YAMAHA MusicCast 20 Wireless Smart Sound Speaker
Simple, versatile and an alright price – quality doesn’t have to break the bank. Yamaha may not be the first name you think of when choosing your new speaker, but the C10 makes it a name to remember.
Whether you’re going to be listening to audiobooks or thumping house music, it will be able to give you almost perfect results. You can connect it to other MusicCast devices, which allows the sound to follow you through the home or really get the party started.
Because it can play music wirelessly, it is ideal if you want a bit of free reign when it comes to positioning, or if you like to keep your phone on you when using it to play music. Something which will appeal to people who are fully on-board with voice control is the ability to connect it to your compatible Alexa device, which will let you switch songs just with your voice. Which comes in very handy when you’re in the middle of cooking and baking.
Thanks to the Wi-Fi connectivity, you can stream straight from Spotify, Tidal, and Napster, so you have access to music literally at your fingertips. The sound is good for a single unit, so there is no need to continually boost it by adding further speakers either. We will say that there is a noticeable difference when part of a stereo pair, though.
We say good, because it isn’t absolutely perfect. Clarity is strong, but it struggles a little with the higher tones despite being decent at the lower end of the scale. However, this could well be a good thing for some people out there, as it makes it all a little more natural as opposed to sounding too forced and strained.
Still, when considering price and the fact it is one of the easiest to move around, we would say it still measures up nicely.
- Dimensions: 18.6 x 15 x 13cm
- Colour: Black
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, Apple Airplay, WiFi
YAMAHA MusicCast 20 Wireless Smart Sound Speaker User Manual
- Can be wall mounted
- Easy to get going
- Natural tone to music
- Not the strongest option on the market for the price
Not the most perfect, but setting up is very easy and they work well as part of a 5.1 system should you desire
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 Music System
We love subtlety, but we also love those appliances which stick out and really make an impact. This is where the A9 comes in – you won’t be able to miss it.
As it is a floor-standing speaker, it is pretty adaptable around your home. You don’t have to scrabble for desk space or run extension leads. Just pop it in the perfect position, and you’re good to go.
Because of the size, it is probably best aesthetically for those rooms which are quite minimalistic and modern yet filled with large, imposing statements. But even if you want to keep the floor clear, this could still be the speaker for you. The handle on the back also doubles up as a wall bracket attachment so that you can place it there without the stand. Just purchase the dedicated bracket separately.
All this, and we haven’t even mentioned the colour choices. There is the usual black and white, but you also get a bronze option in case this better suits your decor.
In terms of sound, it can adapt to its positioning naturally, so you don’t have to reconsider your choice or manually alter the settings. It delivers an experience nothing short of excellent, with jaw-dropping sound and clarity.
There is a fragility about it all, so it isn’t one for a home which is pretty hectic and often ends the life of your electricals too early. But those bothered about style will struggle to find something quite as eye-catching – if they have no limit on the price.
- Dimensions: 82 x 81 x 31cm
- Colour: White, Bronze, Black
- Connectivity: AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth
- Colour choices
- Can be hung on the wall
- Easy to connect to phone
Pricey, but it is the price to pay for such style. A work of art in all areas
SONY SRS-ZR5 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker
Able to work alone or as part of a system, this Sony speaker comes complete with SongPal Link which lets you stream via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in superior quality.
There is a whole host of connection options, so no matter your favourite or the most appropriate, it should slot seamlessly into your lifestyle. There is NFC to make the connection easier, and if you’d rather keep things stable, a 3.5mm jack option gives you wired results. This is a lot more than many rivals offer.
SongPal also makes setting up and controlling an entire system easier. Group Mode allows you to play your music across every speaker in the home, or you can use Single Mode to play different songs over multiple speakers. Why not connect it up to some other smaller Sony speakers for a surround sound experience, or your television soundbar? There is an HDMI input for wired, reliable communication.
