Would You Buy an Ampless w/Digital Out "Zone Player Pro"

  • 27 September 2005
  • 73 replies
  • 12240 views

Userlevel 2
This topic has been beat to death on this forum. I am hoping this thread generates enough interest to at least peak the interest of the money makers at Sonos and hopefully this or a version of it is put into production.

A "Zone Player Pro" would be Ampless and have One (1) Coax and One (1) Optical Digital Outputs in a standard 17" Audio/HT component case.

Forget any and all other requests, for now, such as rackmount, color, additional features, or a Price Reduction. Lets assume it will cost the same as the current Zone player $499, anything less would be a bonus.

Simply put, do you want and would you purchase a "Zone Player Pro".

Would You Buy A "Zone Player Pro" Ampless w/Digital Out


73 replies

Userlevel 2
I was planning on getting another ZP anyway, but if I could have one that fits neatly into my stereo rack and is geared more the audiophile market, I would by that instead and swap out the current ZP to the new room.
Yes I would buy one and hopefully in Black to match my Elite components 😃
Userlevel 2
I would buy one in a second... can always use a ZP somewhere else...
Userlevel 2
Yup, no question about it.
No doubt about it. I've been sitting on the fence for some time hoping Sonos would release just such a version. I'd end up getting at least one such beast and possibly two (along the ones for the bedroms, back patio, etc.)

--Dann
Userlevel 2
Yes, I would
As stated, I won't vote for the project, but I would enjoy a true "pro" version with an optional rack mount kit and multiple zones in one box. (including the digital in/out)

This sort of gadget would allow easy replacement of those multi-zone systems with dreadful user interfaces.

Of course, to go along with this idea we'd also need the controller bridge or range extender. (Installing a 2.5GHz unit in a rack will limit its effective communication range)

Major plus features would be an XM radio, AM/FM, and one line level input per zone.
Userlevel 2
As stated, I won't vote for the project, but I would enjoy a true "pro" version with an optional rack mount kit and multiple zones in one box. (including the digital in/out)

This sort of gadget would allow easy replacement of those multi-zone systems with dreadful user interfaces.

Of course, to go along with this idea we'd also need the controller bridge or range extender. (Installing a 2.5GHz unit in a rack will limit its effective communication range)

Major plus features would be an XM radio, AM/FM, and one line level input per zone.


I do not disagree with you. All great feature requests; however, I hope you do not think that would be $499???

The proposed/ficticious "Zone player Pro" would/could be the starting point. It has to start somewhere. The above would satisfy most everyone's needs who want to integrate a Zone Player into their Audio/HT.

I am currently looking at the http://www.escient.com/products/se80.html which has an MSRP of $999. I would prefer to spend my money on a Sonos Solution and integrate it into a system I already have in place and that I know already works extremely well and I am completely happy with. I really do not want or need another hard drive or CD-R/RW as I already have those in place.

Phil C.
Userlevel 2
Its really only useful in the "professional integrator" market if a solution is worked out for 3rd party control.

jcmitch
Userlevel 2
Absolutely. I'd buy one for every room where I already have a good amp.

Definitely.
Userlevel 2
Its really only useful in the "professional integrator" market if a solution is worked out for 3rd party control.

jcmitch


The wishful thinking "Zone Player Pro" proposed is meant for mass market appeal to go along with the current product and keep prices affordable and make it easy for the installed base to add a solution to their Audio/HT Rack. Not quite the average Joe, but the avid home theater enthusiast, lets say the middle of the road meat and potatoes customer.

Again, I do not disagree withy your point. The proposed is a starting point. Upon success, the natural progression would be a higher end more expensive custom install product that could be developed with all the money Sonos will make from the introduction of the above product. ;)

The more I look at alternative solutions to fit into my Audio/HT Rack, the only affordable solution that seems to be available is the aforementioned Escient SE-80 in the above post.

At $999 for the Escient SE-80 you get a self contained non expandable solution, at least for now until a firmware update is done. Even if you do not have any Zone Players or Controllers in your system now, the purchase of a "Zone Player Pro" would be $101 less than the Escient SE-80. At $898 for the Sonos, you have a far more powerful and fully expandable solution and a bargain in the market place.

