Multi-room speakers explained: Our guide to Sonos
If you’re new to multi-room, take a look at our beginners’ guide to Sonos…
Like the idea of playing the same music in every room of your house, without wires and cables trailing all over the place? Or how about streaming Spotify in the bedroom and iTunes in the kitchen at the same time? With wireless multi-room speakers you can do just that.
We look at the benefits of wireless multi-room speakers with our beginner’s guide to Sonos – one of the most popular wireless audio systems around.
What is Sonos and how does it work?
So much of the music we listen to these days is digital – from web streaming services to tunes downloaded from iTunes and Google Play. Wireless speaker systems like Sonos are designed with digital music in mind.
With it you can stream music from the internet and from your computer, tablet or smartphone to speakers placed around your house. Sonos also lets you:
- listen to music across every room in your house wirelessly
- play different things in different rooms, or group a couple of rooms together – perfect for parties
- stream music from services like Spotify, as well as listening to your own digital music library
- control as many as 32 speakers, ranging from 'loud' to 'crazy loud', at a tap of your smartphone screen
It’s easy to use too – you control what you're listening to and where with a simple smartphone app.
Just start with a speaker…
The great thing about Sonos is that you can create an audio set-up that’s right for you – with anything from 1 up to 32 speakers, depending on the size of your home. But to begin with you just need a single speaker. Once this is connected to your Wi-Fi router you can begin to add more in other rooms using the wireless network.
To add a new speaker to your network, just follow the simple instructions on the control app – it will walk you through the process.
Add a soundbar
If you really want to boost your speakers’ sound, try adding a soundbar to your set-up. A soundbar is a slim box that contains several speakers inside – for deep bass, high frequencies and more pronounced mid-tones. Packed with nine speakers inside, the Sonos PLAYBAR is a great choice. Add it to your multi-room set-up or use it on its own.
How to control your Sonos
Controlling your Sonos multi-room speaker network is even easier than setting it up, thanks to the Sonos Controller app. Download it to your iPhone or iPad or Android smartphone, as well as to your Windows or Apple computer.
Use it to add new speakers to the network, and to control what’s being played around your house – play party music upstairs while your housemate’s getting ready for a night out, and pump something much more chilled into the kitchen while you cook.
What can you listen to via Sonos?
With a streaming service, the sky’s the limit. Play thousands of tracks from Spotify, Google Play, Deezer and more.
Rather listen to your own music? Use a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device to play your iTunes library and other music stored on your laptop, PC smartphone or tablet.
Prefer the radio? You can tune into thousands of streaming radio stations through the Sonos app, too.
Which speaker should I buy? Sonos speakers explained
Whether you're starting from scratch, looking for a centrepiece or beefing up an existing system, there's a Sonos speaker for you.
The Sonos Play:1
The latest addition to the Sonos family, the Play:1 is a small speaker with a big sound. As well as being the smallest, it’s also the cheapest – so it's great if you’re just getting started with wireless home audio.
The Play:1 is also a good addition to an existing Sonos network. For example, if you have large speakers in the living room and kitchen but want to add a smaller, cheaper speaker in the bedroom.
The Sonos Play:5
The daddy of Sonos speakers. It’s much bigger, and better suited to the main room you'll be listening to tunes in. The Play:5 will be the centrepiece of your network.
Expect deep bass and sound large enough to fill a big room from this compact box, thanks to its 5 digital amplifiers. Sonos rates it 'crazy loud' on its How Loud? scale.
The Sonos Play:3
A good middle ground, combining the power of the Play:5 with the portability of the Play:1.You'll get focused, punchy sound that's bigger than you'd expect from such a svelte package. Sonos rates it 'really loud' on its How Loud? scale.
It's flexible too. Make it suit your layout by either standing it up or placing it on its side.