It recently dawned on me that most of our family time is now spent in the kitchen. Of course it's where we cook, but also where we eat, where we socialise and increasingly where we listen to music.
Music as part of family living means lots of different things for us; during the day my wife likes the radio on in the background, my kids use the iPad to watch TV in the afternoon, I watch the news on the laptop when I get home from work. That's all before dinner.
In the evening, we catch up on friends' YouTube recommendations, or go onto Netflix and watch a movie or use one of the many catch-up TV services on offer. If friends are visiting, we play music from our own collection, from their iPods or from Spotify.
How many pairs of speakers do you need to enjoy all these different sources of music? The kitchen radio has a speaker, so does the iPad. The laptop has its own speakers, so does the TV, so do our iPods. Many people use iPod docks. What these products have in common is that audio quality is not their strong point or even their primary focus. They make the listening experience at best functional, and at worst excruciating.
But in our kitchen we listen to all of this through one pair of speakers, via a Linn DS, and enjoy it at much higher quality.
Compared to just a year ago, that's a huge simplification. Because we can stream sound from the laptop, the tablet and the phone to our Linn system, we can now listen to all of our favourite online and home entertainment sources through its one pair of speakers and fill our room with great sound.
For our family, this has been transformational. We can all use the system, and we can all benefit from having great sound alongside whatever we're doing. More importantly, music has become a communal activity for us, reversing the tendency of technology to fragment our family.
We've also introduced the new Kiko system, helping bring great music beyond the traditional living room and into the social areas of the house where music is being consumed more-or-less constantly.