Stereo system wireless: The 2 Best Multiroom Wireless Speaker Systems of 2023

Sonos multi-room system review: as strong as ever

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What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022 winner. Sonos remains king of multi-room audio.

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

It’s facing more competition than ever, but no multi-room offering is as complete or as pleasurable to live with as Sonos

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    Still the best user experience

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    Good service support

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    Consistent, engaging sound

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?
Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

For years, Sonos has been synonymous with the concept of multi-room audio, so it’s hard to know which came first. At the very least, Sonos spotted a trend long before its competitors – at most, it’s responsible for making the market what it is today.

Sonos as a system has two big advantages – the breadth of choice and simplicity of use. In the time its rivals have been playing catch-up, Sonos has launched a whole family of products and got onside with a long list of streaming services, not to mention nailing the usability aspect of multi-room audio.

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Sonos One




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Sonos Five




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Sonos Roam




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(Image credit: Sonos)

The most obvious way to introduce yourself to Sonos is with the latest Sonos Era 100 or the Sonos One wireless speaker (pictured, above) – or even the Sonos One SL, which simply omits microphones and therefore voice control functions. Matching the five-star performance of the legacy Play:1 pretty much step for step, the One builds on the latter’s feature list with built-in Alexa Voice Assistant and Google Assistant to become the company’s inaugural smart speaker offering.

It’s a great little speaker in its own right. Controls on the speaker come via a touch-sensitive panel decorated with a circle of tiny, white LEDs and symbols. These represent play/pause, the microphone and Sonos’ now-familiar context-sensitive actions, while the white LEDs illustrate when Alexa is switched on. There’s also a dedicated Pairing button, just above the ethernet socket.

The One produces a weighty, full-bodied and spacious sound that’s capable of going loud for a speaker this small. Voices are clearly projected, bass is solid, and treble is crisp and clean. It’s a surprisingly sophisticated sound, and one that’s natural and authentic.

That general sonic character also carries over to the far larger Five (formerly Play:5), but it’s able to produce a far bigger and bolder sound, thanks to its larger chassis and extra drivers: three 10cm mid-woofers sit below a trio of tweeters, one front-firing and two horned outwards for greater dispersion, and are powered by six matching Class D amplifiers.

This is a weighty performance that can easily fill a room without sacrificing the clarity or openness of the mid-range. It’s effortlessly listenable, with no hard or sharp edges to cause distraction.

(Image credit: Sonos)

The latest Sonos Era speakers – the Era 100 (pictured, above), which effectively replaces the One with new stereo sound and Bluetooth streaming, and the premium Era 300 spatial audio speaker (pictured, below) – deliver an even better step-up in performance. While the One can now be found at a discount (and it’s still a solid Sonos starter), the Era 100 is a terrific speaker in its own right and as part of a multi-room system. The sound is bigger and more detailed, the features and usability are further refined, and the price is still within reach of most. It’s the ideal gateway speaker to the Sonos universe.

Go one step further and you’ve got the unusual design of the Era 300, which delivers a hugely expansive and convincing spatial audio performance with Dolby Atmos tracks from Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music. The expansive feature set is identical to the Era 100, but it offers an even more refined and more capable performance over Sonos’s premium Five speaker.

  • Sonos Era 100 vs Sonos One: which smart speaker should you buy?
  • Sonos Era 300 vs Sonos Five: which premium Sonos speaker is for you?

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

If you want to voice-control music in other rooms, specify where (eg. “Alexa, play Bowie in the lounge”) and the One will send music to the Sonos kit you’ve ascribed to that ‘zone’ – even a non-Alexa-enabled Sonos speaker, such as a PlayBar or Five. “Alexa, play Bowie everywhere” sets all your Sonos speakers to synchronised Ziggy Stardust mode.

A combination of noise-cancelling, something called “smart voice capture” and a custom-designed six-microphone array also ensures that she can always hear you.

Of course, you can also use Alexa on the Sonos speakers exactly as you do, say, an Amazon Echo Dot, so as well as playing music you can set timers and alarms, check the weather, and add items to your shopping list – small features, but useful nonetheless.

  • Read our full Sonos Era 300 review
  • And the Sonos Era 100 review

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

At the other end of the price spectrum is the Sonos Roam (and Roam SL – again, a microphone and voice control-less version). The cheapest Sonos speaker, it’s also the first properly portable Bluetooth speaker in the range. We say ‘properly’ because the Sonos Move actually came before it but is bigger than the size traditionally associated with portable models.

