Gramofon analysis: The Spotify streamer to non-public

It isn’t usually that I’m impressed by the way in which during which a music streamer seems, nonetheless the minimalist Gramofon truly caught my eye the first time I received right here all through it. This stark, sharp-edged gloss and matte subject wouldn’t look misplaced in a boutique hi-fi retailer, and its huge spherical LED ring lends it an air of hi-tech cool I’d often affiliate with premium producers like Bang & Olufsen, Naim and McIntosh.

Gramofon review: The Spotify streamer to own

First impressions could possibly be misleading, however, and it didn’t take prolonged to search out that this slick-looking merchandise of what seems like audio exotica in reality costs an reasonably priced €59 – spherical £42.

What does Gramofon do?

For this piffling sum of cash you’re getting a Wi-Fi music streamer that’s primarily designed to stream Spotify tracks over a Wi-Fi connection to an current hi-fi or standalone speaker.

It makes use of Spotify’s proprietary streaming protocol, Spotify Be part of, which is barely on the market to Premium subscribers, and works in an identical technique to Chromecast streaming: the music isn’t streamed by way of your phone or tablet, nonetheless direct from Spotify’s servers; your cell system acts principally as an aesthetic distant administration.

Within the meantime, for these with a library of tunes saved domestically, help for Qualcomm AllPlay means you can also stream shared music over your native neighborhood – each direct from a phone or tablet, or from a DLNA-compatible music server.

It’s moreover doable to stream internet radio to the Gramofon by way of the AllPlay Radio app, and even take administration of quite a lot of Gramofons for a low-cost Sonos-style multi-room audio setup. Music could possibly be synchronised, with the equivalent music streamed all through all avid gamers, or zoned, with fully completely different tracks tracks carried out in a number of components of the house.

The Gramofon’s closing trick is its functionality to double as a wi-fi extender, thus (in all probability) extending the differ of your personal house Wi-Fi neighborhood as properly. This isn’t a attribute distinctive to the Gramofon – there are a lot of Wi-Fi extenders within the market that present some type of music streaming – nonetheless the Gramofon is the one one I’ve come all through that gives Spotify and multi-room music administration as properly.

Setup, effectivity and worth

Given its keen worth, it isn’t stunning that the Gramofon isn’t exactly replete with connections. On the rear of the sector you’ll uncover a single 3.5mm analogue stereo output, alongside a pair of Ethernet ports and a DC power enter.

Householders of full of life audio system would possibly grumble in regards to the lack of balanced outputs, and traditionalists will practically positively balk on the dearth of phono connections, nonetheless whatever the high-end seems the Gramofon is a device centered on consolation pretty than extraordinarily extreme fidelity, and that’s one factor it delivers with aplomb.

Gramofon review: Top down view

Organising the Gramofon is as simple as you’d anticipate throughout the interval of the Internet of Points. After plugging the Gramofon into the mains and connecting it to your amplifier or audio system straight, you receive the Gramofon app to your Android, or iOS smartphone or tablet, and run by means of the setup routine. The Gramofon could possibly be associated to your neighborhood each by way of Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and likewise you’ll be up and dealing in decrease than ten minutes.

With that carried out, it’s a little bit of cake to utilize. Merely fire up the Spotify app, go to Settings and select the Gramofon from the Spotify Be part of menu merchandise. One thing then carried out in your phone is streamed to the system and through to your audio system, with the large, spherical LED on excessive performing as a standing indicator.

The Gramofon looks more like a boutique hi-fi component than a £42 streamer

It glows darkish blue when it’s associated to your Wi-Fi neighborhood, inexperienced when it’s streaming from Spotify and light-weight blue when AllPlay is expounded; and in case your phone or tablet isn’t at hand, the realm contained in the LED acts as an infinite pause/play button. For these delicate to vibrant lights, the web-based admin pages imply you’ll be able to flip the LED off totally.

Having fun with music from quite a lot of devices works practically along with streaming from just one – as long as you stick with the equivalent Spotify account. You probably can regulate the quantity on one system, then one different, with out a hitch, and it’s moreover doable to queue up tracks from quite a lot of devices as properly.

It’s not so supreme for creating impromptu social gathering mixes, however. As rapidly as one different system with a singular account connects, the current playlist is rudely interrupted in favour of the model new connection. I’d moreover need not having to delve two ranges deep into the settings menu to alter from the phone to streaming playback and once more as soon as extra, nonetheless these are the one grumbles.

Gramofon review: App screens

As far as sound prime quality goes, however, the Gramofon is pretty respectable. I hooked it up on to my Adam A7X full of life audio system, which are often associated by way of balanced XLR outputs to an Asus Xonar Essence One DAC, with my good LG TV performing as a result of the Spotify provide, feeding the DAC by way of optical S/PDIF.

The Gramofon, surprisingly, held its private in opposition to my customary setup. It lacked barely when it received right here to ingredient and readability on the extreme end, nonetheless in every other case I found it fully musical; it positively offers greater prime quality than you’ll get with Bluetooth streaming, with an altogether additional articulate effectivity.


In an excellent world, we wouldn’t need devices similar to the Gramofon. Spotify would work over quite a lot of protocols and devices, equal to Google’s Chromecast. It wouldn’t insist on foisting its private streaming experience on prospects already paying for a premium service, each.

Nonetheless that isn’t the Gramofon’s fault. It actually works with the state of affairs, and it does so very properly.

For individuals who desire a music streamer for Spotify, the Gramofon is what you want: it’s a well-priced music streamer that does the job with out fuss, and the reality that it offers multi-room and wi-fi extender help into the low cost is barely a bonus.

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