A multiroom audio system lets you enjoy high-quality music throughout your home or office – without the need for complex wired installations and expensive technicians. Essentially, it’s a wireless network that distributes audio from your amplification source (such as your TV or stereo) to speakers in multiple rooms. Typically, they use Wi-Fi transmission and are controlled via an app on your smartphone or tablet. They offer superior sound quality compared to Bluetooth pairings and can usually be customised to suit your space, with the option of room-relevant equalization and other features.
They’re easy to set up too, with most of the work done for you by your chosen speaker brand. You can also integrate existing wired systems into multiroom audio. This can often be done by changing the point at which the signal is being fed to the amplifier. The best place to do this is at the amplification source, such as your TV or stereo. This generally means moving to an all-in-one amplification solution that has built-in wireless streaming capability.
Unlike traditional stereo systems, which require multiple pairs of wires to deliver high-quality audio, multiroom setups use your home Wi-Fi network and typically pair with one of the big streaming music services or a NAS (network attached storage) hard drive loaded up with music. This is why they’re more flexible than a dedicated stereo system, and also make them more affordable.
Sonos has led the way with multiroom speaker systems, but a number of other brands now have their own offerings. Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Google Nest, Denon Heos and Bluesound all have a range of multiroom speakers that can be connected to create a wireless audio system. Some of these systems can even be voice-controlled if you add an Alexa, Apple HomePod or Google Nest speaker to the mix.
Multiroom audio systems have come a long way in recent years. They used to cost a fortune and required the help of technicians to snake wires through your walls, but today you can get started for a fraction of the price with an entry-level speaker from a maker like Sonos or Bluesound, as well as the corresponding app that allows you to control it.
If you’re looking for a complete home music system, the top-rated options include Sonos, Bluesound and Denon Heos. They all feature an excellent sound-per-pound ratio, as well as a wide selection of multiroom speakers in a range of sizes and styles to match your decor. They all support a range of audio formats, including hi-resolution lossless streaming, and many offer a voice assistant for added functionality.
If you’re after a more premium experience, there are also wireless multiroom systems from the likes of Bang & Olufsen and Samsung that can be tailored to your specific needs through the BeoMusic and SmartThings apps. These typically offer AirPlay 2 and Chromecast integration too, making them compatible with other devices such as laptops and smartphones. They may be more expensive than dedicated multiroom speakers but they do offer a better overall experience for the money. multiroom audio system