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Review: Juke Audio Juke+ Whole-Home Audio Streamer

The Juke 6 review is the most clicked review on So, clearly, we owed it to those people looking for fresh Juke information to bring in the Juke+ for a full hands-on,

Kudos: Simple to install and use; great improvements across the board

Concerns: RCA input/output level issues

The Empire Strikes Back. The Godfather, Part II. The Dark Knight. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Dune: Part Two. Sometimes, the sequel is just better.

With a follow-up — especially when talking about an AV component — a manufacturer gets a chance to go back and improve things that didn’t quite hit the first time around. And if they’re smart, they will listen to the feedback of owners, dealers, and reviewers, taking the second go-round to add features that were missing, fix any shortcomings, and upgrade performance that was lacking.

When I heard that Juke Audio was releasing its new Juke+, the successor to its Juke 6, I had to see if they’d made it better.

Juke AUdio Juke+ Lifestyle Image

Also, the Juke 6 review is by far and away the most clicked-on review I’ve written for Residential Systems. It frequently ends in the top stories every week, and it was the #3 most-read story on the site for 2023, a full two years after it was posted! So, clearly, we owed it to those people looking for fresh Juke information to bring in the Juke+ for a full hands-on!

Juke Audio’s motto is “Sound Made Simple,” and that was definitely a big takeaway from my previous review, with just how simple it was to set up and use. The Juke+ expands on this idea, delivering an eight-zone house audio component that taps into streaming for its primary distribution, while still allowing expansion and easy integration with analog and digital sources.

According to Juke Audio’s co-founder and president, Colton Forth, “This is an enhanced version of our older model, and comes with a lot of the key features dealers were asking for: higher power, audio EQ, digital and analog connections, additional streaming functionality, and so on.”

In addition to this review, the Juke+ was also featured in the inaugural “Resi First Look” unboxing video. Forth joined me for a live chat as I opened the box and discussed my first thoughts, then went over some of the product’s features and the reasons for the changes. You can find that video below and on ResiSystems’ YouTube channel!


First Impressions

I’ve said it before, but when a company takes constructive feedback, adopts the suggestions, and produces a better product, it just warms my heart. It not only shows they care and listen to their community, but it also demonstrates that they are actually thinking about the product and customer experience.

If you went through and addressed my laundry list of criticisms on the first product, you’d essentially have the Juke+.

Straight away, it’s a completely new and better form factor. Gone is the odd-sized 15-inch width of the Juke 6, and now we are into a standard 17-inch component width. The height has also been reduced to 1.75 inches (1U) and it comes with rackmount ears, making it more rack-friendly. Also, the Juke 6 just felt slight. I mean, it had 16 channels of amplification on board but weighed about six pounds. Though just a pound heavier, the Juke+ feels more substantial.

Where the Juke 6’s front panel has no buttons at all and is dominated by a Juke Audio logo with all the subtlety of a 72-point The New York Times headline, the Juke+ now has a front-panel power rocker switch and a detachable Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antenna. Granted, a front-panel antenna location is atypical; however, it makes perfect sense if this is going to be installed in a rack because you’ll [A] never see it and [B] will get improved range by getting the antenna outside of the metal enclosure. Juke claims the antenna gives a Bluetooth 5 range of up to 150 feet.

Around the back is where you’ll see the biggest changes and improvements. The Juke 6 only had speaker connections, which made it kludgey to add external sources. Sure, you could use either of its two USB-A connections to cobble together some USB-to-RCA analog inputs or a USB Bluetooth receiver, or use things like a Rockford Fosgate RFI2SW high-level RCA input plug and BOSS Audio Systems B25N ground loop isolator to connect an external amp or sub, but that was a totally a meh, MacGyver-type solution.

Juke Audio Juke+ Back Side

The new Juke+ includes a set of RCA inputs and outputs, along with a Toslink optical input and output, making expansion much easier and cleaner. The two USB connections are still there if you want to add additional analog inputs, but Juke tells me that a future firmware update will allow these to be used for connecting media directly to the system. Along with Wi-Fi, there is also an RJ45 Ethernet connection and a detachable power cord.

Another big change you can’t see is that the Juke+ has way more power than the 6. The wattage is now up to 100 watts/channel from the 6’s 40. With the 6, I found myself frequently listening up near max volume, and even then it was a bit lackluster when trying to drive my outdoor speakers or my large 10-inch Origin Acoustics speakers. With the Juke+ there is a lot more gas in the tank.


Not that you’ll need it, but there’s not a lot in the way of setup documentation included with the system. Inside the box is just a single Quick Installation Guide that basically says [1] Download the App, [2] Connect Juke to the network, [3] Connect the Speaker Wiring, [4] Configure your Device. (For the record, the wire code for 4-conductor wiring printed on the card is wrong; it has the right and left backward.)

