5 Options For Multi-Room Systems

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Over the past decade, we’ve seen wireless networks become a requirement in every home while conventional audio equipment has been replaced by smartphones, tablets, and various smart home devices. One of the most popular features among consumers is the ability to stream music from the Internet, and this experience is further improved by the production of multi-room audio devices.

Multi-room audio systems have granted the wishes of music lovers and audiophiles by enabling them to enjoy surround sound not only in their living rooms but in every other room of the house. Composed of two or more wirelessly communicating speakers, these devices simply require an app (or Bluetooth connection) to connect to your home network so you can start broadcasting music.

Another factor that makes multi-room audio systems worth the investment is the fact that most of the main components are compatible with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. They can also serve as standalone speakers, so you can start with a single component and build on it when the budget permits or you move to a bigger house.

But with so many brands to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose the appropriate multi-room audio system to purchase. We’ll help you decide by showing you five of the best multi-room audio systems on the market today.

Image Via Sonos

Sonos

Sonos is currently on top of every list of the best multi-room audio systems. Not only is it one of the most recognizable audio brands but they also have one of the most solid and reliable setups with its line up of speakers and accessories.

The brand has four key products that are widely used in multi-room setups: the Sonos One, Sonus Beam, Play:1, and Play:5, with the first two being the most popular among consumers. In fact, if you are just starting out, you can get away with just multiple Sonos Ones (as seen in our list of suggested setups below).

Aside from its stylish products, the Sonos wireless audio system offers very stable Wi-Fi performance. It uses a mesh system and offers its own wireless network adapter (the Sonos Boost) to ensure optimum wireless connectivity even for the speaker that’s farthest from the router. The speakers also work with Alexa commands and default to Amazon Music, but Google Assistant support is expected to arrive on the Sonos One and Sonos Beam in 2019.

As for its sound quality, consumers can only expect the best from a brand that has worked on improving its audio products over time, especially with regular firmware upgrades and the use of Trueplay technology that automatically tunes your speaker depending on acoustic factors that can impact sound quality, such as its placement in a room.

Easy setup, Android and iOS support (via the Sonos app), a clean and fresh interface, and affordability are among many other reasons that make the Sonos audio system worth investing in.

Possible Combinations:

2-Room Setup with Sonos Beam ($399) and Sonos One ($199)

2-Room Setup with Sonos Beam ($399) and Sonos Play:1 ($149)

2-Room Setup with Two Sonos One Smart Speakers ($398)

2-Room Setup with Sonos Play:1 and Play:5 Bundle ($648)

3-Room Setup with Sonos Beam ($399) and Two Sonos Ones ($398)

3-Room Setup with Three Sonos One Smart Speakers ($597)

4-Room Setup with Four Sonos One Smart Speakers ($796)

Other Products:

Sonos PLAYBAR ($699)

Sonos PLAYBASE ($699)

Sonos CONNECT ($349)

Sonos CONNECT:AMP Wireless Amplifier with Receiver ($848)

Sonos BOOST Wireless Network Adapter ($99)

Denon HEOS

Denon, which has been around for decades, makes our list with their versatile and hi-fi HEOS audio system, features four speakers of various sizes: the HEOS 1, 3, 5, and 7. Any of these can be easily set up in two or more rooms, including the garden (or other areas where there’s no power source) with the HEOS 1 Go Battery Pack.

For smaller rooms, the HEOS 1 or 3 are great options. The HEOS 5 and 7 are best for filling up larger rooms, with the latter providing the most power. You can do the usual setup with a main speaker and smaller speakers, or simply use two or more of the same smaller speakers for more balanced tones and realistic stereo sound.

The Denon HEOS line up has come a long way since its first generation of products, which now feature hi-res music support of up to 24-bit/192kHz and Bluetooth connectivity so you can play music without the need for the HEOS app. It also has a 3.5mm port, plus USB and aux-in ports that can be detected once the speakers are connected to your home network. However, it is through the use of the app that you can enjoy the best sound quality.

Another thing that consumers will love is that the HEOS can be voice controlled via Alexa. This functionality turns your speakers into smart home devices that you can command to turn itself on or off, adjust the volume or basic playback controls, and switch sources.

When you decide to choose the humble yet powerful line of Denon wireless audio systems, all you have to do is pick your desired speaker to enjoy a house filled with rich, detailed, and engaging sound, whether you’re having a party or simply enjoying your favorite music after a busy day.

