AirPlay Speakers Review

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Why Choose AirPlay Speakers?

Finding the right set of speakers to fit your life, style and surroundings can feel overwhelming. There are so many different types of speakers available. Speakers with AirPlay, an Apple-specific technology, are some of the most convenient and offer the best sound on the market. After you initially set up your AirPlay speakers by connecting them to an Apple device with a simple USB cable, the AirPlay protocol tethers the speakers to the device. Instead of attaching your iPod, iPhone or iPad to your speaker with a wire, you use the Apple device as a remote to control the speakers wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection. The range of the speakers extends as far as your Wi-Fi connection does. There are even options to network multiple speakers together to have theater-style sound all around your home or business.

There is no loss of sound quality when moving wireless through the AirPlay technology because AirPlay transfers uncompressed digital sound. The biggest variable comes from your own Wi-Fi network's stability. If the connection is stable, you’ll have uninterrupted and undistorted sound from your AirPlay-enabled speakers.

Some of the best AirPlay speakers include the Zeppelin Air, Klipsch Gallery AirPlay Speakers and the Altec Lansing inAir models. For more information, check out our articles on how AirPlay works. The technology is newer to the market than some other wireless technologies, but it’s taking off and there are AirPlay speakers, receivers and other devices available from a variety of audio tech companies.

AirPlay Speakers: What to Look For

There are so many different types and styles of AirPlay speakers; sometimes finding the right option can be difficult, in part because it depends somewhat on your personal preference. Finding the right look for your AirPlay wireless speaker can be just as important as the way they sound, but you should never sacrifice style for performance. There are so many outstanding AirPlay speakers available that there’s never a good reason to make large sacrifices in sound quality for aesthetics.

There are a few key indicators of how the speakers will sound. First, look for a speaker with a large range of frequencies. The speakers' low-frequency response will produce a heavy, encompassing bass sound. The higher frequencies will keep the melodic sounds clear, even at high volumes. Also, look for AirPlay speakers that have low, medium and high frequency drivers. This will help maintain a balanced sound that’s undistorted. Look for the highest signal-to-noise ratio possible for the clearest sound in your AirPlay-compatible speakers. What follows are some of the other important features and options to look for when you're selecting an AirPlay speaker.

Performance
Sound quality and performance are paramount. Meshed with some of the basic features, look at options such as the frequency response of the wireless AirPlay speakers. You’ll want the largest range possible because this will give you the best combination of bass notes and mid- to high-frequency melodic sounds. When you're looking for the best sound quality, there's no such thing as too low or too high in the frequency response range. Sub- and super-sonic frequencies beyond the frequency range that is audible to the human ear add depth and power to the overall sound.

Also look for factors such as the speakers' sensitivity, which tells you how much sound is produced from a given output. The speakers should also have a built-in digital-to-analog converter to give the illusion of true stereo sound. All the products we reviewed have 2.1 channels for the sound output.

Features
Here’s where you look for the big options such as how many drivers the AirPlay wireless speakers have and whether there’s a dock for your iPhone, iPod or other devices. The best AirPlay speakers have a diversity of drivers for different frequencies. All the AirPlay speakers we reviewed are powered with a simple AC adapter and do not use battery power.

Connectivity
AirPlay speakers are unique in how they connect to the device you’re using, but look for other options to connect to the speakers. If your Wi-Fi connection is on the fritz, you’ll want the option to use an auxiliary output. These do not come with the speaker, but you can often purchase a simple cord for around $10. Also, some AirPlay speakers have the option to connect to the internet using Wi-Fi only, while others also connect using an ethernet cable.

AirPlay speakers are the latest development in producing convenient and useful sound quality. Even true audiophiles can be satisfied with the crystal clear sound coming from the best AirPlay speakers. The AirPlay technology passes uncompressed digital sound to the speakers wirelessly, so no sound quality is lost.

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Electronics » Home Audio » AirPlay Speakers Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Zeppelin Air Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air Altec Lansing inAir Libratone Audyssey Audio Dock Air iHome iW2 Logitech UE Air Speaker Sony HomeShare Portable Speaker Pioneer Bowers & Wilkins Z2
Zeppelin Air Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air Altec Lansing inAir Libratone Audyssey Audio Dock Air iHome iW2 Logitech UE Air Speaker Sony HomeShare Portable Speaker Pioneer Bowers & Wilkins Z2
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Lowest Price
Visit Zeppelin Air
$599.98
Visit Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air G-17
$549.99
Visit Altec Lansing inAir 5000
$499.95
Visit Libratone
$699.00
Visit Audyssey Audio Dock Air
$349.99
Visit iHome iW2
$106.99
Visit Logitech UE Air Speaker
$334.99
Visit Sony HomeShare Portable Speaker
$398.00
Visit Pioneer X-SMC3-S Music Tap AirPlay Music System
$203.23
Visit Bowers & Wilkins Z2
$449.00
Ratings
10.00
9.50
9.00
8.70
8.00
7.80
7.50
7.20
7.00
6.88
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
8.75
10.00
8.75
8.75
10.00
8.50
8.25
10.00
7.50
7.50
10.00
8.25
6.25
10.00
7.50
6.25
10.00
6.75
6.25
10.00
7.50
5.00
10.00
7.50
6.25
6.88
 
Performance
Minimum Frequency Response (Hertz) 55 57 42 45 50 70 43 43 60 50
Maximum Frequency Response (Kilohertz) 20 23 22 20 20 20 23 23 20 20
Output Level (dB) 88 102 100 100 92 82 102 90 100 90
Channels 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 2
Integrated Power Suppliers (Individual Amplifiers) 5 5 3 5 4 1 2 2 4 2
Signal to Noise Ratio (dB) 105 90 70 100 85 89 82 82 110 Not Specified
Nominal Impedence (Ohms) 8 7 8 8 8 8 6 6 8 Not Specified
Output Power (Watts) 7 7 7 8 8 8 6 6 8 20
Digital Signal Processor (DSP)
Digital to Analog Converter
Artificial Surround Sound
 
Features
Low-Frequency Drivers 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1   
Medium-Frequency Drivers 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2  
High-Frequency Drivers 1 1 1 1 1    2 2  
Full Range Drivers           2
AC Adapter Power Supply
Charge Device
Active Speaker
Remote Control
  
   
Audio Amplifier
Dock
   
 
App Available
Sealed Enclosure Construction
Connectivity
AirPlay
Auxiliary Input
MP3 Players
iPod, iPhone, iPad
Ethernet
Wireless
USB Connector
 
Dimensions
Height (Inches) 6.8 7 7.5 18.5 4.7 10.5 21 9.5 22.6 7.1
Width (Inches) 20.8 16.8 19 7.7 8.9 3.8 5.7 12.8 12.7 12.6
Depth (Inches) 8.2 4 6.75 6 8.3 3 6.7 9.5 8.3 3.9
Weight (Pounds) 6.2 7.5 6.9 14 5 4.6 6.4 8 11 5.7
Help & Support
Warranty 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 1-Year 2 Year
Email Support
Telephone Support
FAQs
Online Manual