DTS Play-Fi: everything you need to know

Want to mix and match hi-fi devices from multiple manufacturers in order to get the best multi-room performance and fit in each room? DTS Play-Fi may be your best option...

What is it?

DTS Play-Fi is an app that lets you connect and control various hi-fi devices in order to stream audio from one to another. This can be within one room for a multi-channel set-up, or across multiple rooms in your home. The range of compatible devices includes wireless speakers, stereo systems, A/V tuners, preamps, amplifiers, streamers and media servers – all of which can be managed by Android, iOS and Kindle Fire devices along with Windows PCs too. On Windows there is a free version and a "Play-Fi HD" version, which costs a nominal amount. That buys you a code for from the DTS online store that gives you greater control over your audio. You can sync the sound from a video you're watching on your PC to your hi-fi system or choose individual soundtracks to stream to your hi-fi while alternative audio plays from your computer's speakers.

How does it work?

Download the app and you should see a list of available devices. Tap to select one and choose your audio from the list of sources that includes Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify and Qobuz, as well as via iHeartRadio and SirusXM Internet radio stations. Some DTS Play-Fi compatible products support Apple's AirPlay. However, this is an optional feature that isn't available in every DTS Play-Fi product. Apple Music is not available whatsoever. You can configure two speakers into a stereo pairing – one playing left channel audio, the other playing right – or if you have six DTS Play-Fi compatible products, create a 5.1 surround-sound system. Those speaker groups can then be designated as 'Zones', allowing you to delegate music to different rooms in the house.

Can I play hi-res music?

DTS Play-Fi plays MP3, M4A, AAC, FLAC, WAV, and AIFF files. Anything bigger than 16-bit/48kHz resolution limit is compressed by default. You can change that via the service's Critical Listening mode, which allows for 24-bit/192kHz streams. As hi-res files are pretty large, DTS advises a wired connection for reliability.

Which products support DTS Play-Fi?

DTS-Play-Fi can count among its numbers support from from Klipsch, Polk, MartinLogan, McIntosh, Onkyo, Paradigm, Rotel, Pioneer and Sonus Faber. For sending and receiving audio, Anthem's receivers and processors and Arcam's rPlay streamer use Play-Fi, while here's a smattering of compatible Acer's smartphones and HP's tablets. If you want more of a 'Master Class' then head over to the What Hi Fi Show and attend one of our seminars that we host with just one intention - Education.