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I just got a home pod for my kitchen, so I was researching the same question and came across the Elac discovery. Audio Advisor was selling one for about $700.
I decided I’ll just stream from my Apple TV in the next room for now.
one issue with the Elac is that it uses Roon Essentials which limits you to 30,000 tracks and ties you into Roon as a management system, which may or may not be a good thing. See if you can upgrade to a full Roon subscription
The Elac is close, but it has more features/services than we need and we don’t want Roon. Nothing against Elac or Roon, it just doesn’t fit this application.
The main goal with this application is to create a high quality AirPlay only source (end-point) so that it works seamlessly and nativity with iTunes, Mac OS and iOS.
By the way, the Apple HomePod is a great speaker for kitchens and bathrooms. We use them a lot for projects where clients want sound throughout their home. The HomePod is better than most cheap sounding in-walls and two of them easily fill a large room.
Thanks for your reply and the recommendation!
I use an Airport Express for my main system (three pairs of wired speakers in Kitchen, Dining and Living rooms), another Express for my guest room and one in my masterbath. I also use one or two other designated airplay speakers on occasion.
I was unaware they were discontinuing the Airport Express until I read your post and did the research. Disappointing. I am interested in what you eventually turn to.
FWIW... this past weekend I was cleaning up my mac memory and iTunes was down so I needed a solution for music streaming to my full house and backyard in the interim. I downloaded an app called WHAALE Multiroom Player.
The app gave me control of all my airplay devices and streamed music from my iPad (or iPhone if I choose). The interface was a short learning curve, and not as versatile as using the Remote app to run iTunes, but it works pretty well and I could get control of the iPad streaming speakers using the app on my iPhone remotely too with a little effort (and some more $).
Its not the solution you are looking for but reminded me how I will miss the simplicity and versatility of iTunes, in conjunction with the Remote app, if this indeed comes to pass. The app will run a designated music server, as well, but that involves UPnP which you have already eliminated as an option.
Agreed! AirPlay is easy, native to Apple and can sound great when setup properly.
I’m more open to different protocols and services, but most of my clients are using Apple products and need a high quality way to play music and media without the fuss of additional components and adjustments.
We have a good stock of AirPort Express units because we knew this day would come, and we’ve finalized an “in-house” solution. We are surprised there are not more options available.
I hired an IT guy to set up a NAS drive for me today. I use Bluesound for whole house audio but had been having a lot of problems with it. At any rate, it turns out that Bluesound can be used with Apple products (the Bluesound has to be configured as a Guest).
So it’s not Air Play, but I am not sure why your client should care, as long as they can use Apple products in conjunction...you may want to investigate the Bluesound Node2.