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HiFi advice, ~ £1K, Sonos based in some way.

sjen5

New member
May 7, 2016
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Quick background; I have a Sonos play:5 (gen 1), play:3, and Sonos 5.1 setup (soundbar, sub, 2 x play:1). I think it would be fair to say I have drunk the cool aid, Sonos remind me of apple, expensive but pretty good, but you can do better for the price if you are an enthusiast.. The app is nice on Android and iOS, and it integrates with the web services I like to use (spotify, soundcloud, Radio by TuneIn), along obviously with my own CD collection, which is stored as FLAC on my NAS. Most importantly Sonos is family friendly.

I am looking for some stereo sound, rather than listening through the single play:5 that I do now.

Some options:

- buy 2x play:5 gen 2 (£429 each), thats going to be quite pricey at around £860 total.

- buy sonos connect:amp (£399) and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280) comes in at around £680

- buy sonos connect (£279), output SPDIF into say a NAD D 3020 (£399), and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280). Total: £960.

Thoughts? Alternatives? Which do people think would produce best sound?

Other considerations;

- HD audio, Sonos doesnt support this, the NAD seems to. Not sure how I would get the HD audio from source into the NAD though.

- Flexibility later on. By breaking out of Sonos I may have some more usful components in the long run.

- Size. I am moving to HK, so having large devices is not really ideal. The NAD is quite a compact unit.

thanks for advice anyone can offer.

Simon
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
135
10
18,595
sjen5 said:
Quick background; I have a Sonos play:5 (gen 1), play:3, and Sonos 5.1 setup (soundbar, sub, 2 x play:1). I think it would be fair to say I have drunk the cool aid, Sonos remind me of apple, expensive but pretty good, but you can do better for the price if you are an enthusiast.. The app is nice on Android and iOS, and it integrates with the web services I like to use (spotify, soundcloud, Radio by TuneIn), along obviously with my own CD collection, which is stored as FLAC on my NAS. Most importantly Sonos is family friendly.

I am looking for some stereo sound, rather than listening through the single play:5 that I do now.

Some options:

- buy 2x play:5 gen 2 (£429 each), thats going to be quite pricey at around £860 total.

- buy sonos connect:amp (£399) and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280) comes in at around £680

- buy sonos connect (£279), output SPDIF into say a NAD D 3020 (£399), and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280). Total: £960.

Thoughts? Alternatives? Which do people think would produce best sound?

Other considerations;

- HD audio, Sonos doesnt support this, the NAD seems to. Not sure how I would get the HD audio from source into the NAD though.

- Flexibility later on. By breaking out of Sonos I may have some more usful components in the long run.

- Size. I am moving to HK, so having large devices is not really ideal. The NAD is quite a compact unit.

thanks for advice anyone can offer.

Simon
Have a look at the Yamaha NX-N500 streaming speakers . Everything you could want in a pair of small active speakers, with the ability to go multiroom if needed. FWIW I would keep the Play:1s, they are pretty good as a single speaker / stereo pair..
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
371
140
19,070
"- buy sonos connect (£279), output SPDIF into say a NAD D 3020 (£399), and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280). Total: £960."

this would be my option. If budget allows, Quad Vena + Monitor Audio Silver 2 (instead of the Nad+Bronze). Try to audition before you buy, though, it will save you grief and money in the long run. Imo Yamaha amps sound pretty wimpy, but some like their sound - if you're among those people, it has nice features.
 

sjen5

New member
May 7, 2016
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thanks for the suggestions, ill take a look at each of these options. Ill try and find someone in north london that can audition the parts for me.
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
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I wouldn't worry about HD sound - this is marketing driven rather than driven by audio quality. To Sonos' credit, they have resisted launching 'me too' HiRes products, but this may have more to do with the limitations of their system architecture than any desire to maintain their integrity.

Sonos seem to be working through their range giving it a much needed update. In electronic terms, their original line up is a bit long in the tooth. The Play:1 and 2nd gen Play:5 show what can be done with a modern rework. The Play:1 in particular is good value for money - not something you would have said about Sonos a few years back.

The connect:amp and connect are definitely yesterday's technology, and have a price to match. The Play:1 has everthing the connect has, plus 2 speakers, a DSP crossover and dual class D amps - and costs substantially less.

Sonos have a mixed history in supporting old technology - ask users who had been using old iPhones as controllers - who now can't. But to be fair, Sonos have continued to support their own hardware (although as mentioned above, there haven't been that many 'new versions' yet).

I think it likely that the connect and connect:amp will be replaced, probably at a lower price point or higher spec, but I wouldn't use this as a reason to hold off buying - it could be some time before any changes are made.

I also wouldn't bother straying outside the Sonos world. Like Apple, both the attraction and limitation of Sonos is that it is a closed architecture - it limits your flexibility, but generally it works. Unlike an old style separate box HiFi, distributed streaming systems depend on continual support and update from their makers. You need a supplier that has experience and a good track record at doing this.

