The multi-room streaming audio market is getting more crowded, with broader availability on relatively little-known German company Raumfeld. Based on WiFi and UPnP - unlike Sonos' proprietary technology - Raumfeld's multi-room system has the by-now mandatory color touchscreen remote together with a base-station that can store up to 160GB of media itself.
Alternatively you can stream from a NAS or shared folder on a networked computer, or indeed from Napster, last.fm, radiotime and other internet radio sources. Existing hifi setups can be hooked up via a Raumfeld Connector unit, or new zones can be established using the active speaker pairs that come with WiFi built in.
The company also plans to add compatibility with other brands of UPnP-compliant media streamer, so you should be able to slot any existing hardware into a Raumfeld setup. We're waiting for our Raumfeld review unit to drop; a starter package - made up of a remote and charging dock, base unit and two connectors - is £1,085.40 ($1,620) and there are other bundles available too.
Raumfeld Launches Breakthrough Multi-Room Audio System in the UK
* hi-fi for the digital age: simultaneously control all your music around your home
* wireless, WiFi-enabled remote control and studio-quality speakers
* network your entire digital music collection, traditional hi-fi, and internet radio
* special launch offer includes one-year free Napster Unlimited subscription to
listen to 10 million+ full-length tracks
Raumfeld, the Berlin-based multi-room audio specialists, today announces the UK availability - and launch of a new online shop, www.raumfeld.co.uk - of its next-generation hi-fi system.
Raumfeld pools all of your digital music (be it on Mac, PC or NAS drive) and streams it around your house to studio-quality, WiFi-enabled speakers. Add to this a striking touch-screen remote control and you can simultaneously control the music in every room of your home: techno for the kitchen, classical for the bedroom... A particular playlist for one room, and your complete collection on 'shuffle' for another.
Designed with both ease-of-use and sonic excellence in mind, Raumfeld is hi-fi for the digital age. CDs are no longer needed, as the world has moved to MP3. Multiple devices are no longer needed as your entire music collection can be controlled centrally, and remotely. Laying cable between rooms is no longer necessary as Raumfeld components connect wirelessly. You can even integrate your physical music collection - CDs, vinyl, etc. - by adding the Raumfeld Connector to your traditional hi-fi.
Raumfeld launches in the UK with a special offer in conjunction with one of the biggest names in digital music: all systems bought in May will come with a free one-year subscription to Napster Unlimited (www.napster.co.uk). With Napster, Raumfeld customers can use the Raumfeld Controller to directly listen to 10 million full-length songs from 790,000 artists across the Napster catalogue. All Napster Unlimited music comes in full-length, without paying per track. Additionally a variety of Napster's music discovery features can be accessed on the Raumfeld Controller, including expertly programmed playlists, radio stations and the latest releases.
Further info on this and other partnerships and apps will be announced in the near future... Raumfeld is a modular system, making it easy and cost-effective to buy, expand and enhance. The system comprises four main components:
The heart of your multi-room audio system, the Raumfeld Controller gives you the power to choose what you hear and where and how you hear it. Wherever you are in your home at any moment, you have complete control over your music. Unlike other multi-room audio systems, Raumfeld does not limit the size of your music library.
You do not need a computer or external data storage device to enjoy your music collection - audio files can be stored on the Raumfeld Base and managed from any location in your home. This is a key differentiator as competing multi-room audio systems do not offer a storage solution. All file formats are supported (MP3, WAV, FLAC, OGG Vorbis, ASF, WMA, M4A(containing AAC and apple lossless)). You can also use your existing iTunes music library as a shared music source.
Raumfeld Speaker S / Speaker M
There is no need for additional speakers or amplifiers from other manufacturers: Raumfeld Speakers M and S are wireless-based systems with built-in amplifiers. Speaker M is developed in alliance with ADAM Professional Audio, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality studio monitor speakers.
It is simple to incorporate your existing equipment into the Raumfeld system: you can use the Raumfeld Connector to integrate your stereo or home cinema system. Internet radios from other suppliers can be managed comfortably through the Controller and gain a new lease of life.
Unlike other multi-room audio systems, Raumfeld is standards-based and open. This enables it to integrate existing devices (such as a UPnP-based internet radio) and means it can be easily extended and networked throughout your home using standard WLAN equipment and routers.
Pricing and Availability
Designed and engineered in Berlin, Raumfeld has been on sale in Germany since December 2009. On 10 May 2010, Raumfeld is available to buy in the UK via www.raumfeld.co.uk and all orders will come with a free one-year Napster Unlimited subscription allowing you to listen to more than 10 million songs. Prices start from £1,085.40 for an entry-level system comprising Controller, Base and two Connectors. A full price list is available at www.raumfeld.co.uk, including 10% and 15% discounts for two- and three-room bundles.