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Audio Buying Guide - Multi-Room

Multi-Room Audio

Multi-Room audio allows you to fill your home with music like never before – your music can literally follow you around the house.

For the first time, you can have a unified, multi-part system which will play your favourite radio station in the kitchen, create a cinema experience in the living room and play songs from your digital music libraries, CDs and radio in any other room of the house.

You can start off with one speaker and then keep adding more to create a versatile music system with considerable benefits.

Easy to set up

While a multi-room audio system may sound complicated, they’re actually really easy to set up and use.

Most systems work by simply plugging your speaker or speakers into the mains and then using your home WiFi network to send and receive audio from your phone, tablet, computer, streaming source, CD player or home theatre system to the speaker(s).

When you’re choosing which multi-room system to buy, it’s important to check how the speakers or system connect up. Systems from some brands may require a central hub or bridge to enable multi-room playback.

Whichever system you choose, just follow the simple instructions in the box and you’ll be set up in minutes.

Multi-Room Apps

Multi-Room sound systems are designed to be controlled by a free downloadable app for use on a smartphone, tablet or PC. Each speaker brand will generally offer its own dedicated app.

These apps are downloadable from the Google Play store or Apple's app store and, depending on which speaker brand you’re using, allow you to do various things with your multi-room speaker system.

Just choose a room and pick the track(s) you want to hear from any number of different sources. You’ll be able to control music in one room or different rooms, play the same song in all or different rooms, and more –give each family member the sounds they want to hear, or impress friends by effortlessly sharing favourite tunes at parties. There’s even the option to create a surround sound system in conjunction with your TV and entertainment centre. Multi-Room audio puts you in control.

Audio around the house

1 Getting started is really easy

All you need is one wireless speaker, to stream music from your smart device, your computer or online services. Installation is simple: you just plug the speaker in, and the simple set-up is done in seconds with smartphone or tablet apps. Then you just plug in extra speakers wherever you need them, push a button and they will find your network and be ready to play.

2 Add on an extra room

Wireless connection makes adding extra speakers to create more ‘zones’ in other rooms a breeze: plug and play set-up means new speakers are detected by the system, and appear on the control app. Now any room within range of the wireless network and with a mains socket can have its own sound system, whether that is the dining room, the study or even the kitchen: most systems can accommodate far more speakers than most of us will ever have rooms!

3 Double up speakers for a bigger sound

As well as placing a single speaker in a room to bring your favourite music there, you can double up the speakers to create a stereo sound, or simply add an extra speaker to help fill really large spaces with powerful sound. The control apps let you choose how speakers are paired up, and even which zones work together to play the same music, all with a couple of taps or swipes.

4 Add in your TV sound, too

As well as playing music from a range of Internet and network services, the latest wireless multi-room systems also have the ability to connect audio sources used in the same room, such as a TV. Some even have dedicated TV soundbars, enabling you to improve the sound of your TV when you want, but also use the sound bar to deliver all that music when you are not watching TV.

5 Go wireless surround

With a wireless TV soundbar in your system, you will get an excellent sound experience from your favourite shows. But you can also add extra wireless speakers, and even a wireless subwoofer, to create a full 5.1-channel surround sound system – and all without any need for cables around the room.

6 The same everywhere – or whatever you want

Every zone within a system can access different music, so you could be listening to Spotify in the study while the rest of the family is enjoying Radio 1 in the kitchen and their own music from the home computer in a bedroom. It is all controlled by apps, and individual rooms can also access music from smartphones and tablets, to allow even more flexibility of choice. Or, if you are having friends round, you can switch the whole system into party mode, so every speaker in every room is playing the same music.

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