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Samsung Shape M7 Wireless Audio Speaker review: A solid multi-room audio system

Michael Brown | Nov. 20, 2014
If you're looking for a big multi-room speaker, Samsung's Shape system is a viable alternative to what Sonos has on offer.

There are a few other controls atop the M7, too, including a touch-sensitive volume-control ring, a mute function, and a button for changing Internet radio stations. You can cycle between three of your favorite stations by tapping this button.

The rear panel of the speaker has an ethernet port, a 1/8-inch auxiliary analog audio input, a WPS button for Wi-Fi setup, and a button for pairing additional speakers. Samsung offers an optional wall mount for the speakers, but I'd be leery of mounting these 8.4-pound boxes to drywall unless you're anchoring them to studs.

The M7 is a beefy speaker, bigger in size and power than anything Sonos has to offer (apart from the Sonos Playbar and Sonos Sub, that is). The M7 cabinet houses one 4-inch woofer, two 2.2-inch mid-range drivers, and two 0.74-inch tweeters. A single M7 operates in stereo when laid flat, but it has a large footprint at 15.8 inches wide. You can orient it vertically using the provided stand.

If you have a pair of M7s, you can configure them as a left/right stereo pair. If you have the sound bar and a pair of M7s, you can configure the M7s as left/right surround channels. You can do the same if you own a Samsung TV with Samsung's SoundConnect technology. An EQ setting lets you make bass, treble, and balance (left/right) adjustments.

The Samsung Multiroom app
Samsung's app looks attractive and is fairly easy to use. You can control each speaker separately and have each play its own music from any source (devices connected to the speaker's aux port, servers on your Wi-Fi network or, using Bluetooth, tracks stored on your smartphone). Or you can create groups of two or more speakers and have them play the same music. The network did a great job of keeping the three speakers (plus the sound bar's wireless subwoofer) in sync, but there's a momentary dropout when you group or ungroup speakers. And you can't add speakers to an existing group; you must ungroup them and then create a new group.

The app presents your music library ordered by songs, albums, artists, and genres, but there's no mechanism for speed-navigating a large collection of music. I have more than 10,000 tracks in my library (stored on a WD Mirror NAS box), so finding specific tracks was an exceedingly tedious task.

You can create playlists using the tracks stored on your phone, and you can call up playlists stored on a server, but you can't create them based on tracks in your now-playing queue (nor can you edit your queue to move tracks up or down the order).

 

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