Of course, you still get all the Sonos multi-room connectivity at home but now you can take the Sonos sound with you wherever you go, whether it’s into the garden, to the park or on holiday (other not-inside-your-home options are available). It’s solidly built and will survive water and dust, too, thanks to its IP67 rating. 

The built-in battery is good for up to 10 hours of playback from a single charge, ensuring Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 wireless audio for a full day.  

Sonically, it’s good if not great, sounding punchy and delivering plenty of bass. For pure sound quality, there are better portable speakers out there at this price, but then again none of them has all the skills of a Sonos speaker. 

Sonos encourages you to calibrate each speaker using the app’s built-in TruePlay feature, which measures pulses fired out from the drivers. It generally results in better performance, so it’s a shame that, due to inconsistencies in Android devices’ microphones, only iOS devices can get the full-fat room correction. With the Era 100 and Era 300 speakers, there is now a TruePlay version for Android users.

There’s also a Loudness switch for each speaker, which is worth experimenting with. Turning it off can result in greater clarity and tighter bass, particularly if the speaker is placed in a corner, but it also reduces weight and scale.

  • Sonos Roam SL vs Sonos Roam: which Bluetooth speaker is best for you?
  • Sonos Roam vs Sonos Move: which portable speaker is better? 

Sonos hi-fi

We’ve long enjoyed the Connect as Sonos’s means of connecting existing hi-fi systems to its multi-room network. The Connect:Amp was for a long time the company’s go-to powered version of the streamer, but the Sonos Amp is the latest version of this product. It’s available in black and with three touch-sensitive ‘buttons’ on the front: one for play/pause and two that change use with context but are mainly for the volume.

The insides of the new Amp are densely packed, with no dead space. That, of course, creates a cooling problem, but the Amp is designed to bring in air from underneath and expel it from the top, all without the use of a fan. 

  • Sonos tips, tricks and features

In terms of character, the Amp paints very much with the same bold strokes as the rest of its family, revelling in forward-sounding presentations and dealing them with gusto and a more-than-respectable level of detail.

That’s not to say the Amp is overly energetic – it doesn’t attempt to force the issue with subtler tracks as some enthusiastically forward-sounding components can tend to do – but it doesn’t need asking twice to really throw the music at you.

What restricts it from being a class leader, regardless of the competition from Bluesound’s range of products, such as the Powernode, is a relatively pedestrian sense of timing and dynamics.

Organisation is wavering only when an arrangement tests the Amp at its limits, and rhythmically it is far from inept, but there isn’t quite the musicality to offer tracks their due expression or drive beats with obvious impetus on leading notes.

As part of a Sonos network, it is an admirable performer, not least for its versatility; it just falls short in terms of hi-fi separates.

  • Best music streaming services

Sonos home cinema

(Image credit: Sonos)

Sonos’s suite of home cinema components all share the character of the rest of the family. Further testament to their talents is their consistently high ratings in our stand-alone tests: the current Arc and Beam 2 have both gained not only five-star reviews but also What Hi-Fi? Awards 2022.

The Arc may have arrived late to the Dolby Atmos soundbar party but it quickly proved to be one of the very best performance-per-pound soundbars you can buy. It’s designed to partner bigger TVs than the more compact Beam. At 114cm (45″), it is a bit wider than a typical modern 49-inch TV and is proportionally best partnered with a 55-inch model.

At the back of the Arc are the power socket, an ethernet connection for wired networking, and a single HDMI port. An optical adapter is included for those with older TVs, but the intention is that you use HDMI and use the ARC/eARC (Audio Return Channel) functionality to get the sound from your TV to the Arc.

The Arc’s Dolby Atmos soundfield is generated by 11 Class D digital amplifiers that power 11 custom drivers. Eight of those drivers are elliptical woofers evolved from those in the Beam (four along the front, two on top and one in each end), while the other three are silk-domed tweeters that are all built into the front but with two firing diagonally into the room. The Arc uses its array of speakers to bounce sound off your walls and ceiling to create a 3D audio effect, and the soundfield is once again tailored to your room using Sonos’ Trueplay technology. 

The Arc runs exclusively on the Sonos S2 platform, so all your other devices will need to be updated to S2 in order to work with the Arc, and it’s worth remembering that some older Sonos devices are entirely incompatible with this latest software (and the benefits it brings).

