Multi-room audio is a term often bandied about in technical circles, but what exactly is it and how do you use it?
In basic terms, multi-room audio is just a means of enabling you to listen to audio output from a single source in several rooms. The source can be anything you want – MP3s stored on a hard drive, a CD, an online streaming service, or even an old-fashioned vinyl LP. Multi-room systems can be wired or wireless, although wireless is the most common option today, either via Wi-Fi or using Bluetooth.
Multi-room audio systems use a variety of different platforms. There are standard platforms such as AllPlay, but some equipment manufacturers use their own proprietary platform instead. Choosing a standard platform – and equipment that supports it – gives you the flexibility of being able to mix and match speakers and other hardware from different sources. These platforms often have software such as Spotify Connect or Google Cast built in, enabling you to send music from a smartphone or tablet.
The growing popularity of streaming services means you will need your multi-room system to have access to the internet. These devices are mostly designed with Wi-Fi capability built in so that they can connect to your existing wireless router and sign in directly to online music services such Deezer, Amazon and Apple Music.
Suppliers of multi-room audio systems are split between established audio specialists, such as Bang & Olufsen, Sony and Bose, and technology companies, such as LG and Samsung. Choosing a system from a single supplier should make setting up the system easier; however, if you have existing equipment that you do not want to replace, look for systems that can integrate with other devices.
Once you start with multi-room audio, you may decide that you want to incorporate it into a wider UK home automation project. A single system from a supplier such as http://digitalinteriors.co.uk/ can be used to control your lighting, heating, TV, home security and more from your smartphone.
There is again a need to take care, as not all systems are compatible with each other; therefore, you should choose carefully. A specialist supplier will be able to help you build a system that integrates all your devices in a single solution.