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10 best multi-room speaker systems for wireless sound throughout your home

These nifty devices allow you to play music from laptops, phones, turntables and more

David RS Taylor
Tuesday 06 April 2021 13:16
<p>Wireless connectivity is now at such an advanced level that anyone can tap into their home wifi and have a multi-room set-up in minutes</p>

Wireless connectivity is now at such an advanced level that anyone can tap into their home wifi and have a multi-room set-up in minutes

Speakers are a big investment for anyone. Which brand best suits your tastes? How versatile are they? Just how good do they sound? This is before you enter the world of wireless streaming, let alone a multi-room system.

Luckily, a multi-room system nowadays doesn’t mean drilling holes in the ceiling and feeding thick black wires across your home like the MI6 detonation scene in Spectre.

Wireless connectivity is now at such an advanced level that anyone can tap into their home wifi and have a multi-room set-up in minutes for a fraction of what it used to cost. You now even have the chance to give your old hifi system a wireless lease of life, with many brands offering their own ways of connecting analogue speakers to the wireless family.

When it comes to tech, there are certain words that have been used so much that they’ve almost lost all meaning. “Connectivity” is one; “seamless” is another.

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Below, however, are ten examples of multi-room speaker systems that, after hours of listening and tweaking, we think offer users the most seamless connectivity out there. That’s the last time we use that phrase, we promise.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Audio Pro addon C5-A wireless speaker

Tested: Audio Pro C10, C5A and link 1

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: AirPlay, Audio Pro app connects to most streaming services, Google Assistant in G10 unit

Buy C10 now £169, Currys PC World

Buy C5A now £169, Amazon

Buy link 1 now £95, Amazon

It sometimes sounds like a bit of a cop-out to talk about something being brilliant “for its price”, but Audio Pro multi-room speakers provide one of the biggest bangs for your buck in audio. They manage to retain a traditional look while subtly updating the aesthetic, and produce crystal clear sound in sync across your home. While the app isn’t the best on the list, it still gives you the option of grouping speakers in different rooms and using them in stereo mode. The link 1 adaptor also gives users the option of adding an existing hifi system to the family. When it comes to performance vs price, Audio Pro takes the title.

Bluesound pulse mini 2i wireless speaker

Tested: Bluesound pulse 2i, pulse mini 2i and node 2i

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, BluOS

Buy pulse 2i now £699, Amazon

Buy pulse mini now £499, Amazon

Buy node 2i now £499, Amazon

For the system with the best audio quality, Bluesound is a strong contender, and from a multi-room perspective, the pulse range shows off Bluesound’s high-fidelity credentials at their very best. The pulse mini 2i in particular is spectacular, with a sound unlike anything we’ve heard for a speaker of its size. The depth of bass is stunning, while the trebles and mids remain distinct at a volume where a little distortion could be expected. The volume level capacity was also a surprise, outstripping the other speakers on the list. In terms of connectivity, Bluesound’s own operating system, BluOS, is a sleek piece of software, allowing users to connect pretty much any streaming service, while the node 2i connects to existing stereo systems to add them to the high-res streaming world. On that note, we’d recommend streaming as high-res as possible. You won’t be disappointed.

Denon home 150

Tested: Denon home 350 and home 150

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Denon OS

Buy home 350 now £599, Currys Pc World

Buy home 150 now £219, Amazon

Alongside the superb audio technology Denon is known for, the sound profile of the brand’s wireless speakers is one of the richest around, and the home series is no exception. Denon’s secret weapon here is the range’s versatility – it’s compatible with almost any streaming service and offers the option of analogue connection. The speakers look the business, too, fitting neatly in any room. With Denon’s home entertainment operating system (HEOS) built into the home range, you can connect them to the brand’s higher-end HEOS products, creating an even more impressive sound system around the house.

Tibo sphere 6

Tested: Tibo sphere 4 and sphere 6

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: Tibo app connects to most streaming services

Buy sphere 4 now £92.49, Currys PC World

Buy sphere 6 now £99.99, Tibo

The dark horse on this list, Tibo creates cheerful speakers that produce sound quality well above their pay grade. The sphere range are all portable, with a minimum of eight hours playing time, and multi-room setup is straightforward and almost immediate. The design is quite old-school and the buttons feel a little flimsy, but the sound is of good quality and much better than the price would suggest. The Tibo bond 2 also enables any existing hifi setup to stream high-resolution music, and the kameleon touch is the brand’s first Alexa-enabled speaker. A couple of Tibo speakers in a flat make for a solid beginner’s multi-room system.