The Escient connects to your TV/Display and has a user interface controlled by a remote. It can be controlled from any web browser and a display is not needed if you use a wireless PDA. The Sonos does not connect to a display; however, with the Sonos Controller you get the same level of fucntionality and onscreen visual as the Escient. No need for a separate PDA. The Escient will only rip in mp3. If you import your files from your computer they can be either mp3 or WMA. It will play both. The Sonos offers far more file and playback support as we all know. The Escient right now is limited to its own internal 80 Gig Hard Drive. The Sonos is not limited by storage capacity.

Sorry to rant yet again and beat this subject up as we really do not have any control of what Sonos wants to do. I just do not understand how this product would not be a huge success especially if marketed properly. At $499 for a "Zone Player Pro" and $898 for a complete package including the controller, it is a bargain. Buy other original Zone Players as needed and the middle of the road Audio/HT enthusiast will be very happy. Some will complain it is still too expensive and the true integrated home people, high ender's, and golden ear audiophiles are going to feel it is still not quite right for them, but for the bulk of the marketplace, it will be. Bread and butter first...

I really hope Sonos chimes in with some type of answer on this before the holiday season as even though it is less of a solution, the SE-80 is on my Holiday list.

Phil C.

[b]EDIT: Sales totals removed as they are not relevant to the poll.[/b]
Userlevel 2
In my case, I was looking exactly for network solution that didn't nesessitate getting another box (amp). I also wanted to not have my computer on. Sonos fits well for me in this regard. I believe that is the marget Sonos targeted.

I have no need for one without an amp at this time. 😉
Userlevel 2
In my case, I was looking exactly for network solution that didn't nesessitate getting another box (amp). I also wanted to not have my computer on. Sonos fits well for me in this regard. I believe that is the marget Sonos targeted.

I have no need for one without an amp at this time. ;)


How exactly does this go against the intent of Sonos??? The functionality of a "Zone Player Pro" would be exactly the same as the current Zone Player.

The vast majority of Sonos customers are likely have an Audio/HT area in their dwelling. As has been beat to death over and over in this forum, the number one and two features that seem to be requested are:

1) Digital Output (Coax and/or Toslink, preferably both)

2) An Ampless Version

3) Ampless w/Digital Output (thrown in for good measure) 😃

The mistake that Sonos made was not including a digital output on the current Zone Player. That alone has been the number one reason I have heard and seen why some will not purchase a Sonos System. All the threads and this poll would not be such a big deal if the current Zone Player had a digital output.

I love my Zone Player and I am glad you are happy with yours. It is a great product and works exactly like advertised, but can should be even greater. Enjoy...

Phil
Userlevel 2
Would really love to have a SONOS player integrated to my $20 000 livingroom High End HIFI, allready have the intro bundle, but will wait for this Zone Player Pro before I buy anymore Zones.
Userlevel 2
I think the question you are asking in the poll is misleading; you should have asked one of the following questions:

1) Is the lack of an ampless model keeping you from buying any Sonos components?

1) Is the lack of an ampless model keeping you from buying an additional Sonos ZP?

2) Would you buy an ampless model with digital out over a ZP w/amp and digital-out if the price was similar?

I might buy one ampless model for my main entertainment room since I have a good amp; however, since the product does not exist, I purchased a regular ZP for that room. In this scenario, Sonos still received the revenue and the lack of an ampless model did not result in the loss of a sale. As it turns out, I was able to use the amp to power some garden speakers that are on the other side of the wall, so it was a nice surprise to have a free amp in that room.

If the lack of an ampless ZP is keeping you from buying a Sonos system, you are probably not really in the market in the first place.
Userlevel 2
...
If the lack of an ampless ZP is keeping you from buying a Sonos system, you are probably not really in the market in the first place.


You are correct. I do not believe the amp is the sticking point. It is a by product of not releasing the Zone Player with a Digital Output. Since a revision is necessary to obtain the #1 requested feature, why not go all the way and make it correct. We are not asking for a new or different product. Just an addition to the family.

Slice it anyway you want, the Zone Player as it is now is not the optimal configuration for integration into the Audio/HT rack.

Not sure why you think the poll is misleading, it accomplishes the questions you ask without asking them directly.

