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Apr 12, 2001
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pioneer.jpg
As noted by Macworld, Pioneer has lowered the prices on several of its AirPlay speakers, which have, historically, been offered at a much higher pricing tier than Bluetooth speakers.
The company recently dropped the price of its XW-SMA1 speaker from $299 to $149, while the prices of the XW-SMA3 and XW-SMA4 have similarly been cut in half from $399 to $199. (These changes aren't yet reflected on Pioneer's website, where the latter two speakers are still listed at $399.)
Macworld spoke to a Pioneer representative, who said that the company is aiming to make its AirPlay speakers price competitive with its Bluetooth models, with the hope that lower prices will help consumers to appreciate AirPlay's advantages.

While Bluetooth has been a more affordable option for consumers, AirPlay has a distinct edge, offering a much longer range with the option of utilizing multiple speakers for a complete home audio experience.

Traditionally, AirPlay speakers have been priced higher than Bluetooth speakers due to the cost of licensing the technology from Apple. It is unclear if Pioneer is eating the additional cost or if Apple has made AirPlay licensing more affordable, but with Pioneer lowering the price of its AirPlay speakers, it is likely that other manufacturers may have to follow suit in order to continue to offer competitive pricing.

Article Link: Pioneer Drops AirPlay Speaker Prices, Now Competitive with Bluetooth Models
 

840quadra

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 1, 2005
8,288
3,585
Twin Cities Minnesota
Great news, however I feel the problem is still the overall cost to entry for companies that want to utilize Airplay, or cable interfaces for iOS devices. I appreciate Apple wanting control, however the cost per unit is going to make Airplay more rare than it could be!
 
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brendu

Cancelled
Apr 23, 2009
2,472
2,703
Well, looks like I will finally be getting the airplay speakers I have been wanting for awhile but wouldn't spend that much money on! Great news!
 
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onirocdarb

macrumors regular
Feb 5, 2013
106
0
That would be awesome if they made stereo desktop speakers. Then my desk would be down to one wire!
 
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iSayuSay

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2011
3,502
641
Oh .. the good ol' Pioneer. How about go back and make a 70" Kuro plasma with AirDisplay? :D

I really hate saw the old Kuro went off the grid, and now Panasonic is raising the white flag too. I wish all HDTV is plasma :(
 
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commander.data

macrumors 65816
Nov 10, 2006
1,021
113
I guess it's too much to hope that the drop in prices for AirPlay speakers is part of a larger, more aggressive digital living room strategy from Apple to be announced at WWDC including radio, non-"hobby" television push, and other devices, services, and platforms?
 
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AbSoluTc

macrumors 601
Sep 21, 2008
4,567
2,970
Apple I have to say screwed the pooch when it came to airplay speakers. Not sure if it was them charging too much for licensing or companies not wanting to invest in the technology but it's paltry. I was really stoked for it but nothing ever came of it.

I just bought the sonos play 5 and bridge. Going to give that a go. It's the best solution out there, tried, true and tested. Would love to use apple's airplay but again, they just let it die really.
 
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macs4nw

macrumors 601
.....The company recently dropped the price of its XW-SMA1 speaker from $299 to $149, while the prices of the XW-SMA3 and XW-SMA4 have similarly been cut in half from $399 to $199. (These changes aren't yet reflected on Pioneer's website, where the latter two speakers are still listed at $399.)

Article Link: Pioneer Drops AirPlay Speaker Prices, Now Competitive with Bluetooth Models

Even though I've always liked PIONEER products, that is a huge price drop. Half-price, and they're still making money on them, no doubt. Were we getting gouged before? Or is this all due to lower licensing fees, in which case we were still getting hosed, just by a different company?
 
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It's ridiculous how expensive Airplay stuff has been (and still is). I just bought bluetooth speakers on Amazon for $35 which has terrific reviews. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008X1C65A/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I haven't hooked mine up yet, but I'm confident it'll suit my needs. But of course, I'm no audiophile.

I'm sure it's not nearly in the same league as these speakers, but are these speakers really 5 times as good? I'm thinking not.

I know I'm only one measley little person, but from where I'm sitting Airplay and Airprint have been pretty much failures. Been out for nearly 3 years now I think.
 
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lk400

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2012
794
273
Bluetooth is a bad tech for sound. I have never been able to get good quality sound through bluetooth - I am not an expert, so maybe I am doing something wrong, but I always thought the bandwidth wasnt there to support the full spectrum. This, to me, was always the biggest benefit of airplay.
 
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Popeye206

macrumors 68040
Sep 6, 2007
3,148
836
NE PA USA
Bluetooth is a bad tech for sound. I have never been able to get good quality sound through bluetooth - I am not an expert, so maybe I am doing something wrong, but I always thought the bandwidth wasnt there to support the full spectrum. This, to me, was always the biggest benefit of airplay.

