Advice Sonos vs hifi

Natan90NL

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Nov 2, 2021
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Hi all,

For a while I’ve been reading and watching YouTube videos on hifi sets. Currently I am using a Sonos 5.1 set, arc sub and one’s for both the tv and music. Bear in mind it’s true played and neutral EQ loudness off and the Sonos software makes the one and arcs low frequencies free to the sub so they have power and room for the other frequencies And playing Apple Music and Tidal hifi for “lossless 16bit 44khz” music. If you ask me it sounds quite clean, impressive and powerful. Only it’s a bit cool not warm sounding, like a bit digital.

But I keep having the feeling I want to try a hifi setup. Although for the TV movie experience it would be way less convenient I really appreciate good music quality.

Is a €1000-2000 setup with a dac, amplifier and passive speakers in a room of 5x5 with Apple Music hi ress lossless (24bit 192khz max) streaming from a MacBook or iPhone really going to sound “substantially” better then the Sonos setup ?

I know sounding better is subjective but does any one have experience with both these setups and can share the experiences or give me a tip on where to listen to both setups like this.

I’m mostly scared the lack of a subwoofer would make a 2.0 sound boring.. and I know Sonos does the “switch Frequency between speakers and sub” automatically quite well and I’m not sure if speakers blasting all frequencies with a sub would be better.

Many thanks for any advice!

Natan
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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Is a €1000-2000 setup with a dac, amplifier and passive speakers in a room of 5x5 with Apple Music hi ress lossless (24bit 192khz max) streaming from a MacBook or iPhone really going to sound “substantially” better then the Sonos setup ?
In a word, yes.

I'm sorry but for me Sonos is hype over substance. When I got a new TV I thought I'd get a Sonos Beam and see what all the fuss is about. I don't know why I bothered. My TV sounded so much better through my stereo amp and speakers, even if these are not ideally placed.

If you seriously value quality music playback, then a well chosen two channel and amp and speakers will sound miles better than what you've got. I know that recently Sonos is trying to make inroads into the traditional hifi market but I don't think they have a clue.
 
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In a word, yes.

I'm sorry but for me Sonos is hype over substance. When I got a new TV I thought I'd get a Sonos Beam and see what all the fuss is about. I don't know why I bothered. My TV sounded so much better through my stereo amp and speakers, even if these are not ideally placed.

If you seriously value quality music playback, then a well chosen two channel and amp and speakers will sound miles better than what you've got. I know that recently Sonos is trying to make inroads into the traditional hifi market but I don't think they have a clue.
Your experience is very different to mine and I've got Sonos all over the house (for a good reason). Also, you cannot extrapolate your experience of the Beam with OP's superior Arc, or any other Sonos speakers for that matter.
 
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robdmarsh

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But for music, really? Have you heard a good traditional two channel hifi separates system? I'm not talking high end here, but something costing maybe £1000 all in. I really don't think Sonos can compete with such a set-up for music.
 
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But for music, really? Have you heard a good traditional two channel hifi separates system? I'm not talking high end here, but something costing maybe £1000 all in. I really don't think Sonos can compete with such a set-up for music.
I've got Monitor Audio speakers (silver series) and have extensively auditioned several speaker brands. You just need to audition a pair of Sonos Ones in stereo mode and also Play Fives. For the money, they're very good. Besides, Sonos does multiroom better than most in the market.

It depends on what your source is. Traditional Hi-Fi has a different audience who wants different things from their system compared to Sonos that caters to streaming and multiroom.
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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Multiroom, well that's their thing so they should get that right.

Streaming? Plenty of streaming options for the trad separates user. I use an ifi Zen blue (£129) and the SQ is pretty awesome, even if it's not strictly hi res.
 
It's a different product though, iFi uses Bluetooth and comes with all the restrictions associated with Bluetooth technology whereas Sonos uses WiFi.

Yes, there are plenty of steaming options. The streaming interface is clunky in a lot of Hifi manufacturers. It'll also be interesting to see how long they actually support the software, while Sonos has a proven track record. I've had Sonos since 2009.
 
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Natan90NL

Well-known member
Nov 2, 2021
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In a word, yes.

I'm sorry but for me Sonos is hype over substance. When I got a new TV I thought I'd get a Sonos Beam and see what all the fuss is about. I don't know why I bothered. My TV sounded so much better through my stereo amp and speakers, even if these are not ideally placed.

If you seriously value quality music playback, then a well chosen two channel and amp and speakers will sound miles better than what you've got. I know that recently Sonos is trying to make inroads into the traditional hifi market but I don't think they have a clue.
But have you ever listened to a Sonos 5.1 true play tuned auto cross over sub neutral eq loudness off set ?
It’s the same as I don’t know how a hifi set sounds, then how can u state this opinion ?

no offense I’m seriously curious!

also because the way this Sonos set sounds to me.
 

Natan90NL

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Nov 2, 2021
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And yes, multi room and streaming ease of use and compatibility Sonos is the best, watched plenty of reviews to “know” this.
 

iMark

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Airplay 2 is incredibly easy to use if you have Apple devices. Streaming is at CD quality. Airplay 2 is also supported by Sonos, so you can have a mix of brands to create a multiroom system.

Airplay 2 is way more convenient than Bluetooth if there are more users in the home. Bluetooth is a pain because you have to disconnect if someone else wants to connect.

Earlier this year we bought a Sonos Roam which now mainly serves as an Airplay speaker in the bathroom.

Also there's a new feature in macOS Monterey: your Mac is an Airplay speaker.
 
