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Sonos home system?

Davro83

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Nov 13, 2008
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Hi folks. I didn’t know where to post this, but thought hifi would make more sense. Anyway...

we are moving to a bigger home soon and I’ve always wanted speakers in various rooms that can all be controlled by 1 device. I’ve been looking at Sonos and it seems very impressive. Now thing thing is what ones to get? Is Sonos ones good enough for a normal sized room or would a Sonos 3 or even 5 be better? I’m after a speaker for the kitchen, the bedroom and the living room and something where I can also listen to music outside.

As for the living room, I also need to buy a new soundbar, so I was thinking maybe buy the Sonos sound bar and sub for the living room and that could be my speaker for in there. Or would you recommend buying a cheaper sound bar and sub as the Sonos sub and bar is expensive, and then buying a Sonos 3 or 5 for the living room instead?

ive also noticed that even tho they call Sonos “wireless”, it really isn’t as has to be plugged in to the wall? Is this correct? Bit annoying that as not sure how I can just take a speaker outside without using an extension cable. Bit annoying that.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated on any Sonos advice. Thanks
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Really depends on your budget. Sonos could do the job but so could Yamaha Musiccast setup, Heos, Bluesound or perhaps Roon with many endpoint.

If you want to take speakers outside look at small Bluetooth speakers that run off batteries.
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
196
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18,670
Davro83 said:
Hi folks. I didn’t know where to post this, but thought hifi would make more sense. Anyway...

we are moving to a bigger home soon and I’ve always wanted speakers in various rooms that can all be controlled by 1 device. I’ve been looking at Sonos and it seems very impressive. Now thing thing is what ones to get? Is Sonos ones good enough for a normal sized room or would a Sonos 3 or even 5 be better? I’m after a speaker for the kitchen, the bedroom and the living room and something where I can also listen to music outside.

As for the living room, I also need to buy a new soundbar, so I was thinking maybe buy the Sonos sound bar and sub for the living room and that could be my speaker for in there. Or would you recommend buying a cheaper sound bar and sub as the Sonos sub and bar is expensive, and then buying a Sonos 3 or 5 for the living room instead?

ive also noticed that even tho they call Sonos “wireless”, it really isn’t as has to be plugged in to the wall? Is this correct? Bit annoying that as not sure how I can just take a speaker outside without using an extension cable. Bit annoying that.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated on any Sonos advice. Thanks
Play 1's are brilliant for the money but work better in a smaller room unless you get a stereo pair. Play 5's are very nice in a larger room (I have one in my kitchen) and it has a very large deep sound. Can't comment on the sound bar thing as I've never heard one, my general experience is sounbars and music aren't the best. The only wire with a Sonos is the power cable.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I’ve had the play 3 and connect which I’ve both sold. Speaker intergration is very seemless with sonos between the rooms and so well designed there is no lag, if you are playing the same track on all speakers (eg a party). Also you can play different tracks from your nas or streaming service onto different speakers.

if I were you I’d look at play 1s and 3s as good compromise speakers, as these types of speakers are always a bit of a compromise, then put a connect with a hi Fi. If I was buying a sound bar type thing and was more interested in how it looks as a sound bar but also very interested in decent sound quality for the main room, I’d get the naim muso, which is expensive as a sound bar but one of the best devices short of getting separate speakers and an amplifier. Another option would be decent active speakers with streaming services. The best in class is the kef ls50w but more expense too. The muso looks great and is powerful and very flexible and you get a surprising hi Fi quality sound for a grand. Systems like bose aren’t as good. You could plug a cheap used or new sonos connect into one of its digital inputs and use sonos with it.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
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10,820
Not exactly what you asked :)

But i would suggest having a look at the yamaha music cast ecosystem. Sonos is great, but they dont do proper home theater. It might appear that sonos is all you need at the moment. But soon, you would find yourself wanting a proper HT. And yamaha seals the HT, 2 channel stereo and multi room audio with their music cast system. Please do consider it too
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Most of the competition to sonos is a copy like denon heos, Yamaha musicast etc. Sonos is still the Daddy of wireless speakers, app intergration and decency and ease of use. Also they do tend to make some of the best portable type speakers for sound quality with all the investment behind them. App use is bombproof too.

you can do home theatre with sonos using the play ones or better as satellite speakers in a 5.1 set up. Home theatre wasn’t stated as a requirement but you could always add to current speakers with sonos if you want one later, or buy those for home theatre now. That puts the cost up a lot.

