Best multiroom system for integration with existing setup?

R

Robin18

Audiophyte
Hi all! New member here, who’ve benefitted much and really appreciate the sharing of knowledge and opinions within this forum in the few short years I’ve been in this hobby. As with many of us at different points of our journey, I need help with where I’m at now, that being adding multiroom capability and integration to my system, which drove me to finally join as a member and seek help.

As stated, I’m planning to add multiroom audio to my setup, which currently is a home theatre 5.1 possibly expanding with height speakers in the future. This is driven with an Arcam AVR10 AV receiver. Sources are an Android tv streaming box, cd/dvd player, with future plans to add music streamer & server, with files being served from a NAS.

The current plan is to have audio streamed to a maximum of two other locations/rooms, besides the main setup location.

Things that are a must have, or non-negotiables, are :
1) The device receiving and outputting the multiroom audio stream must be fully portable e.g. multiroom wireless speakers that are battery powered without needing any fixed power source or connected with any cables. Something relatively small would be sufficient, enough to fill a small room
2) The control/streaming app must be user friendly, easy to use by older folks
3) Must be able to stream different sources/different music to different rooms simultaneously
4) Must have the flexibility to connect to the different sources, especially streaming services and own music collection stored on NAS

Negotiables, or less important but good to have :
1) Excellent sound quality (good is good enough)
2) Future expandability

These are I guess fairly simple deciding factors. Looking forward to suggestions of devices and/or its accompanying speakers that best fulfils the requirements above, and how those devices fit in to the chain of equipment. Open to any brand, but would like to keep the cost to below $800 for everything. Thanks a bunch!
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Spartan
Hi all! New member here, who’ve benefitted much and really appreciate the sharing of knowledge and opinions within this forum in the few short years I’ve been in this hobby. As with many of us at different points of our journey, I need help with where I’m at now, that being adding multiroom capability and integration to my system, which drove me to finally join as a member and seek help.

As stated, I’m planning to add multiroom audio to my setup, which currently is a home theatre 5.1 possibly expanding with height speakers in the future. This is driven with an Arcam AVR10 AV receiver. Sources are an Android tv streaming box, cd/dvd player, with future plans to add music streamer & server, with files being served from a NAS.

The current plan is to have audio streamed to a maximum of two other locations/rooms, besides the main setup location.

Things that are a must have, or non-negotiables, are :
1) The device receiving and outputting the multiroom audio stream must be fully portable e.g. multiroom wireless speakers that are battery powered without needing any fixed power source or connected with any cables. Something relatively small would be sufficient, enough to fill a small room
2) The control/streaming app must be user friendly, easy to use by older folks
3) Must be able to stream different sources/different music to different rooms simultaneously
4) Must have the flexibility to connect to the different sources, especially streaming services and own music collection stored on NAS

Negotiables, or less important but good to have :
1) Excellent sound quality (good is good enough)
2) Future expandability

These are I guess fairly simple deciding factors. Looking forward to suggestions of devices and/or its accompanying speakers that best fulfils the requirements above, and how those devices fit in to the chain of equipment. Open to any brand, but would like to keep the cost to below $800 for everything. Thanks a bunch!
What do you picture as a portable audio system with excellent sound quality? Table top one box solution? The closest would be using something like an Amazon echo and a controller or similar but portable I don't know about.
 
R

Robin18

Audiophyte
What do you picture as a portable audio system with excellent sound quality? Table top one box solution? The closest would be using something like an Amazon echo and a controller or similar but portable I don't know about.
I might've not explained clearly enough, but the fully portable device I was pointing to is on the receiving or audio output end of the audio/music stream. The stream would come from the different sources that I listed, all located at my main setup. So two fully portable devices, one each in each room. Sound quality would be secondary to portability and app ease of use.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Spartan
I might've not explained clearly enough, but the fully portable device I was pointing to is on the receiving or audio output end of the audio/music stream. The stream would come from the different sources that I listed, all located at my main setup. So two fully portable devices, one each in each room. Sound quality would be secondary to portability and app ease of use.
Ok I understand what you're saying now, the only issue would be portable, but I'll look through some CI issues to see if there is such a device.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
There is nothing which I have heard of which fits the classic sense of an audio distribution unit with full wireless functionality. Almost all whole house audio is installed, not portable. But, the system that really does this fairly well is Sonos. You can buy speakers from them in various sizes which are fully integrated, and you can put a Port or similar in a head end location with a source plugged into it. It can play back from a iTunes library or similar on the network and it can stream a bunch of different applications from the interwebs. It's not super inexpensive, but it is really reliable from what I have seen from it over the years. I have several clients with Sonos and use one in my home and it has stayed up and running nicely over the years.

