Sonos is probably the best-known brand when it comes to home speakers. Yet that may soon just change due to a JBL acquisition.
While you know Sonos mostly for its soundbars and speakers in and around your home, you may know JBL mostly for its headphones and portable boxes for on the go. Unjustly so, because the brand also has a number of larger speakers for in the range. That doesn’t immediately make it a direct competitor to Sonos, but that may just change.
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JBL wants to compete with Sonos
Besides its sound quality, Sonos is best known for its ease of use. It is very easy to connect different speakers and soundbars to each other. This allows you to simply enjoy your favorite music throughout the house, or create a real cinema experience because everything is coordinated by the software.
Other brands are all too eager to offer the same as Sonos, but unfortunately don’t come close to that total experience yet. Yet that may soon change thanks to JBL, now that parent company Harman/Kardon has acquired Roon. This streaming platform specializes in multi-device and multi-room management. So it helps you provide ideal sound in multiple rooms, giving you an experience for your entire home just like Sonos.
What is Roon?
Roon is called a kind of AirPlay for audiophiles by the company itself. It can receive 32-bit/769kHz streams, which is even higher than AirPlay. That one can only go up to 16bit/44.1kHz. For that service, however, you have to pay handsomely; a subscription costs about $150 a year.
So it’s a service that costs quite a bit of money right now. If JBL builds this into its devices, it could become a serious competitor to Sonos. Now, for example, it is still difficult to connect older JBL devices to new ones. For example, some still have Connect+ support while others have the so-called PartyBoost.
A Party Box from JBL. (Image: JBL)
JBL also seems to be focusing more and more back on boxes in the home. The best-known examples are the Authentics line of speakers announced at IFA 2023.