Sonos has been the king of multi-room audio for a decade, but Samsung is making quick inroads with its own multi-speaker range. LG wants a piece of that pie too, and has four new multi-room audio speakers, and a wireless receiver to tie it all together, out in a few days.
Matching Samsung blow for blow, LG’s multi-room speakers are the H7, H5, H3 and HS6 soundbar. Don’t get the names confused, Samsung’s M7, M5, M3 and soundbar follow roughly the same small-medium-large, good-better-best philosophy, but it’s all about which multi-room ecosystem you buy into.
All running through the $79 R1 network bridge, which you hook up to your home network router, LG’s $549 H7 speaker is the largest of the three and boasts 70 Watts of audio power. Like the rest of the line-up it hooks into LG’s dual band wireless multi-room infrastructure and works with iOS, Android, PC and Mac apps to channel locally stored or streaming music from one or more speakers at a time. The lesser $399 H5 and $249 H3 tout 40 Watts and 30 Watts respectively; all three also have Bluetooth for directly playing music.
Standing out from the crowd is the ability of LG’s Music Flow speakers to rebroadcast the audio from a direct phone-to-speaker Bluetooth connection to multiple devices, so if you don’t want to use the Music Flow app over Wi-Fi you can temporarily hook up multiple speakers on Bluetooth; this is a feature missing from competitors Sonos and Samsung’s setup. It’s a small addition, but it might come in handy for some users.
Streaming music service support is a must for any multi-room, multi-user setup worth its salt, and Music Flow is well catered for with a trio of support for Spotify, Deezer and Tune-In Radio, all of which require premium (paid) accounts to work correctly. If you’re committed to streaming music — and we definitely are, except in the case of a few super-high-resolution, lossless audio albums — then you’ll be pleased to see Spotify supported straight out of the gate.
LG’s multi-room audio products look pretty good; like Samsung they’ll all have to compete with the long-time leader in Sonos, but We’ll be hearing the speakers in action later today, so stay tuned for impressions on how they sound. [LG]