Interested in High-End Multi-Room Audio?
Comparing Three Approaches to Whole Home Audio
You’re an audiophile. Or an audio enthusiast. Or perhaps you’re not into labels; you just love music, and you like to fill your home with it. You may want to know about some of the options currently available or perhaps your Highland Park house was wired for multiroom audio years ago, but you might be looking to upgrade the speakers and the system to bring it to the state of the art standards in digital music and wireless control.
So where do you start? We’ll break down two popular approaches. But we won’t tell you any of these solutions are better than the other; it depends on your goals, your tastes, and the layout of your home, among other factors. Let’s take a closer look.
The AV Receiver or Amplifier
For years, a receiver or amplifier has been at the heart of most audio enthusiast's systems. Whether it was the all-in-one convenience of a high-quality stereo or multichannel receiver, an integrated amp, or a preamp and amplifiers, this was the route to hi-fi audio in the home.
If you only needed one or two more areas (or zones), many multichannel receivers can power those without additional equipment. For bigger multiroom/multizone audio setups, the output of one of these systems could feed one or several distribution amplifiers to power a series of built-in speakers throughout the house.
The popularity of digital audio and music streaming services has changed music consumption, and with it has come new approaches to whole-home sound. Wireless all-in-one speakers controlled by smartphone apps could synchronize audio across many zones - but they do need to plug into a power source. These systems eschew receivers and other components and work directly with your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Examples of these systems are Sonos, DTS Play-Fi, Denon's HEOS, and Yamaha's Musicast. While these wireless speakers sound good and work well, they are not what most enthusiasts would label audiophile speakers - although that is changing, as more high-end manufacturers are getting into this area.
As an excellent example of hi-fi audio makers entering the wireless speaker space, McIntosh, one of Crown Audio-Video's high-end audio brands, makes the RS100 wireless loudspeaker, which works with the DTS Play-Fi system and voice control with Amazon Alexa.
Another brand partner, Paradigm, has the PW series of wireless speakers, including an amp that can make any hi-fi system work within a DTS Play FI network of speakers. Also, wireless streaming capabilities are de rigueur features for current models of AV receivers. Paradigm’s Anthem receivers and amplifiers are audiophile worthy products, and the receivers also include whole house streaming ability through DTS Play-Fi.
Larger Customized Multiroom Systems
The other option for multiroom is the fully built-in approach. With architectural speakers from top-tier makers such as Sonance and Revel, you can have excellent sound quality that rivals freestanding speakers.
With current whole-home music distribution products from smart home vendors like Control4, you can also have a completely integrated music system that gives you access to your digital music collection as well as the best services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more.
Control4 music distribution systems like the EA controllers - which also incorporate smart home control - let you distribute lossless and high-resolution music from small to large homes with many zones. These systems are typically rack-mounted in a cabinet or equipment closet and are controlled by customized remote, touchscreens, wall-mounted keypads, or your smartphone. You get the music and the audio quality you want with nary a speaker or amplifier in sight.
Choosing the right multiroom audio system for your Highland Park home is a balance between many considerations including sound quality, control, lifestyle, your décor, and how many areas where you want your music to flow.
Crown Audio-Video is expert in whole home technology and can guide you every step of the way. Fill out our online contact form, call us at (214) 377-9434, or click below to instantly connect with one of our audio experts.