Apple is getting ready to release the second version of its AirPlay wireless transmission technology. AirPlay 2 will ensure transmission to multiple devices (compatible speakers and receivers) for multiroom use. Moreover, AirPlay 2 will also allow multiple users to edit the playback queue.
One small let down is that the sources compatible with AirPlay 2 are currently limited to Apple Music and to files purchased from iTunes. To listen to Deezer, Spotify, Qobuz, and Tidal, speakers and receivers featuring Google Cast (Chromecast built-in), DTS Play-Fi, BluOS, Yamaha MusicCast, Heos, and Sonos are the way to go for the time being.
How to use AirPlay 2
The first requirement is to own a new generation iPhone or iPad, as upgrading to iOS 11.4 is necessary in order to ensure AirPlay 2 compatibility. A speaker or receiver compatible with AirPlay 2 is also necessary. Some manufacturers have already announced future updates for their AirPlay compatible devices to ensure AirPlay 2 compatibility. Updates for the following devices should be available in the near future:
- Marantz ND-8006, Marantz NA-6006, Marantz NR-1508, Marantz NR-1608, Marantz SR-5011, Marantz SR-5012, Marantz SR-6011, Marantz SR-6012, Marantz SR-7011, Marantz SR-7012, Marantz AV-8805, Marantz AV-7705, Marantz AV-7704, Marantz AV-7703 and Marantz SR-8012. An update for the new Marantz NR-1509, Marantz NR-1609, Marantz SR-5013 and Marantz SR-6013 home theater receivers will be made available this summer.
- Denon AVR-X4300H, Denon AVR-X6300H, Denon AVR-X8500H, Denon AVR-X6400H, Denon AVR-X4400H, Denon AVR-X3400H and Denon HEOS Home Cinema HS2. An AirPlay 2 update for the new Denon AVR-X1500H, Denon AVR-X2500H, Denon AVR-X3500H, Denon AVR-X4500H and Denon AVR-X6500H will be made available this summer.
- Beoplay A6, Beoplay A9, Beoplay M3, BeoSound 1, BeoSound 2, BeoSound 35, BeoSound Core, BeoSound Essence mk2 and BeoVision Eclipse..
- Libratone Zipp, Libratone Zipp Mini.
- Naim Mu-so, Naim Mu-so QB, Naim ND 555, Naim ND5 XS 2, Naim NDX 2, Naim Uniti Nova, Naim Uniti Atom, Naim Uniti Star.
- SONOS PLAY:1 , SONOS PLAY:3 , SONOS PLAY:5 , SONOS PLAYBASE 5.0 and SONOS PLAYBAR 5.0.
The following brands have announced that they will be adding AirPlay 2 compatibility to their products: Bang & Olufsen, Beats, Bluesound, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, Definitive Technology, Denon, Devialet, Libratone, Marantz, McIntosh, Naim and Polk.
AirPlay 2: HD audio restitution’
AirPlay 2 is not advertised as HD audio compatible. This doesn’t come as a surprise as the simultaneous transmission of several 24-bit/192 kHz PCM streams via a wireless network would require a particularly wide bandwidth. While some high end wireless routers and WiFi repeaters (such as the Netgear Orbi) are able to easily satisfy such a demand, most set-top boxes and Internet service providers would not be able to. AirPlay 2 will thus be limited to lossless CD quality transmission, which is already really good.