Multi-room speakers have been around for a while – way before the so-called Smart speakers started appearing. And although the latter are becoming more and more popular, these audio units have also remained a relevant alternative.
Some of them are even integrating smart capabilities to better compete with Smart speakers. Do not be surprised to see some actually described outright as smart speakers. The line between the two types is becoming increasingly thinner.
Sonos has been the leader for years in this space. The company has dominated the market for a long time, but it now has more competitors than ever. This has not only led to a fall in prices, but also to improved features.
It boasts support for Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. There is talk of support for Google Assistant arriving soon. What this means is that you will be able to interact with or control the speaker using voice commands. Another benefit is that you can use it to stay in control of your smart home, if you have one.
The all-new Sonos One gives users access to one of the highest numbers of streaming services. The notable ones include Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM. According to Sonos, you will be able to stream from about 80 other services as well using the provided app.
What’s more? You can connect the speaker wirelessly to other Sonos sound system units to fill every room with sonorous sound. It also offers support for Apple Airplay 2.
You get a pair of compact wireless speakers in the package. The system offers you the capability to extend the sound to fill more areas of your home. You can play the same track or different tracks on the speakers so everybody has a level of choice on what to listen to.
It is fast and easy to set up the Sonos PLAY:1. You should be able to get it running on a Wi-Fi network in your home within minutes. The speakers can be mounted on the wall. You will also be able to add more speakers to the system to make quality sound available in more rooms at a later time.
You can stream from services such as Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora. You will be able to listen to “thousands” of radio stations across the globe. The speaker system comes with a free Sonos app, compatible with both Android and iOS devices, which you can use for controlling the functions.
The sound array is fairly impressive. The speakers are backed by modern, dedicated digital amplifiers for crystal clear sound. There are two mid-range drivers for awesome playback of instruments and vocals. A tweeter ensures great high frequency response while a bass radiator looks promising for deep, powerful bass.
The Class-D amplifiers are not only powerful, but also energy efficient as well. There are adjustable controls for bass and treble to allow you to be in better control of sound performance.
Just like most other Sonos speakers, the PLAY:3 enables you to stream from your favorite online sources. You can enjoy quality sound from your own library or from iTunes. It offers access to more than 100,000 local and international radio stations, all for free.
With the complementary app, you can control the home speakers using your computer, phone, or tablet. If you have a device that supports Amazon Alexa, you can also just say the word to get the music playing.
The wireless soundbase boasts a custom-built, 10-speaker array for truly immersive sound. It has 10 amplified internal drivers comprising six mid-range drivers, three tweeters, and a woofer to boost the audio output from your TV so that you can hear sounds that you might have otherwise missed. Movie and sports games will definitely be more exciting with this one.
You should find the speaker system very easy to set up with its simple two-cord design. It comes with a power cord and an optical cord. The Sonos app is also there to guide you. It is possible to add more speakers so that you can follow whatever is happening on the TV from any room.
In spite of looking rather slim, the soundbase can support TVs weighing up to 75 pounds.
With the Sonos app, you are in firm control of the sound. The Playbase supports dozens of streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, Napster, and iHeartRadio. It offers the ability to play the same or different tracks in different rooms. You can connect an Amazon Alexa or Echo-enabled device to enjoy voice control.
This one delivers good value for the money, though. It packs a single speaker boasting its maker’s patented Trillium audio technology. According to RIVA, this enables it to deliver the same sound that would take two wireless speakers from rivals to produce.
It matches the Sonos One in terms of support for a voice assistant. You can control it using a Google Assistant app or device. You can stream music from multiple sources, including Pandora, Spotify, and Tidal.
This looks like the one to create that exhilarating concert ambiance, boasting up to 106 dB of audio. And it delivers High-res audio of up to 24-bit/192 kHz from streaming services.
The connectivity options are pretty impressive, including integrated Chromecast, DLNA, Airplay, and Spotify Connect.
This unit is made to make you “feel the bass.” In the middle, you will find an opening, which makes it easier for air and deeper bass to find its way out.
It works with any Sonos speakers or any other brand that is connected to Sonos Connect:AMP. The subwoofer also goes well with Alexa to enable you to control the music with your voice.