I have a bluetooth compatible Sound bar and it never seems to work very good... hit or miss and definitely seems lacking. Only good for background music. So, I would agree with you.
 
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Solomani

macrumors 601
Sep 25, 2012
4,152
9,035
Slapfish, North Carolina
I've been told by a couple of AirPlay speaker owners (self-proclaimed audiophiles :rolleyes:) that AirPlay has a technical advantage over Bluetooth.... something to do with Bluetooth being "lossy" (loses original data when packaged for transmission) while AirPlay is not. This reminds of the ancient format debates between JPEG (lossy image compression) versus something like PICT or PNG.

Anyone with more technical knowledge care to elaborate?

With myself being quite satisfied with the sound quality of 256kb AAC, I'm no audiophile. So in listening to the same track, will I be able to tell the difference if I listen to an AirPlay output versus a Bluetooth one? (assuming that everything else is equal like the quality and build of the speakers)
 
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ctyrider

macrumors 65816
Jul 15, 2012
1,004
568
Just picked up an XtremeMac Tango airplay speaker for $49 bucks at Fry's fire sale. That's the price I can live with.
 
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delioninsyd

macrumors newbie
Jun 21, 2007
7
0
Got it

I have been looking at the Sonos play 3 for some time now. This seems to be one of the better alternatives so I went ahead and bought one. We will see if its any good.
 
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Toltepeceno

Suspended
Jul 17, 2012
1,807
554
SMT, Edo MX, MX
Even though I've always liked PIONEER products, that is a huge price drop. Half-price, and they're still making money on them, no doubt. Were we getting gouged before? Or is this all due to lower licensing fees, in which case we were still getting hosed, just by a different company?

They should sell products at cost like apple, right? You think apple could not cut their prices in half and still make a profit?

People pay a premium for apple stuff and that includes the add on's like airplay, thunderbolt, etc.
 
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lk400

macrumors 6502a
Aug 26, 2012
794
273
I've been told by a couple of AirPlay speaker owners (self-proclaimed audiophiles :rolleyes:) that AirPlay has a technical advantage over Bluetooth.... something to do with Bluetooth being "lossy" (loses original data when packaged for transmission) while AirPlay is not. This reminds of the ancient format debates between JPEG (lossy image compression) versus something like PICT or PNG.

Anyone with more technical knowledge care to elaborate?

With myself being quite satisfied with the sound quality of 256kb AAC, I'm no audiophile. So in listening to the same track, will I be able to tell the difference if I listen to an AirPlay output versus a Bluetooth one? (assuming that everything else is equal like the quality and build of the speakers)

Im not sure if Airplay is lossy or lossless (given people would be streaming MP3 through it, its lossy at some stage I guess), but I certainly notice the quality difference of BT in my experience. It sounds like the high and low frequencies are cut off, volume is reduced, and artifacts of compression are introduced (particularly in the high end). I dont understand the tech, and maybe I just have bad equipment, but ive always thought BT for audio is a waste of time.
 
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toaster64

macrumors regular
May 14, 2013
164
0
Cool.

----------

I've been told by a couple of AirPlay speaker owners (self-proclaimed audiophiles :rolleyes:) that AirPlay has a technical advantage over Bluetooth.... something to do with Bluetooth being "lossy" (loses original data when packaged for transmission) while AirPlay is not. This reminds of the ancient format debates between JPEG (lossy image compression) versus something like PICT or PNG.

Anyone with more technical knowledge care to elaborate?

With myself being quite satisfied with the sound quality of 256kb AAC, I'm no audiophile. So in listening to the same track, will I be able to tell the difference if I listen to an AirPlay output versus a Bluetooth one? (assuming that everything else is equal like the quality and build of the speakers)

I'm no audiophile, but I think that Bluetooth is not as strong of a signal as AirPlay. You'll get interference and therefore quality reduction.

Also, don't use JPEG!!! I'm sick of these stupid JPEG images on the web with no transparency and annoying compression. Mostly the lack of transparency.
 
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funandblindness

macrumors member
Jul 18, 2002
61
38
Oregon
Im not sure if Airplay is lossy or lossless (given people would be streaming MP3 through it, its lossy at some stage I guess), but I certainly notice the quality difference of BT in my experience. It sounds like the high and low frequencies are cut off, volume is reduced, and artifacts of compression are introduced (particularly in the high end). I dont understand the tech, and maybe I just have bad equipment, but ive always thought BT for audio is a waste of time.

The AirTunes part of the AirPlay protocol stack uses UDP for streaming audio and is based on the RTSP network control protocol.[37] The streams are transcoded using the Apple Lossless codec with 44100 Hz and 2 channels encrypted with AES, requiring the receiver to have access to the appropriate private key to decrypt the streams.[38] The stream is buffered for approximately 2 seconds before playback begins, resulting in a small delay before audio is output after starting an AirPlay stream.[39]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirPlay
 
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