It has an 'aux' input connection on it for a RCA source as well, which is nice. I believe that aux input can be shared to other Sonos devices in the home, but I have not played with that feature as I already have a whole house audio system (wired) in place.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Spartan
Ok I understand what you're saying now, the only issue would be portable, but I'll look through some CI issues to see if there is such a device.
I couldn't find a single product that meets your portable requirement. The WiiM Pro Plus meets all your other requirements when used with the Arcam zone 2 output for a streamer with good measurements but isn't portable. When paired with powered speakers with Alexa, Chromecast, or Airplay you only need the one unit on your home network.

Can you help me understand the need for it to be portable?
 
R

Robin18

Audiophyte
I couldn't find a single product that meets your portable requirement. The WiiM Pro Plus meets all your other requirements when used with the Arcam zone 2 output for a streamer with good measurements but isn't portable. When paired with powered speakers with Alexa, Chromecast, or Airplay you only need the one unit on your home network.

Can you help me understand the need for it to be portable?
Mainly for the flexibility of listening from anywhere in the house. I guess I should put it this way : the two other "rooms" that I would like to stream to, are not rooms but people. The music stream only needs to follow two people wherever they are in the house, therefore there's no need to have speakers set up in every room. Besides, each person can listen more discreetly to their music/audio, as the speakers can be placed anywhere (whichever corner, area, height, etc.), allowing fine adjustability in sound (pointing in any direction, any distance, etc.), and so on. Basically advantages in terms of flexibility of placement and cost. And it's not possible for me to hardwire speaker cables around the house.
 
R

Robin18

Audiophyte
There is nothing which I have heard of which fits the classic sense of an audio distribution unit with full wireless functionality. Almost all whole house audio is installed, not portable. But, the system that really does this fairly well is Sonos. You can buy speakers from them in various sizes which are fully integrated, and you can put a Port or similar in a head end location with a source plugged into it. It can play back from a iTunes library or similar on the network and it can stream a bunch of different applications from the interwebs. It's not super inexpensive, but it is really reliable from what I have seen from it over the years. I have several clients with Sonos and use one in my home and it has stayed up and running nicely over the years.

It has an 'aux' input connection on it for a RCA source as well, which is nice. I believe that aux input can be shared to other Sonos devices in the home, but I have not played with that feature as I already have a whole house audio system (wired) in place.
One of my consideration is certainly Sonos (although I still have questions on how the Sonos ecosystem can be set up according to my requirements, despite my research), but I would also like to have more options to consider before deciding.

The thing that I'm not certain about Sonos, is whether having one Sonos Port that you mentioned, paired with two battery powered speakers (possibly the Move) can do the job. If the Port can stream or transmit wirelessly and the Move acts as receiver of the stream (without having another Port as receiver and hardwired to the Move) that seems to be what I'm looking for, as the speaker is fully portable. Although no where I've looked specifically confirms this (that no other device needs to be connected to the Move to receive the stream).
Besides that, I'm not sure if one Port can connect to all my sources (cd/dvd player, music streamer, NAS) with its limited connections, and stream all those sources simultaneously to the Move or to my main setup. If I'm not wrong, the possible connections are : Cd/dvd player through RCA inputs, the Port acting as music streamer, NAS just needs to be connected through the app through Wifi network, and RCA outputs going to the AV receiver. Doesn't seem to allow for a different music streamer of my own to be connected, or could it?
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
Besides that, I'm not sure if one Port can connect to all my sources (cd/dvd player, music streamer, NAS) with its limited connections, and stream all those sources simultaneously to the Move or to my main setup. If I'm not wrong, the possible connections are : Cd/dvd player through RCA inputs, the Port acting as music streamer, NAS just needs to be connected through the app through Wifi network, and RCA outputs going to the AV receiver. Doesn't seem to allow for a different music streamer of my own to be connected, or could it?
That's a real concern. The Sonos only has a single aux. connection on it depending on what you get I believe. I'm not completely familiar with all of their products.

