Can I Use AirPlay 2 With Both Wireless and Wired Speaker Setups?

Yes, a number of new streaming amps, along with some stereo and multichannel receivers, support Apple’s updated streaming protocol, AirPlay 2. Recent examples of AirPlay 2-compatible products that Sound & Vision has reviewed include the Sonos Amp streaming amplifier ($599), Denon DRA-800H stereo receiver ($499), and, of course, Apple’s HomePod speaker ($349). Two additional examples of streaming amps that feature AirPlay 2 are the Bluesound PowerNode 2i ($899) and the NAD M10 BluOS streaming amplifier ($2,749).

A key advantage AirPlay 2 offers over regular AirPlay is an ability to simultaneously stream music to, and control the individual volume level of, multiple AirPlay 2-compatible products—HomePod speakers located in the kitchen and bedroom, and a Sonos Amp in the living room, for instance. When using products that only support regular AirPlay, in contrast, you are limited to streaming to just one speaker or amp at a time from your iOS device or Mac computer.

While AirPlay 2 improves on the earlier protocol by adding multiroom capability, it should be noted that you can only use Apple’s Siri voice commands to initiate streams from Apple Music and other Apple services like Podcasts. With different apps—Tidal, for example—you’ll need to manually activate AirPlay streaming on your device.