Alternatives to Sonos : Multi Room Audio

With the recent price rises for Sonos kit, I thought i’d take a quick look at the alternatives out there, I’ve always thought of the Loxone music server as expensive, but with hindsight if I was starting from scratch I have to admit its quite cost effective. 

Over the years I’ve spent more than a couple of grand on Sonos devices, and countless money on other solutions which didnt live up to the manufacturers promises, my worst purchase was multiple Apple devices with Airplay streaming, i’ve tried to erase the memory, but its still there that as you walked from room to the music would lag a couple of seconds behind, creating a really annoying echo effect. Sonos ticked all the boxes for me, it was priced a little high (but aren’t all aspirational products?) but at least I could buy it in stages. Integration wise it works pretty well with Loxone, but I would imagine their own system would work a darned sight better.

Going back to the Loxone for a second, the initial cost of ownership is high, as you need to buy everything in one go, plus you also need to have your cable infrastructure in place to speaker locations. I would dearly love it if Loxone would create a loan library of kit for resellers to take advantage of, its one thing to see something in the Loxone offices, but another and more realistic to see it in your own environment and get a real feel for how it works.

While I was at CES I paid a visit to the Riva booth, I have to admit all these consumer devices look very similar, with their Arena unit looking very similar to the Play:1 and the Festival somewhere between a Play:3/5 unit. Obviously on the show floor there wasn’t a lot of scope for hearing their audio quality, but I’m told its better than Sonos quality. Pricing is either the same point as Sonos or slightly cheaper as you go up the range.

I suppose we should now consider the Echo as a viable alternative, I have to admit to being quite impressed with the audio quality from the one we have, and of course its integration with other tech is pretty cool as well. I am assuming you can use multiple units around the house, I can’t see any reason you couldn’t

I am looking forward to both integration with Sonos and one day Loxone (but i’m not going to hold my breath on the Loxone solution). 

Well there you have it, I am sure there are plenty of other multi-room audio systems out there, but these are the few I know of, as always I’m interested to hear of other products that fit the bill.

 

1 Comment

  1. What about Chromecast? If you are a spotify user, it seems like it would be an inexpensive option and has grouped speakers, which is probably the key feature.

    Agree that Airplay is terrible. Sonos seems massively overpriced – since really you just want the Sonos Connects. Chromecast Audios are $35 a piece, so buy a bunch, get an audioswitcher and multi-zone amp and call it a day.

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