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Stream hifi setup: Sonos or Simple Audio + Q Acoustics?

Apr 27, 2016
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After several years of not investing in my CD collection, I decided that I wanted to simplify the way I listen to music, and I am looking for a simple stream setup for my living room (for now).

I want a real hifi stereo experience, although on a budget. For me, lossless is important, and I really want to take advantage of the "Elite" streaming service from Deezer, and that led me to the Sonos offer. After checking the Deezer site (Devices), the Simple Audio Roomplayer also caught my attention (although I would not be able to access the Deezer Elite (flac) service, from what I understand).

A multiroom experience is not relevant for now, but maybe it will be in the future.

So, apart from the software and streaming services availability, which of these setups is better, sound quality wise?

- Sonos Play 1 stereo (2x);
- Simple Audio Roomplayer+ with Amp + Q Acoustics bookshelf speakers (2010i, 2020i, or other)?

I can get them for roughly the same price. Is there another alternative you recommend?

Thank you.

Lourenço
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
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Good grief, are Simple Audio still going? Apparently so...

One point, the Roomplayers+ has an amp built in, so you wouldn't need an additional one or you would just get the Roomplayer instead of the plus model and an amp.

The Sonos equivalent is the Connect and Connect:Amp, which you could pair up to the same speakers you mentioned, with or without the additional amp, although I gather they'd probably be more expensive if you can get that roomplayer combo for the same price as a pair of play:1s.

Personally I'd go for Sonos, because I already have, the firmware is rock solid. I've heard bad things about the Simple Audio firmware and its limitations, but that was a few years ago, I don't know what they're like now (like I said, I didn't even know they were still trading).
 

Edbo2

New member
Mar 6, 2016
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I was faced with a similar problem. Hundreds of CDs and library to store. I have ripped my CDs as Apple Lossless files stored on WD MyBookLive NAS as it has a built-in Apple Server. I have a Sonos Play 1 for the bedroom and a Connect which plugs into Cyrus One for the lounge. Sound is great via either source.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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As a system, Sonos is pretty hard to fault, it is only the lack of Spotify Connect support that stops me buying into the system totally, it is great. If it supports your favourite streaming service in the format you want, then I think it is a 'no-brainer', not a term I use often.

Budget is the issue here I think, a pair of Play 1s make a pleasant enough system but I would personally like a slightly more conventional setup for my own use. A Sonos Connect/Connect Amp into proper speakers, active for the Connect, passive for the Connect Amp would be more flexible and more conventional in a hi-fi sense and to my ears would give a better hi-fi experience.

Clearly this would be more expensive than a £300 pair of Play 1s but a Connect plus a decent pair of active speakers can be had for less than £500, which would, ideally be my starting point.
 

drummerman

New member
Jan 18, 2008
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I think Deezer supports Chromecast Audio.

(Unlike those muffin heads over at Tidal)

The joys of streaming
 

tino

Well-known member
Sep 29, 2011
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I heard Simple Audio has stopped manufacturing the Roomplayer and the product / software is no longer being developed? You might still be able to get support but not sure for how long????
 
Apr 27, 2016
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Thank you for all the inputs. I'm letting the Simple Audio option go, so that leaves me with a pair of Play 1s vs. a Connect Amp + bookshelf speakers (something around the budget of the Q Acoustics 2020i).

I will try to test them live to check the difference.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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Hi Lourenço,

I would consider £79 airport express ( assuming you're an apple user) into £230 active speakers like yamaha hs5 or mackie mr5 mark3.. that would give you lossless streaming of any audio in the world coming from any apple device.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
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tino said:
I heard Simple Audio has stopped manufacturing the Roomplayer and the product / software is no longer being developed? You might still be able to get support but not sure for how long????
Well, that's what I thought, the website is still live though, that's what threw me.
 

Edbo2

New member
Mar 6, 2016
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davedotco said:
As a system, Sonos is pretty hard to fault, it is only the lack of Spotify Connect support that stops me buying into the system totally, it is great. If it supports your favourite streaming service in the format you want, then I think it is a 'no-brainer', not a term I use often.

