Shootout: Three Wireless Multiroom Music Systems Page 8

And the winners are...

All three of these systems are great solutions that will get you live on the air with your personal music library, but they're surprisingly diverse in their architectures, setups, and even prices. I can no more declare a winner than I can say whether you prefer rock to jazz, but each is recommendable in its own right.

The Philips Streamium Music Center is what I'd call the simple solution: Everything is self-contained, and it's a snap to set up. In fact, you don't even need a computer (though it makes sense to have one around). It was easy to operate via its handheld remotes (the LCD screen on the main remote is an excellent perk), and its built-in speakers were quite serviceable for desktop playback.

The Sonos Digital Music System is a step up. It's simple to operate and highly engaging with its slick wireless LCD controller. It does a fantastic job of seamlessly integrating your music files into a playback system, though you'll need to rely on your computer or another external drive for media storage. With that small caveat, it allows great expandability and flexibility, and offers attractive pricing.

The Yamaha MusicCAST, though much costlier, is also more formidable, more fully featured, and even more flexible than the Sonos. It will do almost anything you'll need in a home network system, providing both internal storage and online access to your Windows computer. And it's the only system here that offers in-wall clients.

In the end, all three systems offered noise-free wired or wireless distribution of your music. So let your needs and budget decide which is best for you. Whichever you choose - good, better, or best - you'll be changing forever the way you enjoy your music at home.

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