I really depends on how much sound quality is important for 2 channel listening as you will find some systems beat sonos soundbars by some margin on sound quality. The sonos soundbar is nowhere near as good as the naim muso and some active speakers eg Dali active mini floorstanders speakers (5 ax), for not much more money. I only threw that in there as that’s definetly something you want to consider if sound quality is up there as a requirement, and I’d defo listen to some systems or speakers like these with the sonos soundbar and you will see what similar or slightly more cash can do.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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I've used Sonos and MusicCast. Sonos is worse for sound quality than what Yamaha offers. Yamaha also has the edge when it comes to the number of feature it offers, including connectivity and hi-res playback. However good Yamaha's app is Sonos is much better. All depends really where the priorities lie.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
From what I’ve seen the play3 and 5 speakers are good enough for connectivity, regularly rate as the best all in one type wireless speakers in many reviews, and for the sake of hi res play back i wouldn’t worry, as you simply won’t hear it on these types of portable speaker devices. When I got my play3 I went around and it beat everything the same. I only sold it as I dispensed with my sonos connect. Whether you’d get a benefit of tidal cd streaming above Spotify 320kbps streaming through a £300-£400ish type speakers is very debatable let alone hi res 24 bit files. I never heard any differnce with Apple Music and tidal that I had both going at the same time. You need much better hi Fi for the benefits of hi res to become apparent and then it’s not all it’s racked up to be, so don’t fall for all that hi res stuff.

I don’t know if you tried the portable Yamaha speakers in the range insider, but I doubt they are better than the sonos ones.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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I didn't try their speakers. I'm not dissing Sonos. I used 2 x Connect and Connect Amp. I would just encourage OP to look at alternatives. Yamaha's offering is much wider than that of Sonos. With many more products that offer loads more flexibility. Far, far more in terms of features. Seriously big range from little wireless speakers to actives and amps and home cinema systems. The app is decent enough though like I said not as good as Sonos. Yamaha would be much easier to incorporate to into a serious hifi setup.
 
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QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Yamaha is more of a pure hi Fi brand but I don’t think the op wants a serious hi Fi set up like you or I own. my connect rocked with my system more than well enough so should easily do so for more modest systems and portable speakers. To be honest if you are looking at a sonos system for the speakers and Dlna streamer and streaming functions you can’t get much better. With Yamaha you do get dsd, hi res, but that’s not much an advantage for these devices as I say. A good thing they do which sonos doesn’t is offer Bluetooth support on their speakers, but if you stream off a nas or streaming service that is pretty much mitigated if someone comes round and wants to play from their phone. You just play the track off the streaming service. The only other thing is airplay, but sonos are adding support for that this year. Yamaha does do more connections of digital inputs and outputs but all you’ve really need is a digital coaxial out and and toslink out on devices like the connect.

As the portable speakers are likely to be the main thing in the set up I’d choose the system on the basis of the portable speakers quality and if the op thinks the Yamaha speakers are up with sonos, then it would make sense to buy Yamaha speakers and maybe a Yamaha equivalent connect type device for using with other Better type speakers I mentioned if at all, as the Yamaha devices are cheaper. But the reason why sonos does command this premium it does tend to sound better on all of these portable speakers and that’s why people buy them.
 

bigboss

Moderator
I've got:

1) Sonos Connect in my lounge, connected to my Marantz SR7009 AV receiver.

2) Sonos Playbar in the family room

3) Sonos Play:5 (1st generation) in the master bedroom

4) Sonos Connect connected to Audioengine A2 speakers in the guest bedroom

5) Pair of Sonos Play:1s in the 3rd bedroom

6) Sonos One in my son's bedroom that I bought only last week.