Crucially, the Sonos Arc delivers one of the most convincing Atmos presentations of any soundbar we’ve heard. It’s detailed and expansive, handling big dynamic shifts as well as it delivers more delicate sounds. There’s weight and punch as well as clarity in the higher frequencies.

As for the Beam 2, it’s more of the same but in a more compact package.

The new Beam not only lives up to the high bar set by its predecessor but exceeds it by a margin that more than justifies its higher cost. The decision by Sonos to use processing power and forward-facing drivers to recreate Dolby Atmos has paid off with more capable and effective handling of the format than many more expensive soundbars with upward-firing drivers.  

The Sonos Beam Gen 2, much like the Arc, is the best Dolby Atmos soundbar at its price, and it elevates itself yet further with its streaming smarts, compact design and expert handling of motion, depth and space. Regardless of Atmos, it sounds incredible, confidently delivering deep bass, a refined, smooth treble, and a wide dynamic range.

Multi-room performance

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Sonos app is a large part of the system’s charm. As well as walking you through set-up, it’s where control of your system takes place, enabling you to see what music is playing where and to group speakers together.

It also offers the widest choice of streaming service compatibility of any multi-room system, giving you access to all of your music in one place. Even Spotify is properly integrated into the app, where most rivals force you to use Spotify Connect. On Sonos though, that’s merely an option.

Having everything in one place is one of Sonos’s greatest strengths, largely because it enables genuine universal search. Search for an artist, album or track and Sonos will browse through all music services and local sources connected over a home network, such as iTunes libraries and NAS drives.

It’s a nice touch, especially when most competitors only search for one source at a time. You’re also able to build playlists and on-the-fly queues directly within Sonos, and again from multiple sources.

Thanks to the S2 update, Sonos filled the high-resolution gap that previously existed, streaming up to 24-bit/48kHz FLAC files courtesy of streaming services Qobuz and Amazon Music HD. Tidal is limited to lossless FLAC at 16-bit/44.1kHz, while the S2 platform supports FLAC and ALAC files in up to 24-bit depth from your music library. With the Era 300, you also get support for spatial audio with Dolby Atmos tracks on Amazon Music Unlimited and Apple Music.

Sonos supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (the latter is not available in the Era speaker), and not only that but now has its own Sonos Voice Control with the wake word “Hey Sonos”. Voice assistants are available on any Sonos product with microphones.

The constant updating of its app is a testament to Sonos’s dedication to endlessly improving, upgrading and evolving the offering, though how long Sonos S1 products will continue to be viable following the launch of S2 remains to be seen. For now, the two platforms don’t talk to each other so you need to choose one or operate two apps, should you have a system of old and new products.


(Image credit: Sonos)

Despite being the first multi-room system to win a What Hi-Fi? Award, the company hasn’t had things all its own way in recent years. The emergence of multi-room hi-fi and wireless speaker rivals, such as Amazon’s Alexa-powered ecosystem, Bluesound and Audio Pro, plus the fact that multi-room is now achievable across a variety of products using Chromecast and AirPlay 2, has kept Sonos on its toes. 

Sonos continues to deliver, though – and across popular product categories. The Era marks a whole new level of sonic performance, Roam has successfully added a portable Bluetooth speaker to the family, while the new Beam has brought excellent Atmos sound to a more affordable price. 

And while the S2 update has marked the beginning of the end for some of the company’s legacy products – unwelcome, if far from uncommon, in the tech world – it has brought with it some clear upsides for the latest Sonos devices.

Offering a full suite of good to great multi-room speakers for music and movies, we’re happy to recommend Sonos to anyone eager to explore the world of whole-home wireless audio.


  • Which Sonos speaker should you buy?
  • Sonos deals: the cheapest price on every Sonos speaker
  • Sonos Era: everything you need to know

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world’s leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

Audio Pro multi-room system review

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What Hi-Fi? Awards 2020 winner. For sound quality at this price, this system is unbeatable

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Audio Pro has answered many people’s prayers by adding proper multi-room functionality to its marvellous Addon speakers

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi?
Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

According to Leonardo da Vinci, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. That mantra also appears to have been adopted by Audio Pro. Its range of wireless speakers has earned the Swedish manufacturer multiple What Hi-Fi? Awards in recent years, and, having now embraced multi-room, it was the obvious choice as our Product of the Year in 2018.

Included in our initial test were the Award-winning and still class-leading Addon C5 speaker, its larger (and even more sonically talented) sibling the Addon C10 – a wireless speaker Award-winner in its own right in 2018 – and the Link 1 (whose job it is to connect existing hi-fi components or wireless speakers into the chain). 

