Sonos Multi Room Image

We’ve moved past the big showy sound system that sat proudly in the corner of the media room. These days, homeowners want immersive, house-wide sound — minus the bulky equipment.

The trend toward music streaming has given rise to a new breed of audio equipment that goes largely unseen: in-wall and in-ceiling architectural speakers powered by audio components that can be stashed out of sight. Now homeowners no longer need to be within earshot of the big freestanding speakers of yesteryear. With Wi-Fi connectivity and room-by-room sound, their music or podcasts go where they go.

A growing preference for clean, clutter-free living spaces is another reason for built-in audio systems.

“Combined with cloud-based music streaming services, customers can eliminate any evidence of equipment or wiring in their homes. This design aesthetic can be extremely appealing, so once customers see what is possible, they tend to get hooked,” says Frank DeFilippis, Builder Channel Manager with Sonos.

Architectural speakers are a desirable amenity, and thankfully a builder doesn’t need to be an audiophile to know how to install them. Here’s what to know:

Sonos Mulit Room Living Room image

Think beyond the home theater

Stunning sound shouldn’t be limited to the media room. Homeowners increasingly want quality audio throughout the house.

The key opportunity for builders is to showcase whole-house audio with architectural speakers in a variety of locations throughout model homes and design centers. Think open-concept kitchens, en suite bathrooms, home offices, and gaming rooms. This allows clients to envision entertainment in places they may not have previously considered.

Pre-wire for installation ease

Consider the necessary wiring infrastructure early in construction. Placing audio cables in key locations is relatively inexpensive, but it has to be done during rough-in. Most A/V dealers are happy to consult with a builder and can provide design expertise as well as installation savvy.

Keep speakers discreet

In-wall and in-ceiling speakers can blend seamlessly, mounted flush with grills painted to match. There are several third-party options, such as Fruition Designs and Wall-Smart, that provide fixtures compatible with major audio brands, so you’ll find something that suits the space. The art of concealment also extends to the soundbar — that long speaker that typically sits underneath the TV. Even this can be hidden thanks to products like the Leon Tonecase, which masks the component behind a mesh screen.

Equip it for streaming and smart home compatibility

Nearly 80 percent of people listen to music on a streaming service. So, a whole-house sound system that doesn’t broadcast Spotify or another streaming provider does little good. Components such as the Sonos Amp make equipment streaming-compatible. Amp powers passive speakers, connects to WiFi, and offers easy control of music, audiobooks, and podcasts from your mobile device.

You’ll also want to make sure the audio system you specify is compatible with other smart-home tech you may be incorporating. The Sonos Smart Home Ecosystem integrates with major home software solutions such as, Brilliant, NICE, Creston, and Control4.

Leave it to the professionals

If you don’t know an amp from a receiver, turn to the pros at the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA). This ever-growing community of specialists works closely with builders to outfit homes with cutting-edge audio and smart-home technology.

Sonos has a model home program so builders can showcase entertainment possibilities to future clients, increasing customer satisfaction from the very first design center visit. To learn more, click here.