Multi-room audio is becoming ever more popular and something you hear about a lot but you may not actually know what it is. With that in mind, I’ve put together a short guide to multi-room audio, the different ways it can be implemented and the biggest player in the game – SONOS.
Multi-room audio does exactly what it says on the tin, it allows you to have audio in multiple rooms in a house or building. It’s as simple as that.
It’s difficult to mention multi-room audio without talking about SONOS and with good reason. Over the years SONOS has become the market leader in wireless multi-room audio with its ease of use, reliability and it’s all around great performance. (NB I am in no way affiliated to SONOS, they just have a great product!)
With SONOS you can easily choose to group rooms together to play the same thing in selected rooms or throughout the house, have audio in only certain rooms or have separate things playing in different spaces. You can have the whole house filled with party music or have relaxing whale songs in the bathroom while you rock out to AC/DC in the kitchen and living room. Each room or group can be controlled independently to change what’s playing or volumes in each space. The beauty of the system is its flexibility.
When it comes to implementing SONOS there are a 2 main ways of creating a multi-room audio system:
SONOS PLAY Speakers
The simplest and least destructive way to employ SONOS is to use their stand-alone speakers like the PLAY:1, PLAY:3, PLAY:5, PLAYBAR and PLAYBASE to create a site wide system. Simply place these speakers in each room, connect them together using the free app and away you go. These speakers use a mesh network to talk to each other, determine which speakers to play depending on your choice and sync your media, all from a controller such as the SONOS app on a phone or tablet.
The fact that these speakers can be fitted retrospectively and without any alterations to a room are a real bonus for people who are renting or don’t want to make modifications to their rooms like cutting holes for speakers or running cables in the walls.
But what if you don’t want lots of speakers dotted around rooms in your house taking up space and power sockets? You may want to upgrade the speakers (ceiling speakers, waterproof speakers or simply higher quality speakers) or simply want a more integrated and professional system for your home. This is where option 2 comes in.
Fully Installed System
The alternative route is to instead use the SONOS Connect:Amp to distribute your audio. Although this route involves running audio cables for your speakers, the important part of the wireless experience – how you connect to your system and play your music, remains wireless. With this route, speakers are cabled back to a central point that houses one or multiple Connect:Amps depending on how many Zones you require – a Zone is a space that is independent from another space and can be controlled as such. You still connect to SONOS wirelessly through an app to select your audio source, whether it’s the radio or a streaming service such as Apple Music or Spotify. The real benefit of this system is its greater flexibility, allowing you to install whatever speaker you choose such as in-ceiling speakers in each room or waterproof speakers in your bathroom.
Each Connect:Amp will run 2 pairs of speakers so you can create 2 Zones of audio (normally 2 separate rooms) or run 4 speakers in a larger room with a single Connect:Amp and you can group multiple Connect:Amps together to create a full audio network for your home.
Alternatively, if you already have an amplifier perhaps running a surround sound system that you want to keep, SONOS also make the CONNECT which allows existing amps to integrate with your SONOS system.
The beauty of SONOS is that you are always free to add more speakers or amps to your system so if you decide that you want an extra space to have music in the future you can simply place a new PLAY speaker in the new space or add another Connect:Amp and grow your system.
So why not see how you can transform your home and take your home experience to the next level with multi-room audio.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little foray into the world of multi-room audio. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org