You've got a (digital) sackful of tunes and you want to make the most of them. Why not get yourself a music streaming setup for your pad. Here are some of our favourites for getting your music playing all around the house in no time.
Philips Streamium MCi500H £400, WAS7500 £200
The Philips is a mix-and-match affair consisting of the MCi500 wireless micro system and a WAS7500 wireless ‘station’. The MCi500 is chunky but stylish, with full size, smart-looking speakers and a 160GB hard disk for storing MP3s. The WAS7500 can access these tunes without the need for a PC, and both units can also access full-fat internet radio.
Music to your ears?
Well, yes and no. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given ?its dimensions, the MCi500 is full-bodied, spacious ?and weighty. The bass may be a little pudgy at times, but all in all it’s certainly capable of producing a party-rocking performance.
The WAS7500 is another story entirely; it’s thin and sounds a little harsh. The Music Broadcast feature is also disappointing, as once the zones ?are linked and playing music simultaneously, ?you can’t change tracks.
Stylish, but only one zone sounds good. 4 Stars
The BU150 contains the newly-updated ZP120 and ZP90 ZonePlayers, and the same-but-still-totally-awesome CR100 remote. You don’t get any speakers in the box, there’s no built-in hard disk, and only ?one of the ZonePlayers (the ZP120) is amplified. You also need to hardwire one of the units to your router, or purchase the £70 BR100 wireless bridge (top of the stack, above) separately if you need to put a ZonePlayer in a different room to your router.
?Music to your ears?
Given that both the other systems on test herecome with more in the box, it’s good news for Sonos that its BU150 system sounds the best, ?and by a very long chalk. It’s compatible with ?a vast range of file formats including uncompressed WAV and AIFF files, FLAC and Apple Lossless, as well as WMA, MP3, AAC and Audible, and if you avoid compressing your music too much you’ll ?be treated to a terrifically detailed and dynamic delivery – just so long as you’ve also invested ?in a reasonable set of speakers, of course.?
As close to hi-fi as Wi-Fi gets, and an absolute joy ?to live with. 4 stars
Sony GigaJuke NAS-SC55PKE ?£750
Sony’s latest generation GigaJuke system is slicker, more stylish and even more feature-laden than ?ever before. You get everything you need in the box, from the 80GB main unit and speakers ?to a bedroom-friendly clock radio-like satellite, ?remotes and tiny wireless bridge (which makes ?the hardwired connection to your router, so the main units don’t have to).
Music to your ears?
No, ’fraid not. The main unit lacks clarity in the ?mid-range, is bass-light and noticeably harsh at the ?top end, all of which combines to create a pretty disappointing sound. Surprisingly, the little satellite has better balanced audio, but it’s still not great. What’s more, the units are far from seamless when you want them to all play together, causing frustrating gaps in your music playback.
That said, at least the system is a major aesthetic success. That tilting screen is even better than the one on Sonos’ CR100, and the gloss finish is dead classy.
The best system on paper is actually the worst ?in usability and sound stake. 3 stars