iLive’s stylish Platinum speaker makes multiroom audio portable and affordable

Multiroom audio systems that play music throughout your home are typically a costly endeavor. While these wireless solutions like Sonos, Denon Heos, and DTS Play-Fi speakers have freed consumers from having to run wires to every room, they usually run about $200 to $700 per speaker (or more). However, iLive has a short lineup of Wi-Fi multiroom speakers that can accomplish the same feat, at a much lower cost. We checked out the quad driver ISWF576, which runs just $150.

While it doesn’t have a friendly moniker, the ISWF576 looks and feels like a premium product. The shiny metal grill and beveled metallic trim along the top panel gives the unit a polished finish. For a compact speaker, it’s heavier than it looks but feels durable and well-made. The speaker features on-board controls for playback, volume, track navigation, and six preset keys to store your favorite internet stations, allowing you to quickly change the channel if your phone is out of reach.

The speaker has an internal battery with an average of 6 hours of playtime depending on volume level, and it charges wirelessly on a low-profile base station. The portability factor conveniently lets you pick up your music and take it to another room, or if you’ll be out of Wi-Fi range, switch over to Bluetooth or Aux-in mode to keep playing your music on-the-go — though we wish the battery life was a bit longer.

The proprietary iLife Wi-Fi Control app is available for iOS and Android, though not desktop computers or laptops. It lets you mix and match up to six iLive speakers and link them to your Wi-Fi network to spread music throughout your home. As with other multiroom systems, the speakers can be used individually or grouped together to play the same music in a whole-home setup. Grouping the speakers from the app is a simple drag-and-drop operation and the speakers play perfectly in sync with no audible delay or echo. You can also stereo pair the speakers for true stereo playback.

In general, setting up the wireless connection was painless and the reliability solid; we experienced little if any lag or buffering, however, actual performance will vary depending on your network setup and usage. The speakers also consistently reconnected to our Wi-Fi network automatically after powering off and on during our evaluation.

The audio quality of the ISWF576 is impressive for a speaker in its price range. The sound is clean and bright up top, with impressive balance across the frequency spectrum. The speaker’s dual passive radiators reproduce tight, punchy bass with a fair amount of depth. Sporting four 1.75-inch full-range drivers, the speaker fills a small room easily, but it can distort at max volume so it’s best to keep the volume at moderate listening levels.

The iLive Platinum Wi-Fi speaker we evaluated is a definite contenders for budget conscious users looking for more affordable alternatives to ultra-premium multiroom audio systems. Along with the quad-driver speaker we reviewed, the brand also sells a dual driver speaker and a soundbar, which retail at $100 and $170 respectively. The Platinum ISWF576 is available for $150 on Amazon and elsewhere online now.

Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Home Theater

Demystify home audio with our ultimate A/V receiver buying guide

Today's A/V receivers are packed with lots of advanced technology and just plain cool features. From understanding watt ratings to Wi-Fi, we explain how to buy one that will last you for years in our ultimate A/V receiver buying guide.
Smart Home

Amazon has an even dozen new smart devices. Here’s how to order

Amazon's hardware announcement meant a whole bunch of new Amazon Alexa gadgets. From a microwave to stereo equipment, here is the complete list of devices that were announced, as well as reviews for some.
Home Theater

The best MP3 players of 2018

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Movies & TV

You can ditch cable but still get your 'SportsCenter' fix with ESPN+

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN+, is finally here. Despite appearances, ESPN+ isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels, and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Product Review

Google’s third HD Chromecast is still a good streamer, but its value is slipping

At Google’s October event, we saw a slew of new products, but the new third-generation Chromecast didn’t even make it onstage. We spent some time with the incrementally upgraded, third-generation HD Chromecast to see if it’s worth…
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.

Bolster your HD music catalog with the best high-res audio sites

Music connoisseurs relish HD audio, but scouring the web for all the best streaming and downloading sites can be a pain. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Check out our list, and let the high-resolution good times roll.
Home Theater

Lynxsonic’s 4:33 headphones offer premium features at a not-so-premium price

If you're looking for a set of wireless headphones that has a similar feature set to Bose's QuietComfort 35 but with a lower price, the Lynxsonic 4:33 is an intriguing new contender on Kickstarter.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as hard as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2018.