With the bulk of music being listened to on mobile devices, the home audio scene was dragging behind until the creation of audio streamers and streaming amplifiers.
An audio streamer is a digital audio converter and network adapter. It allows access to internet based audio from a variety of providers without the need for a computer.
Popular internet audio services such as Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, and those offered by Amazon and YouTube all offer ever expanding libraries of music, playlists and podcasts.
WiFi and Ethernet Audio
Streaming amplifiers work in two ways, accessing the internet via a wired ethernet or WiFi connection, and connecting to your mobile phone or tablet using either WiFi or Bluetooth.
Control of the streamer is done through an app, where settings and a variety of setup options can be accessed, along with the radio stations, streaming services and any attached network storage. Your phone basically becomes a remote control for the system.
Due to this connection, it is also possible to playback audio that's stored on the phone or tablet should you wish to.This can be over the WiFi, or using Bluetooth if the streamer supports both types.
Multi Room Audio - Smart Amplifiers
Smart amplifiers can be used as part of a multi room audio system through the app, with any additional streamers appearing as assignable devices on the WiFi network. They can be used individually per room, or set to playback the same source together.
Streaming amplifiers can be designed for installation, with the idea being to hide them away out of sight for a modern uncluttered look, or they also come in more traditional hi fi style enclosures for those who prefer having their music system on display.
The amplifiers can be used directly with speakers as a stand-alone system, or line outputs allow simple connection into an existing hi fi or power amplifier to bring your digital music into the home with the minimum of fuss.