Musaic hands-on: the multiroom audio system that's taking on Sonos

Musaic lets you control your smart home as well as your tunes

If you want to stream your music to multiple rooms, you're spoilt for choice these days.

Where previously it was Sonos' way or the highway, now every major manufacturer seems to be launching its own music-streaming speakers, from Samsung to Panasonic and Qualcomm.

If you're taking on those big guns, you need to stand out – and Musaic is doing just that. Its MP5 and MP10 speakers aren't just wireless music machines, they sync up with your smart home, too.

I can hear Musaic

Of course, the main thing you'll be using the speakers for is playing music, and the demo units on display at Gadget Show Live 2014 certainly pump out impressive sound when cranked up. In the echoing environs of the Birmingham NEC, it's hard to pick out the nuances, but the sound seems to have plenty of depth and dynamic range.

Musaic

Musaic streams over Wi-Fi, without the need for a Sonos-style bridge – there's also an option for Bluetooth streaming, if you have visitors and don't want to give them access to your home network. It plays lossless formats including FLAC, WAV and AAC, and will play nice with UPnP and DLNA servers, too.

The speakers on display at Gadget Show Live have, we're told, been around the world – so a few scuffs and dings were in evidence. That aside, the units themselves are simple and solid, with an understated design. Buttons on top of the unit control volume and playback; they also perform double duty as radio preset buttons, so that you don't have to use the Musaic app to access your favourite internet radio stations. There's also a home automation control for smart lightbulbs, of which more later.

More after the break...

An Appy home

Musaic hands-on: the multiroom audio system that's taking on Sonos - An Appy home 2Musaic hands-on: the multiroom audio system that's taking on Sonos - An Appy home 3Musaic hands-on: the multiroom audio system that's taking on Sonos - An Appy home 4

The Musaic app is simple and intuitive; you can browse albums on your smartphone or tablet, selecting songs and adding them to a queue. You can also select internet radio stations by genre and country (or both, if you have a hankering to listen to Azerbaijani disco tracks). Speakers can be grouped together easily – though at present there's no option for stereo pairing.

You can also access streaming music services through the Musaic app; tapping on their logo will open the full version of the app. At present, Grooveshark, Aupeo, Rhapsody, Napster, SomaFM, Murfie and TuneIn are supported; we're assured that Musaic's talking to Spotify, too.

Home automation controls can also be accessed through the app; at present, you can use Musaic to set up to four "scenes" with LightwaveRF light bulbs. Musaic also supports smart home devices using the open source AllJoyn framework, such as WigWag smart hubs. AllPlay-compatible wireless audio products will also play nice with Musaic.

A sound investment?

Musaic's currently raising funds on Kickstarter, where you can pick up the smaller MP5 speaker for £160 (S$332) and its bigger brother the MP10 for £230 (S$478).

READ MORE: Musaic's multiroom audio controls your smarthome, too

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