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Old 12-25-2012, 11:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Review of the Sonos Wireless Speaker System

The Sonos wireless speaker system is a relatively new market product which is designed to manage and play all the MP3 music files on your computer in a new an exciting way.

The basic brain of the Sonos system is a small box called the bridge, which is pictured below:



The Sonos bridge is a small wireless transmitter designed to deliver music to the Sonos speakers. The bridge is connected to your computer's routing device. It comes with a software disc which installs a music management program on your computer similar to a Windows Media Player or a Real Media Player.

The real selling point of the Sonos system are the wireless speakers which come in two different models: The Sonos Play:3 and the Sonos Play:5.



The Sonos Play:3 is the smaller speaker unit in the picture above and delivers a full stereo sound wirelessly with 3 embedded speakers. The Sonos Play:5 is the bigger speaker unit and delivers full stereo sound wirelessly with 5 embedded speakers.

The big advantage of the Sonos system is the speakers are wireless and portable, so you can unplug the speaker and move it to any room in your house and play to your MP3 music library in any room in your house, not just the room where your computer processor is located.

A single Sonos speaker will deliver a far better sound than any pair of high end computer speakers. A single Sonos Play:3 or Play:5 speaker is all you need to acheive full stereo sound. The speakers are small---Play:3 is about the size of a bread box and Play:5 is about twice as big as the Play:3.

The cost of one Sonos Play:3 speaker is $300 and a single Sonos Play:5 speaker retails for around $400. I recently purchased a Sonos Play:3 speaker. The retailer offered to throw in the bridge (which retails for $49) for free when purchased any Sonos speaker. I've noticed that several retailers offer the bridge for free when you buy a Sonos speaker. So the total cost of my entire Sonos system with sales tax was $315.

It took me less than 10 minutes to install the system out of the box and anybody who can point and click at four or five dialog boxes will be able to install the software and get the system up and running. You can install the Sonos Bridge software on any laptop or home computer.

I've moved my highly portable Sonos Play:3 speaker to four different areas of my house and the quality of the music in each room is flawless. All you need to do to move the speaker is unplug it and re-plug it in a new location. The bridge will automatically find the wireless speaker when you plug the speaker back into a wall unit. The wireless signal was strong in every room and the music sounded crystal clear, even when I placed on my back balcony with the sliding glass door closed.

You can purchase additional Sonos speakers and have a permanent wireless music station in any and every room of your house. Each Sonos speaker can play whatever playlist of music you're currently playing on your computer, or play a completely different playlist of music in each room.

There is an app that allows you set up any portable device as a remote control for your Sonos bridge.

There is a Sonos docking station which allows you to directly play the music straight from your iPad, iPhone or iPod, The docking station can be purchased separately, but it's a bit pricey at $100.


The Sonos sub-woofer: for those who want to blow the roof off their house.

If you want arena rock volume levels in your living room Sonos also has killer sub-woofer speaker for $700, which is way more than I'd spend on any single piece of audio equipment. The three embedded speakers in the Play:3 are plenty of power for me.

About volume levels: When I was shopping for a Sonos system, I looked at Play:5 and it simply played music at a volume level I'd never use since I live in a condo and don't want to have my neighbors complaining about loud music. The Play:5 had almost as much power as my two Infinity Primus floor speakers columns, which I dare to never play on a volume over 3.

The Sonos speaker system has become this year's darling of audiophile critics everywhere. Most critics agree that one humble Sonos Play:3 speaker is more than enough to get the job done.

Oliver Amnuaphol's review of the Sonos Play:3 speaker for Digital Trends is typical of the ecstatic praise for Sonos by audiophile publications:
Quote:
Sonosí Play:3 Wireless Music Player delivers room-filling sound from any easy-to-use package, making it a best-in-class solution for anyone looking to stream sound around the house without wires.
I'm not an audiophile but I have a good set of ears and Sonos Play:3 is the best sound system for home computer music I've come across. I planning on purchasing a second Play:3 speaker as soon as I can afford it.

3 Setbacks to the Sonos system:
1. Sonos does not play Windows Media music files, which means if you have a bunch of .wma music files in your music library, you can't play them on Sonos unless you convert the files to MP3 or re-rip your compact disc content in the MP3 format.

2. Another setback is the Sonos music library doesn't offer the advanced features other media players have. I haven't figured a way to automatically find and delete duplicate songs on a playlist. I also haven't found a way to view my music files by download date, which very helpful if you want to make a playlist of your newest songs.

3. There is a finite limit to the number of songs you can place on any given Sonos playlist. I talked a few of the tech geeks at Sonos this issue and they're vague about the song limit for each playlist. Each Sonos employee placed the queue limit at some number between 3000 and 10,000 songs per playlist.