I am an extemely happy Sonos owner as almost everyone that owns a Sonos is. The product is great but incomplete.
Here is my suggestion from a couple of months ago. Granted I don't think it was too well received, but I still like it. :)

Two Types:
A standard audio size rack mountable with multiple analog and multiple digital inputs (optical & coax), digital out (again optical & coax), variable analog out, fixed analog out with level trim, 4-port Ethernet switch, IR blaster out, and optional external antenna. Price $499.00 - $599.00.

A small form factor very similar to an AirPort Express with one analog output (variable or fixed), one digital output (optical), and one Ethernet port. Price $150.00


All in all I am still concerned if complete audio syncing can be achieved using combination of digital out/3rd party DACs and ZPs. My guess is some type of time-trim would be needed.

UR
Userlevel 2
Count me in with the group waiting for an ampless version with digital out.

And I guess I don't fit into someone's chart since I haven't yet bought Sonos' product. I'm waiting to see if they offer the ampless version since I don't need ANY of their amps and I'm going to buy at least 3 ZP's, probably 4 or 5.

(Sound of toe tapping...)
Userlevel 2
I would definitely buy one but I can only wait so long.
Userlevel 2
I would definitely buy one but I can only wait so long.

I hear that loud and clear and feel the same.

The problem is there aren't many alternative solutions. This would be the first truly affordable product.
Two Types:
A standard audio size rack mountable with multiple analog and multiple digital inputs (optical & coax), digital out (again optical & coax), variable analog out, fixed analog out with level trim, 4-port Ethernet switch, IR blaster out, and optional external antenna. Price $499.00 - $599.00.

A small form factor very similar to an AirPort Express with one analog output (variable or fixed), one digital output (optical), and one Ethernet port. Price $150.00


I like this plan better. Thank UR.

--Mark.
Userlevel 2
I would definitely consder purchasing an ampless zone player - would love to see one add'l feature - the ability for the zone player to turn on and off the external amp - could be as simple as a 110V switched outlet
Userlevel 2
I like this plan better. Thank UR.

--Mark.


I don't disagree. The reason behind the description of the "Zone Player Pro" is because that was the most common I saw through the various threads.

Sonos is a young company and a complete redesign of the only product they have doesn't seem to make sense. Again, had they released the Zone Player with a Digital Output, I think this whole discussion would not be so prevalent throughout the forum.

Taking the guts of the existing product minus the amp, adding the digital output, and putting it in a new case seems the easiest route to not upset the apple cart.

Just my thoughts, and as this is all conjecture anyway, it really doesn't mean anything other than a wishful thinker trying to rationalize something I have no control over anyway. It just really bothers me how good the Sonos System is, yet I have to look at another solution to add to my Auio/HT rack when the options that have been discussed seem so logical. Ranting again... Sorry.

Phil C.

[b]EDIT: Sales totals removed as they are not relevant to the poll.[/b]
I would definitely buy one but I can only wait so long.

It's not like the ZP is totally useless in its current configuration. Thousands of us use them every day without needing digital outputs and are quite happy. The point being, while not the optimal configuration, the ZP in its current form can be adapted to almost all of the audio systems out there.

If one really likes the Sonos DMS, I can't see not having digital out, having an amp, or not fitting in a rack being that big a deal to keep from purchasing one. Go ahead and buy one and start enjoying it. Say in a year or so if or when a new 'Pro" ZP is released, buy that and either move the old ZP to another location or sell it.

Just my $0.02.

UR
Userlevel 2
Good points Uncle Robin. I purchased one Zone Player and the Controller to serve my outdoor deck area. We used it all summer without a hitch and enjoyed it very much. Like I keep saying, it is a great product.

In its current form, it is definitely not optimized for use in the Audio/HT Rack. Can you though, most definitely. Is it the best option available, not according to the tests I did.

I used the analog outs and fed my Rotel Pre-Pro and was not impressed. It sounded better when I used Analog Bypass so the pre-pro did not digitize the signal coming in and I was using the DAC's in the Sonos. I compared it to my PC outputting via WMP 10 using S/PDIF playing the same files as the Sonos using the Analog and the difference was night and day. The digital out of my PC via S/PDIF into the pre-pro won hands down. I compared it to my Sony CX455 400 Disc CD Changer which is also connected to my Rotel Pre-Pro via Toslink and the CD player won hands down also. I also compared the PC playing a file to the Sony CD Player playing the same track via a the original CD and I and several people had a hard time telling which was which. With the Sonos via Analog out, it was very easy to tell.

Phil C.

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