Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by Greg0
Monster Takes On Multi-Room With The SoundStage S1 Mini
It doesn’t have to be a silent night- in fact, we suggest Christmas carols in every room. That’s probably the best way to celebrate the holidays. But trying to connect a bunch of speakers together probably won’t work for most people, with wiring strung about- the festive lights are probably wiring hassles enough. Instead, you should consider a multi-room audio solution. And while Sonos works great, it doesn’t work with Bluetooth, which can mean a bit of a hassle when you just want to play from your mobile device (or when company visits). Airplay has some issues with latency and compatibility- it won’t work with Android devices, for instance.
That’s where the Monster SoundStage S1 Mini Wireless Home Music System comes in- this is a powered, not portable, unit that comes with Bluetooth capability along with support for the new Qualcom AllPlay system. Essentially, just download the free app, connect up to 10 speakers, and you’ll be able to play your music to any of them, all of them, or pick and choose some of the set and enjoy synchronized sound without much lag or delay. Part of their new ecosystem, you can also opt for the larger S2 or S3 models if you want something bigger and beefier (and more expensive). The coolest part of the Monster S1- you can play from Bluetooth and have it stream to multiple speakers with very little effort.
The thin, curved design of the S1 means it has a pretty wide sweet spot, and though it will take up a fair bit of space on the counter, it can fill even a large-sized room pretty handily. Touch-sensitive controls on top were handy; many speakers are omitting them and we find them nice to have on the unit itself, though we did have occasional issues with these responding to light pressure. There’s no remote included, but you don’t need to worry about getting a bridge or other equipment as with some competitors. Dual 3-inch drivers and a passive bass radiator pump out slightly tilted sound- it’s a bit boosted, with plenty of low end. It certainly isn’t a neutral sound, but matches the Monster style. High resolution files played nicely via the S1, unlike with some other systems with greatly compress them (or cannot play them). Connectivity includes dual USB, optical digital and a line-in as well.
Other manufacturers are considering hopping onboard the AllPlay train, and we’ve actually already checked out a speaker that was somewhat similar to the S1, the Hitachi W200 and family. For those who love Spotify, the Monster S1 supports Spotify Connect, which just makes it easier to use without having to constantly switch apps to control your system. We did face rare app issues on iOS devices, but Bluetooth streaming worked quite well. If you like your sound big and bold, and your units capable of multi-room while still preserving Bluetooth capabilities, the Monster S1 will do the trick! Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $199 for the Monster SoundStage S1.