The best multi-room audio systems

Keep the party mood going with tunes that flow from room to room – it’s easier and more accessible than ever with the best multi-room audio systems

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If you're considering smart home tech and like to party, start with the best smart home buys for your living room, and in particular multi-room audio systems. Not too long ago, a music system that seamlessly filled your home with your favourite tunes was more likely to be spotted on Cribs than in the neighbours’ living room, but now the best multi room audio systems are making it both easier and more pocket-friendly than ever before to enjoy your music all around the house. 

  • Sticking to one room? Keep one of our best wireless speakers in your media centre for drop-of-a-hat party readiness 
  • If you prefer something a little more traditional, take a look at our best hi-fi speakers

From Amazon to Apple, Sonos to Bose, everyone’s trying their hand at multi-room speaker systems, and the new contingent comes without wires or worries. Our best wireless speaker is the Sonos One, both for its standalone quality and Sonos’ impressive multi-room capabilities that let you add and take away speakers at a moment’s notice. For sheer volume, it’s got to be the Marshall Stanmore Multi Room. And for more? Just keep reading below 

The best multi-room audio system

1. Sonos One

Powerful signal, powerful sound and high-end design makes this our best speaker system

Specifications
Best for: Ease of use
Connectivity: Sonos app, Wi-Fi
Power: Mains
Voice command: Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Very simple setup; easy to pair

The Sonos One Voice-Controlled Smart Speaker (to use its full name) doesn’t just look slick, it is slick. Choices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod all offer a useful experience to control your smart home – as well as offering unique smart features – but the Sonos One offers the best bang for your buck if you want top audio quality speaker with smart functionality built-in too.

The Sonos One is a wireless speaker so you can connect to it through Bluetooth and play music, podcasts or audiobooks from your favorite streaming apps, but it also has Amazon Alexa built-in. That’s the smart assistant that is usually available on the Amazon Echo, and it means you have access to all of the other features Alexa offers.

Sonos has refined the audio quality here so it’s a good speaker at the same time for listening to music, but you can also use this to control your gadgets in your home as well as decide what music you want to play.

Marshall Stanmore Multi Room

2. Marshall Stanmore Multi Room

This one goes up to 11

Specifications
Best for: Rockers
Connectivity: Bluetooth, 2x phono, 3.5mm audio, Wi-Fi
Power: Mains
Voice command: Google assistant
Reasons to buy
+Compatible with lots of subscription services

Good-looking design is, of course, relative, so while many will appreciate the minimal design of the Sonos speaker, many others will be looking for something that’ll look at home in their music room, den, or… Well, anywhere really, because who doesn’t want a classic Marshall amp? This wireless speaker copies the iconic amp’s good looks for real style mileage, and plays your favourite tunes very, very loudly through AirPlay, Spotify Connect and ChromeCast. It’s big, it’s bassy, it’s beautiful – if you’re looking for a real party speaker, or simply something that’ll let you play 80s hair metal all around the house while spring cleaning, this is it. 

Bose SoundTouch10

3. Bose SoundTouch10

An easy-to-use speaker that plays nicely with others

Specifications
Best for: Simple setup
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack
Power: Mains
Voice command: None
Reasons to buy
+Clear sound in a small package

Bose have been big players on the home audio scene for a while, and they’ve certainly put their best sonic foot forward with the SoundTouch10. Compatible with other SoundTouch models, you have the opportunity to stick with a pair of these diminutive speakers, or trade one up for the huge sound of the SoundTouch30, but a small stature here doesn’t mean a compromise on audio quality. Reviewers rated this one for its clear sound, simplicity of pairing with the dedicated app, and range of configurable shortcuts for different types of listening.

Naim Mu-so

4. Naim Mu-so

For the best sound quality, it makes sense to go big

Specifications
Best for: Great crisp sound
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, USB, 3.5mm aux
Power: Mains
Voice command: None
Reasons to buy
+High-quality build and audio

After the small footprint of the SoundTouch10, the Naim Mu-so is a pretty giant step up in terms of the room you’ll need to dedicate to it, but testers found that that hefty design was all part of its charm. It looks fantastic and has a high-end build, with strong-feeling components and little details that all help towards the superior audio. Reviewers said it was loud and strong on the bass, but made the most of each and every melody too, with especially expert handling of vocals. If money and space are no object, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless

5. Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless

A sleeker speaker we’ve never seen

Specifications
Best for: Great app control
Connectivity: Bluetooth, analogue, WiFi
Power: Mains
Voice command: None
Reasons to buy
+Looks fantastic

This futuristic elongated oval speaker, aptly named after the pointy-nosed airship, is a beauty to behold even before it’s switched on, but – as you’d expect – reviewers said that that’s when it really comes into its own. They found that voices were beautifully reproduced, so opera fans and anyone who really likes to hone in on those vocals is well catered-to, and that bass was powerful but well-controlled and tight-sounding. Plus, there’s no tiny fiddly remote to lose or break, as it’s all controlled via the great smartphone app.

Apple Homepod

6. Apple Homepod

Take the wheel of your smart home with the high-tech Homepod

Specifications
Best for: Home hub
Connectivity: AirPlay
Power: Mains
Voice command: Siri
Reasons to buy
+ Use Siri to control music and smart home appliances 

The Sonos One is incredibly good-looking, as speakers go, but the Apple Homepod really takes that all-round aesthetic and minimalist appeal and kicks it up a notch. Apple’s foray into the smart speaker world has been a relatively recent one, but they’ve made that step with characteristic panache. It’s optimised, of course, to work with subscription service Apple Music, has the brand’s signature easy-peasy set-up, and also encompasses Siri for all kinds of voice commands, not just for cueing your favourite tunes. Got more Apple smart home accessories? The Homepod controls those too. It’s a speaker that’s far more than just a speaker.

Amazon Echo

7. Amazon Echo

For your own personal DJ, shopper and PA, they don’t come much better than the Echo

Specifications
Best for: More than music
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Power: Mains
Voice command: Alexa
Reasons to buy
+ Great home assistant capabilities 

Speaking of speakers that do more, the Amazon Echo is a great all-round gadget for people who love their music, but don’t want to shell out for a separate product to keep their productivity on point. This Alexa-enabled speaker lets you ask the home assistant for help with pretty much any task that can be completed without hands, whether that’s internet shopping, answering a question or giving you the weather forecast. This goes for your music too, and while the small speaker might not offer the richest sounds out there and audiophiles might want to go for something from one of the more established audio brands on our list, it does the job, as well as several others. 

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