ROCK THE HOUSE
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.
2 DENON HEOS
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.
3 DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY WIRELESS MUSIC SYSTEM
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.
The latest wireless-speaker families let you stream music to every room with just a tap and swipe.