Whole-home units that give you god­like con­trol of your stream­ing au­dio.

Want god­like con­trol over all the speak­ers in your home? You’re in luck: Creat­ing an in­ter­con­nected mu­sic sys­tem has never been eas­ier. There’s a boom in whole-home units, fam­i­lies of speak­ers that link over wi-fi, pair with your smart de­vices, and al­low you to stream one song in all rooms or a dif­fer­ent one from each. Each sys­tem fea­tures three or more var­i­ously sized units (sold sep­a­rately); use them to piece to­gether an ar­range­ment that suits your sonic needs. Just be sure to align your­self with one that’s right for you. And don’t let all that power go to your head.


All hail the (still) reign­ing champ of whole-home au­dio. Sonos’ sys­tem has been around the long­est and still of­fers the largest con­fig­u­ra­tion (there are four speak­ers, from the por­ta­ble Play:1 to the puls­ing Play­bar) and the most stream­ing op­tions (more than 30 ser­vices, from Beats Mu­sic to Songza). Setup is breezy: The speak­ers don’t even need a hub to link to your wi-fi router. And the com­po­nents kick out ev­ery­thing from pop to pod­casts with ter­rific de­tail.

IDEAL SYS­TEM: Play­bar in the liv­ing room; Play:5 and Sub in the of­fice; and Play: 1 in the kitchen.

COST: $2,000


Thump, yeah. If you like your tunes with a thick, puls­ing low end, then in­stall Denon’s sys­tem, stat. Even the 4.2pound HEOS3, the small­est of the three wedge-shaped speak­ers, sent the bass straight to our chest, pre­cisely cap­tur­ing the elab­o­rate elec­tron­ica of Aphex Twin and the throb­bing groove of Fly­ing Lo­tus. The bump only in­creases as you move up the line from the boom­box-like HEOS5 to the heftier 7, which brings the force of seven driv­ers.

IDEAL SYS­TEM: HEOS7 in the liv­ing room; HEOS5 in the of­fice; and HEOS3 in the kitchen.

COST: $1,300


Whether spit­ting out di­a­logue-heavy scenes or gun-blaz­ing chaos, the 43- inch-long W Studio Wire­less Sound Bar at the heart of De­fin­i­tive’s fam­ily out­shines many ded­i­cated sur­round sound sys­tems. When the show’s over, the speaker trans­forms into a killer mu­sic player. De­fin­i­tive spreads the wealth with its two other mod­els: The two-driver W9 de­liv­ers true stereo sound, while the bass-heavy W7 is pow­er­ful yet re­fined.

IDEAL SYS­TEM: W Studio in the liv­ing room; W9 in the of­fice; and W7 in the kitchen.

COST: $2,400

The lat­est wire­less-speaker fam­i­lies let you stream mu­sic to ev­ery room with just a tap and swipe.

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