So a day of playing with my brothers Sonos set-up has spurred me on to working out how close you can get to a “Sonos-style” set up with Spotify, iOS and Airplay.
The answers is reasonably close, it’s not a perfect alternative but as I’ve got a bunch of airplay receivers already it is a much cheaper option for me.
My current set up is the following,
Me and the wife both on iPhone iOS with spotify account. Normally I Airplay that straight into my home cinema which is hooked up to an Apple TV. This works well but of course isn’t exactly a multi-room set-up. I have an Airport Express lying around that you can also airplay to but there’s a limitation of iOS that you can only send to one location at once.
You can send to two places via Airplay from a Mac, either off-the-shelf via iTunes or from Spotify or any app through Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil App. It’ll set you back $25.
So at this point you can send spotify audio to multiple Airplay devices in-sync, adjust volume etc. But you have to be at your Mac to do so.
Recently and without much fanfare Spotify released Spotify Connect This allows you to use the Spotify App on your iOS device to control Spotify on your Mac, if you’re signed into the same Spotify account and on the same Wi-Fi Network. If you’ve got both apps open then you’ll be prompted on your iPhone whether you want to control Spotify or use as normal.
So with your Mac outputting via Airfoil to the Airplay devices and you able to control it on your iPhone. Very nearly the same as Sonos, apart from the fact you need the mac switched on, and in my case as it’s a laptop, it needs to be open.
Not ideal but no need to buy a full new Sonos set-up.