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Daniel | 20/03/2020
When it comes to multiroom audio, one brand springs to mind above all others: Sonos. They were one of the first audio brands to develop multiroom technology, and their products have always been held in high regard by consumers. However, they aren't the only brand worth considering. Since they launched, multiroom has become mainstream, and plenty of brands now produce WiFi-enabled speakers. Sonos' main rivals are Audio Pro, who have picked up an armful of awards over the last couple of years with their fantastic range multiroom speakers. But with Sonos recently revamping their lineup, you might be wondering: which brand is most deserving of your hard-earned cash? Not to worry- we're here to help you make a fully informed choice.
Both Sonos and Audio Pro have a decent amount of speakers in their current product lineups. In this post, though, we're going to be directly comparing two of them: the Sonos One Gen II, and the Audio Pro C5A. They are both fairly new to the market, and add some brand new features to the basic design of older models.
Sonos essentially set the bar for the current trend of smart speaker design- a cylindrical unit available in either black or white, with a metal wraparound grille. If you're looking for something unobtrusive, then the Sonos One is a solid choice. On the other hand, if you prefer your speakers with a little more character (as we do), then the Audio Pro Addon C5A is the clear winner here. Sharing the same distinct speaker layout as the rest of the Addon range, it comes in either subtle black or more eye-catching white or grey. It also includes a rather snazzy metal control panel on the top, along with a leather carry handle.
One last thing to note: should you want something that looks a bit more like your standard smart speaker, then the Audio Pro A10 is also worth looking at, and has a few more smart assistant functions built in as well.
Sound quality is subjective. Ask even two audiophiles to compare the same speaker, and they will probably have very different opinions. At their price point, both of these multiroom speakers massively outperform the competition. If we had to choose between them, though, we would have to give the edge to the Addon C5A. For one thing, it's much more comfortable producing truly room-filling sound. With twin 3/4" tweeters and a 4" long-throw tweeter, all powered by a 40W Class D digital amplifier, it produces truly hi-fi quality sound. The Sonos One is slightly less expressive, whereas the speaker tech and layout of the Addon C5A means music of all genres has enough space to really shine.
In terms of features, both the Sonos One and the Audio Pro Addon C5A are fairly evenly matched. They both come with built-in voice controls via Alexa (the Sonos One also supports Google Assistant too), which definitely makes them a lot easier to use. Simply ask the speaker to start playing something, whether that's a song, playlist, or even an internet radio station, and it will- simple!
As for their multiroom connectivity, both Sonos and Audio Pro devices will only work with other speakers of the same brand. If you're planning on building a whole-home speaker setup, then we'd recommend that you go with Audio Pro over Sonos. That's because their products are considerably less expensive, so you won't need to break the bank to fill your home with music. For instance, if you're looking for something portable, then the Audio Pro Addon C3 comes in at around £200- whereas the Sonos equivalent, the Sonos Move, will cost you double that amount.
This is one category where Sonos has the edge. Before Sonos, multiroom audio was fairly tricky to implement. It involved running wiring across your home, and manually controlling the audio source. Sonos won the hearts of audiophiles and casual listeners alike by instead making multiroom as simple as possible. They have continued this approach into the present day, developing one of the most user-friendly apps of any audio brand. Everything is controlled within the Sonos app, and it works with just about any streaming service you can think of, too.
On the other hand, the Audio Pro app is a serviceable solution, but isn't anything to write home about. That being said, you won't spend very long in the app itself. If you're listening via Spotify, then the actually music that's playing is controlled via the Spotify app. Everything is reasonably quick to set up, and the built-in voice assistant means you can easily control your music without even taking your smartphone out of your pocket.
Both the competitors here are worthy choices, but in the end, we have to crown the Audio Pro Addon C5A as the winner. While its app may not be as intuitive as Sonos', it's much more pleasing to the eye, and the sound quality from this speaker is truly astonishing. Best of all, it's excellent value at this sort of price- so if you've been thinking about investing in multiroom speakers, there's never been a better time to start.
This entry was posted in Audio on 20/03/2020 by Daniel.