A wireless multiroom speaker system is the easiest way to listen to music, podcasts, and other audio entertainment in more than one room at a time, and Sonos is the best option. It supports the widest variety of streaming services, the speakers sound great, and its apps are practically foolproof. The competition is catching up, but Sonos is still the most complete and reliable package overall.
Dennis Burger has been reviewing headphones, speakers, AV receivers, home automation systems, home theater gear, and high-end audio gear for nearly two decades. He served as East Coast contributing editor for Home Entertainment magazine and is now senior editor at SoundStage! and a regular contributor at Cineluxe. In the past he has written for Residential Systems, Home Theater Review, Electronic House, Big Picture Big Sound, Digital TV & Sound, Home Smart Home, and Home Theater magazine, just to name a few.
Multiroom wireless speaker systems are for people who want to be able to play music and podcasts throughout their home and easily control them from their phone, tablet, or computer, or even through their voice. These systems, connected via Wi-Fi, let you play different tracks on each speaker or group them together to play the same track throughout the home. They support both local media libraries and online streaming services, allowing you to access music from almost any source. They make it easy to expand your system by simply adding another speaker or zone.
The Sonos system is the best multiroom wireless speaker system because it supports the most services and has a wide selection of great-sounding speakers, comprehensive search features, and a well-organized app that runs on almost all major mobile platforms. Sonos keeps its platform current by updating its speakers, adding more services, and introducing new features such as Trueplay room-correction technology. The Sonos user experience is the best of any of the multiroom wireless speaker systems currently available.
Sonos offers speakers that start at the budget end with the small Sonos One and Sonos One SL (which lacks voice control) and extend to the Arc, Beam, and Ray soundbars for use with a TV. You can use a single speaker, combine two into a stereo pair, or even build a 5.1-channel home theater system using a soundbar along with two other speakers for surrounds and the matching Sub. You even have the ability to add dual Subs to home theater setups.
Because some people prefer to use native streaming service apps, such as those for Spotify and Apple Music, Sonos is starting to make its speakers compatible with those. Using the Spotify app or Apple Music, you can send music directly to a Sonos speaker, just as you would with a Spotify Connect speaker or the Apple HomePod, respectively. Sonos has said that this compatibility will be available for more services in the future but has not provided a timeline or named specific services.
When Amazon added multiroom music streaming to the Echo lineup in 2017, it was in a severely limited capacity. Back then, if any of your Echo devices was connected to a Bluetooth speaker, that connection would drop when you initiated multiroom playback. And none of the Echo speakers available at the time sounded good enough on their own to justify their use as your main music system. But in the years since, the audio fidelity of Echo speakers has improved, and the multiroom functionality has gotten steadily better. Bluetooth connectivity is now supported, so if you have an Echo Dot paired with, say, a Monoprice Soundstage3 in your home office, that duo can sync up with the rest of your Echo devices just fine.
Yamaha MusicCast is currently only in Yamaha devices, including soundbars, speakers, and receivers. It supports Pandora and Spotify but not Amazon, Apple Music, or Google Play. It supports AirPlay and Bluetooth on all its devices, but not enough services directly.
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