It’s almost that time of year again, when students head back to school, many moving out and starting college or university for the first time. One of the defining experiences of college is all the new music you are exposed to, from new friends, and maybe from moving into a new city. Here we are going to look at the best speakers for your new apartment, or college dorm when starting school.
Sonos Play 3, Sonos One
Sonos has the well deserved reputation of being the king of the wireless speaker market. Their speakers all utilize your WiFi network to sync wirelessly, so you can have the same music (or different music) playing in each room of your home. We recommend either the Play 3 ($329) or the One ($249) for a small to medium size room. The main difference is that the 3 has multiple drivers, and gives you a stereo sound. The Sonos One has only a single driver but has the Alexa smart voice assistant onboard. What’s great about Sonos is that you can start off with a single speaker now, then over time add more speakers to your setup.
Pros: Utilizes WiFi Not Bluetooth so music doesn’t get interrupted by incoming calls, Great Audio Quality, Excellent App, Easy to setup
Cons: Only connects through Wifi, cannot connect to analog audio sources, or anything that requires a cable (TV).
Samsung HWM360 2.1 Channel Soundbar
Samsung may be more well known as a top of the line TV brand, but their home audio products have really stepped it up in recent years. The HWM360 soundbar ($279.99) includes a 2 channel soundbar, with a wireless sub for great bass when listening to music or watching movies. Stream music from your phone to the soundbar directly using bluetooth. This system can also be expanded with rear speakers, giving you a true surround sound experience.
Pros: Affordable, Great bass from wireless sub, Great for watching movies, Bluetooth enabled
Cons: Small soundbar speakers not as detailed as other music focused speakers, size may be an issue in smaller rooms, not practical without a TV.
The Paradigm PW-300 ($399) is a true audiophile grade wireless speaker. It supports high-quality audio formats that give you better than CD quality resolution up to 24-bit/192kHz. The PW-300 can utilize either WiFi or Bluetooth for streaming, powered by the DTS Play-Fi software. DTS Play-fi is unique, in that it is used by multiple different brands, allowing their speakers to sync together. The PW-300 is more than enough speaker to fill a small – medium size room.
Pros: Hi-Resolution Audio, Excellent Sound Quality, Stream over WiFi or Bluetooth
Cons: App & setup not as intuitive as Sonos, Premium quality has a premium price
The Yamaha MCR-B043 ($399) is a versatile, full-featured stereo system. Unlike our previous choices, this system has an integrated CD Player, Radio, and the ability to connect USB or analog audio sources, along with the ability to stream with Bluetooth. It also produces a great stereo sound as you have the ability to seperate the speakers to your desired position. Available in 10 different colours based on Yamaha’s classic Motorcycle designs, the MCR-B043 can feel at home in any home decor.
Pros: Full featured Stereo system, Great Stereo Sound, Great Colour Options
Cons: Larger size may be an issue in smaller rooms, Streaming quality is not as good over Bluetooth compared to WiFi Options
House Of Marley Get Together Bluetooth Speaker
Typically we wouldn’t recommend a portable speaker for your home, but this bluetooth speaker from House of Marley warrants an exception. The Get Together speaker($249) delivers significantly better sound quality than your typical portable bluetooth speaker, thanks to its dual 3.5″ drivers and 1″ tweeters. It features a unique environmentally friendly construction utilizing recycled materials, a usb port to charge your phone, and an 3.5mm aux input to connect other devices. If many park or beach study sessions are planned, this speaker may be the right pick for you.
Pros: Portable, Good Sound Quality, Environmentally Friendly
Cons: No Expandability, Underpowered for medium – large rooms
Kanto Syd or YU2 Speakers
Kanto has an array of speaker choices that would be great for back to school. The SYD ($429) is a stereo speaker in a single box that features an impressive amount of connection abilities. Listen to music through Bluetooth, TV Optical, Aux Input, or even connect a turntable directly with the build in phono preamp. The size is perfect for a bedroom / dorm, and has more than enough power to handle a living room dance party or two.
If space is a serious concern, consider the YU2 powered desktop speakers ($279). These speakers connect to your computer direcly through USB (and also offer an Aux input for other connections), and when paired with the optional tilt-stands, look & sound great on your desk. A great option for those who are skipping the TV and using their computer for movies & music.
Pros: Great sound quality, nice size for smaller areas, lots of connection options, lots of colour options
Cons: SYD is highest price speaker on our list, YU2 requires a cabled connection
We hope this has helped give you some options when choosing the right speaker for a small – medium sized room. Do you have any favourites that we have missed? Let us know, or ask us any questions in the comments below!