Those who love music cannot ignore Spotify and the like. This is a dilemma for owners of a traditional music system. Replace with a complete audio system with network function or would you rather just listen to CDs? Fortunately, you don't have to choose, because with the right affordable equipment you can put Spotify on your audio system.
If you purchase a recent music system, there is a good chance that a (wireless) network function is present. An advantage, because it gives you access to the huge music libraries of Spotify, Deezer and Tidal. Operation is usually via an app on which you simply select the desired playlist. The audio system then retrieves the correct music streams via the internet. A network function also has the advantage that you can stream your own songs from music servers, such as a NAS or PC. Depending on the equipment used, you can even play audio files in studio quality in this way.
There are plenty of suitable devices to be found. For example, modern receivers from Denon, Onkyo, Harman Kardon, Yamaha and Marantz usually have a (wireless) network connection. You can also consider wireless speakers with an integrated power amplifier. With a speaker from Sonos, Bluesound or HEOS by Denon, for example, you no longer need separate equipment. But don't you feel like getting rid of your high-quality but 'dumb' audio system? Don't worry, luckily that's not necessary at all. You can easily make a traditional music installation 'smart', without having to pay the main price.
01 Smart TV
It is often not necessary to purchase additional equipment to make your audio system smart. You may already have the right stuff at home! This is the case, for example, if you own a smart TV. Depending on the brand and type of device you have, there are apps from music services available. Unfortunately, Spotify is no longer accessible on many smart TVs. For example, the Swedish music service has ended support for devices from LG, Philips and Sony. Fortunately, Deezer has an excellent alternative music service available for these brands. Spotify does plan to introduce an app for LG televisions in the future. Spotify is present on new Samsung models, as well as on televisions equipped with the Android TV operating system.
Although Spotify has phased out support for smart TVs last summer, it is still possible to use Spotify with many televisions. The reason for this is that more and more models include a built-in Chromecast function. You can easily connect to the smart TV from a smartphone or tablet. From the Spotify app, you then indicate that you want to play music via the smart TV. Your TV can now retrieve the correct audio streams from the internet via the built-in Chromecast.
02 Connect Smart TV
Obviously you want to play the sound from the smart TV via the receiver and connected speakers. Of course, the music comes into its own much better than with the built-in speakers of smart TVs. If the receiver is not that old, there is probably already an HDMI cable from this audio device to the television. In this way the images from a TV decoder, media player or Blu-ray player are transmitted to the television. When both the smart TV and receiver support the arc (audio return channel) function, you send the sound that the smart TV generates directly back to the receiver. It is then not necessary to connect a separate audio cable. You still have to activate the arc function in the settings of the smart TV and the receiver. Is there no HDMI connection in combination with arc available? In that case, you connect the receiver to the television via an optical S/PDIF cable or analog cable.
03 Firmware Upgrade
Did you buy your receiver around three to four years ago? Around this time, Spotify Connect was introduced, allowing audio systems to independently retrieve music from the Spotify servers. The smartphone or tablet functions as a remote control. Many receivers and other audio systems from 2013/2014 were not yet equipped with Spotify Connect when purchased. Manufacturers like Pioneer, NAD, Onkyo and Yamaha later added this feature en masse through firmware upgrades. Perhaps you have never updated, so you miss out on new (network) functionality. So make sure that your audio equipment is equipped with the latest firmware, who knows, you might still have access to Spotify. Usually you perform the update by choosing network settings somewhere in the menu. Owners of NAD audio equipment may be able to physically build in a network function via optional MDC modules. Many amplifiers and receivers have a modular construction. This is quite pricey.
04 Game console
If you have a game console connected to your audio system, you may be able to access Spotify directly. This music service can be found on a PlayStation 3/4 and Xbox One. With the mentioned game consoles, you use the Spotify app on your smartphone or tablet to select favorite songs. You can also point to the desired playlist via your TV screen. It is nice that the music continues to play when you switch off the television. Furthermore, Spotify also works during gaming, although this function is not available on a PlayStation 3. By the way, on an Xbox One you must first install the Spotify app yourself. The music service is already integrated into the PlayStation interface by default.
Spotify is available for free, but if you use this music service more often, it is not so attractive. There are regular advertisements on the screen and you will also hear a spoken advertisement after a few songs. Furthermore, the Spotify Connect feature is only available to paid subscribers on most devices. So if you want to play Spotify via a receiver or multi-room system, you need a Premium subscription. Advantageously, you can also save songs offline on a mobile device, so that you can effortlessly enjoy the music on the go in places without internet. Are you in doubt? You can try Spotify Premium for the first thirty days without obligation. After that you pay 9.99 euros per month.
05 Bluetooth adapter
If you are unable to physically connect the smartphone (in one of the above ways) to the music system, consider purchasing a bluetooth adapter. This is a compact device that you connect to an analog or digital input of the receiver. You can connect to the receiver from a smartphone or tablet within a radius of about ten meters. You can easily pass on music from Spotify or local playlists to the receiver. You can use the Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter (39.99 euros) for this. This square box has two RCA outputs and a 3.5 mm sound output, so that you can transmit the sound analogously to the receiver. Conveniently, you can connect two Bluetooth devices to this receiver. More expensive bluetooth receivers often also have a digital S/PDIF output (optical or coaxial). Does your receiver have a USB connection? There are also bluetooth receivers that resemble a USB stick. You plug it directly into the USB port, after which you connect immediately. Finally, there are also compact Bluetooth receivers with a 3.5 mm plug.