In this extended review, we’ll be taking into account every one of Audio Pro’s multi-room products we’ve tested – an approach that only underlines the company’s sonic supremacy.

Audio Pro multi-room system pricing:

Audio Pro Addon C3



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Audio Pro Addon C5

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Audio Pro Addon C10



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Audio Pro Drumfire



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Audio Pro Addon C5a



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The C5A has a pair of microphones for Alexa voice assistant

Audio Pro’s boom-box-style range of Addon speakers are instantly recognisable, as is their unrivalled sonic prowess. The multi-room versions, those with wi-fi, are the ‘C’ rather than Bluetooth-only ‘T’ model number, and they now number four products.

The Addon C3, Addon C5 and Addon C10 are pretty much visually identical but for their size, while the Addon C5A wears a volume indicator and pair of microphones on its head for its use with Alexa voice assistant.

Each comprises the ‘koala bear’ driver configuration that has become these speakers’ distinguishing feature, with a pair of 2cm soft dome tweeters and mid/bass drivers (and reflex ports, incidentally) growing in line with the cabinet.

The Addon C3 has a 9cm woofer, it measures 10cm on the Addon C5 and Addon C5A, while the Addon C10 has the largest at 13cm. The power output from the Class D digital amplification rises in similar increments: 15W, 40W and 80W respectively.

All four speakers house a large circular volume control flanked by sets of four smaller buttons on the top: for power-on, play/pause, input selection and Bluetooth pairing to the left, and pre-sets to its right.

Here is also where you’ll find the aux-in jack, which will save you having to tip the speaker forward and fumble around at its rear to find a connection.

Inputs on each Audio Pro’s behind are reserved for more permanent fixtures, such as the power cord, ethernet cable and stereo RCA. These are alongside outputs for sub-woofer and USB device charging, as well as a toggle switch for optimised playback depending whether you’re using wi-fi or anything else.

The C10 has plenty of low-end authority

The key to their performance is musicality unrivalled by anything at a similar price – or even quite a lot more. Their level of detail is insightful, exposing the texture and timbre of each instrument and vocal line alike without underplaying cohesion or organisation in favour of nit-picking analysis.

They time with metronomic precision, but temper it with the kind of dynamic sense that captures rhythmic emphasis nicely. And that dynamic expression is a strong positive over the speakers’ entire performance, able to reflect lavish shifts and subtle nuance alike. It simply does everything right, and without fuss.

The increased power and driver and cabinet size predictably ushers a grander performance each step you take up the chain, with the Addon C10 particularly able to rattle trinkets from the mantelpiece or twist our insides with its low-end authority.

But with every size and price increase, Audio Pro steps up its game. There is more space to the presentation, more three-dimensionality and ambient detail, greater headroom for more violent dynamic variation and an added maturity over the more delicate. Every penny of the loftier price tag is paid back with interest.

Whereas the Addon range once dominated Audio Pro’s wireless speaker output, now there are class-leading products in different shapes and sizes at either end of the spectrum. 

The A10 looks more like one of Audio Pro’s rivals’ speakers 

A fabric-coated cylinder standing just shy of 20cm, the A10 resembles more the kind of speaker we’re used to seeing from the Scandinavians’ rivals, but most importantly it brings the company’s sonic signature sound to a multi-room speaker costing less than £200.

The usual connections, wired and wireless, are featured, with the A10 having capacity for 3.5mm aux, Bluetooth 4.0, Apple AirPlay, wi-fi and Spotify Connect. It also supports MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC and Apple Lossless formats.

Inside, however, much has changed from the A10’s rectangular stablemates. Not wanting to sacrifice the full body that has become a beloved aspect of its class-leading sonic character, Audio Pro has packed in a 7. 5cm long-throw woofer and bolstered its output with two 11.5cm passive radiators.

It is the use of a BMR, or Balanced Mode Radiator, tweeter that is most canny, however. Among its many benefits, this flatter-faced driver has the ability to offer wider dispersion than a traditional tweeter – up to 180º in fact – and so can make the most of the A10’s cylindrical form, making it far less fussy when it comes to positioning.

Unsurprisingly, that’s one of the first things that jumps out when we switch the A10 on. We love the directness of its siblings, but the versatility and sheer spread of sound here is to be admired. It doesn’t have quite the unwavering focus, nor the sheer weight in the low end, but we can move around our test room and still be treated to the same high quality sound.