I would certainly consider a external RCA switcher if you want to be able to swap between them. It's a very real fact that multiple RCA sources are turning into a antiquated idea in audio distribution. It's more that you're doing this wireless idea and the rest of the world hasn't quite caught up.

Still, you definitely want to use the Sonos as your streaming solution and it should have a app or be able to natively connect to your NAS for audio playback. Or you can setup a audio serving product for indexing and streaming your home collection. There are definitely ideas and options for this through Sonos.

I wish there were more options out there, but it's actually quite a tough element that you are asking for. The big thing is that the software you need to keep everything working smooth is not simple. It can't be created then ignored for years. Audio distribution systems that are on the market can do this with their wired solution options which never really change after they are setup and running. But, this modern wireless world really does require a lot more long term support. This is where companies like Sonos excel. I say this because if you do find another option which looks good, you will want to know their history, size, and figure out the reality of them being around in three years, or ten years. Many companies from five years ago no longer exist today, or no longer support their products from half a decade ago. It can be frustrating to rebuy if you run into this. Which, is why I go back to Sonos.
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic Samurai
Hi all! New member here, who’ve benefitted much and really appreciate the sharing of knowledge and opinions within this forum in the few short years I’ve been in this hobby. As with many of us at different points of our journey, I need help with where I’m at now, that being adding multiroom capability and integration to my system, which drove me to finally join as a member and seek help.

As stated, I’m planning to add multiroom audio to my setup, which currently is a home theatre 5.1 possibly expanding with height speakers in the future. This is driven with an Arcam AVR10 AV receiver. Sources are an Android tv streaming box, cd/dvd player, with future plans to add music streamer & server, with files being served from a NAS.

The current plan is to have audio streamed to a maximum of two other locations/rooms, besides the main setup location.

Things that are a must have, or non-negotiables, are :
1) The device receiving and outputting the multiroom audio stream must be fully portable e.g. multiroom wireless speakers that are battery powered without needing any fixed power source or connected with any cables. Something relatively small would be sufficient, enough to fill a small room
2) The control/streaming app must be user friendly, easy to use by older folks
3) Must be able to stream different sources/different music to different rooms simultaneously
4) Must have the flexibility to connect to the different sources, especially streaming services and own music collection stored on NAS

Negotiables, or less important but good to have :
1) Excellent sound quality (good is good enough)
2) Future expandability

These are I guess fairly simple deciding factors. Looking forward to suggestions of devices and/or its accompanying speakers that best fulfils the requirements above, and how those devices fit in to the chain of equipment. Open to any brand, but would like to keep the cost to below $800 for everything. Thanks a bunch!
Sonos is one but under $800 I can’t say .. maybe get a Bluetooth receiver and go wireless.
 
Bobby Bass

Bobby Bass

Senior Audioholic
Reading all the comments I would agree that Sonos is worth trying. I have Beam 2 and mini subs setups to 2 TVs in the house but the only portable Sonos speaker I have is the Move. Sits on a ring for power/charging that you can place on a table and there are shelves other companies sell. Bought their wall hook so I can hang in the bathroom. Play for about an hour a day and it lasts several days on a charge before going back on the charging ring. It’s heavy but it’s the best sounding portable speaker I’ve had including many Sony, JBL and Bose speakers. It can play really loud and has strong bass. The app is relatively easy to use. I can control all 3 speakers from any device with the app on 3 different floors in the house. You note other people. If they are older and not tech savvy the app could be an issue. I have to work through settings etc. Often but I know what I’m doing. OK for my adult kids but If it was for my elderly parents use - forget it. I only stream Qobuz or Spotify on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth with Sonos so can’t speak to other music sources. The good thing is Sonos gives you 45 days to try and you can return their equipment if it doesn’t meet your needs. Hope it helps. Good luck.
 

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