Amazon’s new multi-room audio is a Sonos competitor — if you don’t care about quality

Amazon’s new multi-room audio is a Sonos competitor — if you don’t care about quality


So Amazon Echo — or, more specifically, the OG Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show — can now do multi-room audio. That is, they can all play the same music at the same time, in different rooms.

That’s a big deal. If you sell multiple speakers, you need to be able to do multi-room playback. Amazon’s nearest direct competitor in this sort of thing — that’d be Google and Google Home — has done this for some time now.

So, too, has Sonos. But this needs to be made abundantly clear:

For as good as the Amazon Echo and Echo Show are, they’re not Sonos. They’re not a Play:1, the least expensive of the Sonos stable at $199. And they’re definitely not of the quality of the Play:3 ($299) or Play:5 ($499).

Start with the actual speaker hardware. The original Echo is decent, especially if you can get it at the current sub-$100 sale price. The Echo Show isn’t awful either when it comes to audio. It fills a need in the kitchen, where things tend to be a little noisy a lot of the time.

But neither the OG Echo nor the Echo Show — or Google Home, for that matter — can hold a candle to the stock audio quality of the Play:1. (Which I also keep in the kitchen because — well, it doesn’t matter why. It’s not normal to have this much stuff in one place, but that’s the hand I’ve been dealt.)

Three speakers, one obvious winner: Sonos.

And that’s before you get into the whole Sonos TruePlay thing, which individually tunes each speaker for improved sound in whatever room it’s…



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