There is that familial knack for timing and dynamic judgement, albeit with the price difference taken into account, equating to a musicality to which it is simply a joy to listen.

At 65cm tall, the Drumfire is a colossus

The Drumfire is a 65cm-tall floorstanding colossus reminiscent of a guitar stack that proves Audio Pro’s ability to retain its Award-winning sonic signature even when the speaker tips the scales.  

The big bottom portion of the Drumfire houses a 20cm subwoofer powered by a 200W Class D amplifier to pump bass into the room. On the back are a couple of dials for crossover frequency and volume level, and two switches: one that toggles the speaker’s standby mode, and the other to manage phase.

On top of the sub is the second part of the Drumfire’s set-up, containing two 11cm woofers and a 25mm tweeter. This box has an RCA input for an external analogue source, as well as an ethernet port and 3.5mm input.

In fact, its features are otherwise generally in line with the rest of Audio Pro’s speaker offerings, right down the playback and pre-set panel on its roof.

As the Addon C10 is to the Addon C3, similarly the Drumfire’s better-honed talents run further than the added power and bottom end over its family members – it is again a step up in terms of performance across the board.

Another Award for Audio Pro is barely news anymore, but the fact this year the Drumfire displaced the Naim Mu-so – a product almost double the price we once heralded as the nearest to hi-fi we’d heard from a wireless speaker – as our most expensive champion in 2018 is proof it is operating on a different level to anything else around it.

Though there is a pair of unknown quantities in the Audio Pro line-up as far as we’re concerned – the Addon C-Sub can help those smaller speakers delve deeper into the low frequencies, while the A40 is set to receive a wider release following its design for the company’s 40th anniversary – our time spent with the rest of the company’s speakers allows us to confidently celebrate it as the best-sounding multi-room suite available for the money.

  • Bluesound Generation 2i multi-room system review

Hi-fi components

The ashtray-shaped Link 1 can connect any Addon speakers to your multi-room network

Sized and shaped like an ashtray, the Link 1’s duties are to collect song selections from the app, connecting to your home network via either wi-fi or its ethernet input, and dispense via whichever output you have selected.

These are limited to optical and analogue auxiliary – though with a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable included, connecting to pretty much any existing set up could hardly be easier.

That’s really about the size of it: for the £100 price of Link 1, any extra audio equipment – whether it’s another Addon speaker or full hi-fi system – is now part of your multi-room network.

It perhaps shoulders a lesser burden in what is effectively a midwife role, but it performs its own specific task with equal aplomb to the speakers. It fits our Addon T3 like a glove, which is of little surprise – but even hooking it up to feed Spotify into our reference hi-fi system doesn’t hold the performance back, despite the inherent limitations.

Multi-room performance

Setting up a multi-room system couldn’t be less stressful

It’s difficult to imagine a less stressful set-up procedure. The Audio Pro app seeks out all available products connected to the home network (with the option of adding those not already tethered manually), and they are then all there to manipulate as you wish.

Living with the app is a slightly different proposition, though. In some ways it’s simple – ‘drag and drop’ to partner or separate speakers, either in stereo pairs or multi-room zones, and tweak the bass and treble at your leisure. But it can be a little buggy, and is certainly limited compared to most rival systems.

The bugs are neither constant nor devastating, but the odd stutter and hang – particularly when pairing or splitting speakers – gets annoying in a short time.

Limitations, meanwhile, are felt in the requirement to leave the Audio Pro app in order to play music from Spotify or Apple Music, which leads to a rather disjointed user experience. It also means you can’t create on-the-fly playlists that incorporate tracks from those services and the others on board (Tidal, Qobuz, Napster and Deezer), or your own digitally stored collection.

But it’s important to point out the Audio Pro is far from the most limited multi-room app out there, and its occasional bug and rudimentary nature is forgivable when you consider the price and sound quality of the speakers it’s controlling.

  • Sonos multi-room system review


The Audio Pro range doesn’t include the designated home cinema components as some of its multi-room rivals, and the app is a little lacking – and that might limit the overall appeal for some people. But for sound quality at the price, this system is currently unbeatable.

As much as anything else, your chosen path for migration to multi-room should be about whose speakers you want around your house. For us, Audio Pro makes that particular decision admirably simple.


