Samsung may be all about big Ultra HD TVs this year, but the brand won’t be stopping there, taking on Sonos as it releases its “multiroom” audio concept to Australians.
Everywhere you go, audio will be present.
That’s the idea, anyway, with Samsung’s take on what Sonos has been doing for years, with multiroom audio, a concept that doesn’t need a vast explanation because the name kind of gives everything away: audio in several rooms, synchronises so that it plays across speakers.
Sonos has been giving that idea a good thwack for a while, and now it appears to be Samsung’s turn, announcing the release of two new products that help make this happen, with a few more that will work in the line-up, too.
“Home audio has come a long way,” said Brad Wright, Samsung’s Director of Audio and Visual in Australia.
“It is no longer about simply listening to music from a single room, as Samsung believes that people are seeking a solution that is versatile enough to provide a great sound experience around the home and that can integrate with multiple sources whether it be a compatible smartphone or selected online streaming service.”
First off the rank for Samsung’s Multiroom Audio Systems are the M5 and M7, speakers that connect to your home wireless network and talk to your smartphone or tablet to play music back from files on your devices and around your home.
Aside for different names, the two speakers are of course different sizes, with the M5 being slightly smaller and packing in two tweeters and one woofer, while the M7 expands on this with more balanced sound adding some mid-range to the features.
Both speakers can connect up to your network using WiFi or Ethernet, though only the M7 includes a 3.5mm headset jack if you want to plug in that sound device through a hard wire connection.
Beyond this, there’s support for Near-Field Communication, Bluetooth, and DLNA, with support for a variety of formats include MP3, AAC, FLAC, and others.
Similar to the Sonos equivalent, a bridging device is also required, creating a mesh network for the speakers to connect directly to the apps, and allowing the speakers to communicate on a stable network. This device, the Samsung Multiroom Hub, will cost extra, and is likely to come in just under $80.
That’s not to be confused with Samsung’s Music Hub, one of the services Samsung offers for its mobile devices, which interestingly isn’t supported by either the iOS or Android app that lets you control the M5 or M7 speakers. Some of the more common ones are sitting pretty here, including Pandora, Rdio, and Spotify, though interestingly, Samsung’s own music service — Samsung Music Hub — is not one of the supported services.
Around the world, Samsung Music Hub is beginning to wrap up, but locally, the service is said to stay, with the company telling journalists late last week that:
“Samsung Music Hub in Australia has been developed for this country and for Australian customers. It is a separate platform from other music channels offered in other overseas markets.
Samsung Electronics Australia remains committed to Samsung Music Hub in Australia and providing an amazing music experience through our products. We currently have no plans to discontinue Samsung Music Hub in this country.”
While that quote more or less confirms Samsung will be keeping its Music Hub service alive on mobiles and tablets, subscribers of the service won’t yet have the luxury to try the service on Samsung’s Multiroom Audio system, with a spokesperson for the company last week also confirming that Music Hub will not launch on the Australian M5 or M7, and we’re not really sure when the company will roll it out.
The speakers will, however, be in stores shortly, arriving for $399 for the M5 or $499 for the M7, in black or white.
An extra Link Box will also be sold, allowing extra inputs to the Samsung Multiroom Audio system for devices like record and CD players, as well as giving you output to a home theatre or HiFi amp ($449).