Creating Your Perfect Home Audio Setup
AirPlay lets you stream music throughout your entire house - wirelessly. This allows you to enjoy your entire iTunes library - every song and every playlist - in any room at any time. It's not only iTunes, there are many Apps which are AirPlay enabled, so you can listen to internet radio and send the sound from YouTube videos direct to your closest AirPlay speaker, you can listen to a whole range of media on yourAQ SmartSpeaker™.
Say you have one speaker in your bedroom, one in the office, and one in the living room. For the ultimate sonic panorama, you can stream your tunes to more than one room simultaneously, so you’ll never lose the beat, no matter where you are in the house. Just select “Multiple Speakers” from the AirPlay menu in iTunes. AirPlay works over Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection, or a combination of both. So you can stream music directly from your home network if you’re near an Ethernet port or connect wirelessly if you’re not.
If you have an iOS Device, you do not need to download any extra software or buy any extra hardware to listen to your music on the AQ SmartSpeaker™. AirPlay is built into the Apps on your iOS device so as long as you are running the latest iOS release from Apple on a compatible device you just need to look for the AirPlay logo, and tap it to connect to the AQ SmartSpeaker™, its that simple!
Apple's new Desktop OS, Mountain Lion, shows AirPlay speakers on the Sound preference pane (System Preferences>Sound>Output) so you can send all the sound from your computer speakers to the AQ SmartSpeaker™ instead. This means you can now stream all yor audio, no matter what App you are using, and including system sounds, straight to yourAQ SmartSpeaker™ Unfortunately, the sound preferences pane still limits you to using a single audio device at a time.
A recent Apple TV Update means you can now stream audio to one AQ SmartSpeaker whilst watching a movie or other video content on your Apple TV - Simply start playback of your film, then hold select on your remote to bring up the menu, select speakers, and choose your AQ SmartSpeaker.
Using the AQ SmartSpeaker™ has never been easier. With AQ DIRECT Mode, you can connect any Wi-Fi capable device directly to the speaker without needing a wireless router - so you can now use the AQ SmartSpeaker™ wirelessly anywhere you want - in the garden, in the park, at a mate's house, and even whilst on holiday, wherever you go to.
There's no complicated setup procedure, simply press the power button twice and then connect to the speaker's built-in Wi-Fi network using your device. You can then start playing your music as normal. The AQ SmartSpeaker™ will remeber your Wi-Fi settings, so you can simply switch back when you get home.
By default, there is no password on the AQ DIRECT Network, but you can add one if you want, which will prevent people from streaming their music to your AQ SmartSpeaker™ if you are in a public place. Please see the full user manual, available from the support section for complete instructions on how to do this.
The release of the SilverBirch firmware update for the AQ SmartSpeaker™ has made it possible to take your music wherever you want and play it out loud, however, with your iPhone connected to the speaker, there's no internet access from the speaker's Wi-Fi connection, but the iPhone may refuse to use your mobile data plan whilst it is connected to Wi-Fi. There is a relatively easy way to work around this if you have an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5.
If you have, or can borrow, a second iOS Device (It must be running iOS 5 or later, You will only need it to set up the speaker):
- On your iPhone, switch on the Personal Hotspot (Settings>Personal Hotspot>Enable).
- Using the second iOS Device, connect using Wi-Fi to the Personal Hotspot you have just created, you will need to enter the password provided by your iPhone.
- Make sure your AQ SmartSpeaker™ is switched on and in CONNECTED Mode, then connect it to the second iOS Device using the USB Sync Cable.
- With the home screen unlocked, briefly press the volume up and volume down buttons on the top of the AQ SmartSpeaker™.
- You will see a pop-up on the iOS Device asking to share the network settings, click Allow. Your speaker will restart and connect to the "Personal Hotspot" network.
- You have now finished using the second iOS Device - if you borrowed it, you can now return it.
- The speaker can now be used from any AirPlay app on your iPhone in the normal way. Streaming apps which require an internet connection will also work.
You can switch off the AQ SmartSpeaker™ and it will remember the network settings, as long as your Personal Hotspot is switched on, the speaker will automatically connect to this network until you connect it to a different network.