  • Sound 5
  • Features 5
  • Build 5


Read all our Audio Pro reviews

Multi-room audio: everything you need to know

Best multi-room systems 2019

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world’s leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test

18. Wireless Active Hi-Fi Acoustics / Audio Factor

In this article, we tried to systematize the wireless, active speaker systems of the modern consumer audio market. With the advent of consumer wireless data transmission technologies operating in the license-free radio band (2.4-2.5 MHz) and formats such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, many devices have appeared on the market that offer some degree of “wireless”. Further development of wireless formats has contributed to the fact that wireless systems began to meet Hi-Fi quality standards. And we are talking about both the quality of the signal itself, and the quality and reliability of the wireless connection itself. The ever-increasing trend in the use of smartphones, tablets and networked media content also contributes to the search for wireless playback solutions, making it convenient and understandable for the user, usually already involved in his wireless LAN.
You can see the main 4 groups of wireless audio solutions in this block diagram.

Group #1 Portable Bluetooth Speakers
This is a group of compact and portable audio devices that primarily operate using the Bluetooth wireless protocol. It is completely wireless, thanks to the use of efficient lithium-ion batteries that provide approximately 10 hours of stable operation. The range of 10-15 meters is enough for most users of such speakers. Acoustic portable systems are the most affordable wireless solution today and the most widespread in use. There are thousands of different options for such systems in stores. In order to expand the frequency range in most portable acoustics, passive low-frequency emitter technology is used, when a passive membrane is used together with an active speaker, which significantly increases the efficiency of low-frequency reproduction.
You can further classify this group according to additional features:
– Models for sports (e. g. for bicycles), e.g. JBL Charge,
– Waterproof models (great for use in the country), such as Denon Envaya,
– Premium quality models (great gift for office or home use), such as Canton Musicbox
– Additional functions, such as the ability to pair in stereo pairs or simultaneous, synchronous playback, support for playback of High Resolution files, etc.

Of course, representatives of this group can be attributed to High-Fidelity devices with a very large tension, but given the popularity, a lot of technological tricks, complete “wireless”, and the fact that almost all famous manufacturers of Hi-Fi acoustics have similar solutions today, we will determine all these items are in a single group.

Group No. 2 “Active systems with an amplifier in one column”
This group of acoustic systems can be called wireless rather conditionally. Of course, all systems in this group are equipped with a Bluetooth wireless interface, which allows you to transfer high-resolution audio files to speakers. But there is a wired connection between the speakers – the speakers are connected to each other, with an acoustic cable. Below in the photo are the Canton C-500 Active speakers.

One of the speakers has a built-in stereo amplifier that drives the passive speakers of the main speaker system (Master) and the passive speakers of the second, controlled speaker system (Slave). A column with a built-in amplifier is connected to a 220V network. On the Master column there are control buttons (see Heco Ascada 2.0 or Klipsch The Sixes systems) and analog and digital input interfaces – all wired, except for Bluetooth. Also, an HDMI interface, Dolby Digital, DTS multi-channel audio decoders, and a processor can be integrated into this speaker, as is the case with the Canton GLE49 system6.2BT. Such advanced equipment allows you to get a stereo system and a soundbar (two in one). Virtual multi-channel sound allows you to effectively use such systems as a home theater. At the same time, there is no need to connect rear speakers, which means that there is no need to lay acoustic wires on the rear speakers, which is an additional and obvious wireless factor. More information about Canton GLE496.2 BT systems, including a video review, you can see on our website.
Most active loudspeaker systems use efficient digital amplifiers to amplify the signal. Floor-standing systems typically have four output stages of amplification – two for each speaker, so the signal for the woofers is amplified by their amplifier, and for the high-mid speakers by theirs (bi-amping mode). This improves the sound quality and enhances the amplification efficiency in general. In the Canton GLE496.2 BT speakers, when a 5.1 multi-channel signal is fed in, the processor divides the gain bands so that the woofers work as active subwoofers, really hitting the bass depth.

Group No. 3 “Active systems with an amplifier in each speaker”
Unlike classic wired solutions, which mainly represent studio professional speakers, in which an amplifier is also built into each of the systems, representatives of wireless systems of group No. 3 work in most cases according to the Master / Slave principle, when one speaker is the master and the second is the slave. The most popular models from group 3 are KEF LSX with WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplay 2 and KEF LS50 with USB-B interface. In studio active wired models, the analog signal from the source is fed by a separate analog cable separately to each speaker (left and right channels, respectively). Wireless systems have at least a Bluetooth decoder, and there can also be Dolby Digital, DTS multi-channel decoders, many digital interfaces, etc. All these decoders must be located in one column and controlled by the processor, and it is this column that is called the Master (master). The Master speaker transmits a radio signal to the Slave speaker, as well as control signals that ensure smooth operation in stereo and other modes. Advanced models, such as Canton Smart speakers, can be combined into 4.0, 5.1 multi-channel sets, and even in this case, only one Master speaker performs processing and coordination of work. We will consider multichannel wireless systems in more detail in the next article.