If it were me in your situation, I would go with two gen 2 Play:5. I would also wait until I got to HK before I bought them. You are much more likely to find a good deal there.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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rainsoothe said:
"- buy sonos connect (£279), output SPDIF into say a NAD D 3020 (£399), and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280). Total: £960."

this would be my option. If budget allows, Quad Vena + Monitor Audio Silver 2 (instead of the Nad+Bronze). Try to audition before you buy, though, it will save you grief and money in the long run. Imo Yamaha amps sound pretty wimpy, but some like their sound - if you're among those people, it has nice features.
Nobody said anything about Yamaha amps, although the excellent Yamaha streaming active speakers were mentioned, but your experience of their separates amps doesn't really apply to them.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
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andyjm said:
Sonos have a mixed history in supporting old technology - ask users who had been using old iPhones as controllers - who now can't.
Sorry but that's the Apple fanboy line, Sonos don't obsolete anything they don't have to, if old iOS versions are no longer supported it's because Sonos wanted to add features that the old iOS versions don't support (such as play from this device). The fact that they still support android back to v2.3 shows that.

But to be fair, Sonos have continued to support their own hardware (although as mentioned above, there haven't been that many 'new versions' yet).  

I think it likely that the connect and connect:amp will be replaced, probably at a lower price point or higher spec,
I can't see it myself, the Connect and Connect:amp are by some margin the lowest selling units in the range, without a similarly high price they wouldn't recover the development costs of a refresh and what could they usefully add? The improved network hardware from the boost and play:5 and maybe an optical input? It isn't worth the effort.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
371
140
19,070
ID. said:
rainsoothe said:
"- buy sonos connect (£279), output SPDIF into say a NAD D 3020 (£399), and 2 x Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (£280). Total: £960."

this would be my option. If budget allows, Quad Vena + Monitor Audio Silver 2 (instead of the Nad+Bronze). Try to audition before you buy, though, it will save you grief and money in the long run. Imo Yamaha amps sound pretty wimpy, but some like their sound - if you're among those people, it has nice features. 
Nobody said anything about Yamaha amps, although the excellent Yamaha streaming active speakers were mentioned, but your experience of their separates amps doesn't really apply to them. 
Right, sorry for the confusion, I read RN500. Thanks for pointing out.

And yes, what's up with that? Their (Yamaha's) studio monitors sound so good, with punch and all, but their (budget) amps...
 

andyjm

New member
Jul 20, 2012
15
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andyjm said:
Sonos have a mixed history in supporting old technology - ask users who had been using old iPhones as controllers - who now can't.
The_Lhc said:
Sorry but that's the Apple fanboy line, Sonos don't obsolete anything they don't have to, if old iOS versions are no longer supported it's because Sonos wanted to add features that the old iOS versions don't support (such as play from this device). The fact that they still support android back to v2.3 shows that.

Hmmn, I have been described as a lot of things over the years, but Apple Fanboy isn't one of them.

One of the attractions of Sonos was the ability to recylce old iDevices as controllers. Apple stopped supporting old versions of the iPhone - fine, I understand that, the hardware wasn't able to support new versions of iOS. But the phones still worked, they just didn't have the latest version of iOS.

Sonos updated their software (from which there was no going back) which only worked with updated iOS making old iDevices useless as controllers. One day the iPhones worked as controllers, post the Sonos update they didn't.

It wouldn't have been beyond the wit of man to make the Sonos update backward compatible - no new features, but a least keep the old controllers working.
 

The_Lhc

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Oct 16, 2008
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That would require them to keep multiple versions of the app updated, an increasing task as more and more previous versions become obsolete, none of which would be necessary if the OS was more open, like Android. Even now iOS devices can't connect directly to the Sonos wireless network because iOS doesn't allow an app sufficient access to the network hardware.
 

Edbo2

New member
Mar 6, 2016
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I have a Connect plugged into my Cyrus amp driving Kef speakers. It sounds pretty good, too. After all it is a DAC with analogue and digital outputs. I also have a Play 1. Well, I like both sound similar with the Connect Cyrus sounding marginally more open and perhaps not so smooth as the Play1. A stereo pair of Play1 will give a broader soundstage than one unit. Choose Connect or Sonos Plays you won't be disappointed
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
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Is it not an option to just buy one play:5 and add it to the existing one you have for stereo?
 

sjen5

New member
May 7, 2016
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That is also an option, however then I would have 1 old and 1 new, that just didn't seem right.
 

sjen5

New member
May 7, 2016
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That is most definately an option. I was going to investigate pricing both in the UK and HK. The size requirement, (ie. not taking up much of it) is non-negotiable.
 

The_Lhc

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Oct 16, 2008
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sjen5 said:
That is also an option, however then I would have 1 old and 1 new, that just didn't seem right.
Oh, do you mean you have the old style play:5? In that case you can't stereo pair it to the new one anyway, so as you were...
 

sjen5

New member
May 7, 2016
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Yes, Sorry. I currently have a gen 1 play:5. So I didnt really think pairing it with a gen2 was something I would do. If it turns out that they are not compatible anyway then it turns out sonos doesnt think its a good idea either.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
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sjen5 said:
Yes, Sorry.  I currently have a gen 1 play:5.  So I didnt really think pairing it with a gen2 was something I would do.  If it turns out that they are not compatible anyway then it turns out sonos doesnt think its a good idea either.
Yeah it can't be done, they sound completely different.
 

Aslan

New member
May 1, 2011
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Hong Kong doesn't have an authorised Sonos distributor but there are a few shops which sell it. Do a search on price.com.hk for prices.

Hi-Fi in HK is not cheap and I often find the UK and USA to have better prices and selection.

The dealers in the U.K. are so much better than what we get out here in HK.
 

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