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Sep 3, 2018

Soundtouch & Apple TV (creating, saving and loading multiple speakers configurations)

Hi all,



As it took me a while to understand the best way to set my devices and as it could be useful for some of you, I share those tips and tricks about creating, saving and loading multiple speakers configurations, as Home App and Shortcuts App offer lots of benefits (even if not always on the more logical way). Maybe there are other ways to make it possible, simplest and more reliable.



First of all, THANK YOU Bose as Airplay 2 feature is so cool !!!






Home App and Shorcuts App are installed by default in every iPhones and Ipads. An Ipad, an Apple TV or a HomePod can be used as Home Hub.



In my situation, I use my Iphone and my Apple TV (4K). I have 3 Soundtouch in my living room (1 ST 30 and 2 ST 10), 3 in my room (3 ST 10) and 2 in kids room (1 ST 20 and 1 ST 10). All of them have been successfully updated (luckily).






Now, by activating a Widget, I can turn on all my home speakers to play radio, or only the ones in my living room, room or kids room, depending on my needs. It makes possible also to load my livings room speakers as default when watching TV or Netflix (it's seems the latency issue experienced when using AUX input has been resolved with Airplay 2). Also, some automatisations allow using Soundtouch as a wake up. Plus, it's possible to control them from without being on the same Wifi Network. 



To create and load multiple speakers configurations



Once the Speakers are updated and Apple TV configured as Home Hub, a multiple speakers scene can be created with Home App. Speakers should be added in the home by using the + (add accessory) and assigned to the rooms they are (long press on the accessory once imported).



Then, from the "Home" screen, you can create personalised scenes that includes as many speakers groups as you need (I created one for the whole house and one per rooms). Each scenes can be set up to play a selected source (radio for me, named "play radio in [room]") or to pause them. Volume can be adjusted the way you need when the scene is activated. Plus, scenes are Siri compatibles 😉 



When the scene is activated, all speakers of the groups are turned on, set on Airplay 2 source and start playing radio or other music content pre-selected.



Using Shorcuts App allow to add some other features to the scene and create a Widget to load it easily. This way, when loading my shortcut "Living room", it set all speakers of a group on Airplay 2 input and play radio, as it turns on my Hue lights of the room in an ambiance mood.



Issue encountered and resolved



To turn off the sound on the group speakers it's possible to create another scene set on "pause" rather than "play". But, the problem is the speakers won't go in sleep mode after half an hour. They will stay turned on, in pause mode. To resolve it, create a scene which include only the Apple TV set to pause (named for exemple "Turn off ST". Then, with Shorcut App, create a combined scene with the actions 1. Turn on Apple TV. 2. Set music to Apple TV. 3. Run "Turn off ST". This way, all Soundtouch speakers will be disconnected from Airplay and the only output will be the Apple TV. The Soundtouch speakers will go on sleep mode as they should...



Control contents from Apple TV or Iphone



When the scene is playing the pre-selected content, it's possible to change it from Music App on apple TV. But of course you'll have to find the remote, turn on the Apple TV if in sleep mode, enter the Music App and chose. Another way is to set a combined shortcut using Shortcut App 1. Turn on Apple TV. 2. Open Music on Apple TV. When loaded (so when Music App is active on Apple TV), it's even possible to control the content from the Airplay icon of the control center on the Iphone / Ipad.



Speakers group to play all Apple TV contents



The interesting things once a group is activated on the Apple TV, all contents will be played on it, including TV shows or Netflix series. Of course it will first stop the content pre-loaded (radio in my case), whitout having to do anything except changing the app on Apple TV.



I didn't find a way to set directly a group of speakers to the Apple TV, without loading before a music content (radio either a playlist or selected song). I finaly go through with adding an action "pause" in my combined shorcut "play radio in [room]". So it turns on the speakers and directly put them on pause mode but connected as Airplay 2 devices, allowing my to use them directly with TV or Netflix.



Setting an alarm and remote control speakers (when not on the Wifi Network)



Setting an alarm can be done easily with Home App or Shorcut once the groupe speaker is created in Home App, with the "Automatisation" option : set the scene created for the group of speakers (ex : play radio in [room]) and then when it should be activated (days and time).



Remote control a scene needs nothing else than using the shortcuts or widget created, even whithout being on your home Wifi Network (I think you have to allow distant commands in Apple TV option first). 



What could be improved


Of course Widgets have to be set once. Luckily once it's done, they can be shared via Icloud with the people living in the same home.


A better integration of Soundtouch speaker in Homekit would be great, as it's seems to be limited by now (only play and stop). I would be great if – as HomePod – two speakers could be set as stereo speakers from the Home App.




As said, hope those hints will help some to get the best benefits of the new Airplay 2 feature.