Unlike the models of the previous group #2, where the amplifier is built into only one speaker, the systems of group #3 may not be completely connected to each other by cables. However, due to the high potential quality of the speakers, many models of this group allow cable connection, offering a studio option for transmitting the left and right signal to each speaker separately, as well as transmitting a digital signal from the Master speaker to the Slave speaker via cable. Also, each system is connected to a 220V network. Active systems offer a variety of wired interfaces, from audiophile balanced XLR or digital USB-B, to traditional optical and coaxial digital inputs and analog RCA inputs.
As noted above, some models may have Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Atmos decoders, be combined into multichannel groups, i.e. used in wireless home theater systems. All this can serve for additional classification of the systems of this group according to the presence of this or that interface or according to the functional purpose (stereo music/cinema).
Some group 3 loudspeakers can use wireless radio transmitters – compact adapters that are connected by cable to the signal source. For example Dynaudio Xeo speaker systems.
Group 3 models have the highest reproduction quality and the highest cost. In most cases, the models of this group also have a premium design.
When evaluating the cost of systems, it is necessary to take into account that functionally they include both speakers and an amplifier and all connections, and compare their cost with the cost of a similar system of separate components.

Group No. 4 “Network, Network speakers”
Group 4 active wireless models are the most functional. Their main advantage is the connection to your local network and the Internet, and support for Wi-Fi. As a rule, they are compact, have a rather attractive design. In most cases, the systems of this group are controlled using a mobile application developed for each family of such devices. The application allows you to stream audio files from any network source compatible with the DLNA protocol, from any flash memory card connected to any of these devices, use music services, NAS servers and other network equipment. Each family of such systems can include not only wireless stereo speakers combined in one case or made in separate cases, but also various other devices: wireless soundbars, subwoofers, amplifiers, media players, microsystems, AV receivers, etc.). The most popular families are MusicCast from Yamaha and Heos from Denon. Each of these families has its own mobile application of the same name. Having several devices of the same family in different rooms at home, you can see and control all these devices from a mobile application.

Therefore, such devices are very often called multi-room. Network speaker systems and other multi-room components with built-in loudspeakers (microsystems, soundbars) are based on effective digital amplifiers, relatively high-quality speakers and a rather intricate shape of the resonator (phase inverter), due to which the maximum possible level of low frequencies is achieved with a fairly compact size. A very important parameter in these devices is compatibility with media content. Many modern network devices support playback of high-resolution audio files PCM, FLAC, ALAC 192kHz/24bit. When operating this category of systems, the user mainly uses wireless interfaces: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay, but some of these devices also have analog inputs (MiniJack, 2 RCA), which usually have an optional function.

Audio Factor will help you select the best wireless system for your needs and requirements.
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Top 9 Wireless Home Speakers – Reviews and Articles

The audio industry is changing before our eyes: what seemed exotic yesterday is already unconditionally in trend today. This happened with wireless speakers: it took only a few years for them to move into the category of the most sought-after products. In our selection – the best home bluetooth speakers, with good sound and relevant functionality.

1. JBL Link Music Yandex

Many are familiar with JBL portable dust and moisture-proof acoustics for travel and outdoor recreation, but the famous company has some more trump cards up its sleeve – for example, home wireless speakers balanced in terms of price-quality ratio called Link Music. The precision-engineered cabinet houses a powerful full-range driver and an energy-efficient amplifier, resulting in a frequency response that extends from 60 Hz to 20 kHz and rich sound. In addition, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless modules, support for the Yandex ecosystem and Alice voice assistant are a good choice for home and office.

2.Audio Pro Addon T3+

Wireless acoustics Addon T3 + from Audio Pro is a combination of the best design solutions in the Scandinavian style and the latest sound reproduction technologies. At the service of listeners – a two-way speaker system with a 3.5 ”woofer and a pair of dome tweeters, a 25-watt energy-efficient amplifier, wired and wireless connection of signal sources. Moreover, the speaker can also work from the built-in battery, which is enough for 12 hours of playback (at high volume) and up to 30 hours at medium volume.