If you do not have a second iOS Device, you can still set the speaker up, but you will need to use setup option 3 to connect the speaker to the network. It is possible to do this using only the iPhone, but it may mean switching off the hotspot whilst you set up the speaker, and you will need to remeber the Hotspot name accurately. If you have access to another Wi-Fi capable device such as a computer or Android phone, using this to follow setup option 3, whilst the iPhone hotpsot remains on will be easier.
Please also note that this uses your data connection, and data charges may be made by your mobile network oiperator - check with them for details.
The REMOTE App is a free App from Apple, which allows you to control iTunes from your iOS Device.
Using the Remote App on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you can play, pause or skip to the next track or back up and repeat the previous one, plus shuffle and repeat. You can even control the volume for each individual AirPlay-enabled device as if you were sat in front of iTunes on the computer.
Currently this is the only way you can simultaneously transmit to multiple speakers around the house from a single iOS Device (If you have the Airfoil App, there is a workable solution which enables you to use multiple speakers from all your AirPlay enabled Apps, see the bottom of this page). Once you have set up the Remote App with your iTunes account you can control all your music on your PC/Mac/Lap through your iOS device.
First you will need to download the App from the App store free of charge. You will then need to link the REMOTE App to your iTunes Library. For more information on doing this see http://www.apple.com/itunes/remote/
Once you have the REMOTE App set up on your iOS Device, simply tap the AirPlay logo in the App to connect to and control all of your speakers. This screenshot is from the REMOTE App running on an iPhone.
AirPlay from Apps which don't appear to have the AirPlay logo
There are many Apps which will work with AirPlay, but don't display the AirPlay logo in a convenient place, or don't display it at all. However, there is a simple way to get at the airplay settings, and a set of standard playback controls, for the currently active App - you can even do it without unlocking the iPhone.
Simply start playback in almost any audio app, then lock the iOS Device using the lock button. Then double-tap the home button whilst the phone is still locked, and the playback controls, along with track information, etc. from the App will be displayed. You can select the AirPlay logo from here and switch between the internal speaker and all the AirPlay speakers that are connected to your network.
Wake up to your favourite BBC Radio station on the AQ SmartSpeaker™
With the SilverBirch update, the AQ SmartSpeaker™ can now take advantage of the BBC Radio App's built-in Alarm functionality. The update ensures that the speaker will stay on all night, so that it is ready to wake you up in the morning - in fact, it will now stay switched on for a whole week, when connected to the mains power supply. If you haven't used it after a week, it will switch off to conserve power. (the speaker will still switch off after 10 minutes of inactivity when running on battery)
To set up the alarm on the BBC Radio App, you will need to play a radio station and then use the above home button trick to access the airplay functionality and send the audio to your speaker. Once you have the speaker connected, you can set the volume and then the alarm, using the options in the App. The final step is to stop the radio station from playing, so you can get some sleep.
The BBC Radio App will keep the phone awake, and display a dimmable clock - to ensure the iPhone's battery doesn't run out, it is a good idea to connect the iPhone to the power as well.
Listening to audio books on the AQ SmartSpeaker™
The AQ SmartSpeaker™ works great with Audible on your iOS Device, so you can listen to your favorite audio books with the highest quality sound wherever you are.
Why every home should own the AQ SmartSpeaker™
Whether you want to use your AQ SmartSpeaker™ as your main source of music in your bedroom or you want to have a pair in the lounge for that stereo effect you always wanted or just as an add on to your existing home audio set up to allow music in parts of your home that sound does not normally reach, the AQ SmartSpeaker™ is perfect for all those scenarios.
Since there is no need to dock your iOS Device, The AQ SmartSpeaker™ leaves you free to text, browse the internet, send and receive emails, and read books and magazines all while you are transmitting and listening to your music.
The AQ SmartSpeaker™ works with all Apps that transmit over AirPlay. For example the TuneIn Radio App enables you to transmit over 70,000 radio stations direct to your AQ SmartSpeaker™. Below is a screen shot from the iPhone App, you will see the AirPlay logo in the bottom right hand corner. This will only appear when your AQ SmartSpeaker™ is connected to your WiFi network and switched on and your iPhone is connected to the same network. If you tap on the AirPlay logo and select your AQ SmartSpeaker™ the logo will turn blue to signify they are connected and the audio will start playing through the AQ SmartSpeaker™. It is that simple!
