Sonos - Still a good buy?

bigblue235

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Aug 22, 2007
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Hi folks,

I'm currently trying to work out what to do for home audio. Had a recent change of home, so going for a new system too.

I thought Sonos was a no-brainer, but the more I think about it, the more I'm going off the idea.
 

bigblue235

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Aug 22, 2007
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Errr, half of my initial post seems to have disappeared, and I don't seem to be able to edit it for some reason? Can't edit that typo in the title either! I do seem to be able to edit this one, so I'll try again!

I was basically just wondering what makes Sonos worth the price? It seems to me to be expensive compared to some of the alternatives. I'm also a bit puzzled why the Connect/ZP90 is more expensive than a Play:3?

For the £279 it costs for a Connect, I could buy a laptop or desktop PC, a PS3, or even a small TV with USB/DNLA music functions. All of those things do so much more for similar money, so what makes Sonos special? Is it the sound quality?

My girlfriend seems to think that another PS3 or two is the best idea and, as much as I like the Sonos system, I can't really argue. It plays CDs, BDs, has catch up TV, DNLA, etc. The only benefit I can see to Sonos is streaming from a NAS, which means it's better for my purposes than the likes of Apple TV, but with a PS3 or PC I could store music locally on each device.

What do you say, Sonos fans? Convince me!
 

The_Lhc

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Oct 16, 2008
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Nothing works as well or as easily as Sonos and absolutely nothing does perfectly synced multi-room anywhere near as well. That said if you're only after one room there probably are cheaper alternatives.

The pricing is a historical thing, when the ZP90 was released it was the cheap box but Sonos realised that they couldn't price the Play:3 above it, given the competition it would be going up against. The ZP90 is far more flexible in terms of inputs and outputs however and gives upgrade options (such as using an external DAC for example).
 
This was my exact question a couple of years ago. The thread makes an interesting read. I went for the Sonos ultimately, & couldn't be happier. Check the thread:

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/wi-fi/why-is-sonos-so-expensive

In theory, PS3 in every room sounds like a good idea, but for it to work, you'll have to switch your PS3 & TV on every time. I can start music in any room any time I want, just sitting in my bed!

Play:3 & ZP90 have specific purposes. I had the same question for ZP120 vs S5 (now known as Play:5). ZP90 connects to your existing Hi-Fi which is most likely to have better speakers than the tiny single Play:3 & you can listen to stereo with one device.
 

professorhat

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Dec 28, 2007
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For me, firstly there's the extremely simple setup - literally plug in, hold down a few buttons and then they're all talking to each other. Second, once setup, this allows music to be played in multiple rooms - either different music / sources in different rooms (so my girlfriend can have Radio 4 in the kitchen whilst I listen to my favourite track in the lounge), or the same music synchronised in all rooms at the same time - great for parties etc. Couple that with the ability to stream any music from my Mac, my NAS, internet radio or any of the music available on Spotify (with the Premium membership) and control it all from our iPhones.

You can also hook up a source to the line in socket and then have that play in another room e.g. I've connected my Freeview PVR up to the Sonos in the lounge and that allows me to stream music from this into the kitchen, so I can walk in, make a cup of tea and still hear what's going on with the TV.

It seemed like a lot when I purchased the two ZP90s, but I instantly fell in love with it and don't think it will be long before I install a Play:3 in the bedroom.
 

visionary

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Apr 4, 2008
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It just works!

If it matters to you, I believe it's also the only product of its type that will play Apple lossless.

With a ZP90/Connect, you could play a CD that a mate brought round and use the ZP to feed it back into the system for listening in multi zone without having ripped it.

Multiple control options. Excellent sound quality

Wouldn't go back!
 

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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bigblue235 said:
Errr, half of my initial post seems to have disappeared, and I don't seem to be able to edit it for some reason? Can't edit that typo in the title either! I do seem to be able to edit this one, so I'll try again!
Don't know what happened there, but I've edited the title for you.
 

franklin2829

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Jun 9, 2010
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Everyone has pretty much answered this but I would add that the technical support sonos provide is second to none and the regular online updates are brilliant and keep it current. Sonos for me!

