Part of the prognostications of science-fiction writers like Robert Heinlein, who was far ahead of the curve in imagining the homes of the future, was the total integration of media in every compartment. There would be no gaps — a TV in every room, a communication system, a music player — and all the media-generating devices would be conveniently and cohesively connected.
The outlandish futures that the starry-eyed sci-fi writers envisioned don’t seem farfetched at all. Most of these features are fast-coming if they haven’t already arrived (and passed by). With the introduction of Alexa, Siri, Cortana — and a bevy of other virtual assistants — the robot servant is the harbinger of the brave new world. With the integration of multi-room speaker systems, the home can now be filled with omnipresent media. We’re already living in the future, it seems, so get with the program with this list of the 12 best multiroom speaker systems.
Chromecast Audio Puck
Chromecast Audio is an all-integrative system that tethers your households’ media together. With this tiny disc, you can connect all the speakers in your house directly to your phone, computer, or tablet to play the same music in any room. No need to purchase new speakers — even a ragtag, motley accruement of speakers of non-matching brand suddenly become a coherent collection. With airplay, your movies gain surround sound and your parties bump from corner to corner.
Yamaha MusicCast WX-010
MusicCast is Yamaha’s answer to Google and Apple’s attempts to tether household audio to a single, central application. They also offer this wireless speaker, the WX-010, which can connect Wi-Fi to your phone, tablet or computer, from which the output can be tweaked and controlled. It works with different platforms of connectivity, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Alexa, and Spotify Connect. It loses to the Chromecast in that it requires all speakers to be Yamaha-made in order to connect.
Amazon Echo 2nd generation
The Amazon Echo is the voicebox for Alexa. Simply plop these non-sinister little cylinders around your home, turn them on, and summon your favorite android, Alexa, and with a firm command, play music throughout the house. With 360° omnidirectional audio, the sound in your home will be fulsome and room-encompassing. Plus, you can adjust the treble, mid, and bass levels with just your voice. The Echo can also serve as a central hub for other speakers with built-in Echo-connectivity (though not all carry this feature).
The SRS-ZR5 is billed as the “wireless all-arounder.” Its loyalty is to filling your home with hi-fidelity, crisp, and bright sound. Using the Sony Music Center app (previously known as SongPal) you can tweak the speakers’ output to your sound preferences. You can also control multiple speakers from their positions throughout your house. Also works with Google Home, and features built-in Chromecast.
This speaker from Sonos is compact but plenty powerful. Delivering a rich sound in just a pint-sized package, the Play:1 is discrete and attractive but can be hidden very easily. It’s also humidity resistant and durable, making it perfect for those who like to project outdoors for movie night, or enjoy a little music while they relax in the backyard. The Play:1 connects over Wi-Fi only, and can connect to Amazon Echo or Dot.
Samsung Radiant360 R5
The Samsung Radiant360 R5 is a 22-watt speaker with a 5-inch sub-woofer, packing a nice punch for its size. Offering an ease of connectivity to your television or entertainment system, the Radiant360 R5 has clean and clear sound, as well as multi-room access to Pandora, TuneIn, Rhapsody, Amazon Cloud Player, iHeart Radio, 8tracks, Spotify, 7digital, Murfie, and other music streaming services. An intuitive finger-swipe navigation system allows you to toggle through your library and the various functionalities of the speaker with ease.
Bose SoundTouch 10 Speaker
Able to connect to the Amazon Echo and Alexa using the Bose Skill platform, the SoundTouch 10 from Bose will also work with any Wi-Fi enabled or Bluetooth hubs to play music in any room in your house. A brilliant acoustic design proffers powerful and rich sound from a relatively small speaker.
The Klitpsch R1 bumps. With huge, room-filling sound, the Klipsch R1 has the biggest sound in Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio System collection. Using the Klipsch Stream App, available on iOS or Android devices, you can control your audio experience. One unique feature: you can also simply control your speaker system with your Apple or Android watch, instead of using your computer or phone.
Though it requires that you own iPhone 5s or later, an iPad fifth generation or later, or an iPod touch, the Apple Homepod is worth your attention for its excellent design and intuitive interface. Of course, it comes with Siri and Apple Music, and it’s the perfect platform for them both. Simply plant the speakers in discreet locations around the house and use your phone, tablet, computer, or iPod (or just your voice) to access your digital music library from anywhere in your house.
JBL Link 500
The JBL Link 500 comes with the Google Assistant built-in, so there’s no need to buy any additional Google devices to connect all your speakers to that personal assistant. With far-field voice recognition, the JBL Link is extremely receptive to your commands. Once connected throughout many rooms, your voice commands will be sensitively heard and reacted to from anywhere in your house. The Google Home app will easily connect your speakers together, so it’s not very hard to set up.
Marshall Woburn Multi-room Speakers
Shaped like your favorite guitar and bass amps, the Marshall Multiroom speakers will blend perfectly into any modern household and provide the technological functionality to meet the modern design. The Woburn model is the largest home speaker offered by Marshall, and it boasts an impressive sound thanks to 5.25” subwoofers and a 110-watt amp.
Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Core
Bang & Olufsen makes highly attractive hi-fi speakers. Now, they offer a high-functioning central hub for those speakers to get connected, making your household audio experience totally connected. The Beosound Core hub ties together your BeoSound Shape or your BeoLab speakers, using built-in sources and a solid range of wireless connectivity options. The Bang & Olufsen App provides a super-easy way to access your digital collection of music and manage the settings of your house-wide audio experience. An Essence Remote also allows you to harness the power of your speaker system. With Chromecast built-in, Apple AirPlay and Spotify connect, the BeoSound Core is the ultimate speaker hub for Hi-Fi music.
20 Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Now that your home is fully stacked with powerful speakers, take your music on the go. Check out this list of the 20 best portable Bluetooth speakers to discover how to soundtrack your life, wherever.