All of them are brilliant. The pair of Play:1s actually rival my Play:5 for outright performance. The Playbar too is very good, and easily fills the 23.5' X 13' room.

The best thing I love about them is the ease of use. They integrate nicely with Amazon Alexa, so I can play music of my choice or any radio channel by voice commands alone. I've stopped using the Sonos app, except when grouping the rooms. Even my 4 year old son can ask Alexa to play his choice of nursery rhyme in his room! :)
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Mostly agree, but the last bit I'm not so sure about. I think most people buy Sonos because of ease of use. Sound quality is an afterthought, though not bad at all.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
The sonos play speakers regularly were best sounding ones awarded by what hi Fi every year, and I tend to agree based on my listening tests at the time. Usually what hi Fi get reviews on speakers right.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
177
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18,670
We use a Play 1 in our kitchen and as others have said, it is so easy to use. Normally we leave it on one radio station, and you just press the button on top to switch it on or off - it's that easy. (it also matches the decor in the kitchen which is a bonus). Our kitchen is a reasonable size so I may get another Play 1 to pair them up, but that's just me being fussy, as otherwise one Play 1 is fine for background music and radio.

It's so easy to use my wife suggested one for the bedroom where she does the ironing, although maybe she was joking. I am currently thinking of getting one for our main bedroom.

I also have a Sonos Connect, feeding my dac module in my Exposure pre-amp for streaming duties (Spotify).

I only sometimes play music in both rooms simultaneously, and it is seamless between rooms.

I have a seperate home cinema system so can't comment on the soundbar/sub.

I'll probably end up with more Play 1's for other rooms at some point, for background music rather than any critical listening.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
783
179
19,070
Similar to bb, I've got a combination of Sonos connects, Play 5s and a Play 1

I'd say a Play 1 is good for a smaller room, or as the rear for a surround sound set up - if listening to music it can struggle in a bigger room and lacks a little in bass, which is purely a factor of its size. For a large room the Play 5s are very good - I've got them in rooms up to 4.5x3.5m and don't need to turn the volume up to max for them to easily fill the room with music.

If you've got an existing Hi Fi or Surround sound system, I'd consider looking at the Sonos Connects as they give you the advantages of the Sonos app (including all the integration to other services, such as Spotify) with a potentially cheaper and better solution than going down a Playbar+Sonos Sub+2xSonos Play 1 solution (say for 5.1)

As for outside - If your speakers are going to be exposed, I'd consider either using a Connect Amp driving weatherproof speakers, or a Connect driving weatherproof powered speakers rather than putting a Sonos Play outside. If it's for sometime usage, I just put one of my Play5s on a windowsill and use that and it's more than adequate.

The speakers are pretty good in the Sonos, OK other bluetooth (e.g the Yamaha or Denon HeOS) speakers may be better for quality, but I've found them more than adequate. I've used Connects plumbed into my existing Hi Fi and Surround systems in rooms that have them (also wired ethernet for those) to get the best of both worlds. The Sonos software is absolutely excellent.
 

knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
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scene said:
Similar to bb, I've got a combination of Sonos connects, Play 5s and a Play 1

I'd say a Play 1 is good for a smaller room, or as the rear for a surround sound set up - if listening to music it can struggle in a bigger room and lacks a little in bass, which is purely a factor of its size. For a large room the Play 5s are very good - I've got them in rooms up to 4.5x3.5m and don't need to turn the volume up to max for them to easily fill the room with music.

If you've got an existing Hi Fi or Surround sound system, I'd consider looking at the Sonos Connects as they give you the advantages of the Sonos app (including all the integration to other services, such as Spotify) with a potentially cheaper and better solution than going down a Playbar+Sonos Sub+2xSonos Play 1 solution (say for 5.1)

As for outside - If your speakers are going to be exposed, I'd consider either using a Connect Amp driving weatherproof speakers, or a Connect driving weatherproof powered speakers rather than putting a Sonos Play outside. If it's for sometime usage, I just put one of my Play5s on a windowsill and use that and it's more than adequate.