To get the music on the speaker, just cast it from your device directly through the app. Streaming through Spotify Connect and Google Cast means that pretty much every source is compatible. It also means that you can access the music through your phone, tablet or computer.
It works with Google Home for voice control, too. Say an artist, song or playlist, and it will start playing immediately.
The SRS-ZR5 is a lot cheaper than the Sonos and Bose alternatives, which will appeal to anyone who needs to stick to a budget. The bass could be punchier, but the overall aim is that it is small and clear, so we let this pass. ClearAudio+ technology certainly makes a difference.
- Dimensions: 16.1 x 10 x 10cm
- Colour: Black, White
- Connectivity: USB, aux-in, Bluetooth
SONY SRS-ZR5 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker User Manual
- Easy to connect phone/tablet
- Choice of inputs
- Simple design
- Better when there are two
Comes from a big name, but without the big price tag. A solid option if you want simplicity and an easy experience
SONOS PLAY:5 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker
One of the latest Sonos speakers to hit the market, and one of the highest-priced too. But this is a signal of just how good it is – it is very worthy.
Setting it up is nice and simple, with the app talking you through pretty much every step. It just needs connecting to your home Wi-Fi. Should you be adding it to an existing multi-room setup, you probably have a Sonos CONTROL unit already, in which case it can detect your new toy and immediately prompt you on how to set it up.
If you don’t have a system but think this is something you’d like in the future, then you can connect up another 31 speakers to fill your home with music. Think we can all agree this is more than enough.
Concerning sound, there are six custom-designed drivers – three tweeters and three long-throw midrange drivers, each with a dedicated amplifier, to be precise. Trueplay audio technology optimises the sound for the speaker’s environment, so you can rest easy knowing you always get the best quality no matter where it is placed.
There is no Bluetooth, so you have to play everything through the Sonos app. This means you could be slightly restricted in terms of which platform you can play your music from. There is always the wired connection though. Integrated Bluetooth could have improved flexibility, but the Sonos app isn’t hard to navigate.
On a more positive note, the design is sleek which helps when you want the sound without the imposing appliance. It is Alexa compatible if you love the idea of controlling everything with your voice, and there is a real level of clarity and bass which makes the listening experience very enjoyable. The latter is thumpy without being imposing.
It is a little expensive, but well built and should stand the test of time if you like to splash the cash now and reap the benefits later.
- Dimensions: 29.5 x 49.2 x 25.1cm
- Colour: Black, White
- Connectivity: AirPlay, aux-in
- Great sound
- Easy to control and set up
Not absolutely perfect as the price would suggest, but Sonos know what they are doing, and this is overall a quality piece of audio equipment
BOSE SoundTouch 10 Wireless Multi-Room Speaker
A good lower priced speaker if you want the multi-room setup on a budget but still need the sound to be worth your buck.
It connects up to an internet connection, so not only can you create your wireless network, but you also have access to over 20,000 internet radio stations and online music services such as Deezer and Spotify. Don’t panic if you have your perfect playlist downloaded on your phone though, as Bluetooth will let you play directly.
Everything can be controlled through the dedicated SoundTouch app, and for anyone who likes to step away from the phone every so often, a remote also allows you to change stations and skip songs.
You can save up to 6 radio stations or playlists in the dedicated pre-set slots, so they are much easier to access when you don’t want to bother messing about. If you do have a multi-room network, you can also set particular groups to play music through – say you want T-Rex on the upstairs bedroom and bathroom speakers while you clean but the rest of the family are listening to Beyonce in the conservatory, you don’t have to struggle.
Sound is good both on low and high volumes, and thanks to the modern yet basic design, it should happily slot into any room. There is no display to let you know what is currently playing, and there was the occasional loss of connection, but this is not necessarily a rare issue when it comes to internet-based equipment. They were minor frustrations which are easy to live with as seeing everything else is solid.