Sonos one SL smart speaker

Tested: Sonos move + and Sonos one SL

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: varies

Connectivity: AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Sonos app connects to most streaming services

Buy Sonos move now £399.99, Currys Pc World

Buy Sonos one SL now £179.99, John Lewis

Sonos is probably one of the first brands many think of when it comes to multi-room systems, and with good reason. All the speakers in the Sonos range look great, sound even better and work with one another hassle-free. Connection is simple via home wifi, and you can either play via the slick, clean Sonos app or Apple airplay 2. Voice control comes in many of the speakers, solidifying the Sonos user experience as one of the best on the list. Adding speakers to your system is straightforward, too, meaning you’ll likely never need another multi-room set again.

Naim Mu-so Qb 2

Tested: Mu-so Qb 2

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: AirPlay 2, Google Assistant, Naim app connects to most streaming services

The Naim mu-so Qb2 is a bit of a favourite for us. The tech inside the Qb 2 has been discussed at length elsewhere, but the result is almost unbelievably clear audio across the frequencies, and almost unrivalled power for its size – which is pretty hefty, admittedly. It has good multi-room connectivity, with the capacity to sync up to five Naim products, but you’ll want to pick a spot and commit, as we can’t envisage lugging it around much. What you get for the effort is a magnificent speaker system, the audio of which is hard to rival.

Ruark MRx

Tested: Ruark R5 and MRx

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: Undok app connects to most streaming services

Buy R5 now £995, Richer Sounds

Buy MRx now £399, Selfridges

The retro aesthetic of Ruark’s speakers is what sets the company apart from its competitors. The family-run brand has been designing speakers for decades, and knows its stuff when it comes to what makes a speaker great. The MRx is designed to look and sound good as a standalone speaker, focused on wireless streaming via its new speaker units, but comes into its own when connected to one of the brand’s bigger offerings, such as the fantastic tabletop R5. The MRx is one of the easiest and best ways to start a multi-room system in your home, with wide connectivity options, a beautiful design and years of experience inside the casing. A pleasure to look at and listen to.

Apple homepod mini

Tested: Homepod mini x 2

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: Airplay 2

The advantages of using the homepod range with your Apple products are manifold: native Apple Music integration, easy setup, and general symbiosis of products – including Siri – being a few examples. While the original homepod is a good option, the homepod mini produces fantastic sound for its size, is a good-looking piece of kit, and would fit in almost any room. If you’re already committed to the brand, the mini is the perfect addition to your Apple ecosystem. There are ways of using the speaker with other systems, via Apple airplay, but the mini is primarily for loyal Apple users, and won’t disappoint.

Bang & Olufsen level

Tested: Bang & Olufsen level and 1 GVA

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: Google Assistant, B&O app connects to most streaming services

Buy level now £1299, Selfridges

Buy 1 GVA now £1399, Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen makes premium speakers at a premium price. However, these will last you for many years, without fail, and so serve as the perfect family of equipment with which to create a high-end multi-room system. The B&O app is pleasingly simple and groups all your speakers in one place in moments. Each speaker is also a statement piece in itself, and will bring some much-needed Scandi sophistication to any home. Many speakers in the beosound range also come with Google Voice Assistant, for hands-free control of your music.

Bose home speaker 500

Tested: Bose Home 500 and Home 300

Wifi: Yes

Bluetooth: Yes

Connectivity: AirPlay 2, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Bose app connects to most streaming services

Buy home 500 now £279, John Lewis & Partners

Buy home 300 now £249.95, Bose

Bose is smart in more ways than one. Every speaker in the smart home range has built-in multi-room connectivity, so whichever speaker you choose, you’ll be able to add to an existing set-up or begin a new Bose system in your home. However, with Apple airplay 2 also included, it’s not a problem to connect to your Apple ecosystem, either, and smart features are seamless. The 360-degree sound from the 500 and 300 speakers is impressive, too, and the app does the job as well as the best on this list. If you’re a Bose fan, you’ll find that the multi-room capability of the home range has exactly what you need.

The verdict: Multi-room speakers

All these systems offer something different to the rest, but on a pure performance vs price basis, Audio Pro is the best option, with great sound at brilliant value. For superior audio, it’s a toss-up between Naim and Bluesound, but Naim perhaps just edges it: this is reflected in the price.

Looking for something a little more retro? check out our round-up of the 11 best record players

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