The Juke+ doesn’t offer any hiccups in the way of install or setup, and if you’ve wired in a whole-house system before, you’ll be right at home. For me, it was simply a case of disconnecting the speaker wiring from my existing Triad multichannel amp and wiring them into the Juke’s Phoenix connectors, swapping out some analog connections from my Triad audio matrix, and then connecting a network cable.

The Juke+ also supports 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections if hardwiring isn’t an option. To use, you go into your Wi-Fi list, select “JUKEAUDIO,” and then open the app to make a connection to your Wi-Fi network.

Juke Audio Juke+ Front View

I fed the powered subwoofer linked to my kitchen zone from the Juke’s RCA output (Zone 7), and I used an analog output from my Dish Hopper to get TV audio around the home, along with a Toslink connection from my HEOS Link. If the Juke were located near a home theater system, its Toslink output (Zone 8) would be perfect to connect to an AVR that didn’t have any streaming capabilities of its own.

At this point, the Juke+ is essentially set up and ready to play music. Open your preferred music app, get music playing, and then use AirPlay2 (or Spotify Connect) to send music to one or more of the Juke’s outputs. (Android users can use an app called “AirMusic” that can be used to connect to the Juke+’s AirPlay inputs, or use Bluetooth. Forth told me they plan to release additional support for Android streaming this summer.)

However, to personalize the chassis and unlock all of its features, you’ll want to open the new iOS or Android Juke Audio app, which has also seen big changes since my last review. (You can still access many of the Juke’s settings via a web browser.)

With the previous system, playing music on the Juke was kind of a multi-part affair, and often required opening a Web browser and navigating to “Juke.local” via iOS or the unit’s IP address via Windows/Android, picking which of the four available sources to play in a zone/area, then playing to that source. Now the app eliminates much of this, making access and operation much quicker and more intuitive.

In fact, Juke says its app only needs to be used sparingly. Forth said, “Our intention is to make it so the user needs to visit the Juke app as little as possible and just stream from the apps they already know how to use and love. The Juke app is intended to be used for setup/configuration, with light modifications made when needed.”

The app is used for things like labeling each zone, “hiding” any unused zones, setting maximum volume in each zone, adjusting a 5-band EQ in each zone (with frequency boost/cuts at 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 2 kHz, 4 kHz, and 16 kHz), and enabling Groups (more on that in a bit).

By the time you read this, Juke’s app will have an update that will offer EQ presets and a selectable mono output feature per zone.

Behind a password-protected Admin page are more options, like managing zone settings, managing group input settings, network setup, diagnostics, updating firmware, etc. Part of the diagnostics is the ability to upload logs and enable Live Troubleshooting, which gives Juke techs “permission” to access and troubleshoot your system.

There are four configurable Groups, which is how Juke responds when a specific stream — RCA, Toslink, Airplay, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, and DLNA (up to 32-bit/48 kHz) — becomes active. You can configure a zone or group of zones to automatically turn on and start playing when the Juke+ senses that audio from one of these streams becomes active.

Forth told me, “We’ve implemented a protocol of inputs that is ‘last come, first serve,’ meaning that once a new audio stream is detected, it will take control of the zone regardless of whether another stream is playing in it or not.”

This is a fantastic way to use the Juke+ with your TV’s audio — or any other source you want to have priority — automatically kicking on and activating any zones desired when it senses that audio input. And if two or more active streams are trying to play in a zone simultaneously, you can switch between them using the Juke app. (Note: The Juke can only take PCM audio, not a bitstream.)

If the six onboard powered zones along with the RCA and Toslink outputs aren’t enough, Forth says that multiple Juke+’s can be used together, and they have multiple four-Juke+ systems installed out in the wild, though it is important that they all be hardwired to the network (not Wi-Fi) to prevent any delay between the units.


The Juke+’s strength is its ability to get people to quickly and easily listen to the music they want to hear, where they want to hear it. By leveraging AirPlay (and Spotify Connect), people can use an app they’re already comfortable with and then just select which zones to listen in and adjust the volume accordingly. Want to add/delete/change rooms? Just click a bubble. From that standpoint, the Juke+ was basically out of the way and doing a great job. And, unlike Bluetooth, I love how AirPlay2 allows you to still use your phone for whatever you want — play games, make calls, watch videos — without disrupting the audio stream.

For the most part, I left the Juke’s zone output volumes at max, then adjusted the level I wanted for each zone within AirPlay. If a source sounded a bit hot and leaned into distortion, I’d lower the Juke’s volume output a bit.

You can route any stream — AirPlay, Spotify, Bluetooth, RCA, Toslink, DLNA — to the Juke’s Output 7 (RCA) and 8 (Toslink). When using AirPlay/Spotify, you select, control, and even pair these zones just as you would any of the powered outputs.

