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Home / Tips and Tricks / Spotify Connect: what it is and how it works

Spotify Connect: what it is and how it works



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Ty Pendlebury / CNET

Streaming is the future of music consumption, and while your stereo may be from the '90s, you can still use it to play music from the cloud music services like Spotify . In addition to voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Spotify Connect is one of the most convenient ways to control your streaming music collection . The system allows both Spotify Free and Premium users to stream music from their phones (or other devices) to Wi-Fi stereo systems by tapping a few buttons.

Interested? You should know this.

Read more: Best music streaming service for 2020: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal and YouTube

What is Spotify Connect?

Spotify Connect was introduced in September 201

3 as a way to give users "effortless control over your music through your phone, tablet and now speakers with millions of built-in songs." Spotify Connect devices entered the market in 2014.

Spotify Connect is one of many methods that allow you to listen to music from your phone through a stereo system. Others include Bluetooth, Apple & # 39; s AirPlay and Google & # 39; s Chromecast built-in . The main difference between Spotify Connect and Bluetooth is that Spotify uses better Wi-Fi connectivity, which is less prone to downtime, sounds better and has a much wider range.

If you are using a standalone Spotify Connect system, the app will automatically turn on the device and set the volume as soon as you press play – very handy!

Although Spotify Connect is part of the Spotify app on your phone, your speaker or music system can stream music directly from Spotify instead of over the phone. Translation: you don't let your phone go flat, it just acts as your remote control.

For comparison: AirPlay – which also uses Wi-Fi – and Bluetooth stream music directly from the phone to the receiving device, which can drain the battery faster.

Chromecast built-in, available on devices such as the Chromecast Android TV devices and some audio equipment especially ] from Sony also streams directly from audio services.

While Spotify's competitors work with multiple cloud music services and local music files, Spotify Connect only works with the Spotify app. Recent updates for Sonos mean that Spotify is now also compatible with Sonos devices. It's also important to note that you can also use the Spotify app to stream to both AirPlay and Chromecast built-in devices, and they will appear in much the same way as available devices as a Connect receiver.

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Spotify Connect is compatible with AV receivers, including the Onkyo TX-NR696


Sarah Tew / CNET

What You Need

The first thing you need is a Spotify Premium or a free account. While the service was initially only available to Premium subscribers, free users were able to use Connect from November 2018.

In addition to a working Wi-Fi or cellular network connection, you also need something to stream from – whether it's your phone, tablet or PC with the Spotify app. The receiver can then be a dongle (such as the $ 35 Amazon Echo Input ) connected to an existing audio system), a set of speakers or other similar hardware with onboard Spotify Connect.

While connecting a dongle to your stereo, you can get into the Spotify Connect ecosystem quickly and cheaply, but it's worth considering buying a receiver or stereo system that supports it natively. Why? Because then you do not have to switch on your stereo and set it separately to the correct input.

Compatible Devices

There are a growing number of Spotify Connect devices, from dongles for existing stereos (Amazon Echo Input and Dot) to table speakers (Sonos One, Amazon Echo) to receivers (such as from Sony or Onkyo ) and home theater systems. The company has an official list of Spotify Connect devices here, which seems to be regularly updated.

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The Amazon Echo Input offers both Spotify Connect compatibility and Alexa voice control


Amazon

Although the Spotify Connect software works on almost any PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, universal support is not guaranteed even with modern AV equipment. Check your device for the Spotify logo or look for an updated manual on your manufacturer's website to be sure. In some cases, compatibility may be added later, for example, while Spotify once removed its app from the Roku platform, but was later replaced with a Spotify Connect compatible version .

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The Devices Available icon appears at the bottom left of the screen (circled)


Ty Pendlebury / CNET

Although some devices have both a Spotify app on board and Connect support, in almost all cases we have discovered that using Connect is better. One big reason is that, unlike the mobile version, the built-in app in your TV or AV receiver may never receive updates or simply stop working. Plus, apps built into TVs and other equipment can be annoying because they use your remote instead of your phone's touchscreen.

Using Spotify Connect

The easiest way to use Spotify Connect is with the Android or iOS app. You don't need to perform a setup routine to stream to a new speaker (as with most multiroom services); if the Spotify Connect device is on the network, your phone should be able to see it.

As soon as the app detects compatible speakers, a "Devices Available" icon will appear in the bottom left of the app. Pressing this will bring up a list of the players on your network, with a choice of Spotify Connect, Chromecast built-in or even AirPlay / Bluetooth connections.

As soon as you choose a player to stream to, your music starts playing. If you created a group in Google Home you can now all stream to each other with Spotify.

When using the Mac / PC app, the device icon is next to the volume slider on the right side of the screen. Click it to find other devices on your network.

If the "Available Devices" icon does not appear, try going to Settings-> Show Available Devices. If for some reason that doesn't work, check if the device is connected to your network. Unfortunately, there is no synchronization process to manually add your device. It connects or not.

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You can play on any device you have previously connected to, even if you are not there


Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury / CNET

Note that all compatible devices on the network, plus devices with which you have previously logged in around the world, will appear in the list. This means that if you really want to mess with your pets when you're away from home, you can.

Sound Tip Quality Tip : If you stream from your home Wi-Fi, it's worth setting your sound quality to "Extreme". You can find this under Settings-> Music Quality and it streams at the maximum 320 kbps – which is great for your hi-fi system and still not as burdensome as a Netflix stream.

Spotify Connect is one of the best features of the Swedish streaming service. It is easy to use and provides high quality audio playback. While amplifiers, smart speakers and stereos with Spotify Connect on board work best, a cheap dongle can take your 20th century boombox into the future. Just don't forget your silver jumpsuit.


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