Everything to Know about Multi-room Support for Smart Speakers

Multi-room audio support refers to the distribution of audio across multiple rooms in a building. This idea has been in existence for a while, and Sonos is credited as one of the pioneers. Despite the ease with which music to play across multiple rooms in a home, selecting the right system can be quite challenging.

This is due to the multitude of companies offering different systems and the numerous platforms available, each offering distinct experiences and compatibility with various music services. Our team has carefully put together a comprehensive list of the top multi-room audio systems available in the market, to help you make an informed decision on which one is best suited for your needs.

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About Multi-Room Audio

Multi-room audio refers to the capability of playing music in multiple rooms simultaneously. The system you choose determines whether you can play different songs in various rooms at once, have the same music playing throughout all the rooms, or just in a few of them simultaneously.

Multi-room audio systems can source music from a variety of places, such as streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, your personal music collection stored on a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive, your computer, CDs, or vinyl, with the appropriate setup.

Typically, multi-room audio systems are wireless and operated using an app. This allows for greater flexibility in speaker placement throughout the house, with speakers only requiring a nearby power supply and a smartphone for control. However, it is necessary to have at least one speaker in each room you want to enjoy music in.

How Does Multi-Room System Work

A multi-room audio system consists of a series of speakers that may include wireless speakers, soundbars, soundbases, or other AV equipment. You can even enhance an existing hi-fi setup with passive speakers by adding a link system, making it a contemporary musical wonder.

Different multi-room systems use various platforms that determine the user experience, how each system functions, and the compatibility of different speakers and systems. Sonos, for instance, uses a closed mesh network. This system initially connects to your home Wi-Fi. After that, it creates its own network to avoid using your Wi-Fi. While most speakers rely solely on Wi-Fi, others offer additional connectivity options. It can be Bluetooth, as found on products like the Sonos Roam and Bose Portable Home Speaker.

The multi-room audio space has traditionally been dominated by hi-fi companies like Denon, Bose, Sony, Panasonic, and Yamaha. However, tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Apple have now entered the market with their own speakers.

In most cases, once you’ve chosen a multi-room system, you’re locked into it. So, you can’t mix and match various speakers and expect them to work together. However, some platforms, such as Apple AirPlay 2, allow you to select any compatible speakers and have them function in sync with each other.

After setting up the multi-room system, you can control it using an app on your phone or tablet. Alternatively, through voice control using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.

Multi-room Support for Smart Speakers are Important

The importance of multi-room support for smart speakers give several key benefits:

  • Convenience and Flexibility: With multi-room support, users can start playing audio content in one room and continue it in another without interruption. This is especially useful for large homes or those with multiple floors, where users may move from room to room regularly.
  • Enhanced Audio Experience: Multi-room support enhances the audio experience by providing synchronized audio throughout the house. This creates a more immersive and enjoyable listening experience, especially when listening to music.
  • Customization and Personalization: With multi-room support, users can customize their audio experience by playing different audio content in different rooms. For example, they can play music in the living room and listen to a podcast in the bedroom.
  • Improved Home Automation: Multi-room support can also integrate with home automation systems. It allows users to control their smart speakers with voice commands or through a mobile app. This can include turning on/off lights, adjusting the thermostat, and other smart home functions.
  • Cost-Effective: Multi-room support is more money-saving than purchasing individual speakers for each room. Users can purchase fewer high-quality smart speakers and still have an excellent audio experience throughout their home.

Multi-room support is an essential feature for smart speakers. It provides users with convenience, flexibility, enhanced audio experience, customization, home automation integration, and cost-effectiveness. As the smart home industry continues to grow, multi-room support will become a standard feature in smart speakers. Users will come to expect this feature when purchasing smart speakers.

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Best Home Speakers for Multi-Room Support

When it comes to choosing a multi-room music system for your home, there are various options to consider. Some of the key players in the market include Sonos, Denon Heos, Bose, Bang & Olufsen, Samsung, Google Chromecast, and Apple AirPlay 2.

1. Sonos

Sonos is a well-known and popular brand in the multi-room audio market. Its devices use a dedicated Wi-Fi mesh network instead of Bluetooth to ensure a stable connection, except for the Sonos Roam and Sonos Move models, which do include Bluetooth. The Sonos app, available for Android, iOS, and Mac, allows users to control their devices and access music services.

2. Denon Heos

Denon Heos is another multi-room audio system that uses a mesh Wi-Fi network to connect its devices. The system is available across a wider range of products than Sonos, as it includes models from both Denon and Marantz. The Denon Heos app, compatible with Android, iOS, and Amazon, is used to control the system.

3. Bose

Bose’s multi-room speakers fall under the Bose Smart Home branding and offer both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The Bose Music app is used to control the speakers, or users can use voice control via Google Assistant or Alexa. The system is compatible with a range of music services, including Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music.

4. Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen’s speakers no longer offer multi-room capability through the BeoLink or BeoMusic app. Instead, they include AirPlay 2 and Chromecast for integrated multi-room. Bluetooth and line-in are also supported.

5. Samsung

Samsung’s multi-room speakers, the R-series, were previously popular among Samsung devotees but have since been discontinued. These speakers relied on their own mesh network to communicate with each other and play music.

6. Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast built-in platform can be found on many wireless speakers and enables them to function as Wi-Fi enabled multi-room speakers. The Chromecast Audio dongle can be plugged into speakers, allowing them to connect to the platform. The platform is open and compatible with various speakers, with a vast range of supported services.

7. Apple’s AirPlay 2

Finally, Apple’s AirPlay 2, announced at WWDC 2017, introduced multi-room audio and is supported by Macs and iOS devices. Users can stream the same song to multiple speakers and rooms, but not play different ones around the home. Manufacturers have updated previous speakers or released new ones to support this technology.

In conclusion, Multi-room support for smart speakers is an essential feature that allows users to play audio content throughout their homes. It creates a seamless audio experience that enhances their daily routines. This feature allows users to play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other audio content on multiple smart speakers simultaneously or individually.

 

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