The speakers are pretty good in the Sonos, OK other bluetooth (e.g the Yamaha or Denon HeOS) speakers may be better for quality, but I've found them more than adequate. I've used Connects plumbed into my existing Hi Fi and Surround systems in rooms that have them (also wired ethernet for those) to get the best of both worlds. The Sonos software is absolutely excellent.
+1
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
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10,540
I know it's not really the main purpose of a Sonos system but how do they compare to a separates hifi sustem of the same price?

The only experience I have was a 2 minute demo in PCWorld when Sonos was a new concept, in fairness it wasn't a great way to demonstrate using a shoebox sized speaker in shop the size of a football pitch.
 

bigboss

Moderator
It depends on which Sonos you're looking at and accepting its limitations (inability to play hi res audio and straight off a CD or turntable) for the benefits and convenience as compared to a Hi Fi system. A pair of Play:5s in stereo mode for example will rival similarly priced Hi Fi systems for audio quality.
 
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QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
I don’t think two play 5s would be better than a hi Fi system for the same money no way. You could get a pair of mission lx2 speakers, a cyrus one, and Chromecast Audio for very near same money. Also the Dali 5ax speakers are better than sonos for slightly less money, also some other actives of same concept but cheaper than kef ls50w.

Also the play 5 isn’t good enough sound wise (whilst it’s still very good as a single speaker) to discern differences of good recorded ripped cd v hi res. So there wouldn’t be limitations to accept on that score. I’ve had Sonos play speakers and you wouldn’t notice any difference in tidal hi Fi cd quality v Apple Music 320kbps, let alone hi res to cd quality.

if you are buying one, it’s clearly not going to be as good for imaging, creating soundstage, of a system designed with left and right channels. If you are buying two for a hi Fi it would be an expensive way around things.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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bigboss said:
I don't think so. Sonos Play:5 beats the Naim Mu-So Qb for performance when I demoed and compared them side by side. Sound quality was never an afterthought for me.
+1

My impressions at JL
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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QuestForThe13thNote said:
I don’t think two play 5s would be better than a hi Fi system for the same money no way. You could get a pair of mission lx2 speakers, a cyrus one, and Chromecast Audio for very near same money. Also the Dali 5ax speakers are better than sonos for slightly less money, also some other actives of same concept but cheaper than kef ls50w.

Also the play 5 isn’t good enough sound wise (whilst it’s still very good as a single speaker) to discern differences of good recorded ripped cd v hi res. So there wouldn’t be limitations to accept on that score. I’ve had Sonos play speakers and you wouldn’t notice any difference in tidal hi Fi cd quality v Apple Music 320kbps, let alone hi res to cd quality. 

if you are buying one, it’s clearly not going to be as good for imaging, creating soundstage, of a system designed with left and right channels. If you are buying two for a hi Fi it would be an expensive way around things. 
Someone here, I think, gave up a couple of Phantoms and replaced them with 2 x 5's. Seemed happy.

I do not know how 2 Sonos 5's would sound in Stereo but they seem rather impressive as a single speaker.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Yes I agree they are good as a single speaker and it would probably be very hard to buy a new hi Fi for £440 (current retail of play 5) with an amp, source and speakers for same performance. They make sense as a kitchen, bedroom speaker etc but if spending at least a grand on hi Fi, I don’t think these play speakers replace such ‘normal’ hi Fi

The play speakers may be better than the muso qb but if you hear the bigger muso and compare it to sonos play speakers and sonos playbar (my sisters friend has one) the sonos speakers are not as good. Obviously the naim muso is around £300 more than the sonos playbar but where I thought the sonos is about all out guts and drive, as these types of speakers tend to be, the naim muso often sounds really transparent, delicate and detailed. I was listening to the muso for an hour when picking up my speakers and waiting for the owner to come back, and I defo think what hi Fi have got it right that the naim muso is the best type device like this for the money. I think you can put it under a tv too.

On the Devialet phantoms, I’ve never thought they are very good. I heard them at the last two hi Fi shows I went to and I thought they are overpriced and average at their price. In one show they were distorting very badly and sounded terrible people were walking in and out. The girl that was demoing them was very pretty though.
 

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