The SUB packs a pair of force-cancelling audio drivers. These are set opposite each other to deliver deep sound without rattle.
The design is rather interesting. The GGMM Dual Wireless Speaker (M3) features a brushed CNC, stainless aluminum panel and a cover made of handcrafted leather. You will be able to get it in caramel, coffee, black, or red. This was actually named as the Red Dot award winner in 2015.
It’s not just about looks though. This speaker packs a pair of mid-bass speakers featuring glass fiber. There are also two silk dome tweeters. With this setup, quality sound and decent bass may not be out of the question. There’s also a built-in DAC for reducing sound distortion.
Connectivity features include direct Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AUX. GGMM says you will be able to add up to 16 devices spread across 160 feet of space without disconnection problems. You can also connect up to 10 speakers to play the same or different songs in different rooms.
The GGMM M3 lets you stream from services such as Pandora, Spotify, and Pandora. You can download an app from Google or the Apple store to control music wirelessly using your device.
Although it doesn’t come cheap, it does look to justify the price. It pairs seamlessly with the Sonos Sub and a pair of Play:1 speakers. You can integrate it into an existing Sonos ecosystem or build one around it.
The Playbar brings the best out of your TV viewing with nine powerful speaker drivers for rich, crystal clear sound. It can also stream music from your favorite online services. Streaming takes place over Wi-Fi so that you don’t have any of the connectivity or distance issues associated with Bluetooth use.
Its two-cord design makes setup stress-free. You simply connect a power cord and an optical cord for the TV. The soundbar can work with your existing TV remote and the Sonos app.
There is nothing fancy about the design. However, the speaker promises robust Hi-Fi sound output with a pair of 10W full frequency drivers and two “Bass Strengthen” passive radiators. There is also professional-grade DSP electro-acoustic adjustment being in the mix.
The E3 offers three connection modes, namely: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AUX. It supports multi-room play, allowing you to add up to 16 speakers. You can play one song or different songs on any of the speakers.
An interesting update is the ability of the GGMM E-Series speaker to work with Alexa. You can use your voice to control the music, even on services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music.
Bang & Olufsen is revered for its audio tuning prowess. This speaker is intended to take the company’s signature sound to another level. The five-channel system is designed to fill every room in your home with great sound with a maximum output power of 480 watts!
It makes a stylish addition to almost any home with premium Kvadrat covers that blend well you’re your furniture. You can hang it on the wall or ceiling, place it on a stand, or wherever you want, and it will blend well, especially considering that the covers are exchangeable.
BeoLink Multiroom enables to add more speakers seamlessly. You get dual-band Wi-Fi with this one, making for a more enjoyable experience. Connectivity options also include Bluetooth 4.0, Apple Airplay, and DLNA. So, you have more than one way of listening to music wirelessly.
The Beoplay A6 comes with built-in Chromecast. It works with Amazon Alexa.
The RIVA Audio System, Denon HEOS 7, and Sonos Play:3 Multiroom System may be passable alternatives for people who do not need this much oomph or care much about looks. The Sonos Playbar may actually be a better, more affordable alternative as well.
Parading a very simple design, the unit is part of a family of wireless speakers. You can link it to other speakers and control the music they play using an app.
In addition to Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, the Bose SoundTouch 10 also offers Bluetooth connectivity. You can stream music from Spotify, Amazon Music, and hundreds of online radio stations in addition to your local music library.
It offers support for Alexa. If you have a device with the assistant, you can control the speaker hands-free using your voice.
This looks to rub shoulders with the likes of the GGMM M4. But the GGMM M4 speaker seems to offer more value for the money, including in terms of connectivity and battery.
The speaker shows off a clean, cylindrical design. It relies on the Ring Radiator technology that enables it to pump sound almost equally in every direction so that the entire area around it is filled with the sound of your favorite songs.
Connection to your TV for improved sound is easier and clutter-free with the TV SoundConnect feature. The top panel offers an intuitive interface that lets you control functions by tapping or swiping. You can also use Bluetooth 4.0 technology to control the speaker from your mobile device or computer.
You can connect more R1 speakers and control with the Multiroom App using Wi-Fi. Enjoy music streaming from services such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Rhapsody, and many more.
