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Saturday, November 9, 2013

1415. Wireless speakers - are there any good ones?

I’d like to have music available in several rooms in my house, but I really don’t want to install wired speakers in multiple rooms. Is there some wireless sounds system that works well?
Kens’ house came wired for sound in most of the rooms, and the wiring connects up to an antiquated system of wall plates that allows you to change volume and sound source, but nothing else. In a modern world, you should be able to change the content easily without having to trudge back to the audio source. In addition, adding wired speakers to an existing home is difficult and expensive, normally, because it involves invasive work inside walls. We suggest you avoid this if at all possible!
If you’re just sitting in one place, or if you want a portable speaker you can move from room to room, and if you’re interested in playing music you have stored on a portable device, almost any Bluetooth speaker will do. There are a ton of battery-powered Bluetooth speakers available, and each of these uses the short-range (up to 30 ft) Bluetooth standard to connect to almost any portable device. If you’re interested in this sort of arrangement, you might find this article useful in making a shopping choice:
If, on the other hand, you would like a whole-home audio system that you can control from a handheld device (or a computer), we highly recommend the Sonos system ( It isn’t cheap, but it doesn’t sound cheap either.  Sonos speakers use their own wireless mesh network to communicate, and only one of the Sonos devices in your home needs to connect to a network in order to retrieve music from the Web and to be controlled by your devices.
Ken got turned onto these speakers a few years back, and has three Sonos devices in his home. The nice part is that not only are the speakers small, somewhat portable, and easy to set up, they sound great. In addition, you can control all aspects of the sound system from a phone, tablet, or computer, using the Sonos software. You can easily have different music in three different rooms, or group all three rooms together so that the same music is playing in all three simultaneously. You can stop and start any room’s music from your device or computer, and you can stream music from a large number of sources, including online radio stations (most radio stations stream their content online, including our local stations), Spotify, Pandora, Sirius/XM satellite radio, and more. If you have local MP3 files (or any other type of digitized music), the Sonos software can find it and play it, as well. All in all, we’re very pleased with the Sonos system, and highly recommend it.

Sonos isn’t the only option—Bose and other companies make comparable systems, using slightly different technology. We haven’t tried them, however—that doesn’t mean they’re not great, but we can vouch for the Sonos system.

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