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Sonos backlash: up issue reveals cold hard truth of smart tech

bobstcyr

Well-known member
Dec 21, 2014
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5 years is not good value from a premium product. If my google chromecast which costs $89 were to need replacing after 5 years I could swallow that. But Sonos is a premium priced product, and I bought my Sonos Connect 16 months ago not 5 years ago - I imagine there are people who bought it more recently than that. I also bought 2 play 5's, 2 one's and a beam. 16 months ago I invested $2700 dollars in a system to allow me to play music throughout the house with decent fidelity (I play mostly flac files from my CD collection burned onto a NAS) now to hear that I may no longer be able to do that because the company is no longer going to support their product. I'm stuck, because of the investment I've made in Sonos it wouldn't be easy or inexpensive to switch to another system but I'm reluctant to keep buying into a system by replacing the connect with the new port; My audio hardware has just become a subscription cost rather than and investment. That's just BS
 

tonyE

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
6
2
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The truth about digital is that it's not a medium that foments long term ownership. The "music industry" wants us to move to a subscription model.

I've been doing digital media servers since '97 and I can tell you that the only way to do this the long way is to use general purpose PCs and high quality DACS and ADDACs.

I record my LPs into my network and over the years, as my front end gets better and the ADDAC gets better I go through cycles.. for the last few years, my LP recordings have been 24/96 WAV and my CDs have been ripped to Red Book and my DVDs are as ISOs masters and MP4 for playing over my home LAN.

I also have over 100TB of NAS at home.

If any one part of my system needs to be updated or replaced, it can be done easily. And I do not buy into that All In One Digital "Solution". Sorry, but that's the only way to do this.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
651
98
18,970
WHF keeps harping on about hires support. I personally don’t think it’s necessary. That would not affect my decision to purchase a Sonos.

The thing is everybody else has caught up with Sonos - see Denon and its HEOS architecture which is now quite mature, so my question would be; why do I need Sonos at all?
 

gowiththeflow

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2009
48
9
18,545
There’s no reason why the Sonos platform for legacy products can’t be sustained.
It’s the constant “updates” and changes that are the problem.
Updates to rectify bugs are not a problem, it’s the adding of new features and changing the app (mostly just for the sake of it) that’s the issue.
The legacy Sonos equipment will continue to work just fine if Sonos leave it alone.
Most users will be quite content with that and don't need or want changes.
If they want to add new features to the newer products, then they can update those separately.
The trick will be enabling old and new equipment to work on the same home Sonos network.

We can only wait and see if Sonos’ backtracking on their announcement is genuine, or just a desperate attempt to save themselves from a self inflicted major PR disaster and big hit to their share value.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
651
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18,970
There’s no reason why the Sonos platform for legacy products can’t be sustained.
It’s the constant “updates” and changes that are the problem.
Updates to rectify bugs are not a problem, it’s the adding of new features and changing the app (mostly just for the sake of it) that’s the issue.
The legacy Sonos equipment will continue to work just fine if Sonos leave it alone.
Most users will be quite content with that and don't need or want changes.
If they want to add new features to the newer products, then they can update those separately.
The trick will be enabling old and new equipment to work on the same home Sonos network.

We can only wait and see if Sonos’ backtracking on their announcement is genuine, or just a desperate attempt to save themselves from a self inflicted major PR disaster and big hit to their share value.
This is simply not true. What if some updates are desirable e.g. Apple AirPlay 2 which is superior to 1, are you saying you wouldn’t want it??

One cannot remain simplistic just for the sake of it.
 

cosimo193

Member
Jan 25, 2020
3
0
20
What this issue has highlighted the folly of investing in a proprietary, computer based, all-in-one product. When it's targeting the high-end hifi market, people would've expected hifi product longevity, which is why the reaction has been as it has. It's also highlighted either a design flaw (giving them the benefit of the doubt) or a deliberate plan whereby the computing part of the system cannot be upgraded separately to the audio part. After all, it's the processing system that's the issue here: that should, in a decent design, be totally separate from the audio domain stuff. This is why I'll be looking at other options, based on cheap processing hardware.
 

tonyE

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
6
2
25
How about the Tice Clock?

I use two of them, with cheaters so I can run them out of phase. Both set to a 24 setting and with the display dimmed and facing outwards ( they should NEVER be visible to the listener because that adds some roughness to male vocals and Polish violas) from right behind the speakers.