Chris
 

The_Lhc

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Oct 16, 2008
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nads said:
or you can basically do the same with the Squeezeboxes for less.
Except you can't. For one room, and if you have a NAS that can run the software, fine but any more than that it just won't work as well and won't work at all if you have rooms out of range of your wireless router. And if the rumours about Logitech's lack of interest in Squeezebox are to be believed it may not even be around for much longer.
 

PEAYEL

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Dec 13, 2008
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I can only echo what others have said here. I have said before that I got rid of most of my audio kit and fully Sonos'ed the house.

I would like to add one more thing.. FAMILY. Whether you have loads or a few (relatives or children) they can all work.

The P5/P3 are also a "bit" of a technical achievement when you consider it, a set of amps, set of speakers and a network facility........ all in one box..... that sounds goodand fits in with the decor etc. Also the P5 is portable (has a handle). It was great out the back in the summer as well, (filled the garden with decent sound).

i also love discovering new music (see Aupeo), and listened to some Aussy radio last night. We all listen to loads more music and i mean loads more. My wife treats it like an Ipod. result.

SSSSoooooooooooooooo easy to do.

The down side was ripping my 2,500 + CD's to hard drive to FLAC format. It took months of a little bit every night etc, now its done, adding one or two every now and again is no pain.

brings a smile to my face every time. Just love the music.
 

PEAYEL

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Dec 13, 2008
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I can only echo what others have said here. I have said before that I got rid of most of my audio kit and fully Sonos'ed the house.

I would like to add one more thing.. FAMILY. Whether you have loads or a few (relatives or children) they can all work it.

The P5/P3 are also a "bit" of a technical achievement when you consider it, a set of amps, set of speakers and a network facility........ all in one box..... that sounds good and fits in with the decor etc. Also the P5 is portable (has a handle). It was great out the back in the summer as well, (filled the garden with decent sound).

I also love discovering new music (see Aupeo), and listened to some Aussy radio last night. We all listen to loads more music and i mean loads more. My wife treats it like an Ipod............ result.

Soooooooooooooooo easy to do.

The down side was ripping my 2,500 + CD's to hard drive to FLAC format. It took months of a little bit every night etc, now its done, adding one or two every now and again is no pain.

Brings a smile to my face every time. Just love the music.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Another vote for sonos here! Just added a zp90 and i can safely say it's the best addition to my hifi system, set up was a doddle, it instantly recognised all the music on my nas drive and organised it on the app, and with spotify i can access tonnes of music; not to mention all the radio! Sound quality is great (imho) using an external DAC, we had a party the other night and it was great with all the guests lining up their favorite track on the playlist... It's not cheap but when you get it setup, you'll understand why! Cheers Dan
 

acalex

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Sep 13, 2011
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I also strongly encourage you to try the Squeezebox touch. Is cheaper than the Sonos, it is also very easy to setup, can stream from NAS, can access Spotify and internet radio and also accept hi res files up tp 24/96.

There are free apps for Iphone/Ipad/Android and honestly you do not need an external DAC. I tried a real time comparison with rDAC, also tried the SBT through the rDAC and couldn't hear the difference.
 

bigblue235

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Aug 22, 2007
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Many thanks, folks (And Andy for the edit!).

What media players did you Sonos owners use previously? It seems like most of the features mentioned as good points for the Sonos are available on other platforms too.

I appreciate the Sonos can be 'always on' but it's not much hassle to switch on a PS3. I'm not too worried about ease of use, most of the alternatives I'm considering are also a doddle to use. I appreciate Sonos have good customer service, but if it's so user-friendly I shouldn't need any help :)

I just can't convince myself that the Connect is good value. I can't get my head round an ATV being £99 and a Sonos being £279.

I've wanted a Sonos system for a while, but I'm a bit worried about buying one and technology moving on. I've read about Google's plan and I imagine it'll be more fully featured than the Sonos. Don't suppose there are any whispers about a Sonos video system?!

After much Googling, I've read a lot of gossip about Apple TV 3. It seems that some of the big US stores are out of stock and unable to re-order the current model, so it might serve me well to wait.
 
There's one thing Sonos does which no one else can do. It has it's own mesh network, so won't clog up your wifi. So sound dropouts & wifi problems is eliminated this way.

