Simple, Good Sounding Multi Room for Dummies

Most "multi room" applications drive me bonkers.

Bach in the bathroom, jazz in the bedroom, LCD touch screens, flush mount speakers that remind me of department store ceilings, miles of cheap cable, high margin invoices from rogue "custom installers" - its enough to reduce any self respecting audiophile to tears.

At a recent dinner party in NY, the hostess got up from the table at least 5 times to fiddle with some inexplicably complicated wall panel, on the one hand eager to show off her gee whiz multi room audio system, yet at the same time frustrated and embarrassed because she couldn't get the damn thing to work or find what she wanted to hear.

Whatever the latest trendy soundtrack for her aspirational life, it was no doubt buried in her dedicated closet full of stacked Sony disc jockeys and home theatre receivers driving Bose speakers all over the house.

(Oh, as you might imagine, it also sounded like crap.)

Despite this pet peeve of mine, however, I often think, that for parties, entertaining or just background music, it would be nice to have SIMPLE, GOOD SOUNDING music in every room, where additional rooms might be spokes off the hub of a dedicated main system, where one could not adjust millions of options on a razzle dazzle wall panel, but maybe just adjust the volume independently in every room?

Could anyone please recommend

* A good, simple configuration for such a system?
* Amplifiers which could be used? Remotely?
* Good sounding speakers for this type of application?

Would a Squeezebox type device be the smart way to execute this plan in the 21st Century?

Again, no gee whiz features, no multiple sources, no remotes which see through walls, no over priced LCD touch screen panels -- just decent sound around the house please? Without spending an arm and a leg?

Any and all comments and suggestions greatly appreciated.

The squeezebox approach is absolutely a good way to solve this problem in the 21st century. It's also free to try / evaluate, if you have a couple computers. The server software is free, and there is a Squeezebox emulator you can download to your computer to experiment. I already had music ripped to a server, so I got the whole thing up and running in about 10 minutes.

I don't know what the right solution is in each room, but I'm sure there are good alternatives. I think it's a cost-effective, flexible solution.
I heartily second the Squeezebox approach. I have a Squeezebox/Benchmark tandem in my main listening room (feeding Modwright/Belles 350A Ref/ML Summits) In my master bedroom, I have a Squeezebox, with analog outs to a Russound 235LS amp, driving 8" in-ceiling speakers. In my game room, I have a Squeezebox, with analog outs direct to Swan S200a powered speakers. In my office, I use the Softsqueeze emulator on my laptop, with my computer speakers. I can synchronize all the systems for "whole house audio" or conversely play each "zone" independantly. My wife and kids have NO problems controlling it (in fact, it's TOO EASY for them, and my 14 y/o daughter has created her own Pandora stream of teen tunes).

The only negative with the Squeezebox system, is that I can't simultaneously play Pandora streams at multiple locations (it's a subscription service, thus can play only on ONE Squeezebox at a time).
Thanks for ideas so far..

So Squeezebox seems to be a reasonable solution.

Sleepysurf - how are the Swans for remote speakers? Sufficient for background music?

Or is there any audiophile consensus for good sounding, in wall or ceiling speakers?

Thank you.
The Swan S200A's are EXCELLENT, and could probably pass muster as a small primary system! Only caveat is that they do NOT have auto-power sensing, and need to be manually turned on and off (toggle switch in rear). I just leave mine on all the time, and power the Squeezebox on/off as needed.

Swan also makes the M200 powered speaker, $200 at