They add a iron menotrome pace to the system and deepen the soundstage so you hear Big Ben in anything recorded in a London Studio.

Naturally, you need to run the Belt and Suspenders suspension on them.
 

Balivernes

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
1
1
25
I invested in Sonos for 4 rooms around 15 years ago, and, during those years, my Sonos setup outlived 1 NAD CD player, 1 NAD amp and 1 top of the range Cambridge Audio CD player (840c) that all failed beyond economical repair. I also had to repair at some expense my top of the range Cambridge Audio amplifier (840a). So, I absolutely do not buy the notion of intrinsic longevity of hifi devices.

My Sonos setup never had the slightest glitch and still works perfectly. Thanks to constant updates, it now operates much better and much more flexibly than when I bought it initially. Sonos has clearly been my best hifi investment, on par with my Dynaudio passive speakers.

So, while I was surprised by the first e-mail mentioning Sonos plans to treat my setup as "legacy", I am not shocked or disappointed. If ever I really want new functionality unsupported by my current devices, I'll upgrade the hardware, as long as I can do that gradually. Otherwise, I expect to remain a happy user of the functionality I have today, which is much more functionality than what I had originally paid for.

I honestly do not understand the enraged reactions.
 
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DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
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Some amps last a long time. I've got a Kenwood amp from 1990 and it still works perfectly. Doubt any Sonos product will ever be able to beat 30+ years!
 

tonyE

Active member
Jan 25, 2020
6
2
25
Funny, my ADS L810 and Kenwood amp come from 1976 and they still work.

My tube stuff was build in the 80s and has been maintained.... works great.

I got a closet full of classic analog components that work just fine. Big Marantz, Sansui, Quad Sansui, Akai... etc, etc..

I think, wit the sole exception of phone cartridges and perhaps turntables ( OK, my Linn LP12 dates from the mid 90s but it has been maintened,) analog stuff lasts a long time because it's not tied down to an encoding fornat for the source

Digital stuff, OTOH, is tied to ever evolving and changing formats.

I got LPs that were pressed in the 50s, they sound great today. In fact, they likely sound better today than when they were released new.
 
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manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
651
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I invested in Sonos for 4 rooms around 15 years ago, and, during those years, my Sonos setup outlived 1 NAD CD player, 1 NAD amp and 1 top of the range Cambridge Audio CD player (840c) that all failed beyond economical repair. I also had to repair at some expense my top of the range Cambridge Audio amplifier (840a). So, I absolutely do not buy the notion of intrinsic longevity of hifi devices.

My Sonos setup never had the slightest glitch and still works perfectly. Thanks to constant updates, it now operates much better and much more flexibly than when I bought it initially. Sonos has clearly been my best hifi investment, on par with my Dynaudio passive speakers.

So, while I was surprised by the first e-mail mentioning Sonos plans to treat my setup as "legacy", I am not shocked or disappointed. If ever I really want new functionality unsupported by my current devices, I'll upgrade the hardware, as long as I can do that gradually. Otherwise, I expect to remain a happy user of the functionality I have today, which is much more functionality than what I had originally paid for.

I honestly do not understand the enraged reactions.
Thats the thing. I had my analogue only Arcam Solo Mini for 11 years which I then passed onto my mum in her new apartment. She has an 8 year old TV with no ARC and optical out only. So I could have got a cheap DAC for TV duty to connect to the Solo, but then a Black Friday offer came for a Denon Ceol N10 including its supplied speakers. And I sold the Arcam and moved on. At a stroke she has a fully connected system, ready for whatever she can throw at it, and Netflix and cable can now be played seamlessly through the hifi.

Does the Denon sound as good as the Arcam? No, but that’s more down to the supplied speakers to a large degree. Do I miss the Arcam? Of course, it was an utterly brilliant sounding system even after 11 years.

But do I have any regrets? No. Sometimes one has to decide when to move on. And if your Sonos has lasted 15 years I’d say that’s brilliant too.
 
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manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
651
98
18,970
5 years is not good value from a premium product. If my google chromecast which costs $89 were to need replacing after 5 years I could swallow that. But Sonos is a premium priced product, and I bought my Sonos Connect 16 months ago not 5 years ago - I imagine there are people who bought it more recently than that. I also bought 2 play 5's, 2 one's and a beam. 16 months ago I invested $2700 dollars in a system to allow me to play music throughout the house with decent fidelity (I play mostly flac files from my CD collection burned onto a NAS) now to hear that I may no longer be able to do that because the company is no longer going to support their product. I'm stuck, because of the investment I've made in Sonos it wouldn't be easy or inexpensive to switch to another system but I'm reluctant to keep buying into a system by replacing the connect with the new port; My audio hardware has just become a subscription cost rather than and investment. That's just BS
I certainly empathize, but if you are mainly streaming from a NAS your system will not suddenly stop functioning, neither your Connect nor your Play 5, so don’t panic. Your retailer, if he was honest, should have steered you away from the Connect in the first place though.

