Distributed Audio Systems (DAS's) are usually configured in one of two ways;
single-source and multi-source (Single source systems usually have volume
controls in each room and can only play one source at a time. Mutli-Source
lets you choose a different source in different rooms. These system used to
have Keypads in the room.). In the past, there was an even amount of both.
But since the advent and strengthening of Wi-Fi, wireless DAS's are now the
norm, so Multi-Source is the default method. No more keypads! No more Volume
Controls. All control is now via your SmartDevice.
Sonos™ started the ball rolling by taking a product they already had and made it work with Wi-Fi. With the advance and progression of SmartPhones and Tablets, the Sonos model became the standard. Other companies, such as Yamaha™ and Russound™, have added features or refinements to the idea and rolled out tier systems.
Soundwaves has evaluated each company's offering into wireless audio and settled on Yamaha's MusicCast™ system as having many of the best features; cost per watt, input & output options, sound quality (both analog and digital), product offerings and integration ability. Keep checking back for new products because Yamaha keeps the ball rolling by constantly upgrading their product.
All three of these offering now work with Alexa™ voice control. Sonos offers a Wi-Fi speaker (ONE) that has Alexa built right in.
Be sure to check out all of the various screen shots on the Gallery Page.
Yamaha's Wireless Audio System - called MusicCast™ - surpasses its competitors by allowing a vast array of inputs and outputs on the units so they can be integrated into your home in many ways. It also is unique in the fact that they offer a line of A/V Surround Receivers that incorporates MusicCast so that your Surround Sound system becomes a zone. With other's systems, you would have to add an amplifier to the Surround System and there is the extra task of turning on the system before you can access it with your phone. MusicCast receivers will simply start working right from your phone.
Here is a list of the different sources available to you besides the streaming services; Music that is on your phone or tablet, music that is on a NAS (networked Hard Drive), music on your PC, Music on any Media Server, you can Bluetooth™ directly to any speaker, or you can use Apple's AirPlay™ to wirelessly send music to the system from iOS devices. You can also access other sources (such as your cable box, a CD Changer or Turntable) by using the "external source" option. You can even plug in digitally to bypass the source's cheaper D/A converter for better sound.
The original wired Distributed Audio king is Russound. Since the advent of
Wireless music and control, Russound has added to their offerings, their Xstream™
system that competes with the other brands. The Xstream
components offer options as well; you can get a single zone at a
time, or they offer a 4-zone system that's in one single unit. The Xstream
product is backward compatible with their legacy C-Series
systems, so doing an "upgrade" is more of an
"addition" and costs less. Russound also offers a wall mounted Touch
Screen for instant access (and for those who don't own SmartPhone
- for whatever reason). This creates system that has the best
of both worlds; SmartPhone control or instant Keypad control -
The originator of Wireless Music is still the king. What
very unique is the fact that ANY streaming service is available to
install, such as Pandora™, Tidal™, Soundcloud™, Apple Music™, Google
Play Music™, Deezer™, Spotify™, and many rare stations such as,
Rockbot™, Stingray Music™, Tribe of Noise™ and Concert Vault™- and
Since Sonos is so prevalent, there is a good chance you already have the app on your phone. When connected to other's Wi-Fi network, Sonos can now control that system as well.
Here is a list of the different sources available to you besides the streaming services; Music that is on your phone/tablet, music that is on a NAS (networked Hard Drive), music on your PC, Music on any Media Serve. You can also access other sources (such as your cable box, a CD Changer or Turntable) by using the "external source" option in any zone. Unfortunately, Sonos does not use Bluetooth or AirPlay.