iPod dock for sonos



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Sorry, I didn't realise the central equipment was unamplified. In this case running line-level connections is appropriate.


Yes. The Extron switch is does not have amplification capabilities. It merely directs the signal, although it can actually mute and control the volume on individual audio outputs.

If you put the adapter/balun in the faceplate itself, it makes that cable application specific. You cannot, for instance, plug a telephone or LAN cable into phone sockets.

I am using the CeLabs Cat5Rx and Tx baluns which are very good value for being active baluns. They are not wallplate baluns but have 2 RJ45 jacks on them that carry all of the 6 signals (including IR), however one can actually wire them to only use one cat5e cable. One simply attaches the balun to the back of the TV with velcro, screws them into the wall behnd the TV or lets them just hang. The component video cables and audio cable run from the balun to the inputs on the HDTV and the IR receiver to the IR input. One uses a patchcord to connect them to the RJ45 keystone wall jacks. In this way the Cat5e run (or possibly cat6 if I decide to use that) can be repurposed for HDMI transmission (which is wonky at best these days for HDTV signal transmission, so almost all professional installers use component) or any other use at a later time.

However there are many baluns that are incorporated into the wall plate, which are attractive to some as they think that they provide a cleaner look. But, with separate baluns mounted to the back of the TV or on the wall behind the TV you don't see them anyway and it's much easier to repurpose the cat5 runs without having them hardwired to a particular balun. You simply unplug the RJ45 patch cord from the keystone wall jack.

Typical line-level signal cable:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=131&&source=14&doy=15m1


Thanks, I was interested in the line-level cable as I have never had that installed before. I'll try to find an equivalent here in Canada.


It's a personal preference/policy thing really. Usually the most straightforward route is the best and, in theory, putting additional equipment (baluns) is an additional compexity and could cause additional noise or distortion. I imagine it's probably more expensive too. However, I admit I have never used these so I don't know. As long as the baluns are good quality the cat5 route should be as good as the straight audio cable route. In some scenarios it might even be better.


I've been testing some passive baluns for a while for HDTV video and audio distribution and have had no problem. But, I have heard that in longer distances and in certain situations there can be problems and that this is cured by using active baluns (which have a power supply and gain control adjustment). The CeLabs ones that I mentioned above are about $200 USD per pair, which is about $80 more than passive baluns from the same company. Given the small price difference and possiblity of better performance using the active baluns, I am switching to the active ones as a standard.

I would be careful running raw video over long distances with straight cables, especially if it's HD. Video is very high bandwidth and is much more susceptible to noise problems than audio. In this case I'm tempted to say the cat5 route might be better.


Most runs I have will be only up to 100'. I'll have to check into that what the maximum recommended length is for good performance over component video cables.

My personal view is that it's much more likely people will go with a distributed approach with HD video over and local decoders. This is already technically possible now, but it's not particularly consumer friendly yet.

I think you are right. At the present time, in North America, the most convenient route to access and watch HDTV is through the use of HDTV cable boxes or through Blu-Ray media. The other method is to use an antenna on the top of the house, but this is inconvenient for most (but it does provide a better picture as the signal remains uncompressed. Cable companies compress the signal 1/2 to 1/3rd the original size). I have a Scientific Atlanta 8300 HD PVR (Personal Video Recorder) with a total of 1.16 terabytes of online storage (after adding a 3rd-party 1 TB hard disk). It is as easy to install and use as Sonos. I just can't see how using a LAN could possibly make the recording, playing back and storage of TV programs any easier, but it might make the management and playing of HDTV downloaded from the Internet or other audio-visual media easier (such as hard copy HD or SD media, such as DVDs, copied onto hard disks).
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Line-level signals are relatively low and really require shielded cable of a particular impedance like you would have on a commercial phono cable. If you use unshielded speaker cable you are highly likely to have noise problems and possibly some distortion.


Typical line-level signal cable:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=131&&source=14&doy=15m1


I've done some research and it appears that RG6shielded cable (quad or dual shield), which is cable TV cable, is typically used to carry line-level audio signals.

Do you have any comments on using RG6?
I've done some research and it appears that RG6shielded cable (quad or dual shield), which is cable TV cable, is typically used to carry line-level audio signals.

Do you have any comments on using RG6?


None, never tried it. I'm guessing it would work OK, but it would typically be thicker and more difficult to pull than normal audio cable.

Cheers,

Keith
R/G-6 will carry audio signals, but as Majik notes, R/G-6 is physically difficult to work with. Belden 9259 is much easier to work with.

