The Good: imposing sound and very well thought out app control
The Bad: slightly dodgy volume knob and the bass is lacking control
The Bottom Line: if you are after a room filling, Bauhaus styled sound, these speakers demand a trial run with Raumfeld’s 8 week online trial
Raumfeld is a new brand by Teufel, the respected German speaker manufacturer of over 30 years standing from Berlin. It is a new German streaming multiroom wireless proposition to challenge the incumbent Sonus market leader and the new lossless player in the game, Bluesound.
In the Raumfeld range is an array of paired speakers for bookshelves and bedside tables alike as well single powered speakers for dressing rooms, bathrooms and kitchens, however this is a review of the rather imposing and impressive Stereo L pair.
The ‘Stereo L’ speakers are wireless floor standing speakers for a larger ‘show piece’ room or main lounge. They have a built in amplifier and audio DAC, allowing the streaming of stored music or other streaming services such as Tidal or Spotify. The speakers have full App control and are very flexible.
These floor standing speakers are a hefty 25kg each. At 142 centimetres high and 32 centimetres deep, these are a two person set-up with all the packaging, polystyrene and leads that come with them. Set them up about 4 or 5 meters apart with the speaker cable provided, in your preferred location.
The free App and an Ethernet connection (cable provided) is used to tune the speakers into your home WiFi system and this is only needed for setup as far as I can see. You could permanently leave the speakers plugged into an Ethernet connection in your home, but I’ve had no connectivity issues at all and I’m around 10m from my generally unreliable standard BT WiFi router.
My setup of the speakers from box to streamed music was around 20 minutes, including an App download and some box unpacking help.
The Stereo L speakers are ‘wireless’ because they receive their audio data through WiFi, however one of them does need to be plugged in to the wall and then wired to the other passive speaker with speaker cable.
The Stereo Ls are very nicely presented and attractive to look at. They come in a matt black or a matt silky white colour, and their design is what I would term ‘very German’, in a good way — in other words functional and efficient. The dust grills are attached by invisible magnets which is very attractive.
One of the two speakers has the integrated amplifier that drives the speakers inside it, and this same speaker has a digital to analogue converter (DAC) in it. This active speaker needs plugging in to the wall socket at the back about 15cm from the floor. The back of the powered amp has line inputs for a CD player or TV or other source, a USB input and an Ethernet connection.
Additionally there is the option of bypassing the integrated amplifier by using your own amplification; however I fail to see the need for this because if you’re going to bypass the integrated amp, you may as well just buy a pair of ordinary speakers and drive them anyway. Finally, there are speaker terminals for connecting the powered speaker to the other passive speaker with the supplied five meters of meaty speaker cable.
In each speaker — active & passive — there are 2 woofers for the low frequencies. Together with the mid and high level tweeter you get a 3 way driver system in the active and the passive speaker which both are powered by the 400 watt amplifier in the active speaker.
The front of the active speaker has two lights showing power on and Wi-Fi connectivity. There is an on/off button here also and a volume knob; this knob is not in the top ten list of knobs in the HiFi industry but this is the only blemish in an otherwise effortlessly presented product.
I have used these speakers regularly over the last few weeks and I have tried streamed music (Tidal, Spotify), USB connected (to the back of the active speaker) FLAC music files, a Line in CD player and TuneIn radio. Overall I have been very impressed with the performance of these speakers in a general, casual listening sense (background during dinner, Sunday morning type listening), with a few specific sit downs.
The sound output is imposing at higher volume and is easily room filling and this is, in my view, a clear selling point over many other multi-room solutions that focus on single point powered solutions around the house.
However, I will say that on critical listening, at this price point, these speakers have room for improvement. Although the mid-ranges and vocals from these speakers are excellent and very detailed I would encourage any potential consumer to have a good listen to the bass end in the room they are thinking of. I have these speakers on a wooden floor and the bass is significant and at times less tight than I would prefer. The good news is that Raumfeld retail their brand online with an eight week trial option and I would encourage this because at this price you need to be sure of the sound you are investing in.
In terms of audio quality I have been able to hear the added detail from Tidal over the same Spotify track, thus showing the speakers are capable of delivering a high quality streaming service. FLAC files are effortlessly presented. This is very good.
An ace in the Raumfeld Multi Room proposition is the system control App. It is very intuitive; the set up process cannot be screwed up! It’s faultless. Selecting the speakers in any particular room is very simple to do. On most screens the Home, Room and the Volume buttons are present which enables the user to switch between streaming services, TuneIn radio and my favourite feature, the ability to access music you have on your phone and play it through. This is eminently sensible and obvious because the music you have downloaded on your phone is your favourite, most accessible and most listened to music by definition.
My other favourite feature is being able to swipe from the home screen to ‘Favourites’ and ‘Most Recent’, we have all used this a lot. Also of note is that my children have picked up the App like ducks to water; they are 7 and 10 years old.
I wanted to add a note about volume control from the app. Although I have mentioned the ‘dodgy knob’ on the active speaker, the volume controller on the app is wonderful. It has an standard slider, left to right, and a knob on the same screen that you roll finger over clockwise or counter clockwise — I really liked this touch.
From the app you can add other music sources in your house that are digitally stored. I have a music server in my house which I have added to the app with ease through the ‘Add Resources’ section of the settings. I have also included a USB stick full of FLAC files through the same settings menu. TuneIn internet radio is very neatly included in the app, although listening to cricket commentary on such a large pair of speakers is quite intimidating.
All regular audio formats are supported: MP3, WAV, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, ASF, WMA, M4A containing AAC or Apple Lossless. Raumfeld say they currently only support WMA files that have been encoded with the regular WMA codec. WMA Lossless, WMA Pro and WMA Voice are not supported.
Raumfeld Stereo L: Verdict
The multiroom market place is lacking an imposing, stylish, ‘floor standing’ speaker sound and these wireless floor standing speakers fill that gap. In terms of flexibility and control I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have only good things to say about them in terms of all round use. Retailing online at £1249.99 they are a hefty price but with the eight week trial offered online they demand a listen if you are after a big multiroom sound in your larger living spaces.