Bluetooth Ceiling Speakers VS Sonos/Heos Multi Room Systems
Not sure whether to go for bluetooth ceiling speakers or a multi room audio system like Sonos or Denon Heos?
Here’s a few arguments for and against that might help you make up your mind.
Bluetooth typically has a 10m range from the streaming device.
That range can also be affected by walls/fabric of the building etc.
So for most uses it works fine, i.e streaming music in the bedroom or the kitchen.
But take the device away and the music may stutter and/or cut out.
With Wi-Fi however, the smart phone or tablet is controlling the amplifier itself which is connected to the internet either via cable (recommended) or Wi-Fi.
Once the music is on you could send your device to Mars and the music will still be playing…
This can be a big pro in large open plan areas, gardens etc.
However, just bear in mind that if your speaker is connected via Wi-Fi rather than a wired ethernet cable then it’s only going to be as good as your Wi-Fi network!
Often now for a few speakers on Wi-Fi (plus your TV’s, games consoles etc etc) you’re looking at needing a higher quality wireless router as that free one you got with your ISP probably won’t cut it!
It’s quite well known that WiFi speakers offer a better sound quality than Bluetooth.
And that is true because the audio bit rate for Wi-Fi is higher than Bluetooth.
But bear in mind two things.
- Bluetooth ceiling speakers sound really good anyway, and for most, they are more than good enough.
- It does also depend on the ceiling speaker you choose. If you put an entry level pair of ceiling speakers with a Sonos connect amp then it’s not going to sound as good as a Bluetooth ceiling speaker system with some higher quality ceiling speakers.
So yes Wi-Fi can sound better, but it might not be worth the additional cost.
Bluetooth ceiling speakers are ideal as you can simply play anything your smart phone/tablet/PC plays.
There are a plenty of apps out there for radio i.e TuneIN
Spotify, Deezer etc.
However Bluetooth is a point to point connection, that means if you have speakers in the kitchen then your music will play in the kitchen only.
If you have another pair of bluetooth ceiling speakers in the lounge then you’ll have to stop playing music in the kitchen and start playing in the lounge….
With multi room audio systems such as Sonos & Denon Heos this isn’t a problem as you gain the ability to synchronise zones to play together seamlessly.
A simple button press on the app can make the kitchen and the lounge play the same music together.
Other than that the features are generally the same, but mostly controlled from one app instead of multiple.
Now there are work arounds to this, you can plug multi room streaming adapters into some bluetooth ceiling speakers and gain a high quality cut price multi room audio system!
Best of both worlds.
And if you are swaying towards a multi room audio system then you can save yourself some money by using bluetooth ceiling speakers in the bedrooms rather than the multi room ones..
I can’t think of many occassions where you’d want to synchronise the bedroom with the kitchen!
There is another benefit to the Sonos & Denon Heos.
That’s the freestanding speakers…
Arguably you might not want ceiling speakers in all rooms, and that is the most expensive part due to the £499 AMP required.
You might just want a nice free-standing speaker in the study.
Of course there are many well-priced Bluetooth options out there.
And you can also opt for the Heos or Sonos equivalent, starting from approx £139 which can be controlled from the app and played in sync with other rooms.
Obviously price is going to be the biggest deciding factor in this!
Bluetooth ceiling speakers of a decent comparable quality to Sonos/Heos etc start from £199.99 (cheaper ones available, but they don’t really compare in quality!)
Whereas the cheapest way you’ll get Sonos or Heos is going to be about £570 and even then the ceiling speakers won’t be as good quality as the Bluetooth ones.
So to gain the ability to sync a couple of rooms together you’re likely going to be spending £500 + more than you could be with bluetooth ceiling speakers instead.
You can’t go wrong either way.
Both are great systems, but there is a massive price increase to go for Sonos or Heos.
And often it’s un-necessary.
So bluetooth ceiling speakers remain a very versatile solution and offer great value for money.