A multiroom audio system allows you to play music in multiple rooms at the same time. Traditionally this involved wired speakers, amps and keypads or hiring professional installers to snake wires through walls and make connections. Today, you can buy multiroom speakers that deliver great sound and unparalleled flexibility for surprisingly little money. And, with a few tweaks to your setup, you can turn any hi-fi system into a wireless multiroom audio system.
Most people will find the simplest way to get a multiroom system is to simply use smart speakers. Platforms like Google Home let you assign different speakers to rooms and with a simple voice command set songs or playlists to play across your home. But multiroom audio systems that use a dedicated app are also an option, with offerings such as Sonos, Denon Heos and Bluesound all providing excellent multiroom solutions.
The best multiroom systems are all about convenience and bringing the whole family together. With their simple setup and integrated app they make it easy to stream music or playlists in multiple rooms, either at the same time or separately, and to control them from anywhere in your home. Most multiroom systems support voice commands through your phone or tablet and can be controlled from a variety of smart assistants – including Amazon Echo, Apple HomeKit, Google Home and more.
Sonos is one of the most popular brands, offering a range of wireless multiroom speakers that include small upright models and chunkier, wider boxes – such as the recently updated Sonos One and the Five, both of which are Crutchfield Recommends products. These wireless speaker systems are controlled by the Sonos app, and they also work with other multiroom apps like Spotify and Apple AirPlay. Denon Heos, which has a larger lineup of both wireless and hi-fi speakers and components, uses the same operating system as Sonos and is also compatible with many other popular services.
Alternatively you could go for a wired multiroom audio system, which will typically run over your home Wi-Fi network rather than Bluetooth and is often built into the latest hi-fi integrated amplifiers and receivers. Many of these systems will work with streaming services like Roon, a subscription-based online music aggregator that also offers a comprehensive library of high resolution lossless audio files.
For a more traditional take on multiroom audio, you can also find wireless multiroom systems in the form of soundbars that you stick on top of your TV and plug into HDMI for an instant upgrade to your home cinema system. For example, the Sonos Beam – a 5-star Stuff Recommends product – connects to your TV over HDMI and can be used as a multiroom speaker when not in use with a separate subwoofer for a more powerful movie-watching experience. Other companies produce similar options, with the likes of Marantz’s HEOS and Denon’s Heos-enabled soundbars using a mesh Wi-Fi network to connect, and all of them are backed by a good range of other compatible products.