Attaching RCA plugs will be a challenge because R/G-6 typically uses aluminum braid shielding and you'll have a dickens of a time soldering to the shield. If you are willing to purchase a tool, there are crimp RCA plugs that can be attached to R/G-6, but the cable will remain too stiff for practical use. If you have R/G-6 in the walls and pulling additional cable is not practical, terminate the R/G-6 at an RCA jack wall plate and use flexible cable to the equipment.

In any case avoid using a gaggle of adapters to connect the R/G-6 as they will eventually cause (usually intermittent) trouble.

Various CAT-5 transport devices are becoming more and more practical.
Userlevel 2
This is new construction, and since my HDTV video/audio is being distributed to each room using cat5 and baluns at each end I only have a need for a pair of line-level audio cables in each room to the Sonos location in the same room, which will faciliate playing local sources (such as the HDTV audio, an iPod, Blu-Ray Player) through the Sonos, likely located in the closet.

So, I'll check into that Belden 9259 (I already use Belden 1694A RG6 cable for the component video and digital audio patch cables)
Userlevel 2
the one feature i need from sonos
would be an ipod dock with two way communication,

so i could then plop an ipod in to the sonos ipod dock, and see everything thats on my ipod, on the sonos controllers.


so many companies make something similar with rs232, it seems like a no brainer for sonos.

am i missing something?
why do they not make an integrated ipod dock?
Sonos does not have an integrated iPod dock because it is already integrated with your entire library. Why would you want to stream from an inefficient, battery operated, wireless micro-drive when you can stream from your actual library? It would be like using a portable ice cooler in your home right next to your refrigerator/freezer.
the one feature i need from sonos
would be an ipod dock with two way communication,

so i could then plop an ipod in to the sonos ipod dock, and see everything thats on my ipod, on the sonos controllers.


so many companies make something similar with rs232, it seems like a no brainer for sonos.

am i missing something?
why do they not make an integrated ipod dock?


The iPod and iPod dock is also too lacking in functionality to work well with Sonos. It's a very basic control interface and it doesn't work properly with the Sonos multi-room, "any music, any zone" concept. It was mainly designed for interfacing with tradional hifi or Car Audio systems. At the end of the day it doesn't offer that much over having your iPod connected into a Sonos Line-in.

If it's your own iPod, as pointed out by jgatie, you can take FULL advantage of the Sonos concept with your iTunes collection by streaming it to Sonos directly from your PC. This gives you far more capabilities and far better quaility than a simple iPod dock can. You can browse everything that's in your iTunes collection (whether or not you can fit it onto your iPod) and play it in any zone.

Cheers,

Keith
Userlevel 2
so your telling me you never have guests that come over that have an ipod they wanna play on your system?

you are telling me if they made a dock as mentioned above, you would be against it?

you are saying that every family only has one music library ?



ive set up two way ipod docks before, and they are a pleasure. you get to see whats playing and change the song or playlist without running back and forth to where the ipod is connected to . .


how could this be a bad thing?
you can already add it as a source to the system,
why not add two way ?
so your telling me you never have guests that come over that have an ipod they wanna play on your system?


Never.


you are telling me if they made a dock as mentioned above, you would be against it?


Personally, I have no use for it. But against it? Not really, but I much prefer Sonos hardware to stay platform neutral. USB port for hard disks, thumb drives, card reader and the vast majority of players that act as dumb disks would be much better than a proprietary Apple only dock. And this is coming from someone who uses an iPod specific cable in his car stereo.


you are saying that every family only has one music library ?


Nope. Are you saying every family only uses iPods for their multiple music libraries?


ive set up two way ipod docks before, and they are a pleasure. you get to see whats playing and change the song or playlist without running back and forth to where the ipod is connected to . .


Great, except you can't do this with a Zune, or a Samsung, or iRiver, or Creative, or any phone except iPhone, etc.


how could this be a bad thing?
you can already add it as a source to the system, why not add two way ?


Personally, anything Apple based can be a bad thing. Thus I want Sonos to stay as far away from Apple proprietary hardware as possible. Period.*

*Disclaimer - I use iTunes and an iPod. But I chose to use them. I also resented having to buy one for my Alpine car stereo, and I'd resent having an Apple interface forced onto my S5.
so your telling me you never have guests that come over that have an ipod they wanna play on your system?

Never! Usually, if they want to play something, I show them the Sonos controller and they put their mere iPod in their pocket and start making "Wow!" noises whilst they play with it.

