartspeaker are more stable because they get audio directly from the source, only needing the phone for instruction.

3a.  Sonos supports higher bitrate than AptX

3b.  Multi-zone expandability is unmatched

3c.  No running speakers wires from the receiver to the top of a kitchen cabinet....

 

Sonos isn't just glossy products for the Starbucks Becky crowd.  Their audio fidelity measures very well for the audiophile crowd. 

 

For OP, depending on the listening environment, either get a single Sonos Five, or a bunch of Sonos Ones and place them around the house.  Like a stereo pair in the main room, then single units elsewhere

 

 

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I stand corrected, I read that Sonos reverse course and supported old speakers. Good for them.

With Sonos, you're trading convenience for SQ. Sonos speakers sound like shit. I have a buddy who have Sonos speakers through out his house. Yes it's cool to have music in every room but no they don't sound all that good. The SQ is basically what you get from larger BT speakers. Is it passable, yes. Do I want to have that as my may sound system? For me, fuck no because I know they don't compete against a good receiver and speakers. SQ is night and day.

But OP may not care. But since he already has speakers wired, just spend the $500 for a zoned receiver and a good pair of front speakers and he'll have better SQ than what Sonus can possibly deliver.

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Sonos isn’t a bad option but the audio quality is only so so. I went with a solid Yamaha receiver with Klipsch speakers but spent way more than $500.

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2 hours ago, Dbeasy said:

Sonos isn’t a bad option but the audio quality is only so so. I went with a solid Yamaha receiver with Klipsch speakers but spent way more than $500.

like i said earlier, last year for my college daughter's apartment, on facebook marketplace i found a pristine set of paradigm monitor 7s for $200 and a 2015ish denon avr receiver for $50. dude got rid of it because he wanted a 4k receiver. brand new the speakers and receiver would've cost over $1200.

for sound quality that system will put to shame any sonos system. 

OP may have to pay a $150-200 for a pre-owned receiver with zones to hook up the outside and ceiling speakers. zone capable receivers usually cost $5-600+ brand new. that would be my suggestion.

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I am toying with replacing my NAD receiver, which lacks a lot of modern connections, with a "streaming" receiver.  Stereo only.  Klipsch RB-61s.  Not currently messing with vinyl.

I appreciate decent sound, but am not really an audiophile.  Good DAC to make shitty digital sources sound decent-ish is something of a priority in addition to connectivity.

Onkyo appeals because Chromecast.  Yamaha appeals for good sound and build, but uses Music Cast, which apparently kind of sucks.

Denon/Marantz use HeOS.  Dunno nuffin bout it.

Could be convinced to go to components, but not real interested in device spread.

Any recos?

 

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58 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Which Yamaha do you have?

I bought the new Yamaha Aventage RX-A780, primarily because 2019 models were out of stock and the 780 has excellent distortion characteristics vs the Denon.  I was going to go Denon but Heos had even more limitations than Musicast. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Sounds good, easy to setup. Remote is more logical that old Yamaha remotes, etc.

I have an older Yamaha HL-6090 that was a good receiver but didn't have wifi streaming and was not very user friendly.  So I upgraded and that unit is now gathering dust in my upstairs game room.

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For some reason, I can't muster a single fuck about home theater.  Not one.

So no X.x for me, just 2-channel audio for music, please.

The NAD/Klispch combo is clear, and has great imaging and soundstage, and that's all I could care about.  Does nice for a movie, but I rarely turn it on.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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17 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

For some reason, I can't muster a single fuck about home theater.  Not one.

So no X.x for me, just 2-channel audio for music, please.

The NAD/Klispch combo is clear, and has great imaging and soundstage, and that's all I could care about.  Does nice for a movie, but I rarely turn it on.

I didn't put in 5.1 or 7.1 because our main TV and stereo is in the family room, where back and overhead speaker placement would have been suboptimal. I went with a 3.1 setup, which has been perfect. Great for music. The Yamaha has a sound enhancement mode for compressed audio. I bought very expensive center channel Klipsch because we are old and losing our hearing. We needed that to hear the voices in shows and movies.  The subwoofer is okay but I've always been a little disappointed in subwoofer performance regardless of model or brand.  Overall, happy with the configuration.  Yamaha has built-in net streaming for local stations and internet radio stations which is nice. I can also play spotify through it via an amazon fire pad device, which is cool too. Could also stream from the iphone as well.

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subs are pretty binary. either you fork a lot of money for svs or the other subs are really meh especially for music. if you only care about booming shit for movies, then svs' are overkill. most subs do not have the response to keep up with music. again svs is so highly recommended for a reason. 

if you have a decent set of towers, you *shouldn't* need subs for music. if you have bookshelfs, then subs are recommended. most bookshelves lack oomph, no matter what anyone says. it's just a limitation of physics. 