I was assured by Sonos employees that most of my current concerns about the limitations of the Sonos system will be eventually addressed by ongoing updates downloaded from the Sonos tech department.
========================================

Footnote: Janelle MonŠe and the R&B group Deep Cotton did a recent "house party" t.v. ad for Sonos, which generated a lot of consumer interest in the the product. A Sonos development partner told me that Sonos speakers have been selling like crazy during the holiday season, primarily because of the television ad campaign.

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Old 12-25-2012, 06:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This really isn't much of a review, this is little better than a straight shill. You failed to do anything but talk the product up throughout. I deal with Sonos daily, and while I agree its very good, very flexible stuff, your descriptions are lacking and frankly, read entirely like Ad Copy.

Also, you're basically wrong on some points.

1 - The Bridge is not the "Brain" of the Sonos system. Any piece of Sonos equipment can fulfil its role, including the Play 3 and 5.

2 - The play 3 and 5 are "stereo" in the same way tv speakers are "Stereo". You won't get stereo effect out of them unless you have 2 of them acting as a stereo pair.

3 - You completely omitted the existence of the Sonos Connect Amp, and Sonos Connect, neither of which are speakers, both of which are fully complete parts of the Sonos range and allow integration with existing speakers and HiFi systems.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In response to GuitarBizzare's comments:

My review was already long without discussing the entire Sonos product line. The line of Sonos Connect products are designed for use with a conventional Hi-Fi system and aren't relevant to my topic of reviewing the Sonos line of wireless speakers to play MP3 files on a computer or electronic device. Maybe you can write a review of the Sonos Connect line, of which I know nothing about.

Most of my review is descriptive of the product, not a shill for the product. There is nothing wrong with writing a good review of a good product and many audiophile reviewers have written far more glowing reviews of the Sonos product line than I have.

I will point out that about of third of my review is about the setbacks or negative aspects of the Sonos system.

Whether or not the Sonos bridge is the "brain" of the Sonos system is a matter of semantics, but the Sonos speaker is as useless as doorstop without the bridge which is the interface that organizes your music library, hence my use of the word "brain" to describe the bridge and it's software program. If you have a better metaphor to describe the music management function of the bridge software, by all means enlighten me.

I'm more than happy with the full stereo sound I'm getting from a single Sonos speaker. You're correct that a second speaker would improve the sound even more but the system is designed to build a integrated wireless system on a pay as you go basis.

Have you actually listened to a Sonos speaker? The sales person gave me a full demo of both the Play:3 and Play:5 speakers and I could swear I was hearing a full stereo sound and it didn't sound at all like my television speakers.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin B. View Post
In response to GuitarBizzare's comments:

My review was already long without discussing the entire Sonos product line. The line of Sonos Connect products are designed for use with a conventional Hi-Fi system and aren't relevant to my topic of reviewing the Sonos line of wireless speakers to play MP3 files on a computer or electronic device. Maybe you can write a review of the Sonos Connect line, of which I know nothing about.

Most of my review is descriptive of the product, not a shill for the product. There is nothing wrong with writing a good review of a good product and many audiophile reviewers have written far more glowing reviews of the Sonos product line than I have.

However they've sounded less like advertisement copy, and provided more detail and a greater emphasis on personal experience rather than rote description and repetition of manufacturers claims.

I will point out that about of third of my review is about the setbacks or negative aspects of the Sonos system.

Except they're trivial and I know from experience that if you wanted to really discuss the pros and cons of Sonos, there are complaints you could level at it that are far more significant.

Whether or not the Sonos bridge is the "brain" of the Sonos system is a matter of semantics, but the Sonos speaker is as useless as doorstop without the bridge which is the interface that organizes your music library, hence my use of the word "brain" to describe the bridge and it's software program. If you have a better metaphor to describe the music management function of the bridge software, by all means enlighten me.

Its not the brain of the system. You can plug a Play 5, Play 3, Connect, or Connect Amp, into the same wired ethernet port and they will perform all of the tasks of the bridge, in addition to their normal operation. The bridge as a unit is useful if you cannot route wired ethernet to the location of your other Sonos pieces, but every piece of Sonos will quite happily act as a bridge if you give it a wired ethernet connection, and you can set an entire Sonos system up without a single bridge if you plan accordingly. It will function no differently, and you will have saved the cost of buying the bridge seperately.
See here: Sonos System User Guide


I'm more than happy with the full stereo sound I'm getting from a single Sonos speaker. You're correct that a second speaker would improve the sound even more but the system is designed to build a integrated wireless system on a pay as you go basis.

The sound is commendable. But "Stereo" is to have left and right. If you place two speakers less than 1ft apart, you will get no sense of left and right, therefore no stereo effect.

