What is Multi Room Audio

Multi room audio has been around for many years. Basically as the name suggests, multi room audio means music in multiple rooms.

From the early pioneer days of 20 years ago a multi room system would have consisted of an amplifier, tuner, CD player (Yes a CD player) and some sort of speaker selector. Cabling would have been required from the speaker selector to the desired speaker location within your home. Typically an in-wall volume control would have been added so you could locally control the volume and turn the music on and off. When you wanted to listen to music within a room however, you always had to start the music first; and more often than not the audio devices were located in another room at the other end of the house. Not to mention when the CD finished you had to go back and start another album.

Thankfully as technology has evolved so has multi room audio systems.....

Firstly AV giants like Yamaha introduced multi room equipped AV receivers, which would send connected audio to additional rooms; however these generally required the aforementioned in wall volume controllers.
Specialist companies like ELAN introduced multi room amplifiers, purpose built for a more user friendly experience with dedicated in room control panels for each music zone. Gone were the days of walking back and forth to start the music and change tracks, now everything could be controlled within the room from one user friendly in wall panel....however you still had to get off your butt to alter the settings on the panel.

Moving forward to 2018 ELAN and Yamaha are still producing multi room systems but with the added benefit of full control from mobile phones, tablets and PC's things have just got simpler. Music is available at the push of a button; stream your favourite Spotify playlist in the kitchen while entertaining, access your library of CD's that you have been collecting over the years or simply listen to the radio. Depending on the system you choose, you'll either be able to play different songs in different rooms at the same time, the same music in all rooms, or just a couple simultaneously.

Add to the multi room system mix, the latest wireless options available from companies like Yamaha and Bluesound. Wireless systems are very much similar to traditional; they just work wireless over WiFi and rather than a single chassis with built in amplifiers they come as a single wireless speaker that requires power. The more rooms required, you add more speakers which can all be controlled from a built in app with access to online streaming such as Spotify or Tidal.

Choices....choices....choices....

I'm a bit of a traditionalist as I have been setting up and installing multi room systems for 20 years, so my preference is always wired over wireless. Especially if your doing a new build or renovation project. Using very discrete in ceiling or in wall speakers the music will blend into the room without any loss of music quality. Take your music outdoors with some Rock Speakers that truly look like a rock; again discrete music that will truly impress.

But if all else fails and cabling restrictions or budget won't allow for a wired solution then I would personally recommend the wireless options from Bluesound. Like all it's competitors, Bluesound has a family of wireless speakers available, with an easy to use mobile app. However what makes Bluesound stand out from the rest is all their speakers support Hi Resolution Audio playback, basically meaning much better sound. Check out

Lee Hyndman