I have a pair of Bluesound Pulse Flex in the kitchen in stereo mode. They are Roon Ready so they really just need a power cable (I also run them wired to the LAN). They have 5 preset buttons on top so they also function as a good old transistor kitchen radio for me:)
If you do not want to go further down the Sonos or Blusound routes, a RPi +IQAudioDigiAmp has a lot to commend it. It gives you the flexibility to choose any passive speaker. Many speakers have cloth grills though, but most are removable. You can swap your current HAT for a DigiAmp version easy enough.
I 2nd QAcoustics BT3. I love mine and they have phono and optical ins. You can pick up the red ones cheap to.
Thanks for all the replies. I am going to float the QAcoustics as suggested by @Matthew_Clegg and @CrystalGipsy past the other half and see how it goes. However I am also thinking about switching hats on the Pi as suggested by @Anthony_Bates and @wizardofoz. The upside to this if I do use the Pi, it will open up the need for new DAC solution for my living room, which is always exciting. I doubt I could get them into the kitchen.
As for monitor speakers mentioned by @Sallah_48 I actually have some Adam F5 in my PC set-up running off a Arcam irDAC-II and they sound brilliant however they are a little lacking in the looks department.
I need to read up a bit on the Bluesound Pulse mini as suggested by @Chrislayeruk as I don’t have much experience of them. I have also had a quick look to see if I could pick up a second sonos as suggested by @Phil_Wright1 and @kneville but they seem to hold there value well, even second hand.
A bit more thinking…
Listening to mine right now, with Allo USBridge, Arcam irDac II, Grateful Dead Live in MQA sounds great.
Here’s a few more thoughts on the same question.
What did I go for in the end?
Nothing as yet! Let me know how you get on. Wouldn’t surprise me if a new version of the q acoustics comes out soon…
Yep they are updating the range as they recently announced the Q3000i range and its getting harder to find the BT3’s. I might be looking to change my 2050 for the new ones as they have upped the spec again.
I use these for my computer room and they sound fantastic. Huge sound stage. Flat freq response. Detailed sound. Can maintain high SPLs with very little distortion.
Genelec Model One.Has owned a pair for several years. And they never dissapoint me when it comes to sound compaired to the size of the speaker.
Thanks all for the replies - these are all good speakers @CrystalGipsy, @Glenn_Stupak and @Per_Nilsson but I think all fail the other half test. However I do remember looking at all of these for my office system (I went for the Adam f5’s in the end).
In my kitchen I have AudioPro C5. Amazing sound signature, good features (Airplay, wifi, ethernet, two analog inputs…) and great looking & solid built. Also good price. 3 months so far and I love it.
Look at AudioEngine… Cheap but good.
My Emotiva pros sound great.
I’m using a Bluesound Pulse Soundbar in our open kitchen.
I use it for music and to listen to the TV set in the living room.
Audio from the TV set is connected via Toslink to a Bluesound Node 2.
I’m also looking to replace my Kitchen speaker as my 2yo Bluesound Flex has seemingly just suffered a terminal hardware fault during the most recent update. Whilst Bluesound weren’t very accommodating, fortunately Amazon have provided a full refund.
Ideally I’d like to move away from Bluesound, but afaict the Flex is the only all-in-one, RAAT-enabled, wall-mountable, single speaker solution out there under £300. Have I missed anything? The Elac Z3 is both too big and too expensive. Given a free hand, I would probably go with the Ruark MR2 and RPi in this vague budget, but there’s very little space and no easy way to arrange things sufficiently tidily.
That said, this thread has been an amazing resource if I were to look to another room where there was space for an RPi!
Check out Vanatoo Transparent One and Transparent Zero for smaller - they are excellent with several input options.
Certainly seems like loads of options if I follow the OP and go the RPi route…maybe I’ll take another look at space!
Thanks all - I need to have a good look through. I have been keeping an eye on things and I still like the look of the Ruark MR1 Mk2’s, however I think a number of the speakers mentioned here may well sound better. These speakers though will be in the kitchen and not in a listening room, so they do have to sound good but I won’t get away with studio monitors which generally don’t look quite so good as the Ruarks.
I have just ordered the latest lot of Ethernet cable to get the kitchen connected properly and I will be moving away from home plugs. I am not sure what I am doing yet in terms of end point although, again, I need to balance cost with functionality. It won’t need to be the highest possible quality, even if I might want that, as there will be other stuff going on in the kitchen, cooking for one, so a RPi may well be a good compromise.
Fwiw I had a good listen to the Ruark MR1s at a show recently and was very impressed with their sound (for the size/buget). Would choose two of those over a single BS Flex for Roon any day if space/cables allowed.