Have you actually listened to a Sonos speaker? The sales person gave me a full demo of both the Play:3 and Play:5 speakers and I could swear I was hearing a full stereo sound and it didn't sound at all like my television speakers.

Again, read what is written and take stock of what "Stereo" means. I didn't say that it sounded like TV speakers, I compared the advertisement of "Stereo" effect to that of TV speakers - Yes there are two speakers, producing an independent left and right channel sound, but the speakers are so close together that it forms a point source rather than a soundstage.

Also, you failed to account for useful features like being able to bridge two Sonos Play 3's as a single zone, which will send a full left and full right channel to each play 3, allowing them to form a proper stereo pair.

See here: Creating_a_Stereo_Pair_-_PLAY_3
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'll let your response to my response stand without comment. I'm not interested in getting into fight over the content of the Sonos knowledge base with you. I don't think your remarks on Sonos are strikingly different from my own, except you seem to dislike my manner of writing about the product.

I do want to correct you on one misleading point you seem fixated upon. You keep talking about the Sonos Connect, which isn't even part of the standard Sonos package but a separate item designed as a zone player to connect an external stereo amplifier to the wireless remote Sonos speaker.

I didn't want Music Banter members to get the false idea that they had to purchase a $349 Sonos Connect zone player in order to play music on their computer using wireless Sonos speakers. Sonos Connect is intended for the small group of people who want to integrate their Sonos wireless speakers into their existing home theater or hi-fi stereo system.

The Sonos Bridge connects to the remote wireless speaker using your computer's router, not an external amplifier. The Sonos Connect zone player is an irrelevant product to anyone who simply wants to play music on a home computer, laptop or electronic device. In the basic Sonos package, the Bridge device serves the exact same function the Sonos Connect using via a direct connection to the router without any connection to an external amplifier.

It's misleading to suggest that you need to purchase a $349 Connect zone player when a $49 Bridge (usually offered free with the purchase of a speaker) serves the same exact purpose, except those users who have distributed audio system that is driven from an amplifier in one central location.

I appreciate you comments because it allows forum readers to get a different perspective of the Sonos system, but I don't want a lot of confusion and misinformation created over the need to purchase an Sonos Connect unit in order to play MP3 files on your computer. I've set up the Sonos system on my computer and I didn't need to shell out $349 to purchase a Connect device because the Sonos Bridge serves that function with home computers.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavin B. View Post
I'll let your response to my response stand without comment. I'm not interested in getting into fight over the content of the Sonos knowledge base with you. I don't think your remarks on Sonos are strikingly different from my own, except you seem to dislike my manner of writing about the product.

I do want to correct you on one misleading point you seem fixated upon. You keep talking about the Sonos Connect, which isn't even part of the standard Sonos package but a separate item designed as a zone player to connect an external stereo amplifier to the wireless remote Sonos speaker.

I didn't want Music Banter members to get the false idea that they had to purchase a $349 Sonos Connect zone player in order to play music on their computer using wireless Sonos speakers. Sonos Connect is intended for the small group of people who want to integrate their Sonos wireless speakers into their existing home theater or hi-fi stereo system.

The Sonos Bridge connects to the remote wireless speaker using your computer's router, not an external amplifier. The Sonos Connect zone player is an irrelevant product to anyone who simply wants to play music on a home computer, laptop or electronic device. In the basic Sonos package, the Bridge device serves the exact same function the Sonos Connect using via a direct connection to the router without any connection to an external amplifier.

It's misleading to suggest that you need to purchase a $349 Connect zone player when a $49 Bridge (usually offered free with the purchase of a speaker) serves the same exact purpose, except those users who have distributed audio system that is driven from an amplifier in one central location.

I appreciate you comments because it allows forum readers to get a different perspective of the Sonos system, but I don't want a lot of confusion and misinformation created over the need to purchase an Sonos Connect unit in order to play MP3 files on your computer. I've set up the Sonos system on my computer and I didn't need to shell out $349 to purchase a Connect device because the Sonos Bridge serves that function with home computers.
Where in the **** did I ever even BEGIN to suggest, imply, or otherwise lead people to believe, that they needed a Sonos connect to use Sonos?

Thats right. Nowhere.

What I said was that any piece of Sonos equipment can perform the function of bridge, in addition to its normal duties. If you have the Play 3 and you hardwire it into your router, it can do everything the bridge can.

If you have the Connect Amp, and you hardwire it into your router, it can do everything the bridge can.

If you have the Play 5 and you hardwire it into your router, it can do everything the bridge can.

If you have the Connect and you hardwire it into your router, it can do everything the bridge can.

You do not need a bridge with Sonos. It is a piece of equipment whose function is to act as the beginning of the chain, if for some reason you cannot hardwire any other piece of the system. You can do entirely without it if need be.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Go argue with yourself... I not going to respond to your loose associations and contradictory statements.
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