I’m in the middle of building our new house, and in the midst of mapping out our audio setup, I am really torn on what technology to go with that will serve a dual purpose for my hifi setup, and distributed audio throughout the home. Mainly a central streamer in music room, (that can also take an input of vinyl lps if needed), something to play nice with a Soundbar wall mounted over fireplace (doubling as music source fo the Family Room), some sort of wifi speakers for top floor, and wired ceiling speakers of the basement games room etc amped back to a audio closet in a basement media room. Wired outdoors on deck as well. Apart from the music room, and maybe a little in main floor Family room for movies, there won’t be “critical” listening anywhere else.
I’m researching a lot of this, and two brands come into play mostly, Bluesound and Sonos. My receiver in basement media room is Denon, so Denon Heos? is available as well. I’m trying not to have many different systems with the inability to communicate to each other throughout the house, as it will cause problems for the rest of the family, simplicity would be great if there is one system/app control that also sounds good.
I’m back and forth a lot between Bluesound and Sonos mainly. Is there one more recommended than the other, or am I missing something else that works as well.
Currently, my only streaming source is a 24/192khz capable DAC connected to Ropieee on a RPi3/Allo setup. Local music library with Tidal hifi and cd quality Deezer (trial) for online streaming.
Likely asking the impossible, but interested in other’s experience.
One point to consider: you can only group Sonos with other Sonos zones whereas Bluesound will group with other RAAT zones.
FWIW, I think the IQaudIO DigiAmp+ with good in-ceiling speaker(s) sound much better than Bluesound.
Before ultimately going with the KEF LS50Wireless IIs, I had two Sonos 5s in my living room area. Once I got interested in hi-res music, I auditioned the Bluesound Pulse 2i speakers - the same size/class as the Sonos 5s.
I was surprised by how unimpressed I was with the Bluesounds. It’s not so much that they were inferior to the Sonos units, but I simply could not hear any significant difference. If anything, the Sonos 5s were brighter - the Bluesounds sounded like they were fighting their way out of a murky bass environment.
Given Sonos’s embrace of Qobuz’s hi-res music - at least up to 24/48 - it’s a close call even if you are interested in hi-res-capable speakers. Between the two, I suppose I’d go with the Bluesounds, just for the upside in hi-res capability and their Roon Readiness.
I would NOT settle for Heos - I’ve never heard the speakers, but I have a Denon receiver with Heos built in and I found the app so frustrating that I abandoned any attempt to use the built-in capabilities of my Denon receiver. The app didn’t let me create playlists within the app (I was using Amazon Music HD at the time), the time between tapping on a song and its being played by the receiver could be counted in multiple seconds, and I could not tell from the Heos app whether the version of a song that I was choosing was a 24/192, 24/96, 24/48 or 16/44 version - no info was given.
If you’re not operating on a tight budget, I’d consider the KEF LS50 Wireless IIs. They’re set to be Roon Ready within a few weeks from now, and the sound is absolutely stunning.
I would go with Bluesound if you want to group zones over RAAT. If you are OK with Airplay 2, then HEOS is OK as you can group Roon zones via Airplay 2.
Thanks, lots to think about. It’s a tough one trying to balance quality against convenience for the rest of the family within the ones they would actually use. I don’t mind Sonos speakers not going full hi-res, given their form factor and background music use, but I would have liked to see the Port have the capability in my main setup. (Qobuz still not available to Canada ). Pushes me to the Bluesound Node 2i, and by extension Bluesound throughout.
Point taken on Heos. Some deal breakers there.