Multi-room audio has a spread tremendously over the last few years. That is no surprising because wireless technology enables setting up speakers all over your house without running long wires. They are several manufacturers which make these products such as Sonos, Sony or Amphony. LG also just announced the family of multi-room speakers. In this article, I’m going to explain how these systems are set up and also offer some advice which should improve performance of these components.
All of these different brands have in common that they all are designed to work with cordless speakers of one sort or another. Some manufacturers offer bundles while others sell individual components. If you opt for system which comprises individual components then you want to consult your dealer or the manufacturer which components are required for your application. That is because different components interface differently with your equipment. If you primarily stream music from an analog source meaning equipment which has an RCA audio output then you should be good purchasing any type of wireless speaker. However, the more sophisticated systems these days are based on networking technology. That means that they are primarily designed to stream audio either from the Internet or from a local computer.
Streaming from a low computer has the advantage that you can easily manage your music library. Typically you would connect the transmitter unit via USB port or network cable. If you connect via network cable than make sure that you set up your network properly so that the computer sees the transmitter unit. Alternatively, if you’re using a transmitter unit that has analog audio inputs then you can connect to your sound card or any other audio device that you might have. In that case, if you are working with multiple audio sources you want to use a receiver that can switch between the sources.
Some of the more sophisticated systems have applications that can run on a cell phone. Using these applications, you can configure the speakers. In particular, Sonos has excelled in that area. Amphony, on the other hand, has a much simpler approach. Each component that should talk to each other has to be paired beforehand. Let’s say, for example, you want to stream from a particular transmitter to some speakers. What you need to do is push a button on the transmitter unit and then push another button on each speaker that should be paired with the transmitter. You will have to do this within five minutes.
Some people prefer using an app while others prefer pushing buttons. When installing these systems, I always recommend placing the transmitter unit in a location that has line of sight to the speakers. If that is not possible, place it such that the signal can travel easily to the speakers. Keep in mind that the signal can go through a corridor but doesn’t really go through walls very easily. Also, when setting up the speakers, keep any other wireless equipment such as wireless routers away from the transmitter and the speakers. Strong interference can cause the speakers to drop the signal. The further away you move any interference, the less chance exists for such interference causing problems.