This week marks just 6 weeks until we launch our Indiegogo campaign for Dio Node! As such, I thought I’d kick off our 6-week countdown by discussing my thoughts around multi-room audio and the need for a versatile listening experience.
Limitations of Bluetooth Speakers
I started my journey with Dio because I personally couldn’t find any home audio options that were good enough for my highly varied listening habits. Let’s start with Bluetooth speakers, as I imagine most people start here. You’d think home audio should be as easy as placing a bunch of Bluetooth speakers everywhere, right? The speakers already play all the audio from your phone, so you just need to be able to send that audio to multiple speakers at the same time and, voila, you now have audio everywhere! Unfortunately, I quickly learned that Bluetooth speakers just cannot do multi-speaker stuff easily. Sure, there are some workarounds, but they are both expensive and unreliable. Take the popular UE Boom speakers, for example. They can technically chain up with other speakers, but with some major caveats: you can only use other UE Booms of the same generation and no other brands, they have a limited range of connection, they require an external app to connect speakers together that takes a long time to pair, they only work through one phone, their battery life drains quickly with multi-speaker pairing, and there is an atrocious amount of reviews discussing how unreliable the multi-speaker pairing really is. All that, and the speakers retail for roughly $150 per speaker. When I reviewed UE Boom as one of the options for my home, I quickly found that they clearly meant for you and your friends to all buy just one speaker each, and pair them together once in a while during a party for a short amount of time.
Limitations of Smart Home Speakers
After discovering that Bluetooth speakers cannot offer a versatile multi-speaker experience for my home, I started exploring the smart home ecosystems. After all, these Google Homes and Echo Dots were meant to control a host of devices around your home, certainly they would be able to control multiple speakers, right? After getting two heavily discounted Google Home Minis for my home, I quickly found the limitations of these speakers. While they technically could play in multiple rooms, they only worked with a handful of actual audio services. Google would play Spotify, for example, but it wouldn’t work with Apple Podcasts (still the number 1 most popular podcasting service in the world) and Audible (the number 1 most popular audiobook service). In fact, it wouldn’t work with anything from my phone. The only way to use its multi-room service was through the voice assistant or through a host of nested buttons and settings within the Google Home app.
Limitations of Sonos & Premium Multi-Room Speakers
So finally I started looking at the more premium multi-room speaker products out there. Sonos, for example, is a very good product for listening to music. Its app allows you to control every speaker individually, create speaker groups, change the EQ, use your phone or speaker’s microphones to automatically detect your home’s acoustics, and so much more. However, you can only play audio from Sonos’ partnered services on its app. And while Sonos has done a great job enabling a great many audio services on its apps, most of the focus has been on music. If you would like to instead, say, follow your friend’s latest Facebook Live video, or listen to your mom’s new voice message on iMessage, or catch the latest SoundCloud release from your favorite local artist – well, Sonos doesn’t really start to make sense when you move beyond conventional audio streaming services. Not to mention Sonos’ price tag & complex setup process.
What Makes Dio Node The Most Versatile Speaker
From this whole experience, I started to realize we needed a new multi-room audio option that made versatility a core part of the experience. At the end of the day, so many people have so many varying ways they use audio, and it gets more complex the more members you have in a household. So what exactly does versatility mean for us with the Dio Node? It means having the ability to truly just, well, listen. Listen the way you want to, where you want to, and with whomever you want to. Here are the features we’ve made part of the Dio Node to make it a speaker that can really do anything:
- Unlimited Multi-Speaker: You can connect as many Dio Nodes as you want throughout your home.
- Play Any Audio from Your Phone: Just like Bluetooth, the speakers play the audio from your phone right out of your speakers.
- Individual or Grouped Speaker Control: You can control the volume and playback of each speaker individually or easily turn up or down the volume of every currently playing speaker together.
- Multi-User Control: No need to pair devices or do anything special. Anyone in your household can use their phone or tablet to control your Dio Nodes.
- Interoperable with Other Brands: That’s right! Dio Node actually works with over 100+ other speaker models from every top brand.
- Home Automations, Siri Control, and More: You can add Dio Node to the Apple Home app to enable additional controls like automations (e.g, automatically turn my speakers off when I leave the home), Siri control from your phone (please note Dio Node itself has no built in microphones or voice assistants), Intercom (to send cute love messages to your partner in the other room to distract her from work), and more specialized device groupings.