In the extremely unlikely event I ever do need to plug in an iPod it would have to be for a very specific purpose (like listening to a pre-prepared playlist). In that circumstance, having remote control of the iPod won't be a significant issue, I'll plug it into the line in. of a nearby ZP... job done!

you are telling me if they made a dock as mentioned above, you would be against it?

Yes, because I don't think it could be done properly without degrading the system. Sonos isn't designed with the single-source control model and forcing it to work this way would be a considerable change to, and disruption of, the intuitive user interface.

you are saying that every family only has one music library ?

Of course not. We have 4 separate iPod libraries in our house. They all come together with Sonos which indexes and plays them all.

ive set up two way ipod docks before, and they are a pleasure. you get to see whats playing and change the song or playlist without running back and forth to where the ipod is connected to . .

I don't doubt they are a pleasure compared to using an iPod on a standard speaker dock, but compared to what Sonos offers, the limitations imposed by the technology of the iPod and its docking system make the whole thing seem rather clunky and dull.


how could this be a bad thing?
you can already add it as a source to the system,
why not add two way ?


It would cost money to do, and wouldn't really significantly add useful functionality to the system for the majority of use cases, where you already have access to all of your iTunes library via Sonos, and where (via music services) you probably have access to everything that's on your friend's iPod and beyond.

Quite frankly this sounds a lot better an idea than it actually is. The reason some ideas are called a "no-brainer" is because no brainpower is involved in formulating the idea. As soon as you engage the brain, these "no-brainer" ideas usually start to look weak.

Of course someone who is wedded to this idea could, not doubt, come up with a handful of edge-cases where it would work, but they are really exceptions which prove the rule.

A better approach (to cater for the minority of cases where this would be useful) would be if Apple changed the iPod so it looks like a USB memory device, like the older iPods used to. You used to be able to plug your iPod into a PC and share it out like any other storage device. This allowed you to use the standard Sonos interface to access the music on your iPod without degrading the user experience. Apple broke that capability. Perhaps you should be asking them why.

Personally I use a portable player which still works this way. It also gives me the flexibility to use whichever music management tool and download store I want.

Cheers,

Keith
I've used some of these integrated iPod docks (integrated into a whole house system) and they are slow and clunky compared to SONOS. They also don't sound as good.

Also, the iPod is either tethered or strapped to some sort of radio link dongle. Neither is my idea of fun.
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MMM ipods can still be used as USB sticks, but they never alowed access to the music... They store it "protected" inside a Database so you don't be able to pass it around from computer to computer... It was that DRM that got every Music house to sell music via Itunes store.

I don't understand all the dock necessity.

if you have line in you can always use the Ipod jack to pass trough the music... and use the ipod to control the music like a Bose, B&W eclipse or anyother.
(except the need to activate the line in with a remote... so I've been told)
Userlevel 2
I would love to see a fully functional ipod dock option for any zone player, connection via a network port or future usb port. Controlled via CR200 or iphone/itouch.
I would love to see a fully functional ipod dock option for any zone player, connection via a network port or future usb port. Controlled via CR200 or iphone/itouch.

The phrase "fully functional" does not apply to the iPod dock. It is a very basic interface.

Many of the things which make Sonos great simply would not work with the iPod interface, including:

* Digital audio (at least no on older iPods)
* Any track in any zone
* Fast browsing of music library
* Album Art (apparently it's possible on some models, but very slow and locks the iPod up for several seconds whilst it's being fetched)

A far richer and more functional user experience is achieved simply by sharing your iTunes library across the network. This eliminates the technical shortcomings of the iPod interface.

Obviously you can't do this with visitors iPods, but I haver personally never had a visitor who wanted to do this. I'm sure some people do, but for this sort of occasional usage plugging the iPod into a line in works well.

Cheers,

Keith
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The functionality was more around allowing someone else to bring their iPod to be used for say a party or similar. Having it docked somewhere and using the input fo rthe zone being played in. Itunes I agree its the best option but not the answer to this issue.
Userlevel 2
I cannot find an official press release about this but here is the info I have:



Sonos announced today the introduction of the a Wireless dock which will be available to consumers in October.

The device, which will sell for $119 USD, lets Sonos owners play music from an iPod or iPhone through their Sonos music system. In order to do that today you would have to physically connect the iPod or iPhone to a Sonos Zone Player via the headphone jack.

The Sonos Wireless Dock is compatible with the following devices: iPod touch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation), iPod classic, iPod nano (3rd, 4th, and 5th generation), iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPhone

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