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shipworm-archaism-recede

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Nov 29, 2021
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.Is a €1000-2000 setup with a dac, amplifier and passive speakers in a room of 5x5 with Apple Music hi ress lossless (24bit 192khz max) streaming from a MacBook or iPhone really going to sound “substantially” better then the Sonos setup ?
IMO Yes.

I stream all my stuff from an Apple TV into an Arcam A90 with Monitor Audio RS-6 floor standing speakers using a separate DAC. Not as posh as the kit enjoyed by many on here, but the sound is wonderful to my ears. I get multi-room with HomePods.

A mate has all the Sonos stuff. It sounds good, but not as good as my stereo–to my ears at least.

Try it all out to see what you enjoy best.
 

Natan90NL

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Nov 2, 2021
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@iMark thanks for the reply, but after searching on the internet I’m not sure if Apple Music iOS nor MacOS actually keep it at 24bit/48khz via AirPlay 2. I believe it uses the other codec. Also Apple Music lossless isn’t available on Sonos yet.. so probably doesn’t work with AirPlay either, else they marked that ??
 

Natan90NL

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Nov 2, 2021
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@shipworm-archaism-recede thnx, just to be clear, he did trueplay, has a 5.1 set with sub and turns loudness off ? (makes a huge difference)

I do have more questions after reading and viewing videos about hifi.
1 room acoustics influence BIG TIME if I may believe a lot of acoustic engineers. Sonos actually have room correction (works good for my room).
2 I’ve watched darkoaudio talk about adding a sub with high and low pass filtering being very good for the sound, options like crossover points make the speakers focus on higher frequencies etc. But Sonos automatically does this when pairing a sub!?

So again, after getting more info I doubt harder if it’s all that much better in sound quality going from this 5.1 Sonos to amplifier with 2.0 or 2.1 speakers for music..

The reason I’m so curious is that the 5.1 is great for movies but I don’t like it that much for music because of the speaker placement.
And if room acoustics is important, my room is not really good (right side of arc is a short distance wall with glass door left side open space to kitchen).

Again many thanks for any advice,
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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Like I said earlier, AirPlay 2 streams at CD quality. Streaming higher resolutions will be downsampled.

AirPlay 2 is very convenient but not designed for hires.

Apple Music from both my Mac and iPhone streams at CD quality to our list of devices: a Yamaha R-N602 (previous version of AirPlay), a HomePod mini, a Sonos Roam and an Airport Express that is connected to an old Sony mini system.

On the Mac I also use Airfoil, which streams any sound from the Mac to any of the mentioned devices. From my iPhone I can only stream simultaneously to AirPlay 2 devices.
 
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Natan90NL

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Nov 2, 2021
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@iMark no, not even, that’s the point. There are many sources of info stating Apple Music streams lossy files to Sonos via AirPlay 2.
I’m confused myself too, doesn’t seem logical, but if u look at Sonos own page on Apple Music it says no lossless support.
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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But have you ever listened to a Sonos 5.1 true play tuned auto cross over sub neutral eq loudness off set ?
It’s the same as I don’t know how a hifi set sounds, then how can u state this opinion ?

no offense I’m seriously curious!

also because the way this Sonos set sounds to me.
No, I haven't heard the Sonos 5.1 true play tuned to blah de blah with do hicky tweaked to... etc etc. The thing is I have zero interest in multi-room, zero interest in surround sound and zero interest in products which are designed with "lifestyle" as a priority.
Another thing about Sonos is just look at the marketing budget!
 

Natan90NL

Well-known member
Nov 2, 2021
38
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@shipworm-archaism-recede thnx, just to be clear, he did trueplay, has a 5.1 set with sub and turns loudness off ? (makes a huge difference)

I do have more questions after reading and viewing videos about hifi.
1 room acoustics influence BIG TIME if I may believe a lot of acoustic engineers. Sonos actually have room correction (works good for my room).
2 I’ve watched darkoaudio talk about adding a sub with high and low pass filtering being very good for the sound, options like crossover points make the speakers focus on higher frequencies etc. But Sonos automatically does this when pairing a sub!?

So again, after getting more info I doubt harder if it’s all that much better in sound quality going from this 5.1 Sonos to amplifier with 2.0 or 2.1 speakers for music..

The reason I’m so curious is that the 5.1 is great for movies but I don’t like it that much for music because of the speaker placement.
And if room acoustics is important, my room is not really good (right side of arc is a short distance wall with glass door left side open space to kitchen).

Again many thanks for any advice,
Any more thoughts on this ? People with Sonos and 2.0 hifi ?
 

Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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Any more thoughts on this ? People with Sonos and 2.0 hifi ?
It is very subjective. Products like Sonos, Bose, Audio Pro etc can sound very good...particularly for 'background' music/listening. For me the difference with a good 2 channel HiFi system is involvement..... it can be riveting and almost impossible to do anything else but listen.....and let the music move you! 🙂
 

doifeellucky

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Feb 3, 2016
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Any more thoughts on this ? People with Sonos and 2.0 hifi ?
John Darko did a comparison of two Sonos 5’s vs Kef LSX and was not overly critical of the Sonos, though I appreciate many don’t consider the LSX as proper hifi.

On a side note I AB tested my Addon C10 (similar to Sonos 5) against my Cambridge CXA60 and Dali speakers and I was impressed by the C10 in a direct comparison.
 

Natan90NL

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Nov 2, 2021
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@doifeellucky yes I’ve seen it. But it’s the sub (high pass filter and low pass filter / cross over point) that makes an even bigger difference. He also made a video about this effect with the kef sl50 wireless 2 with a sub.
 
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