Sonos Digital Music System
Access to subscription music
A little expensive
From $419 (PLAY:3 speaker)
Sonos is the gold standard when it comes to multi-room audio. The speakers create their own 5GHz wireless mesh network, handling interference better than 2.4GHz networks. You can stream different music to every room or group rooms into zones, plus the Sonos stations also put an Ethernet port in each room.
It’s easy to stream music to a Sonos speaker or zone from your music library on an iGadget, computer or straight from
a network drive when all your computers are shut down. You can control the system from an Apple or Android gadget or a computer. If you’re still wedded to your CD player or iPhone cradle, you can plug it into the back of any Sonos speaker and stream the output around your home.
Along with your own music library, Sonos also offers access to internet radio and a wide range of subscription services including Spotify, Rdio, MOG and Songl. The music from any source plays in perfect sync across all speakers, while each point is also recognised as a DLNA speaker for streaming from other devices. As with Apple’s Airport Express, it’s easy to start with one Sonos speaker and expand your system over time.
Along with speakerless base stations for connecting to an existing sound system or speakers, Sonos offers the Play:3 and Play:5 wireless-enabled speakers as well as a subwoofer and a Playbar soundbar for connecting to your television.
It’s possible to link a pair of Play:3 speakers for wider stereo separation or to act as rear speakers for the Playbar (which can also link to the subwoofer).
Sonos speakers seem a little expensive, but they offer excellent sound quality, which doesn’t distort at high volumes. Matching an Airport Express with speakers of the same quality wouldn’t work out much cheaper. About the only thing missing here is AirPlay support, but it’s redundant when you’ve got so many other options.