Juke Audio Juke+ App

I definitely noticed the increased power output of the Juke+ as well. It had no problems producing bass from my large Origin 10-inchers or driving my Monitor Audio outdoor speakers to more yard-filling levels (though I still needed to push it up near full volume). Even with bass-heavy tracks like The Crystal Method’s “High Roller” or the opening of Hans Zimmer’s “Beginnings Are Such Delicate Times,” the Juke+ was able to coax some real low-end from my in-ceiling speakers. Would I like the ability to be able to bridge zones together for even more power? Sure, especially for my outdoor zone. But it’s not a deal breaker.

I also loved the flexibility of the 5-band EQ, letting you tweak performance in an area to get the right sound. This lets me easily bump a little low-end in certain areas to get a little fuller low-end from my 6-inch speakers. And since it makes adjustments in real-time, a homeowner could listen and dial the sound to his or her desire.

The Group feature worked as promised; when I’d turn on one of the Grouped sources, the Juke+ would dutifully switch to that new stream and start playing.

I did have a couple of issues with the Juke+, starting with the Niles CM4PR speakers in my kitchen. These are small (3.5-inch woofer) speakers, and I have four of them installed in parallel, which presents a 4.7-ohm load to the amp. While this impedance shouldn’t be a problem for the Juke+, which is rated down to 2 ohms, the Juke couldn’t “see” the speakers. Instead, it showed that nothing was connected, and when I tried to play something to the kitchen zone, all I got was clicking.

Juke brought in a pair of the CM4PR’s to test and found that the internal coupling is different than for typical speakers, such that the Juke+ measured an unusually high speaker impedance at lower frequencies, which it treated as an open load. The Juke tech support team was able to change the firmware to avoid this issue, making the Juke+ detect the speakers properly, and get them to work.

I also had some challenges getting the RCA inputs and outputs to work in my setup. My plan was to connect my Dish Hopper to the Juke’s RCA input so I could listen to TV audio around the house, but the audio was very garbled and distorted, making it unusable. I then tried the analog output from my HEOS Link and had the same result. With the RCA output, I wasn’t able to get any audio from my connected subwoofer, even when playing the outputs at max.

Juke sent a second unit for me to test, and after it exhibited the exact same results, I decided to take the Juke+ into my CI showroom, where I had more equipment at my disposal to test with.

In my showroom, I connected a CD player, the Victrola Carbon Hi-Res turntable, and a Sonos Port, and I was able to get them all to play with no problem. However, I could induce the distortion by putting the Sonos’ output to fixed.

My guess is that the RCA input is very sensitive to the input level it receives, and it distorts signals that are outside the range it is looking for. While I could lower the output level of my HEOS Link, there was no adjustment available for the Hopper’s analog output, meaning I couldn’t get it to work.

Juke commented, “The ‘consumer audio’ line-level standard is –10 dBV, which has a full scale of 0.894 volts peak-to-peak. The Juke+ RCA input has a full-scale input range of approximately 2 volts peak-to-peak, which is a nice compromise, given the various possible signals that may be provided by various devices to which it is connected. If a connected device has a dynamic range greater than 2 volts peak-to-peak, then an inexpensive signal attenuator can be inserted between the device and the Juke+ RCA input.”

I then connected the Juke’s RCA output to a Yamaha AVR and was also able to get it to play as well; however, I had to jack the Yamaha’s volume fairly high, especially with the Victrola. My guess is that the Juke’s RCA output level is much lower than the typical line level, and it wasn’t enough to register a signal to my subwoofer. With the Yamaha receiver having more headroom, I was able to raise its volume enough to get it to play, though the Victrola was only ever loud-ish, even with the Yamaha volume cranked.

Whether this is something Juke can address in firmware or not remains to be seen, however, if you plan on using the RCA connections, you might do some testing before the install.

With the Juke+, Juke Audio has stayed true to its “Sound Made Simple” philosophy while making a ton of improvements and upgrades. With many people relying on phone-based app streaming, the Juke+ gives six, powered AirPlay2/Spotify Connect zones to easily enjoy music around the home in a way they’re familiar with. This lets everyone listen to what they want, where they want, which is a total win for a whole-house audio system!

877-390-5859; JUKEAUDIO.COM

Product Specs:

  • Six stereo audio zones powered by 100 watts/channel (stable to 2-ohm), with Zone 7 RCA and Zone 8 Toslink
  • Stream via Apple AirPlay2, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth 5, and DLNA
  • Android and iOS App control
  • Includes 5-band EQ adjustment for each zone
  • Rack-mountable (1U) with included rack ears
  • External Wi-Fi/Bluetooth antenna for increased range
  • Connections: Inputs: RCA stereo, Toslink Optical, two USB-A, RJ45 Ethernet; Outputs: Six sets of detachable Phoenix connectors, RCA stereo, Toslink Optical, Detachable IEC power cable

Dimensions: 17.13 x 1.75 x 8.38 inches (HxWxD); Weight: 7 pounds