- Dimensions: 21.7 x 31.5 x 14.2cm
- Colour: Black, White
- Connectivity: 3.5 mm jack, Bluetooth
BOSE SoundTouch 10 Wireless Multi-Room Speaker User Manual
- Colour choice
- Nice easy to use control panel on top
- Relatively slim design
- Can be connectivity issues
A good, reliable and decently-priced speaker which will make a notable impact on your listening experience
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Wi-Fi Bluetooth Speaker
You want something which will really make an impact both in terms of sound and in design and size. Something which will fill your sideboard and tell all of your visitors that you love your music without them having to ask.
This speaker is named Zeppelin for a reason – when looking at it in place, it gives hints of the iconic shaping of the infamous airship. Packed in this body is loads of technology to give you the best possible sound.
There is a set of drive units, which have taken inspiration from Bowers & Wilkins award-winning range of Hi-Fi systems. This gives you the volume which can fill your room. Then there is the Double Dome tweeters and long-throw subwoofer. Both of these work together to give you the high pitches and deep thumping bass which provide the icing on the cake to your music experience.
Thanks to the elongation, drive units are both at opposite ends of the appliance. This means that the sound is dispersed evenly for a more floor-filling result through the room.
Connectivity input is delivered through a 3.5mm auxiliary input. Or, you can choose to go wireless if you have AirPlay or Bluetooth. If you’re a Spotify user, then the built-in Connect service will let you start playing straight away and cut out the middle man.
Overall sound is very tight and clear, and it comes remarkably close to rivalling a complete system. We reviewed the older versions when they were released, and a huge improvement in sound, connectivity and overall usability is very notable.
The price isn’t the cheapest, but also by no means the most expensive either. As seeing it is a huge titan of a speaker by itself which isn’t really designed to work in a multi-room setup, we think you can afford to splash out a little more and treat yourself…
- Dimensions: 19 x 66 x 18cm
- Colour: Black
- Connectivity: AirPlay, Bluetooth, 3.5mm jack
Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Wi-Fi Bluetooth Speaker User Manual
- Great at pairing
- High-quality sound
- Clean separation of bass, treble and middle
- Bass can be a little overpowering on lower volumes if not altered
Sound is amazing, and it holds itself very well. Perfect if you want an investment piece and know it’s going to be used a lot
MARSHALL Acton Bluetooth Wireless Smart Sound Speaker
Packing in some powerful sound for a speaker which is so small and unassuming, this is an item which fully shows off Marshall’s technology and expertise in the audio world.
The sound is clear, too, so you can experience Fleetwood Mac in all their glory again, just as you used to on LPs. As there is Bluetooth, you can connect any compatible device. This will make it easier than ever to get your music streamed into your living room.
This also means that you can connect up other Marshall speakers for a full multi-room environment. Using the dedicated Multi-Room app (available for iOS or Android devices), you can play your favourite music on separate speakers. Or, play the same song on up to five speakers simultaneously. Perfect for a whole home filled with sound.
It can also connect to your WiFi, so you can stream directly from services such as Spotify or Deezer without needing the dedicated app on your phone. Because of all this wireless-ness, you are free to place the speaker wherever you wish without any restrictions.
We like the cream colour as it is something a bit different and brighter than the usual blacks. It certainly gives a more retro feel. If you’re looking to start your multi-room collection, you may be a little put off by the price. But you are getting a very solid speaker with years of expertise packed in.
- Dimensions: 26.5 x 15 x 15cm
- Colour: Cream
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, AirPlay, 3.5mm jack
- Nice size
- App is nice and clear
- Bluetooth can struggle a little on occasion
Great balanced sound with a perfect amount of bass and loudness for general listening, and it looks the part too
NAIM Mu-so Qb Wireless Speaker
There are a few things which appeal to some prospective speaker users/buyers more than others. If two things on your list are a host of connectivity inputs and quirky design, then this NAIM model should hit the nail on the head.
The design is the first thing to discuss. It is described as having ‘contoured, glass-filled polymer case and room-filling bass radiators’. The controls on the top are also pretty great, being smooth and sleek touch controls which blend in seamlessly with the overall look.