In all your audio related Apps just look out for the AirPlay logo, tap it to connect and start listening. Here are some of the great Apps we like that support AirPlay:-
These are just a small selection, there are thousands of Apps that support AirPlay. If you find a good one you think we should know about, please contact us and let us know.
Do you use Spotify on your Mac or PC? Do you use Internet radio streaming websites like Pandora? Do you stream your tunes from sites like Rdio, Rhapsody? Napster? If you do and you want to stream that audio to the AQ SmartSpeaker™ but thought that because it wasn’t in iTunes you couldn’t, this guide will show you how you can do all that not only from a Mac but also a Windows PC. Also you can use the AQ SmartSpeaker™ to listen to audio from TV Programs, movies, YouTube, basically any audio that comes from your computer.
First of all, go to http://rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/ and download the correct version for your operating system. You can try it out free for a limited time, so I recommend you do that to see if it works for you. If you are on a Mac, I recommend you download their extra software, Instant On. This enables you to change between applications without having to restart them. (see later).
Once you have downloaded AirFoil, you will see this window. If you click on “Spotify” you will see a list of different Applications, Safari, iTunes, Quicktime etc. you can also add to this list by clicking, “other application”. For example if you want to use FireFox then select FireFox from the list and it will appear here with the others.
What this box tells you is firstly what application you want the music to play from. In this example it is Spotify, if you wanted to play music direct from Rdio.com in FireFox you would select FireFox here. Selecting a web browser means all audio from that website will come out of the speaker, TV Programs/movies you stream, YouTube etc.
Then below is all the connected devices AirFoil can see, if you click on the logo to the right of the device description the logo will turn blue indicating where the audio will play from. Remember if you have two or more AQ SmartSpeakers™ you can also play left and right stereo to both of the speakers.
If you have read the section about the Remote app above, you are probably wondering if this is possible for other apps. it is. Sort of. You need the Airfoil App above, and a free App called Airfoil Speakers from the same company. You also need to be in range of your computer, and individual volume control can only be done from the computer.
First, go to http://rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/speakers.php and download and install the Mac or Windows version of Airfoil Speakers on your computer. With this program running, If you load an AirPlay enabled App on your iOS Device, you wil see that your computer appears as a "speaker" in the AirPlay list. This allows you to send the audio to your computer.
Then, all you need to do is open AirFoil on your computer (see the section above) and choose "Airfoil Speakers" as the source app. Choose your AQ SmartSpeakers™ from the output list, and your computer will re-transmit the audio it is recieving from the iOS Device to your speakers.
Of course, this has a number of limitations, for example it only works with AirPlay enabled Apps, and you may notice some delay, because the audio is being transmitted twice, but it can is a very useful way of using AirPlay.
When using AirPlay, there is often a short delay between the audio leaving your computer, and it coming out of the speaker. This isn't usually noticeable - especially when listening to music - but if you are watching a video, this delay can become distracting as words and sound effects don't match precisely with what is happening on screen.
There are a couple of possibilities that will allow you to play most video files on your computer without having the delay. You will need to download Airfoil, if you haven't done so already - there is a free trial version, and you can find a discount code in the box with your AQ SmartSpeaker, see the above section for more information.
The first option is to use Airfoil's built-in video player to play back your video, which automatically synchronizes the audio and video output, however it is somewhat limited in the video formats it can play.
The second option is to use VLC (videolan.org/vlc/) to play back the video file. VLC is a media player that will play the vast majority of video formats, and allows you to time-shift the audio so that is plays in sync. You need to set up delay manually, With the version we tested, the shortcut key "F" moves the audio forwards so that it matches closer, and "G" moves it back, making the delay even longer. The exact delay time required will vary depending on your computer and the wireless router you are using, we found that a good starting point is around -1700ms (each press of the shortcut key changes the setting by 50ms), and once you have the exact timing, this should be the same for any video you want to play.
Please note that when using VLC, you will need to manually add the App to the AirFoil Audio Output Apps list by selecting "other Application" from the drop-down.