Home Theatre Installation Toronto – The Best Whole Home Audio System
If you want a music system that covers your whole house and will play all of your music, no matter where it’s stored, and bonus of free unlimited music online, Sonos is your best option. Sonos is the most mature and sophisticated of all current streaming music systems with the most diverse array of speaker types, ranging from desktop to home theater listening.
What is a whole home audio system? Who should get one?
If you want different—or even the same—music to play in multiple rooms of your house from any source, using any of your gadgets or computers as a controller, the only real way to do that is with one of these systems.
What makes a good whole home audio system?
The ideal system for playing music across your entire home should be easy to integrate and implement, flexible, reliable, scalable and easy to operate.
It all breaks down to one main goal: Providing access to all the music you want to listen to, anywhere you want to listen to it. That music can be on your computer, on a network storage device or in the cloud somewhere. No matter where it is, the better the access that is provided, the better the streaming system is. If there are major sources of music that can’t be accessed—a NAS, a phone, a certain online service—that is a problem, and a common one with systems that are limited to Airplay or Bluetooth. Because of this, users often find themselves tied to multiple devices for their music instead of being free to listen to it anywhere.
A good whole home audio system should be able to play music in any room, from any source, regardless of the distance. A great system will work in any situation you come up with. If the system works well in the basement but not on the upper floor, it isn’t a successful product. If it has specialized units that can also be used outside, or are portable with an integrated battery, then it’s better.
A whole house music system also has to be reliable. The Sonos systems use their own wireless mesh that is ultra reliable and not dependent on or competitive with your other wireless devices for bandwidth. Sonos still connects to your network, so you can control it with your Wi-Fi equipped smartphone, but it sends audio over a mesh network instead of your regular Wi-Fi network, which makes a huge difference in audio quality and reception. This allows for a higher-quality connection, free from interference from other Wi-Fi devices. If someone on your network is downloading large files or streaming Netflix, it won’t interfere with your music. And since each Sonos speaker becomes an extension of the network, Sonos has more range than what you would get out of a system that works off a single Wi-Fi router.
What about single speakers powered by Airplay or Bluetooth or on your home’s Wi-Fi? They’re not as reliable. Bluetooth speakers are semi-reliable because your music source is in the same room as the speaker, but they don’t work well as a whole house solution for that same reason: You have to keep the source close to the speaker. Airplay has better range than Bluetooth, typically, because it is powered by Wi-Fi. But if your home network is congested, your audio will drop.
It also needs to be flexible: If you want to start with a single room and add on more rooms later, you should be able to do that. If you want to integrate it into an existing stereo system, that should be possible as well. It is nice if it can tie into a TV, either with a specialized soundbar or with a soundbar-style setup. Having to maintain different systems for whole house audio and TV or movie audio causes redundancy, extra systems and wasted money. It also makes everything complex while we are trying to simplify.
It needs to be simple to operate. If you have a family of four and each member has their own music library, their own listening preferences and their own playlists, you need to be able to work with all of that. There should be a seamless, integrated system that ties everyone together instead of a group of four separated walled gardens that don’t talk to each other. An ideal system can integrate all of these without forcing you to spend hours updating and collating your libraries together.
Why Sonos is the winner
Sonos is flexible, easy to use, integrates into your current system and works with a huge array of services and content providers. It has been around since 2004, and that time has let the company build up its product to be better than anyone else’s. It also sounds fantastic.
The $59 Sonos BRIDGE enables a separate wireless mesh network that your music streams over without interfering with your Wi-Fi network — and it’s one of the reasons we recommend Sonos. However, as of September, a Sonos firmware update makes it possible to stream music through the speakers via your local Wi-Fi network, no BRIDGE (or physical connection to a router) is necessary.
If I were starting out with Sonos, I would purchase a pair of PLAY:1 speakers and get the BRIDGE. I could use them in a stereo pair or have music in two rooms. They are small enough to easily move around the house to determine where I want them, or if I need a larger speaker in a particular room. They’re compact enough to sit out of the way but still can fill a good-sized room with music.
Expanding beyond those two PLAY:1 speakers would be a harder choice. If I already have a dedicated stereo setup or home theater, the CONNECT might be where I look. I think it is a bit expensive for what it does, but it is still cheaper than replacing an existing system with something new. If I had no sound system for my TV, I’d probably look at the PLAYBAR. It sounds very good and does a wonderful job with music.
Beyond that, the system is versatile, and can be arranged (and rearranged) however you want to use it. There is a huge selection of Sonos products, from speakers to a soundbar to a subwoofer, and you can also integrate it with your existing stereo or use it with speakers you own. Your options include:
PLAY:1. A single speaker for $219 with a tweeter and midrange/woofer drivers.
PLAY:3. A $329 speaker with a tweeter and dual midrange/bass drivers for greater output.
PLAY:5. A $449 five-driver speaker with two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and a sub for larger spaces.
PLAYBAR. A $749, three-channel, nine-driver sound bar to be used with your TV as well as stream music.
SUB. A $749, dual-driver subwoofer to pair with other Sonos speakers when greater bass output is required.
CONNECT. A $399 device with line level outputs to connect to your existing Hi-Fi system.
CONNECT:AMP. A $599 device with a 55-watt per channel, stereo amplifier to directly connect to speakers.
BRIDGE. A $59 hub to create the Sonos mesh network if your speakers will not be placed next to your wireless router.
BOOST. A $109 a supercharged BRIDGE with more antennas and a more powerful radio to extend the range of the Sonos system in larger systems and houses.
Competitors like Bose and Samsung only sell units that are integrated into speakers without line-output jacks. If you already have speakers, you’ll be buying another set of speakers with the Bose and Samsung units and cannot use your existing ones.
Beyond a larger selection of hardware, Sonos lets you access more music and content. Almost all streaming services you might use are supported, from Spotify to MOG to Amazon Cloud Player to far less common ones. And as of April, Google Play Music can stream directly to the speakers. It also supports a wide selection of audio formats, including MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and WAV. Other systems have a much smaller selection of content and supported formats to choose from, meaning you might have to switch services or manually convert the music on your hard drive before you can play it back.
Sonos works with in-ceiling speakers, or in-wall speakers which have been pre-wired in your home. We provide consultation, design, setup and installation of Sonos system for your home and office . Wall mounting of Sonos speakers and Wall mounting Sonos Playbar. If you have inherited the system from your previous home owner and having problem integrating it with your wireless system, we are here to help. Call us at 647-477-2280 if you need any help for your Audio Video Installations in Toronto.