Thanks to the flexibility in connectivity choice, you can pick the one which is best for your preferences and technology setup. Say your phone has Bluetooth or AirPlay – connect wirelessly for ease. Do you want to connect your MP3 player for a change? The audio jack input should easily be perfect. There is also an optical connection in case you want to hook up a turntable or use it as an additional television speaker.
Because there is built-in WiFi, you can directly access streaming sites such as TIDAL or Apple Music. This also gives you access to thousands of radio stations, in case you like some background music while doing the housework which won’t let you get too immersed. You can also store and access music through UPnP (Universal Plug n Play), from a USB stick or similar connected device.
It can be synchronised with up to five other speakers from the same brand if you want a multi-room experience. For those on the more technical side of the scale, a 32-bit digital signal processor controls how music flows to each speaker, and two EQ presets let you change the sound depending on whether it is positioned near a wall or in the open.
- Dimensions: 28.5 x 28 x 29cm
- Colour: Black
- Connectivity: Bluetooth aptX, USB, Optical x 1, 3.5 mm jack x 1, AirPlay
NAIM Mu-so Qb Wireless Speaker User Manual
- Smooth control
- Choice of inputs and connections
- Would like it in other colours
Wow. That is pretty much all we can say - it is one of those rare speakers which really do make you speechless with quality. If you’re an audiophile who doesn’t bat an eyelid at the price, you won’t be able to do better
SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker
An award-winning wireless speaker ideal for music streaming
This super-compact and versatile multi-room speaker is a great choice for those who love listening to music throughout their home. Small enough to place almost anywhere – on a shelf, desk or worktop – it is very easy to set up and operate using the Sonos app on your phone.
You can also add more devices over time with no fuss. Choose whether you want music to play in sync across the house, or rather something different in each room. Fully compatible with music streaming services and online radio stations including Spotify and iTunes, with this speaker you get complete control over your music with the touch of a button.
This speaker is wireless, which means you can play music via your Wi-Fi connection or plug straight into an Ethernet cable if you prefer. It’s possible to build out the sound of your Sonos-system over time by adding a playbar, sub or both.
- Type: Wireless
- Colour: Black or white
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet port
- Easy setup
- Great sounding
- Great features on the SONOS app
- Expensive but the quality is exquisite
We love the simple aesthetic of this small but powerful speaker and how easy it is to use.
Bose SoundTouch Wireless Multi-Room Speaker
Bose have been providing the ultimate listening experience for decades and they have now began to dominate the wireless speaker market. There’s currently an emergence of wireless speakers that connect to Bluetooth and this is great because many of these gadgets can be played together.
You might be wondering what we mean, essentially this powerful and dynamic speaker can be the hub of your music or it can just be one of many. Add to your SoundTouch system and sync them together, you can connect all of them to one device and play through multiple rooms at once.
This Bluetooth Bose speaker possesses numerous technologies that allows all listeners to easily access over 20,000 radio stations and thousands of your favourite music via the likes of Spotify, Deezer and other platforms. There’s no need for complicated add-ons or any serious installation, it’s all setup and ready to go. If you want to move it, then why not pick it up and take it with you. We love this new age of speakers and it wouldn’t be right if this brand didn’t feature heavily in this niche, it’s now easy to spend as much or as little as possible. Don’t underestimate it due to its size and subtle sleek design, because the sound quality is immense and can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.
Competing with the likes of Sonos it’s now a hotly contested rivalry and one that we as consumers can enjoy. Bose have upped their game and if you’d like to stream music throughout your home then check this item out and why not add to it?
- Can be connected to more speakers
- Multi room, can connect multiple speakers
- Connect via Wifi & Bluetooth
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Built in
- Jack input: 5mm
- USB ports: 2
- Weighs: 3.2 kg
- Streams through Deezer, Spotify & Apple Music
- App on iTunes and Google Play
- Multi-room features
- Can be used by IOS or Android users
A good all rounder. Although expensive, the quality is worth it.