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Best multi-room speakers 2019: one wireless system, music everywhere

In a few short years multi-room speakers have exploded in popularity, allowing music fans to stream the same song to every room in the house, or a different song in each room.

Not only are multi-room speakers convenient, they negate the need to run a whole bunch of wires around your home. Most multi-room speakers connect to your home's wi-fi network to ensure stable streaming, and can be controlled by apps or voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.   

Sonos is probably the best known maker of multi-room speaker systems but it's facing stiff competition, with rivals offering simple-to-use controls and great sound-quality. Tech giants Amazon, Google and Apple have got in on the action too, joining 'proper' hi-fi brands such as B&W and Naim.

So where do you start? You'll want a speaker that supports your preferred music streaming service. If you're a fan of Tidal, you might want support for hi-res audio streaming.

You don't have stick to one brand of speaker, but if you mix and match, check that the speakers have the same streaming tech built in (AirPlay 2 or Google's Chromecast, for example).  

Also keep in mind some eco-systems, such as Sonos, allow you to stream multiple sources to multiple devices and rooms. Whereas AirPlay 2 and Chromecast only allow streaming of one source to multiple devices and rooms. 

With Black Friday around the corner, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for bargains. To help you pick a multi-room speaker that suits your needs, we've compiled a list of the best options, rated according to performance, connectivity, build quality and value for money. Happy streaming!

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Multi-room audio: everything you need to know

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Future)

1. Sonos One

Sonos sound quality and Alexa voice controls

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 16 x 12 x 12 | Power: 2x Digital class D | Features: wi-fi, Bluetooth V4.0, Alexa voice assistant, AirPlay 2, multi-room, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Deezer, Tidal | Connections: Ethernet

Reasons to Buy

Stylish and unobtrusive
Solid, sophisticated sound
Alexa well integrated

Reasons to Avoid

No hi-res audio

Sonos has ruled the multi-room roost for over a decade now, and with good reason. The Sonos One is one of the best-sounding smart speakers on the market, combining room-filling sound with Amazon's Alexa smart assistant voice controls. It also features Apple AirPlay 2 tech built in, so you can stream music, podcasts and radio stations directly from your iPhone or iPad. And if you're an Apple Music subscriber, you tell Siri what to play, in what room. Looking for an affordable, feature-packed multi-room speaker? This is the One to go for.

Read the full review: Sonos One

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

A superb-sounding speaker with Alexa voice controls

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 15 x 10 x 10cm | Power: 2x Digital class D | Features: wi-fi, Bluetooth V4.0, Alexa voice assistant, multi-room, Amazon Music | Inputs: 3.5mm stereo

Reasons to Buy

Fine balance, detail and timing
Pairs with other Amazon products
Lots of smart features

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

The Echo Plus is less of a smart speaker, and more of a music speaker with the added bonus of smart controls. It might only be 15cm tall, but it offers 360-degree sound and impressive sonic performance for the money. The bass lacks punch but you can give it some more oomph by pairing with Amazon's Echo Sub for the reasonable sum of £119. If you're already invested in the Amazon's eco-system or are building a multi-room system from scratch, this is superb choice. Though if your use of Alexa is likely to be limited, the Sonos One is the better all-rounder.

Read the full review: Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Future)

3. Audio Pro Addon C10

Another class-leader from a company on a roll

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD: 11.5 x 21.5 x 13.5 cm | Power: 2x5W + 15W Digital class D | Features: wi-fi, multi-room, Bluetooth V4.0, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay | Connections: 3.5 mm stereo

Reasons to Buy

Rich, powerful performance
Expert sense of timing
Multi-room functionality

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing at this price

Audio Pro makes a plethora of great wireless speakers but the award-winning Addon C10 is one of the firm's most accomplished, and benefits from an intuitive control app. You get Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay connectivity plus easy access to a plethora of music streaming apps including Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz.  Sound is bold and entertaining, yet detailed and balanced when called for. Assuming that you like its chunky, retro looks, the heavyweight Addon C10 a multi-room champ. 

Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C10

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Naim)

4. Naim Mu-so 2

Stunning, high-end all-in-one- wireless speaker

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD: 12 x 63 x 26cm | Power: 450W | Features: Bluetooth V4.0, multi-room, wi-fi, UPnP, Spotify, AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Tidal | Connections: 3.5mm stereo, optical, Ethernet, HDMI ARC

Reasons to Buy

Sensational detail and dynamics
Convincing bass
Loads of wireless and streaming features

Reasons to Avoid

That price tag

Multi-room speakers start at less than £100. But if you want stunning design and audiophile sound, you can't go far wrong with the impressive Naim Mu-so 2. It streams hi-res music up to 32-bit and offers direct streaming from Spotify Connect and Tidal. Throw in Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast, and you have access to yet more internet radio stations, plus Deezer, Qobuz and Google Play Music. 

The Mu-so 2 connects to its smaller siblings, the Mu-so Qb speakers, via AirPlay 2, Chromecast or Naim's own software. Building a multi-room system around the Mu-so 2 won't be cheap, but you'll be rewarded with premium build-quality, rich sound and plentiful bass.