Budget is the issue here I think, a pair of Play 1s make a pleasant enough system but I would personally like a slightly more conventional setup for my own use. A Sonos Connect/Connect Amp into proper speakers, active for the Connect, passive for the Connect Amp would be more flexible and more conventional in a hi-fi sense and to my ears would give a better hi-fi experience.

Clearly this would be more expensive than a £300 pair of Play 1s but a Connect plus a decent pair of active speakers can be had for less than £500, which would, ideally be my starting point.
From my view there is hardly any sonic difference between Sonos and the Cyrus Connect combo. Sonos has Equaliser settings so tweaking tonal preferences is possible. Sonos Play 1s are active speakers.
 
Apr 27, 2016
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In theory, I would prefer the Connect:AMP + speakers of my choice over the Play:1s pair, but that means doubling the budget (from 450€ to around 800€). As my living room is not big and I always have kids running around, I wonder how many chances will I get to really appreciate the quality improvement.

Thank you for all the inputs.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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Edbo2 said:
davedotco said:
As a system, Sonos is pretty hard to fault, it is only the lack of Spotify Connect support that stops me buying into the system totally, it is great. If it supports your favourite streaming service in the format you want, then I think it is a 'no-brainer', not a term I use often.

Budget is the issue here I think, a pair of Play 1s make a pleasant enough system but I would personally like a slightly more conventional setup for my own use. A Sonos Connect/Connect Amp into proper speakers, active for the Connect, passive for the Connect Amp would be more flexible and more conventional in a hi-fi sense and to my ears would give a better hi-fi experience.

Clearly this would be more expensive than a £300 pair of Play 1s but a Connect plus a decent pair of active speakers can be had for less than £500, which would, ideally be my starting point.
From my view there is hardly any sonic difference between Sonos and the Cyrus Connect combo. Sonos has Equaliser settings so tweaking tonal preferences is possible. Sonos Play 1s are active speakers.
A typo I assume, I guess you meant Spotify Connect.

I much prefer Spotify's own interface over the Spotify page on the Sonos App, hence my preference for Spotify Connect. Virtually all my music listening is via Spotify, hence the importance of the interface.

The EQ thing is a bit of a bind though, not the biggest problem for me as I favour active speakers, many of which have very usable EQ for positioning and balance.

The Play 1s, like all the Sonos speaker systems, have, to my ears, a kind of 'manufactured' quality to the sound. I accept that this is personal preference but I would rather have the more 'natural' sound of a pair of real speakers, be they passive or active.

Again, speaking personally, my 'entry level' Sonos system would comprise a Connect plus a pair of active speakers, probably the Presonus Eris 5 which would keep the cost to around £500 inc cables.

For reference, the Eris 5 offers a good range of adjustment...

 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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Lourenço Cordeiro said:
Another alternative might be the Raumfeld Cubes (https://www.raumfeld.com/en/raumfeld-stereo-cubes-p11468.html). Any thoughts on these?
Product is not widely used in the uk. I believe the Teufel company makes decent equipment but I have never heard any of their speakers.

However, the Connector 2 is, in effect, the equivilent of the Sonos Connect but at little more than half the price. The output is on rca sockets and under the control of the Connetor 2 volume, it also has basic eq and a 'local' line in, useful for adding Airplay or Bluetooth or even TV playback.

Add a pair of £200 active speakers such as the Eris 5 mentioned above or spend a little more on the Yamaha HS5s and you have a very effective setup.
 
Apr 27, 2016
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Well, just to let you know I ended up with a SMSL SA98e + Cambridge Audio SX50 + Chromecast Audio and a Google Play Music subscription that is making me very happy. Spent around 360€ in total (cables included). I am very pleased with the sound and ease of use, but even if I want to throw a DAC upgrade into the system (say a SMSL Sanskrit) I would be under a Play 1: pair budget and I don't believe the sound quality would be even close.
 

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