 

If your receiver has an hdmi in, then use Chromecast for streaming audio. With BT, no matter what version, there is transcoding and compression involved. Chromecast is sending the file as is, with no additional compression other than the compressed mp3.

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subs are pretty binary. either you fork a lot of money for svs or the other subs are really meh especially for music. if you only care about booming shit for movies, then svs' are overkill. most subs do not have the response to keep up with music. again svs is so highly recommended for a reason. 
if you have a decent set of towers, you *shouldn't* need subs for music. if you have bookshelfs, then subs are recommended. most bookshelves lack oomph, no matter what anyone says. it's just a limitation of physics. 
 
If your receiver has an hdmi in, then use Chromecast for streaming audio. With BT, no matter what version, there is transcoding and compression involved. Chromecast is sending the file as is, with no additional compression other than the compressed mp3.

This is an area I’m still confused about when it comes to Spotify off the fire pad. It seems like Spotify directs the stream over Wi-Fi to the Yamaha, rather than stream to the fire pad, which then streams via Bluetooth to the Yamaha. But I’m not sure and no one I ask can verify one way or another. I guess I could shut off Bluetooth on the fire pad and see what happens. I’m thinking it’s steaming Wi-Fi directly to the Yamaha and the fire pad is simply using the Spotify app for song selection, volume, play, etc. that way you get higher quality by not transcoding for BT.

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2 hours ago, Dbeasy said:

HeOs has many limitations too, I discovered.

what are the limitations you have discovered?  I have it, it is the exact same as SONOS, with the added feature of fully integrating into my 5.2.4 home theater.  Have a couple of "Play 1"s through the house and they work great.  Stream from phone, tidal, all major music sources etc.  Can add up to 30 independent speakers etc.

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6 hours ago, Dbeasy said:


This is an area I’m still confused about when it comes to Spotify off the fire pad. It seems like Spotify directs the stream over Wi-Fi to the Yamaha, rather than stream to the fire pad, which then streams via Bluetooth to the Yamaha. But I’m not sure and no one I ask can verify one way or another. I guess I could shut off Bluetooth on the fire pad and see what happens. I’m thinking it’s steaming Wi-Fi directly to the Yamaha and the fire pad is simply using the Spotify app for song selection, volume, play, etc. that way you get higher quality by not transcoding for BT.

I don't know exactly how the Yamaha works, but typically, Spotify Connect works via Wifi, so you are getting more digital bandwidth than BT.  I use it with Chromecast, where it definitely works that way.  But I'm reasonably sure it works that way with all compatible streaming devices.

I guess with any of these receivers with more than one HDMI, I could put the Chromecast in it and stream direct to it, which I would be perfectly content to do.  And I think most of them would turn the HDMI back to the TV for conventional video use.

Right now, I have Chromecast in TV, optical out to receiver and stream my sources to the receiver that way.  Works alright, but I have to have the TV on and muted.

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11 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

I don't know exactly how the Yamaha works, but typically, Spotify Connect works via Wifi, so you are getting more digital bandwidth than BT.  I use it with Chromecast, where it definitely works that way.  But I'm reasonably sure it works that way with all compatible streaming devices.

I guess with any of these receivers with more than one HDMI, I could put the Chromecast in it and stream direct to it, which I would be perfectly content to do.  And I think most of them would turn the HDMI back to the TV for conventional video use.

Right now, I have Chromecast in TV, optical out to receiver and stream my sources to the receiver that way.  Works alright, but I have to have the TV on and muted.

this is a good idea. My chromecast right now is on the TV but you're right it would be a bit better just running the chromecast into an open HDMI port. I'm going to change that today.

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44 minutes ago, Dbeasy said:

this is a good idea. My chromecast right now is on the TV but you're right it would be a bit better just running the chromecast into an open HDMI port. I'm going to change that today.

I'm sure you'd be fine with that, as your AV receiver can video-switch.  I'm not sure the stereo receivers can.  But why have multiple HDMI's if it can't.  It's not really an audio connection.

Also, it seems like Yamahas can "natively" take chromecast streams, from reviews, even though they don't say it's a feature.

I'm a bit wary of the "built-in" apps, as my experience with those on my TV has been mediocre.

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You should connect your firetv, roku, chromecase to an IN HDMI port in your AV Receiver. That way all of the sound goes through the stereo speakers. 

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On 9/11/2020 at 11:33 AM, TwiceHorn said:

I am toying with replacing my NAD receiver, which lacks a lot of modern connections, with a "streaming" receiver. 

 

I plugged a Bluetooth adapter into my classic NAD 7240PE receiver and wa-la, instant streaming. Side benefit for this old non-remote-controlled receiver is that I can now adjust the volume via my phone or iPad. 

Bernard

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