The next battleground for home audio is apparently multi-room audio, as more companies find a way to tackle Sonos head on. We’ve seen LG, Samsung, and Bluesound do it this year, and now it’s time for Panasonic to get in on the action.
For Panasonic’s take, the company isn’t creating something special and unique, and then asking you to buy in a specific system that will only support Panasonic products here on in.
Rather, Panasonic will be embracing and utilising the “AllPlay” system made by Qualcomm, a company you’ll recognise if you currently use Android and Windows Phone handsets, as it supplies chips to plenty of companies, such as the silicon found in the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z3, and LG G3.
We haven’t seen a Panasonic phone locally, but already know the company employs them there too, so there’s already a healthy relationship with the chip-maker.
And that relationship will show up in Panasonic’s “All” speakers, a range of home entertainment boxes designed to make your ears dance with synchronised sounds sent through the home and workplace where these speakers sit.
The “All” speakers don’t require a mesh network like others can, and work off the WiFi already set up in your home, taking information from the Panasonic Music Streaming App for iOS (iPad and iPhone) and Android and making the music work between compatible speakers.
“Listening habits have changed and music no longer has to come from a physical source like a CD but can come from a variety of digital sources, one example of which would be streaming,” said Chanson Ousmand, Product Marketing Manager of AV at Panasonic Australia, adding that “our systems have evolved with these changes.”
“We’ve created a flexible system that allows the same music to be enjoyed by all through a number of different speakers in different room,” said Ousmand.
“Alternatively, it allows different music to be selected and played from each speaker. On top of delivering a powerful, high quality sound our Multi-Room Hi-Fi System is easy to setup and operate”.
There are three speakers in the Panasonic All range to start, with the All1, All3, and All8, speakers of varying sizes and prices.
At the entry level, there will be the All1, a small-ish speaker (above) with a 192kHz 24-bit digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) with either a vertical or horizontal design depending on what you’re after, and a small design to allow it to fit most places, with a recommended retail price of $279.
Up a hundred from here and at $379 is the All3 (above), Panasonic’s mid-range option with four speakers made up of two woofers and two tweeters, another vertical and horizontal choice of orientation, extra and more defined bass from Panasonic’s XBS Master and H.Bass, while an included amp reduces jitter.
Finally, there’s the All8 (above), the larger model that is only available in a horizontal orientation, but can sit on a table or go wall mounted. We’re told there’s much the same XBS technology here, but with five speakers made from two woofers, two tweeters, and one subwoofer.
Pricing on that last one comes in at $479, with 80 watts of power for the All8.
No hub or bridge is required for Panasonic’s “All” system, but for a change, the speakers will be compatible with other multi-room solutions, though they’ll have to run on the Qualcomm “AllPlay” system.
In Australia, that doesn’t include any manufacturers outside of Panasonic yet, but globally Monster has been outed as a possibility, so we could see some of that locally too, since Monster does release products here.
The good news is that you shouldn’t need to stick totally to Panasonic if you end up in the AllPlay system, and that’s kind of exactly what the multi-room audio concept needed, as we’re sure there are more environments and homes where a minor speaker upgrade would be preferred for different rooms than having to buy new speakers completely when you switch to a new system.
Availability on Panasonic’s All range is pretty much now, so if you’re all interested, you should find them in stores shortly.