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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Which wireless multiroom speaker system to choose

The current connected speaker market is cluttered with tons of options.  The big question though, is which is worth the price?
Who are these products for? The answer is anyone.  Just about everyone listens to music whether it be your own music or streaming music.  You could have a speaker in the bathroom for your daily routines.  You could have a connected tv bar in your room that makes up for your inadequate built in tv speakers and plays music when you workout.  You could have your home theater speakers connected for when you are not using them for movies you can play music.  You could have one in the kitchen/dining room for cooking and eating, and one in the shop and recreation room for working  or relaxing.  The speakers can be grouped to play the same song or individually to play separate songs simultaneously.  You also dont have to sacrifice your phone using an aux port turning things on and off as you move.  A quality wireless multiroom speaker system will be effortless and fun to incorporate into your life and home automation system.
Many speakers are low priced and very tempting, but when streaming music wirelessly, fidelity is extremely important.  Some early competitors were unable to deliver on that promise.



Samsung Radiant

Samsung has a upper-hand with its SmartThings hub.  It tends to integrate its products with  ST very easily, but still has a separate app.  The Radiant series is their second attempt at multiroom speakers.  And they didn't learn the first time that the gimmicks are not what people want.  Their first try was with the Samsung Shape. It came in an M3 and M5.  Now they have this radiant gimmick.  Three R1, R3 and R5 look like not smart Amazon Echos(pictured above) except for the R7 which looks like an egg.  Here again they are trying to get people into this 360 degree sound idea.  The only problem with that is sound waves will bounce and could make for some poor sound quality.
This system also lacks the option to connect existing speakers or speaker systems to the network.





Denon Heos

Denon is on the second version of their wireless room technology, but they are merely perfecting their product.  If you arent familiar with the name then you probably do not have a home theater setup.  They are known for home theater receivers.  The move to multiroom systems isnt completely off.  Imagine setting up a home theater without wires then expanding that capability to your entire house.  If you are comfortable with the brand then this might be an option for you.  But most people still do not know who they are.
Their product line up is comparable to Sonos and they do have the Amp $500 and Link $350 for connecting existing speakers.

Heos 1 $200

Heos 3 $300

Heos 5 $300 (Yes, for some reason the 3 and 5 are the same price)



Sonos

The company that only does wireless speakers.  They have been perfecting the technology behind wireless speaker technology for years.  Their speaker selection is copied by every other competitor listed above.
The simple integration of their app allows you to stream internet music or music from a pc anywhere in your house with a pc, phone, tablet or an Amazon Echo Dot.
They are a proven system with amazing sound and for that they get the XcerptShow Top Pick!

Play 1 $200

Play 3 $300

Play 5 $500

Playbar $700

Sub $700

Connect $350

Connect: Amp $500
Another emerging option is Google Home and Google Chromecast.  Google Home isnt quite where it needs to be right now, but in the future I do see it integrating its products more efficiently than other options into a smarthome.  If that is something you are interested in then investing is quality speakers would be the best route and attaching Chromecast Audio dongles to them.  In this instance you might not get the high quality music and the ability to play left and right channels but it would set you up with Google for future improvements.  I am not sure how long Google will drag their feet on Google Home though.

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