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Wireless multi-room audio systems

Sonos vs. the new challengers

What distinguishes a wireless multi-room system from a collection of stand-alone Bluetooth® or Apple Airplay® wireless speakers? Convenience. You can control all the speakers in the system from a single remote — usually a smartphone or tablet app. You can play the same music throughout the house or choose different music for different rooms.

Below is the rundown of the various multi-room systems available. Sonos created the first viable wireless mult-room audio system. Now several worthy challengers are getting into the game. Which system is right for you?

Important questions to ask yourself as you shop

  1. How many rooms (or zones) do you want music in?
  2. What sources of music do you want to listen to?
  3. How do you want to control it?

Sonos Wireless HiFi

Sonos currently offers a wide variety of components for different applications throughout your home. There are three powered speakers, a sound bar, a subwoofer, a powered player that connects to stereo speakers, and a non-powered player that connects to your hi-fi or home theater system.

Maximum number of rooms: 32

Music sources: Internet radio, virtually all online music services, stored music on portable devices and computers, including iTunes®

Supported music file formats: MP3, iTunes Plus, WMA, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, Audible (format 4), Apple Lossless, FLAC, WAV, AIFF.

Control: Sonos Controller App for Apple and Android portables

Wireless technology: Wi-Fi®

Additional info: Powered speakers can be paired for stereo operation. Create a wireless surround sound system using the sound bar, subwoofer, and a pair of Play:1 or Play:3 speakers.

  • Sonos family

    Sonos family

  • Sonos Bridge

    Bridge

  • Sonos PLAY:1

    PLAY:1 (black)

  • Sonos PLAY:3

    PLAY:3 (white)

  • Sonos PLAY:5

    PLAY:5 (black)

  • Sonos Connect

    CONNECT

  • Sonos Connect amp

    CONNECT.AMP

  • Sonos Playbar

    PLAYBAR

  • Sonos SUB

    SUB

  • Sonos control app

    Sonos control app

  • Sonos app schematic

    Sonos app schematic

Bluesound

Designed with audiophiles in mind by the makers of NAD and PSB, this system can stream high-resolution music files.

Maximum number of rooms: 8 with wireless connection; 34 connected via Ethernet

Music sources: Internet radio, Rdio online music service (Bluesound plans to include additional online music services), music stored on computers, USB flash drives. and portable devices (with Bluetooth® dongle, available seperately). Does not support Apple AirPlay.

Supported music file formats: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, AAC, WMA, MP3

Control: Bluesound control app for Apple® and Android™ smartphones and tablets. Cannot be operated from a computer. An iOS or Android device is required.

Wireless technology: Wi-Fi

Additional info: Compatible with high resolution 96kHz/24-bit and 192kHz/24-bit audio files. Available in black or white.

  • Bluesound Pulse

    Bluesound Pulse (black)

  • Bluesound Powernode

    Bluesound Powernode (white)

  • Bluesound Vault

    Bluesound Vault (black)

  • Bluesound Node

    Bluesound Node (white)

  • Bluesound Duo

    Bluesound Duo (black)

Bose® SoundTouch™ Wi-Fi® music system

The Bose® SoundTouch™ Wi-Fi music system is super simple to set up and operate. There are six preset buttons on top of each unit for one touch access to your favorite Internet radio or Pandora® stations.

Maximum number of rooms: 6

Music sources: Internet radio, Pandora online music service (Bose plans to include additional online music services), music stored on portable devices and in your computer’s iTunes® library. Supports Apple AirPlay.

Supported music file formats: AAC, MP3

Control: SoundTouch™ app for Apple and Android portables

Wireless technology: Wi-Fi with Apple® AirPlay®

Additional info: Three models available, including portable model with rechargeable battery. You must use a computer for the initial setup.

  • Bose

    Bose® SoundTouch™ Wi-Fi&® music system

  • Bose

    Bose® SoundTouch™ 20

  • Bose

    Bose® SoundTouch™ 30

  • Bose

    Bose® SoundTouch™ Portable

Korus

The Korus creates its own wireless network, independent of your home's Wi-Fi. That makes it both reliable and easy to set up. Plug-in transmitters called batons instantly connect any iPhone®, iPad®, or computer to the system.

Maximum number of rooms: 10

Music sources: Plug a baton into your phone, tablet, or computer, and you can enjoy any music source you can access from the device (including Internet radio, online music services, and stored music files).

Supported music file formats: AAC, MP3

Control: Control app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets

Wireless technology: SKAA® audio technology

Additional info: Two models currently available. Compatible with 30-pin and Lightning® connector Apple portables.

  • Korus  V600

    Korus V600 Portable

  • Korus USB Baton

    Korus USB Baton

  • Korus  Lightning Baton

    Korus Lightning Connector Baton

  • Korus Baton 30-pin

    Korus 30-pin Baton

  • Korus V400

    Korus V400

  • Korus iPad app

    iPad control

  • Korus iPhone app

    iPhone control

Samsung Shape™

Samsung's versatile Shape speakers can be oriented either vertically for 2-channel pairing, or horizontally for single speaker use.  A cool feature called NFC (Near Field Communication) is built-in. Just touch your NFC-compatible smartphone or tablet to pair it with the M7 and start streaming music right away.

Maximum number of rooms: 10

Music sources: Internet radio, online music services, stored music on portable devices

Supported music file formats: AAC, MP3, WMA

Control: Shape™ control app for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets

Wireless technology: Wi-Fi (for network), Bluetooth (for individual operation)

Additional info: Built-in Bluetooth® allows speakers to be used as stand-alone wireless audio systems for smartphones and tablets. Compatible with 2014 Samsung SmartTVs, Shape speakers can be used for music or for wireless home theater sound via a Bluetooth connection.

  • Samsung Shape M7 Black

    Shape M7 (black)

  • Samsung Shape M7 White

    Shape M7 (white)

  • Samsung Shape WAM250

    Shape WAM250 Wireless Audio Hub

  • Samsung HW-H750

    Samsung HW-H750 sound bar with wireless subwoofer

  • Shape smartphone app

    Smartphone control app

  • Samsung Shape Schematic

    System configurations

[Shop Crutchfield's slection of multi-room audio systems and components]

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