Audio Pro, the Swedish alternative to Sonos for whole-house music

Whole-house music is great. Buying things from our Swedish brothers, sisters, and binary-resisters is great as a way of showing support for their courageous decision not to order lockdowns, masks, etc. These principles intersect in Audio Pro, a well-established Swedish company that transitioned from powered speakers to multi-room music in 2017.

At $129, the Audio Pro no-amp no-speaker Link 1 node is much cheaper than the Sonos Port ($449). Audio Pro seems not to make any direct competitor to the $699 Sonos Amp (the Wi-Fi node plus a 125W/channel stereo power amp to drive speakers; back-ordered until mid-August!). So you couldn’t have quite as clean an installation with Audio Pro because you’d have to add a small Class D amp to get comparable capability. I guess this makes sense because Audio Pro is all about powered speakers. Why would they want to make a box for fools who still own passive speakers?

Has anyone tried Audio Pro? The British magazine What HiFi? top-rates Audio Pro among Sonos competitors.

Sonos is winding down support for previous generation gear like what we own and we don’t have quite enough nodes for the current house so we need to eBay all of our Sonos stuff soon. Do we buy the latest Sonos products, showing our support for the Science-followers of Santa Barbara (they also have offices in Science-following Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco)? Or do we buy Audio Pro, saving some $$ and giving money to unmasked Fauci-deniers?

The reviews on Amazon suggest that Audio Pro’s multi-room system got off to a rocky start, but now works for most people. The reviews for Sonos are nearly all five stars.

One thing that is strange about Audio Pro is that the no-amp Link 1 device doesn’t have any inputs. Some of their speakers have RCA and 3.5mm inputs, but if you were trying to pull sound out of a legacy stereo system, there would already be speakers in that room. The Sonos Port is 3X the price, but it does have the line input that you’d expect.

Another area where the Sonos Amp and Port lead: buttons on the device to play/pause and adjust volume. Some of the Audio Pro speakers have a big array of buttons (including presets for radio stations), but the Link 1 lacks the basics that Sonos always includes. I don’t know why Audio Pro can’t just copy Sonos and make a clone of the Sonos Amp. The company knows how to make the streaming hardware and they know how to make power amps (or how to ask people in China to make them!).

9 thoughts on “Audio Pro, the Swedish alternative to Sonos for whole-house music

    • Sad, but true! It is tough to appreciate the subtleties of sound reproduction when the kids are tearing around the house, playing foosball, going in and out of the backyard constantly, etc. That said, I think Deezer or Tidal streamed into a legacy amp or receiver and speakers can be quite good.

  1. I have had a Sonos (now called S1) system since they were first introduced and was mad when they tried to kill it off. Still seems to work (4 Play 5s, 2 Connects, and a Sonos 1 pre-Alexa). However, in thinking about having a cheap multi-room music player, the cheapest alternative is to get a bunch of 4th Gen Echo Dots (or whatever you like). “Alexa, play everywhere” Not nearly as versatile as Sonos, but at a cost no one else can match. and it apparently IS possible to have an aux in (though I have not tried it): P.S. Also realized the old Sonos players draw a lot of power (i.e. no low power standby), even when idle, so I added WiFi on/off power switches to turn them all off when not in use.

  2. No experience with audio pro. Going in the slightly more expensive than sonos is bluesound which I found was noticeably better sound quality and natively supported Roon (though I am not using Roon now). Going back in history, bluesound is a lot like NAD 3020 (it’s owned by the same people) and Sonos is like a mass market pioneer product

  3. But what exactly is a use case for the whole house audio? Torturing family with jazz so they can’t escape anywhere?

    With this said I have this option with the array of Amazon Echos/Fire TVs deployed through the house. If you need voice control anyway, you might as well just use Amazon.

    • SK: Yes, free jazz all day every day! Beret for each child. Builds character.

  4. Theoretically in a 50 room mansion like Chez Greenspun, most of the speakers in these systems aren’t getting listened to. They’re meant for the 1 room apartments of the rabble doing all the working, paying, living, dying, & blog commenting.

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