How to Get Music in the Kitchen?

#1

At my desk and in the living room it’s headphone listening time but the kitchen is different. The whole family listens there and I’m the audio geek, it needs to be Mass Market simple for them.

Currently I have an Amazon Echo Dot connected to a Bose Soundlink Mini 1. We have Amazon Prime and I have a bunch of playlists in Amazon music so this is not a bad voice controlled solution. The Soundlink randomly shuts itself off so it’s probably end of life and I’m thinking about what to do next.

I’m looking at Sonos, Apple HomePod (seems too expensive), Amazon Echo Sub Bundle (seems like a deal at $250 for stereo and a sub), or the Soundlink Mini 2.

Also considering setting up Roon or Google Play to get my whole music library available.

Any thoughts or comments appreciated!

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#2

Hi John,

This is How I get music to my kitchen. B&W Zeppelin with wifi. then I stream it from Itunes or I use Airfoil to stream from my Browser to the Zeppelin. I have Also used an apple airport express it has a audio jack to plug into any thing you want to use. I am looking at the McIntosh rs1000 unit to upgrade the sound but, the 1000.00 price tag is hard to get by the wife.

hope this help

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#3

I’ve used Sonos in a few of my clients places and it works really great and is easy to use. Sound quality is mass market appealing with a low end affinity. The newer (and more expensive) models have Alexa built in which would be good for voice control like you currently have.

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#4

Wha? I’ve used Audio Hijack forever and I didn’t know about Airfoil! I’ll have to dig into that, thank you!

#5

The only thing holding me back from Sonos is I’d love to have it stereo and buying two Sonos is pretty expensive, especially when I could get two Echos and a sub for the same price. On the plus side, Alexa built in takes one box out of the picture…

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#6

here is the link for airfoil https://rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/

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#7

Have you looked at DTS PlayFi? The Definitive and Naim speakers are pretty decent. Some of the others are not so good though.

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#8

Oh yeah, already downloaded and taking a spin!

#9

No, I will check them out, thanks!

#10

I have two houses. As of now, both have Sonos 1s in the kitchen. Size is great, about like a Mayonnaise jar. Sound is adequate or better. Two Sonos 1’s sound very good together, especially after you do their automatic EQ thing. I have Roon in one house, but TIDAL in both.

Lots of times I stream radio stations. My wife’s favorite Christmas station is Sunny 105.6 Las Vegas.

The Sonos replaced a Tivoli Audio radio connected to streaming audio. Before that, well, we still have the Westinghouse tube AM/SW/marine band radio on the table, but we haven’t fired it up in a while.

The Sonos is easy to get by the wife, especially in white.

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#11

Costco has a deal on two Sonos Play 1’s for $269. I just took advantage of it. My study has Play 3s and a sub, but the Play 3 is discontinued.

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#12

Wow, that’s a killer deal at Costco. Play 3 and a sub is a great set.

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#13

Yes, the room isn’t large, maybe 12 ft x 12 ft. It’s where I have the computers and where I do most of my more critical listening. With an aging pair of Mark I human ears that have been cared for, mostly, I can’t be TOO critical.

Aside from a bit of fan noise from the Sager laptop (I need to get the fan replaced with a quieter one, but that’s low priority) I like to listen to headphones and compare to speaker sound using the two Play 3s and the sub for comparison. My best speaker sound is in the living room, but I’m frequently amazed at how good the sound from small, digitally EQd speakers can be. The Sonos Truesound app seems to work very well for what it is. With that room size, and help from the sub, the Play 3s do a very nice job of filling the room.

I have two computers in the room, with screens and keyboards at right angles to each other, The Windows Sager Laptop (basically a re-branded Clevo) faces the wall, and the Mac Mini faces the Play 3s on a low dresser across the room. They are set vertically as a stereo pair. There is a YouTube app that will let me broadcast the sound to the Play 3s. It doesn’t require airplay. My wife likes the sound when I find a video of her music.

I think Sonos is thinking hard about their positioning. They have been improving connectivity - my setup still works off an original Bridge, though it doesn’t have to. They were first in this market, and have very good sound, then others started to come in with some better electronics. Sonos made an incremental improvement with their Gen 2 Play 5s (at the house in State College, that my wife inherited) so AirPlay is now included. They are still only Red Book quality DACs, but standard CD can be very good. Everybody that hears it likes it.

