Airplay 2: multiroom and multi-user

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AirPlay-2

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.

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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:

The Marantz NR-1609 compact 7.2 home theater receiver is AirPlay 2 compatible after update.
Denon ARV-X2500H
The Denon ARV-X2500H receiver is AirPlay 2 compatible after update.

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.

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