While it is one of the most affordable on this list, the Apple Airplay-certified GGMM M4 certainly impresses. Like the earlier GGMM Dual Wireless speaker, it shows off a quality design with handcrafted, microfiber leather.
This one will certainly give rivals, such as the Samsung R1, serious competition with 40 watts of stereo sound. The speaker comes with an integrated, rechargeable battery that supposedly delivers a runtime of 8 hours at the 40-watt output. You’d hardly find any other multi-room speaker, especially at this price point, that offers something similar.
The connectivity options are impressive as well. You not only get Bluetooth 4.0, but also Wi-Fi for connecting and projecting sound wirelessly. There is also support for AUX, Apple Airplay, and DLNA (on Android). You will be able to move between play modes by simply pressing a button.
The GGMM M4 supports multiple operating systems, including Windows, Android, and iOS. You can connect up to 10 M4 multi-room speakers to play one song or different ones in all rooms while using the GGMM M-Series app for control.
This top-of-the-line offering in the HEOS series packs five custom drivers. You get two custom tweeters, two mid-woofers, and a large subwoofer. The five dedicated Class-D amplifiers show that this speaker is ready for real business. It promises practically the “biggest” and “loudest” sound, as its maker claims.
Setup is quite easy. You just plug in the speaker and install the free HEOS app. Connect to your Wi-Fi network and enjoy quality sound.
Listen to tracks from your smartphone, tablet, or USB drive. Also, enjoy cloud music from numerous services, including Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and iHeartRadio.
With the HEOS app installed on any device, you can use such to control music. You can group speakers in different rooms to play the same song or let each room have its own song. Also, you can use any Alexa device to control the music with your voice.
The Denon HEOS 7 now supports High-res audio and offers built-in Bluetooth.
Compared to its top-of-the-line brother, the speaker loses one dedicated Class-D amplifier, coming with four instead. But this still looks good for powerful sound performance. It offers two custom-designed tweeters and mid-woofers alongside a passive radiator.
The Denon HEOS 5 allows you to play music on your mobile devices as well as USB, NAS, and cloud sources. Streaming is done on the HEOS multi-room system using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Among the music streaming services you have access to are Amazon Music, Sound Cloud, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora.
Like the HEOS 7, it now supports High Resolution Audio for the best listening experience. You can also use your voice to control the function if you have an Alexa device.
Why you should buy one
Obviously, these speakers are ideally best suited for audiophiles. If you consider yourself a lover of good music and sound, then getting one of these units is a great idea.The speaker systems are superb for people who desire being able to blare quality sound all through their homes. They enable you to seamlessly control music being played in different rooms with your computer or other devices, such as mobile phones or tablets.
Typically, you can stream music from diverse sources with these multi-room speakers. The systems enable you to play different songs on individual speakers or group them all together to play the same music. Of course, they usually do not require the use of wires to function. It is easy to access music from different sources, including streaming services, using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
You can also enjoy impressive High-Res sound on some of the units.
What to Consider Before Buying a Multi-Room Speaker
There are numerous types of multi-room speakers on the market. Just as their prices differ, so does what they bring to the table. You need to know what you want before you buy one. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying too much or soon be searching for a better one. Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Streaming – You want to make sure that the unit you buy has the ability to stream directly from the source. It should, ideally, not have to rely on your computer or mobile device to stream. This will be beneficial for guarding against issues like dropouts. Also, check what streaming services are supported.
- Wireless capability – Of course, the best multi-room speakers usually tend to rely on wireless connections. It helps to get a speaker with dual-band Wi-Fi support if you can. This will not only enable you cover more distance, but also to overcome the interference that may be experienced on the 2.4 GHz band.
- Control – Among the many features that appeal about multi-room speakers is ease of control. Pay attention to this when buying. Do you have to use physical controls? Or can you use your voice or apps to perform the functions? Choose the one that works best for you.
- Ability to connect to other speakers – If you intend on getting more speakers in the future, make sure you will be able to do so when that time comes. You should ideally be able to add more speakers or zone by yourself without having to call in a professional. Pay attention to the type of speakers you will be able to add.
Other things you may want to consider for choosing a multi-room speaker include Alexa support, the ability to group speakers, Bluetooth support, High-res audio, and portability.