The new Pioneer Music Tap means two more ways to avoid Spotify while embracing the full glory of Apple AirPlay, Pioneer Air Jam and a whole lot more.
Your favorite podcast or internet radio station is easily accessed via the units' WiFi or Ethernet connections. You can enjoy Pioneer's own Air Jam iOS app or go the intended Apple AirPlay route to easily relay your media collection from your iTunes bank on your main computer to anywhere within wired or wireless range. The units are DLNA 1.5 compatible so there are actually quite a few more server/client options that are a possible if the Pioneer or Apple offerings don't suit your needs.
An included 2.5" color screen is flanked by a red-LED clock and output to larger screens is possible with the composite video output. FM is the only OTA option on these babies but there are also USB and line connections available. (The Japanese market units include support for DVD/CD media, have an HDMI A/V output and ROCK an additional color option: 'shiro' or white) Finally, there is the obligatory iPod dock hidden behind a push tray system that's useful should you need to charge your iOS device while listening to Jeff Grant's Rambling Podcast. And yes, you can certainly use Spotify with this system, but with the simple elegance that is Apple's AirPlay, why would you want to pay more to do so?
Two flavors of this sleek new digital music center land in stores this October. $400 for the silver-clad, normally aspired unit (the X-SMC3-S) and $480 for the Kuro-black, Elite model (the X-SMC4-K). The Elite model includes optional Bluetooth support which requires the Pioneer AS-BT200 adapter that itself can retail for as much as $100 making the total for full functionality a little pricy. In our opinion the Bluetooth adapter should be built in and/or included.
The Pioneer Music Tap Press Release Follows:
Pioneer Music Tap Systems Incorporate Airplay
Pioneer Music Tap Systems Feature Network Compatibility for Wireless Music Streaming
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. today expanded its family of Apple AirPlay®-compatible products with the launch of two networked AirPlay music systems called Music Tap. Available in Pioneer ($399) and Elite® ($479) branded models, the Music Tap systems offer music lovers more ways to access and enjoy their music throughout their entire home regardless of where or how the music is stored. With AirPlay, enthusiasts have complete access, control and playback of their entire iTunes music library through their Music Tap system connected to the home network, wirelessly or using Ethernet. Both Music Taps feature built-in WiFi™ to enable wireless music connection using AirPlay, DLNA® 1.5, vTuner™ Internet radio, Pioneer's proprietary AirJam app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad® and a 2.5-inch full-color LCD display.
"By incorporating AirPlay into more of our product lines, first with audio/video receivers and now with Music Tap, Pioneer is making it possible for consumers to quickly access and listen to their iTunes® music library throughout the home," said Chris Walker, director AV marketing and product planning for the home entertainment division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "These new systems are great additions to any room or office. Although they're compact, they produce 'larger-than-life' sound, and because both models are also equipped with a wireless connection, multiple units can be easily placed in different rooms."
* Music Tap systems enable users to quickly and easily enjoy all their music content with song information and album art simultaneously displayed on a connected monitor/TV. AirPlay requires iTunes 10.1 or later, or iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch (2nd, 3rd or 4th generation) with iOS 4.2 or later. Using Apple's Remote app on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch also enables users to control, browse and access their iTunes music library on a Mac or PC and play it through Music Tap. Apple's Remote App is available for free from the App Store on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch at www.iTunes.com/appstore/.
* Connection to Music Streaming Services – In addition to the music saved in an iTunes library, the Music Tap systems support AirPlay-enabled apps like PANDORA® Internet radio, iHeartRadio® and other music streaming service apps, giving consumers access to a virtually endless playlist.
* Crystal Clear Sound – Music Tap's Apple Lossless capability ensures that users will always enjoy high-quality audio with no degradation in sound quality when listening to music encoded with this high-resolution format.
* Music Throughout The Home – Music Tap is a great addition to an AirPlay-enabled Pioneer AV receiver for music in any room of the house. Using iTunes 10.1 or later on a Mac or PC, users can wirelessly stream their music to multiple Music Tap systems throughout the home.
Additional Network Features
* DLNA 1.5 Certified – Music Tap's DLNA 1.5 Certification allows consumers to stream their music wirelessly via a home network from any DLNA 1.5 Certified device. Users can conveniently enjoy high-resolution audio playback with support for FLAC and WAV files from DLNA certified networked device in the home.
* vTuner™ – Pioneer adds vTuner Internet radio to Music Tap for endless music entertainment. With vTuner, users have access to more than 16,000 Internet radio stations around the world. From the on-screen display, users can choose from different genres, station locations or simply search for specific stations.
* Air Jam – First introduced as a feature in its line of AV receivers, Pioneer's free Air Jam app is also available in the Music Tap systems (optional AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter required for the Pioneer model). The Air Jam App is available from the App Store on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch or at www.iTunes.com/appstore/ and connects up to four Apple devices via Bluetooth® to create a collective playlist for playback on Music Tap. Once linked, each user can cue songs from their own music libraries to create the shared playlist. Each connected device also displays the list of songs added by all users and which device a song plays from. The Air Jam App conveniently stores the lists of songs created for each session for future purchases at the iTunes Store.
Functionality and Design
* The Music Tap systems are "Made for iPhone and iPod" and come with an integrated pop-out dock for playback and charging.
* For a high quality listening experience, the music systems are equipped with a 2-channel digital amplifier to deliver clean and powerful audio to any room. Dual full range drivers in a passive radiator enclosure produce clear crisp high frequencies complemented by deep, accurate bass. The Pioneer Elite model has been tuned by Pioneer's renowned TAD director of speaker engineering, Andrew Jones. In addition, the Elite model incorporates built-in Bluetooth and includes a two-year warranty.
* Both AirPlay music systems offer an auxiliary input for connecting other audio devices with a mini jack (headphone) output. For added convenience, both models also feature a USB port located in the front of the system. USB devices such as hard drives, thumb and flash drives with MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC LPCM, and FLAC files can all be accessed using the included remote control.
For added convenience, both systems feature a control app for iPod touch, iPhone and iPad, available on the App Store.
Pioneer Music Tap systems will be available to consumers in October 2011.