It really depends on your requirements. I can listen to music in my kitchen. Also, during barbecue parties, i take my Sonos S5 outside in the garden & it works perfectly. It's not possible to have a PS3 in the kitchen or bathroom or garden for example.
 

professorhat

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Dec 28, 2007
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bigblue235 said:
What media players did you Sonos owners use previously? It seems like most of the features mentioned as good points for the Sonos are available on other platforms too.
I previously used Airport Express units to stream music. Whilst I thought they were good at the time, I did suffer from audio dropouts on occassions, especially if you're using the wireless network for other things. As bigboss has said, this isn't an issue with Sonos because of the mesh network. Also, after 2 years of use, two of my Aiport Express units don't work at all any more and the other one is patchy at best. This is why I was looking for a new streaming system and then saw the Sonos ZP90 units were going cheap on Amazon (think they were just over £200 each). I still have an Apple TV (the original one with the hard disk) - this is occassionaly used to play photos into the living room, but I always use the Sonos to stream music.

It may not be the cheapest solution, but the best ones usually aren't.
 

The_Lhc

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professorhat said:
I previously used Airport Express units to stream music. Whilst I thought they were good at the time, I did suffer from audio dropouts on occassions, especially if you're using the wireless network for other things. As bigboss has said, this isn't an issue with Sonos because of the mesh network.
They will suffer from wireless interference if there's something using the same channel though. That's fine provided you can find a quiet channel to put it on but if you're in an area with lots of interfering wireless networks around you that may not be possible. The same is true for any wireless system though, however it would be wrong to state that Sonos is completely immune from wi-fi interference, it isn't.
 

professorhat

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Dec 28, 2007
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The_Lhc said:
professorhat said:
I previously used Airport Express units to stream music. Whilst I thought they were good at the time, I did suffer from audio dropouts on occassions, especially if you're using the wireless network for other things. As bigboss has said, this isn't an issue with Sonos because of the mesh network.
They will suffer from wireless interference if there's something using the same channel though. That's fine provided you can find a quiet channel to put it on but if you're in an area with lots of interfering wireless networks around you that may not be possible. The same is true for any wireless system though, however it would be wrong to state that Sonos is completely immune from wi-fi interference, it isn't.
Indeed, but it's a heck of a lot better than the Airport ever was - I think I've had two dropouts since I purchased the system, whereas with the Airports it would be two or three a week.

Just looking at my wireless settings, there are 13 wireless networks available for me to choose from at the moment! Given that, I think the Airports performed pretty well, but it shows why the Sonos performs so much better for me. Add into that the excellent Spotify integration and ability to stream other sources (e.g. as well as the PVR example I mentioned previously, at a gathering / party, you could plug a friend's iPhone / iPod in and easily play their music either just in that room or throughout the house) and I still think it's worth the cash.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Fool poroof solution and I am not a tecchie at all so ticked all the boxes for me. Only slight snag was I bought an incompatible NAS drive (should have checked the Sonos support site first - always read the manual first!). One I got a NAS drive recommended to Sonos no problem at all. I did buy the dedicated controller (I don't have a compatible phone for the free app) and I must admit its supremely easy to us. Great things come in small packages
 

eggontoast

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Feb 23, 2011
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I can only echo what everyone else has said really.

I too thought the Sonos seemed ridiculously over priced compared to other devices but I brought it anyway. I haven't looked back the price all makes sense when you start to use it. The components are all easy to set up, it works seamlessly, sound quality is very good, you don't need to run any additional software on your NAS, they feel like quality bits of kit and Sonos HQ is always sending through software updates to improve functionality and add additional feature etc.

I think the dedicated remote is vastly overpriced but I still find it the best way to control the system. I also like having a WD100 dock so if I want to listen to something on my phone I can just plop it into the dock and it is blasted out of through my system. It all just works so well.

With regards to the wireless network I have had a couple of drop outs but nothing to annoy me yet.
 

professorhat

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That's definitely one thing I could never justify - the dedicated controller. It might be good, but given a brand new iPod Touch costs £169 and the Sonos app is free, that one really doesn't make any sense to me.
 

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