Audio’s hero product category of the year is ”Streaming”. Which means any wireless model that can send music to any and every part of the average Aussie home.
Streaming audio gear is seriously big business. Just ask
Sonos, the company that single handedly put streaming onto the average
consumer’s audio bucket list. Sonos is big business. Just about every major and
minor electrical outlet carries the brand.
Sonos, which has always been the budget-streaming brand is
now finding rivals multiplying by the minute. Serious contenders include, LG,
Panasonic and Samsung. Each brand makes streaming products that are leading
edge and represent even more value fore money than Sonos.
But where Sonos continues to score is in its splendidly user-friendly
software. Sonos is a doddle to set up and use. Specialist Hi-Fi outlets
continue to stack Sonos models high and sell them low.
Their formula is simple: Sonos equals Streaming equals
convenience. This mindset continues to hamper them in accepting that an
increasing number of Hi-Fi specialist store customers go into their store
looking for streaming products that have excellent quality as well as convenience.
The smarter Hi-Fi specialist satisfy that demand by ranging
models from Yamaha, HEOS and Bluesound that are several levels ahead of Sonos
and the other mass market streaming brands measured in terms of ultimate sound quality.
For streaming devotees who want the ultimate, the UK’s Naim
Audio has elite streaming models that sit at the top end of streaming town.
One retailer who ranges streaming brands at all price levels
is Len Wallis Audio. Owner Len Wallis is alert to the growing demand for great
sounding streaming products and is breaking records selling Bluesound, HEOS and
”Streaming is big time”, he says. ”We can’t keep enough
stock to satisfy Brands like Bluesound that focus on high definition audio
streaming and class leading sound quality. We sell every bit of Bluesound stock
we get in.”
Wallis is amazed how rival specialist retailers seem to have
missed the opportunity to focus on streaming sound quality.
” I guess some still see streaming audio products as largely
about convenience. But brands like Bluesound, HEOS and Naim are naturals for their
business because the quest for sound quality should be what sets them apart
from the chain stores,” he says.
Wallis insists the average person can easily hear the difference
in sound quality when they audition a Sonos model and then step up to
Bluesound’s high definition, high resolution playback quality.
”Some are really happy to stay at the level of a Sonos, but
many more of our clients will pay a little more to get Bluesound’s audiophile
sound quality. Others pay much more to select a Naim model,” he says.
”Specialist stores that don’t focus on sound quality
afforded by the higher grade streaming brands are clearly not capitalizing on
their traditional point of difference with the chain stores,” he says.
Wallis admits that in the early days streaming was a chore
for the majority of consumers. But brands the calibre of Bluesound have changed
”For sure, back in the day it wasn’t fun trying to get your
NAS drive working with your PC programs to stream music. Now, installing and setting
up Bluesound, HEOS, Yamaha or Naim models so you can have music in each room of
your house as well as outside on the patio, is not only simple, it’s
Now that has top be music to his customer’s educated