Multi-room speakers explained: Our guide to Sonos
If you’re new to multi-room, take a look at our beginners’ guide to Sonos…
At one time, filling every room of your home with music meant trailing wires everywhere. Not anymore. With wireless multi-room speakers, your audio can be controlled simply by the touch of a button or sound of your voice.
Sonos is the king of multi-room, and with its smart speakers you can stream Spotify in the bedroom and iTunes in the kitchen at the same time.
What is Sonos and how does it work?
Known for being super-easy to use, Sonos connects to your home Wi-Fi network. It’s more stable than Bluetooth and you won’t suffer interruptions from phone calls while you’re streaming music.
With Sonos you can play music from the internet and from your computer, tablet or smartphone to speakers placed around your house.
The smart speakers are controlled via an app on your phone or tablet. Sonos lets you:
- listen to music across every room in your house wirelessly – even in the garage
- play different things in different rooms, or group a couple of rooms together – perfect for parties
- stream content from over 60 services such as Spotify and Google Play, as well as listen 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
- optimise the sound for each room thanks to smart Trueplay technology
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 want to really beef up 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 more of a doddle 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 – the kids can play party music upstairs while you pump something much more chilled into the kitchen as you cook.
Sonos also works with Amazon Alexa. You’ll need an Echo device to control it with your voice unless you have the Sonos One, which already has Alexa built in.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, 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 Play:1 is a small speaker with a mighty 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.
Got your hands full in the kitchen? Or doing some housework? You can control the Sonos One smart speaker with your voice.
The latest addition to the Sonos family comes with Amazon Alexa built-in so you can ask it to play songs while you cook or turn up the volume if you’re in another room. You can even request a lullaby when you’re putting the little one to bed.
Pair two Sonos Ones together in the same room for instant stereo sound.
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.
A good middle ground, combining the power of the Play:5 with the portability of the Play:1. You'll get focused, punchy smart 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.
Create full-on cinematic sound with this slim, stylish speaker that fits neatly beneath your TV. Use it to ramp up the sound quality when you’re watching movies and sport – hear every whisper and thwack of the ball. You can also use it to stream music wirelessly.
Add a Sub subwoofer and a pair of Play:1s or Play:3s and you’ll have your very own home cinema set-up.