Possible Combinations:

2-Room Setup with Denon HEOS 1 and HEOS 5 ($499)

Multi-Room Setup with Denon HEOS 1 Wireless Speakers ($199)

Multi-Room Setup with Denon HEOS 3 Wireless Speakers ($299)

Multi-Room Setup with Denon HEOS 5 Wireless Speakers ($399)

Multi-Room Setup with Denon HEOS 7 Wireless Speakers ($599)

Other Products:

Denon HEOS 1 Go Battery Pack ($99)

Apple HomePod

Included in Apple’s growing collection of home and office electronics is their breakthrough wireless speaker, the HomePod. Available in white and space gray (like most of their products), two or more of these devices can be synced to create a stereo pair or set up multi-room audio. It may not be a part of an extensive collection of wireless speakers yet, but just a pair of it makes for one of the best sounding multi-room audio systems and one of the easiest to use (especially if you’re an iPhone user).

As expected, the sound quality is great, thanks to its seven beam-forming tweeters and upward-facing high-excursion woofer. Audiophiles would love that it can be set up as a proper stereo pair that splits the left and right stereo channels between the two devices, allowing them to produce more realistic surround sound.

With the integration of AirPlay 2, the HomePod can be paired with other wireless speakers, allowing you to extend your current multi-room setup. The HomePod can also be commanded to play your desired songs—and at different volume percentages between multiple speakers—via Siri. The speakers can even be grouped for controlled playback using the AirPlay button on Apple Music or Control Center.

Access to your own iTunes library and Apple Music gives you a wider range of choices for music (or even podcasts) to listen to. Control it with your iPhone (5s or later), iPad (5th generation or later), iPod Touch, or with your voice to start playing music from anywhere in your house.

Products:

Apple HomePod – Space Gray ($349)

Apple HomePod – White ($349)

Bose SoundTouch

Coming from a company that is best known for its noise-canceling headphones, Bose prioritizes giving its consumers an immersive listening experience. It’s actually quite surprising that they only started producing multi-room devices a few years ago.

Unlike Sonos, the Bose SoundTouch line up features only three key devices: the SoundTouch 10, 20, and 30. The last two have already undergone several upgrades and are in their third generation while the SoundTouch 10 is doing well three years after it joined the line up in 2015.

The SoundTouch app has also been improved over the years, with recent changes focusing on giving it a cleaner interface and making it easier to use. The speakers have instant access to Spotify, Amazon, Deezer, and TuneIn Radio, as well as Tidal and Apple Music via Bluetooth (but not over multi-room).

Connectivity is through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth so you can stream audio from any Android or iOS smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can also use each of the speakers’ six preset buttons, which can be assigned to different music sources using the app. Now, accessing your favorite playlists or internet radio stations is as easy as pressing a single button.

Possible Combinations:

2-Room Setup with Bose 2x SoundTouch 10 Starter Pack ($378)

2-Room Setup with Bose 2x SoundTouch 20 Series III ($663)

2-Room Setup with Bose SoundTouch 20 Series III with SoundTouch 10 ($528)

2-Room Setup with Bose SoundTouch 30 Series III with SoundTouch 10 ($678)

3-Room Setup with Bose 3x SoundTouch 10 Wireless Music System ($537)

3-Room Setup with Bose SoundTouch 30 Series III with 2x SoundTouch 10 ($897)

4-Room Setup with Bose 4x SoundTouch 10 Wireless Music System ($716)

Other Products:

Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier ($499)

Yamaha MusicCast

Yamaha is the newest player on our list after having released their MusicCast wireless speakers just last April. The products were understandably much-awaited, considering the company has been at the forefront of the professional audio industry over the past four decades.

Joining their wide variety of audio products are the MusicCast 20 and 50, which can be used as standalone speakers or paired for true stereo performance and multi-room surround sound setups. The former is ideal for smaller rooms like bedrooms and the kitchen, while the other makes a great main home speaker with notably heavier bass. Each provides a hi-fi solution for those who need to connect and play music from a single application.

Another key item is the WX-010 speaker, which works with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay, Amazon’s Alexa, and Spotify Connect. These MusicCast speakers can play the same music or podcast in every room at the same time or access entirely different audio sources via the easy-to-use (and free!) MusicCast iOS or Android apps.

The only arguable setbacks of the MusicCast system are that it can only connect to other Yamaha-made products and is yet to support Apple’s AirPlay 2, like many of today’s multi-room systems do. However, users can likely expect Yamaha to roll out more support through software updates, aside from releasing other products to expand their line of multi-room speakers.

Possible Combinations:

2-Room Setup with Yamaha Two-Pack WX-021 MusicCast 20 ($399.95)

2-Room Setup with Yamaha Two-Pack WX-051 MusicCast 50 ($899.95)

2-Room Setup with Yamaha RX-V585 with 2x MusicCast 20 ($959.96)

2-Room Setup with Yamaha RX-V685 with 2x MusicCast 20 ($1059.85)

3-Room Setup with Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 with 2x MusicCast 20 ($959.94)

Other Products:

Yamaha NX-N500 Pair ($799.95)

Yamaha WX-010 MusicCast ($199.95)

 

This post is a paid advertorial or what some sites call “Sponsored Content”.

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