Now recently I was given the task to come up with a system for church use which could project a large image, integrate a sound system wirelessly and allow for ease of connection of different devices for streaming media for worship. The logical solution was to pair an Apple TV with a projector. But what about the sound system? The Sonos speakers do not allow for Airplay, and Airplay capable speakers were rather expensive. Then I came across the Bose Soundtouch 30 series II.
The Bose Soundtouch range has three different models, the portable, 20 and 30. As it would be used in a fairly large room, I thought it best to get the Soundtouch 30 rather than one of the smaller models. PRC direct are selling this for £479, which is a very good deal considering the RRP is £599. This is with free delivery, which also happened to be very quick as well.
The Bose Soundtouch 30 comes with simple instructions on how to connect it for the first time to the wireless router. If it is being moved from one place to another, then it needs to be setup to connect to the wireless network again for each venue.
First impressions were that it was reasonably sized – not too big to be intrusive nor too small to fill a large sized room with sound. It isn’t light by any means, and coupled with the fact that it needs to be connected to the mains, tells you that it is not meant to be a portable sound system. Having said that, it can still be taken from one venue to another and used there provided a wireless connection is available. Do note that this system does not connect to devices via bluetooth.
The Soundtouch 30 has only a few buttons on it, as does the remote control. But the free Soundtouch app for Android and iPhone gives you more control over the system. Each of the 6 preset buttons can be programmed to access different music streams e.g. certain internet radio channels, personal music library etc.
On the back of the Soundtouch, there are a few connection options, including a network port, 2 USB ports and an auxiliary input for those devices which cannot connect via wifi.
I have placed my iPhone 6 plus in front of the Soundtouch 30 as a reference for size comparison.
The Soundtouch does have an oled display in the front which shows the system information or that pertaining to the music being played, which can be very useful.
I used the Soundtouch App on my iPhone to set the Soundtouch up. I used it to connect directly to the Soundtouch 30 via wifi initially, which then allowed for me to set the Soundtouch to connect to the wireless router. Once that is done, then it is straightforward for anyone to access it directly through the app or through Airplay.
The Soundtouch 30 is certainly capable of projecting music fairly loudly. And even at low levels, the bass is still audible and is even palpable at times; I can see it working particularly well for action movies where the bass can give that extra impact – not for watching movies late at night though. Those who have listened to it, have been very impressed with the quality of the sound. Don’t be deceived by its relatively small size, as Bose has proven time and again that their ‘small’ speakers can fill a large hall with music without distortion. It easily fills a large room with clear music and sounds much better than you would normally expect from a speaker that size. It may not be true ‘hifi’, but it certainly produces enjoyable music.
And the fact that it works seamlessly with the Apple TV just makes it that bit more useful. There is no need for a wired connection to the sound system from the Apple TV, as it is all taken care off wirelessly through Airplay. Pair it with a large projector, and you have the makings of a versatile multimedia projection system, which allows for different devices to connect to it easily. Even a Windows system can connect to the Apple TV using Air Parrot 2 software.
Verdict: Highly recommended. I know I want one.