Creating a Multiroom Speaker Set Up with Wi-Fi and Non-Wi-fi Speakers
| Reuben Howe
Multiroom Speaker Networks are a fantastic development in wireless audio technology. With one, you can coordinate music throughout the house at parties, play separate music in each room, send audio to children’s bedrooms and more. The systems work wirelessly usually via Wi-Fi and each device ordinarily also has Bluetooth capability.
Knowing where to start between the control system, network, speakers and requirements can be difficult. This can be easily broken down into a few major areas of concern. By answering your questions below we will show it doesn’t take much to create a truly wireless multiroom speaker system from whatever you currently own and the August A-Link app can modernise your old speakers.
- What is it and how does Multiroom Work?
- How do I set up a Wi-Fi for multi room systems?
- Do I need specific Multiroom speakers?
- Audio Over Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth
- How Do I Convert Wired Speakers into Multiroom Speakers?
What is Multiroom and how does it work?
Multiroom speaker systems are exactly what they say on the tin. Multiple speakers in multiple rooms acting together, or separately, controlled easily via one source. People will often think of such networks as being a Sonos-exclusive affair, but while Sonos only communicates with Sonos on a private network, there are plenty of other networks to use! The base principle is, however, the same.
The speakers across a house link via a Wi-Fi network and transmit Audio Over Wi-Fi, without 3.5mm standard audio jacks trailing around. This means placement is more flexible, and the range is far higher than other wireless solutions like Bluetooth speakers.
How do I set up a Wi-Fi for multi room systems?
The Wi-fi network used for Multiroom set-ups isn’t unique, you can simply use your home Wi-Fi or the Wi-Fi network of the device itself if it extends/generates one. Your router should have a Wi-Fi network which is how you access your internet at home, and this same network can carry your audio. Smart Speakers for Google Home and other assistants use the network, so can your speakers!
Audio Over Wi-Fi Vs Bluetooth
With the accessibility of Wi-Fi it can seem like an objective improvement over Bluetooth, and in many ways it is. However, there are some drawbacks too. Before you set up a Multiroom Network it is a good idea to understand the nature of Audio over Wi-Fi
Accessibility - This is a key reason for the increase in Wi-Fi Audio solutions, as most homes in the UK have access to a Wi-Fi network. Bluetooth is still implemented on all smartphones, though, so is also widely available when on the move. This has created a divide, with Wi-Fi audio being preferred in homes and Bluetooth used for portable / outdoor music.
Quality - Overall, a Wi-Fi network has a higher potential for audio fidelity. That doesn't mean that all wi-fi solutions will sound better than all Bluetooth ones, though. Compression of the file, distance transmitted, device used and Bluetooth version all affect the final quality of the playback.
Compatibility - Wi-Fi networks can have 10s of supported devices, from phones to Desktop PCs to your TV. This versatility in compatibility makes Wi-Fi the best option for home wireless audio. Bluetooth can still support a maximum of around 7 devices, with only 1 or 2 connected actively at any one time. This makes Wi-Fi the only way to make a full house multi room set up
Range - Bluetooth tends to cap out at 10 meters range. Wi-fi, on the other hand, can transmit up to 100 meters away. This makes Wi-Fi suitable for your garden just as well as your house, and even provides a way for campsites, caravan parks and more to hook up large audio systems outside far from any Wi-Fi Router.
Do I need specific multiroom speakers?
No! With the exception of Sonos which is entirely self-serving, and other brands like an Apple Homepod 2 or lower, most devices will simply work on Wi-Fi with other devices when establishing a multiroom network. If you have a specific Sonos or Apple home network you will need to continue using those brands. However, the August WS350 can still be used with Apple homes. The WS350 supports AirPlay meaning even in those situations you can fill your rooms with audio for less.
In ordinary situations, you can use any Wi-Fi enabled multiroom speakers, just connect the same way you would an Amazon Echo or homepod mini. Those WS350s I mentioned work with Airplay with Apple Music, but are also usable just as multiroom speakers for your own network. They are simple to use, have 15 hours of battery and connect through the August A-Link app which you will need to revolutionise your old speakers with new, modern Wi-Fi functionality…
How Do I Convert Non-Wi-Fi Speakers into Multiroom Speakers?
This is where adapters and system controls are vital. If you have an old Hi-Fi, speakers, and other devices that you wish you could pair into an existing network, or any network, then you can feel like your only option is buy new speakers.
However, the August A-Link app can connect and control your own custom multiroom. Add the WS350 to it as a bedroom speaker, for example, set it as a receiver, and you’ve made a start. You get to maintain the great sound and audio range of your favourite devices while still having a modern wireless connection.
For non-Wi-Fi devices you can connect a WR320 Wireless Network Audio Adapter. This unassuming box comes with an ethernet port, Wi-Fi capability, 3.5mm AUX in and out and an Optical Audio Port. Whatever connections your Hi-Fi or other speakers use, they can connect to the WR320.
This means you can pair your WR320 to the August A-Link App, connect the WR320 to the speaker, and the speaker will now have the wireless capability to join a multi room speaker system! Simply apply as many WR320s as needed to turn every old speaker system into a great sounding smart speaker.
Not only that, but the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the WR320 has an Aux and Optical input as well. This means you can, using the app, designate the WR320 as the transmitter rather than receiver. The LED will change colour to display which is active. In this way you can plug, say, a vinyl player via 3.5mm into the WR320 and broadcast that vinyl audio over Wi-Fi to every Multiroom speaker in the house!
Easy Multiroom Set-up System
Using the above information, you are now ready to set up a multiroom wireless audio network! Reinvigorate your old speakers and audio devices with a Wi-Fi adapter, or invest in some dedicated Wi-Fi / Bluetooth speakers to enjoy audio throughout the house. Stay in control of your home audio and create memorable, living music experiences every day.