Read the full review: Naim Mu-so 2

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Apple HomePod

One of the best-sounding smart speakers on the market

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD: 17 x 14 x 14 cm | Features: wi-fi, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth V5.0 multi-room, Siri voice assistant, Apple Music

Reasons to Buy

Compact, solid, stylish
Great positional set-up
Weighty, authoritative sound

Reasons to Avoid

Relies heavily on voice control
Muddled mid-range
Too Apple-centric

Apple took its time releasing its first smart speaker, but the HomePod is all the better for it. It offers authoritative, detailed sound that's worthy of a dedicated hi-fi brand. More to the point, built-in AirPlay 2 tech makes it an excellent multi-room contender (you can connect it to additional HomePods or AirPlay 2-supported products from brands such as Sonos and Naim). The controls are largely geared around Siri voice commands, so you can tell it what to play, in what room. If you're an Android user, there's no sense in buying one. But if you own iOS devices, the HomePod should be top of your list.

Read the full review: Apple HomePod

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

6. B&W Formation Wedge

Striking design and class-leading sound

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD (cm): 25 x 28 x 26 | Power: : 4x40W + 80W | Features: proprietary mesh-system wi-fi, multi-room, Bluetooth v4.1 aptX HD, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay2, Roon ready | Connections: Ethernet, USB

Reasons to Buy

Detailed, balanced sound
Multi-room integration
Quality build

Reasons to Avoid

Limited B&W app
Expensive

The B&W Formation Wedge isn't cheap but it delivers detail in spades, supports 24-bit/96 kHz hi-res audio and is optimised for multi-room integration with the Formation family (including the superb B&W Formation Duo speakers). It also boasts B&W's proprietary wireless mesh system, for rock-solid hi-res streaming between devices. Its striking looks aren't to everyone's taste, and you'll need to consider investing in a Roon subscription to get the best out of the Wedge. Those factors aside, this is a stunning speaker and a great start to premium multi-room set-up.  

Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Denon)

7. Denon HEOS 7 HS2

Sensible-looking but sounds great

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD: 20 x 48 x 16cm | Power: : 5x Digital class D | Features: wi-fi, multi-room, Bluetooth | Connections: Ethernet, USB, 3.5mm stereo

The HEOS 7 HS2 isn't the flashiest-looking speaker but it more than makes up for its lack of eye-catching design with intuitive controls and impressive sound quality. You can stream music through Amazon MusicTidalDeezerNapster, SoundCloud, Spotify and TuneIn radio – all controlled through the Denon's slick, responsive app (apart from Spotify, which works via Spotify Connect). As you'd expect, it connects to other HEOS products, allowing you to build a commendably-simple multi-room system that supports 24bit/192kHz hi-res files.

Read the full review: Denon HEOS 7 HS2

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Bluesound)

8. Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i

The best multi-room speaker in the Bluesound family

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD :17 x 34 x 15.5cm | Power: : 100W | Features: wi-fi, multi-room, Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD, Apple AirPlay2, Amazon Music, Tidal | Connections: Ethernet, USB, 3.5mm stereo

Reasons to Buy

Huge sound for its size
Detailed and spacious soundstage
Impressive functionality

Reasons to Avoid

Dynamics could be better
Lacks rhythmic precision

The medium-sized 100W Pulse Mini 2i is a great choice for those wanting to spread audio around the home. It accommodates playback of hi-res files, including the ability to stream MQA, and features Apple AirPlay 2, aptX HD Bluetooth, plus dual-band wi-fi for more stable streaming. Detail, presentation and bass response are truly impressive, but the Pulse Mini 2i doesn't quite have the authority to earn a coveted five stars. 

Read the full review: Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i 

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: JBL)

9. JBL Link 20

Waterproof smart speaker with hi-res audio support

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: HxWxD: 21 x 9 x 9cm | Power: 2 x 10W | Features: wi-fi, multi-room, Bluetooth V4.2, Google Assistant, Chromecast, 6000mAh battery | Connections: USB

The JBL Link 20 is a waterproof smart speaker with many talents, including access to Google Assistant and multi-room support through Chromecast. When you factor in its compact dimensions, sound quality is top notch, offering plenty of detail and support for 24-bit/96kHz streaming (Tidal Masters users will be able to make the most of their subscription). It lacks the style and sophistication of, say, the Sonos One (our top pick) but the Link 20 does boast Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity over the Sonos. A superb little wireless speaker that's at home on a kitchen worktop, by the pool or down at the beach.

Read the full review: JBL Link 20

Best multi-room speakers 2019: stream music around your home

(Image credit: Google)

10. Google Home Mini

Cheap but effective multi-room audio

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions HxWxD: 4. x 10 x 10cm | Power: 40mm driver | Features: wi-fi, multi-room, Google Assistant, Chromecast Audio | Connections: Micro USB

Reasons to Buy

Affordable Google Assistant
Chromecast compatibility
Fine sound for speech radio

Reasons to Avoid

Sound quality is average for music
No aux or Bluetooth output
Device support could be better

The Home Mini can be used as a dinky little wireless speaker or as a smart hub, through which you can control other Google Home or Chromecast-enabled speakers around your house. Pairing multiple Chromecast speakers for multi-room audio is delightfully simple, but it's worth noting that the Mini lacks Bluetooth and an aux input. Sound quality is decent but nothing special. Still, if you want to build up a Chromecast multi-room system on a very tight budget, the Mini is hard to beat. 

Read the full review: Google Home Mini

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