Ultimately it will boil down to for how much longer services like Spotify will support older devices. A good example, for instance, is that Netflix won’t support Samsung TVs prior to 2012.

Hope you enjoy your system for many years to come.
 

cosimo193

Member
Jan 25, 2020
3
0
20
I invested in Sonos for 4 rooms around 15 years ago, and, during those years, my Sonos setup outlived 1 NAD CD player, 1 NAD amp and 1 top of the range Cambridge Audio CD player (840c) that all failed beyond economical repair. I also had to repair at some expense my top of the range Cambridge Audio amplifier (840a). So, I absolutely do not buy the notion of intrinsic longevity of hifi devices.

My Sonos setup never had the slightest glitch and still works perfectly. Thanks to constant updates, it now operates much better and much more flexibly than when I bought it initially. Sonos has clearly been my best hifi investment, on par with my Dynaudio passive speakers.

So, while I was surprised by the first e-mail mentioning Sonos plans to treat my setup as "legacy", I am not shocked or disappointed. If ever I really want new functionality unsupported by my current devices, I'll upgrade the hardware, as long as I can do that gradually. Otherwise, I expect to remain a happy user of the functionality I have today, which is much more functionality than what I had originally paid for.

I honestly do not understand the enraged reactions.
I have a Philips CD472, bought new in 1987, along with a Technics SL-DD2 Turntable, Onkyo TA2022 cassette deck (both even older), ITL MA-80 amp and Celestion DL4 speakers from around 1989/90. All work perfectly well, with the cassette deck having had a faulty transistor and motor repaired over the years. Total repair cost about £80 in 30+ years.

One of my Play:3s had a power supply fault a couple of years ago, despite being the least used and youngest component in my system. Repair cost? Well, no. It couldn't be done (at least, not in a typical, local electronics repair shop) , but Sonos will happily exchange it for a refurbished model. Cost of that? £125!

That really dented my opinion of Sonos, and the latest debacle is the last straw. It seems to me that, so far, you've been lucky with Sonos and unlucky with other brands.
 

cosimo193

Member
Jan 25, 2020
3
0
20
I certainly empathize, but if you are mainly streaming from a NAS your system will not suddenly stop functioning, neither your Connect nor your Play 5, so don’t panic. Your retailer, if he was honest, should have steered you away from the Connect in the first place though.

Ultimately it will boil down to for how much longer services like Spotify will support older devices. A good example, for instance, is that Netflix won’t support Samsung TVs prior to 2012.

Hope you enjoy your system for many years to come.
The "support older devices" is a substantial part of the point here; I don't see any technical reason why Sonos cannot replace the Bridge, for example, with a product that can continue to support updates to services like that, but will transcode to a format that 'legacy' products support.
 

jmjones

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2009
49
12
18,545
Occupational hazard of smart devices Unfortunately.
My advice would be to buy good amplification and speakers, try and keep your “sources” replaceable. I have Tag Mclaren amps and Monitor audio speakers from the 90s. They are still going strong.
On the sources front I’ve owned upgradeable Micromega CD players - the design changed and for a while the company disappeared from the U.K. market. Dead technology.
Oppo players. Great multifunction devices, company pulled out of the market (Still using the 105 though). Company gone.
Early storage device to network ripped music? Spent £2k on something that a raspberry pi could kick into the long grass. It‘s in the attic.
The problem here is the appearance of planned obsolescence. Sonos deserve everything they get.
 
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AndySnapper

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May 5, 2017
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audiophile99

Member
Feb 3, 2020
1
1
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There is a larger issue here of product misrepresentation. Sonos is a speaker brand, not a computer brand. Sonos does not publish processor and RAM specs on its product packaging. Sonos speakers were marketed as components of a wireless, integrated audio system which was "future proof" and expandable over time (just like wired speakers). This is why many people invested in a house full of Sonos speakers and were blindsided by the new Sonos 'disposable speaker' corporate philosophy.
 
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