German audio manufacturer Raumfeld is the brainchild of self-confessed audiophiles Stephan Schulz and Michael Hirsch, since 2009 they’ve been on a mission to deliver CD-quality sound to any room in your house wirelessly. Now that music streaming is well on the way to becoming the dominant way music is consumed, Raumfeld believe that most hi-fis conceived before the great digital switchover aren’t really fit for purpose – and we have to agree with them.
We’ve been testing two speakers from the German company – a pair of One S Wi-Fi speakers, and the much larger One M – to see whether they can go toe-to-toe with the myriad of other multi-room systems that are already on the market. And on first impressions Raumfeld get a lot right. First of all, all of their speakers are enclosed in matte-finished wood which gives them a nice retro feel, perfect for anyone who wants a more sophisticated look. But don’t be fooled by the retro looks, both speakers feature a myriad of clever touches to make sure they’re future proof. Whether it’s playing music from a mobile phone, tablet, USB storage device, NAS drive, UPnP/ DLNA music servers and – of course – a range of music streaming services – it can handle them all.
As well as a bevy of connectivity options, Raumfeld is the first manufacturer to offer out-of-the-box support for TIDAL – which is one of the only services that delivers full FLAC quality music to multiple rooms. As well as TIDAL support, there’s also support for Spotify, Napster and thousands of radio stations too, but unfortunately no Apple Music. That’s not a problem though as Raumfeld’s Wi-Fi speakers come with an analog audio input; so if you can play it on your phone or tablet you can play it on the system, the only thing we would have liked to have seen is support for Apple’s Air Play.
Despite controlling the majority of the setup and functionality with Raumfeld’s iOS and Android app, both of these Wi-Fi speakers do come with a few tactile buttons including volume and preset buttons for your favourite radio stations, which are assigned like a car radio; tune into your favourite station and press one of the buttons for three seconds and it stores it, and will even play them without you having to get your phone or tablet out, which is a very nice touch. Setup is incredibly easy too, simply add the speakers via the app to your Wi-Fi network and that’s it. Easily the most hassle-free setup we’ve come across so far.
Raumfeld’s One M – the larger of the two speakers – is a bit pricier than its main competitors but you do get a lot more bang for your buck. Sound quality is much better than similar systems from Sonos and Pure, and that’s thanks to the One M’s down-firing subwoofer, which is discreetly hidden on the bottom between its two legs. The down firing sub is a stroke of genius and gives everything fuller basslines something a lot of multi-room systems don’t really deliver due to their slender size.
It does mean that the One M is a little bigger than most of its competitors too, weighing in at just under 5kg – so you’re going to want a sturdy shelf to put it on. The smaller One S are similar to the Sonos P1; around the size of a bag of sugar. They can be played in the same room as a One M, or can be put in a snug, kitchen or bedroom for a multi-room setup. If you play them all in one room they sound incredible with the stereo widening option enabled giving you a fuller, richer sound, or you can place them in different rooms and seamlessly hand-off music to different parts of your house. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Spotify doesn’t support multi-room with Ruamfeld’s app, which is a little disappointing – music can still be played in different rooms but just not at the same time.
Overall, Raumfeld gets a lot right with its Wi-Fi speaker range, most importantly sound quality is better than its competitors, the wood finish is a really nice touch and the added benefit of multiple inputs gives them a distinct advantage over its competitors. Our only gripe is the lack of Air Play support, but you can always use the line-in for that. The only other real downside is the slightly undercooked app, which isn’t the prettiest thing we’ve laid eyes on, but it does the job. If they can continue to add streaming services, and continue the develop the app, then Raumfeld is a worthy addition to the burgeoning multi-room audio market.