3. Marshall Acton II

Inspired by the legendary amplification equipment for musicians, Marshall technology is one of the icons of the modern music industry. The Acton II speaker system was no exception: here you can find both vintage style and the most up-to-date technologies. In the bowels of the case there are three speakers: a powerful woofer and a pair of tweeters, which are driven by three energy-efficient amplifiers. In addition, listeners are offered Bluetooth 5.0 and the possibility of wired connection of sources, as well as fine-tuning the sound through Marshall’s proprietary mobile application.

4. Audio Pro G10

Audio Pro didn’t get too creative with the design of its wireless home speaker and introduced the G10, which follows the current trends exactly: a cylinder form factor, a pleasant fabric finish and comfortable control keys. Such acoustics will harmoniously fit into any interior and will not attract too much attention, but only for the time being … after all, if you turn on some good music and make it louder, the space is filled with clear and rich sound. The frequency range extends from 55 Hz to 20 kHz, and Google Assistant support reminds you that the future has already arrived, because the speaker can also be controlled using voice commands.

5. Harman Kardon Go + Play Mini

Harman Kardon Go + Play Mini deftly balances between stationary home and portable portable acoustics, and the dimensions of the case made it possible to place four emitters inside (two woofers and a pair of tweeters), but as a result – a powerful sound, quite comparable in solidity with some small bookshelf columns. However, there is a wireless Bluetooth connection and a pair of microphones for conference calls. Well, a nice bonus is the built-in battery, which, if necessary, provides the audio system with power for up to 8 hours.

6. Denon Home 350

Denon has been producing audio excellence for over 100 years. At the same time, the Japanese brand keeps up with the times and presents its own vision of the ideal home bluetooth speaker – the model under the index 350. Before us is a flagship device with support for HEOS, Airplay 2 and voice control. Available – a pair of 6.5-inch woofers, as well as a pair of mid-range radiators and tweeters, with each speaker driven by a separate energy-efficient amplifier. A proprietary DSP processor with advanced signal processing algorithms is provided for the smooth and coordinated work of the speakers. The audio system supports popular streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, and true audiophiles will certainly appreciate the ability to play Hi-Res formats. On the body of the device there is a USB connector and a standard 3.5 mm input for connecting sources. Plus, the Home 350 can be networked with other HEOS speakers, and intuitive touch controls complete the picture. The speaker system will perform well in the kitchen, bedroom or living room, and the waterproof fabric finish not only looks great, but also provides reliable protection.

7. Dynaudio Music 7

Many audiophiles dream of a stereo system from Dynaudio, but surely not all connoisseurs of good sound have heard that, in addition to traditional floor and bookshelf speakers, the Danish brand releases Music 7 home wireless speakers – a work of design art that cannot be ignored. This smart speaker does more than just play music: smart algorithms instantly adapt to ambient conditions (room acoustics) and different music genres, automatically calibrating the sound. In the bowels of the case are first-class speakers: a pair of 5-inch woofers, two 3-inch midranges, and a pair of dome tweeters. Each transducer is driven by a separate amplifier, resulting in a frequency response of 40 Hz to 40 kHz and solid, realistic music reproduction. Well, another strong argument is a unique design that will emphasize the refined taste of the owner.

8. Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation

Contrary to the desire of wireless speaker manufacturers for rounded cabinet shapes, Naim goes its own way and introduces the second generation of the Mu-so Qb cube, the famous wireless audio system that has become a real hit. Directly responsible for sound reproduction are the speakers jointly developed by Naim and Focal: a large woofer, two midranges and a pair of dome tweeters. The emitters are driven by five amplifiers (100 W for the woofer and 50 W for the rest of the emitters). Naturally, the column supports the most up-to-date functionality: Chromecast and Airplay, Tidal streaming services, Spotify Connect, Internet radio and much more. Well, for inveterate fashionistas and visuals, an interesting option is provided: the standard black grill can be replaced with an optional one – blue, terracotta or olive – and the home interior will change even more noticeably.

9. Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 4th Gen

A true technological luxury from Bang & Olufsen, the trendy BeoPlay A9 speaker system is now in its fourth generation. Before us is not only a memorable design at the junction of vintage and hi-tech, but also luxurious finishing materials: the speaker is created with the same care as premium furniture. The speaker can be placed on the floor (wooden, walnut or maple feet sold separately) or mounted using the optional wall bracket. At the service of listeners – excellent sound, thanks to an 8″ woofer, a pair of 3″ midranges, two full-range drivers and a pair of tweeters.