In most environments higher resolution won’t be needed or appreciated. Yes, I know this is from someone who not so secretly covets Wilson Audio speakers and who loves to listen to vinyl. But I’m also realistic (Not a trademark of Tandy, Inc).

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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#14

I’ve got a multi-node Sonos setup for my “background” listening and “whole-house” audio. It’s a fool-proof system, is very quick and easy to setup, has built-in “room” EQ capabilities and talks to just about every streaming/music service that is out there.

Quality is well above what’s offered with the Amazon Echo devices (I have a bunch of those as well) although is limited to 16-bit/44.1 kHz material. In practice, this isn’t much of a limit as the speakers aren’t really capable of delivering improved performance with hi-res material anyway.

I drive the Sonos setup with the Sonos app, from Roon and via Amazon’s “Alexa” service. This all works fairly smoothly, and is sufficiently reliable and straightforward that my wife can get what she wants playing, where, when and how she wants it, with just vocal commands.

Dual “One” (or “Play: 1”) units sounds better than a single “Play: 3” (which appears to be discontinued) and only a little behind a “Play: 5” … though the dual “One” units give you the opportunity for proper stereo separation.

I personally don’t use a Sonos sub-woofer in this setup … it’s not needed, as anytime I’d want more bass than the a room full of “Ones” can deliver I’d be using it in conjunction with my main stereo (fed from an original Sonos “ZP80” via it’s digital COAX-output).

I looked at the BlueSound “Node” stuff, but it still doesn’t work reliably/correctly with Roon - which is a must. And while Sonos doesn’t seem to use Roon’s native RAAT protocol, it does remain in sync and operate essentially as I would expect it to, allowing me to run everything via the one interface when I want to.

It’s great for background music/parties/listening-while-cooking - but none of the configurations, with or without the Play:5 or the Subwoofer would work for me for actually sitting down to listen to music actively.

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#15

Another possibility is a simple 2.1 system + Chromecast Audio. That way sound quality can come first while keeping cost low. I took my Klipsch 2.1 system from my computer and put it in the kitchen when I upgraded my computer system (which now has studio monitors for sound production). You can cast music from your phone and it gives you access to your full library (you mentioned Google Play… so I assume it’s Google Music?). A real sub makes a difference. :slight_smile: Not sure if Echo can cast to Chromecast though. I put my speakers on top of the kitchen cabinets and out of sight.

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#16

The true audiophile approach would certainly be a full home remodel to an open floor plan. Tear down the walls between the kitchen and media center – set up the space to maximize quality.

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#17

I heard these at rmaf. They are fantastic.

Their little siblings are very good too. https://vanatoo.com/shop/speakers/transparent-zero/

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#18

I had a friend whose parents had a huge living room in a farm house. They just built a proper horn speaker into a second wall constructed about a foot or so in front of a real wall. Very nice sound. They also had Klipschorns in the corners.

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#19

I went from two tower speakers recently (Athena AS-F2) and a large stereo component rack of stuff and downsized to a Focal Bird + Focal Air Subwoofer and a Pioneer network streaming CD Player microsystem (X-XHM86) which has Spotify, DTS-PlayFi and Chromecast Audio and a ton of other streaming things built-in, and I’ve been quite happy with the downgrade. It reduces a lot of “clutter” yet actually sounds fantastic. Quite surprised how such a small system can sound so good.

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#20

Regarding the SONOS setups - You’re right about 2 Play:1s sounding better than a Play:3.

I started with a single Play:3, and quickly added a second one for real stereo imaging and to enhance the lower end. When I added the Sub, the Play:3s were able to simply be what they were and not try to go for the lowest bass. They immediately sounded better.

The Kitchen is often a bit noisy anyway, and we’re far from good radio reception. A single Play:1 is all we need.

I have a SONOS Connect outputting digital to my TEAC DAC in the main stereo, so I can get whole house sound if I want to.

At my wife’s house, we have a pair of Play:5s in the Rec Room, and now a Play:1 in the kitchen. We’re figuring out what we want to do with the other Play:1 in the Costco 2-pack. Either a second in the kitchen or just another around in the nether reaches of the domain… Two Play 5s sound pretty good for any general and/or party music listening. She’s not likely to allow me to put a couple of Magnepan 3.7s in front of the room framing the windows. !!

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