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Alternative to Sonos


Userlevel 5

I sent this to the Sonos CEO email, as this seems to be the only support option available. My main point is to find a solution on the bad situation I find myself in, with the non-functioning new app.

Anyone else, if not the CEO, is welcome to give their suggestions and comments, that may help me on the way. Thanks.

 

“Dear Sonos,

You have done something completely absurd, as you are aware of, by killing off a functioning app and replacing it with one that has close to no functions - a work in progress, at best, or a disaster of an app, when speaking realistically.

After some years without Sonos for my part, since you decided to kill off all older devices, threatening that if I didn't replace them with new ones I would be at risk of you sending out software updates at any time that would render my system useless, I decided to give you a chance again, ordering a Port.

The day after receiving this new device, before I had even managed to connect it and start using it, came this infamous app update.

I have one - one - purpose of owning a Sonos system: I want a player for the music I have in my own collection. CDs that I have copied to a local SAN and are playing from there.

This is hardly possible now. I was lucky to get the old desktop app before you stopped access to it, so that I at least in that app can make playlists - which most of the time are visible and playable from the mobile app.

In the mobile app, it happens from time to time that "My music" appears - and when it does, it sometimes stay long enough for me to see the music collection - in a somewhat useless form, as all contributing artists and their mother and neighbors seem to be in the list that, therefore, becomes extremely long - and since it is not searchable, I can effectively see only the first few letters of the alphabet. When it works at all, that is.

And what can I do with that music overview? I can pick one tune. Or one album. And play it directly. That's it.

If I pick an album, I cannot see the tunes on it in the queue, which is called empty, even though the system does play song after song until that album is over.

If I try with the web app, I can always see My music, and I can pick an artist, if I want - but wanting this means accepting that all tunes by that artist will be played either alphabetically or in random order (if I push that button). I cannot get them played in the order they are on the albums.

So, back to the old desktop app that I now do not dare to upgrade, even though it constantly asks me to do so: There, I can make playlists of albums that will be played in the correct order.

You want so much that I upgrade that app, but what will come out of it? I expect nothing good.

My take on all this is that you have ruined my joy of ownership of that new thing, the Port, like you previously did with the older devices I had. It was wrong of me to give you another chance. You have not proved worthy of that.

So, apart from not buying any more devices from Sonos, due to this failure of delivering what you sold me, I will again start looking for an alternative. 

You are in general lucky, in that the competition is very poor. I tried out Yamaha's MusicCast and Denon's Heos, and where Yamaha had great hardware, they had a terrible app. Where Denon had a useful app, they had malfunctioning hardware. Sonos used to be the combination of good hardware and software, even though you several times have shown a lack of sense of fair business, but now you have the most miserable app of them all, making it impossible to utilize the hardware, so it no longer matters if that is good or bad.

I hope that there is a fourth or a fifth player on the market that I can find and shift to. And since you obviously do not want me as a customer (making my ownership experience as miserable as possible), you probably wouldn't mind that I move to a competitor? 

So, please advise on who is providing a system for playing music that actually works.”

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Best answer by wayneo123 17 May 2024, 13:34

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Userlevel 5
Badge +1

Everyone needs to email them and continue speaking up. Still annoyed, still frustrated, and until a software solution is provided I will continue to be annoyed and frustrated.

Userlevel 5

Okay, I recognize the pattern from 4 years ago - a lot of fuzz, some leaving, some telling that they are leaving. Sonos is not going to do anything at all to meet the complaints, and they are telling back in the boardroom that “it is going to get tough, but we have to do it.”

Well, you can do it with some other people than me.

I have again wasted money on you, and it will never happen again, trust me.

Unfortunately, it leads to me now again to having to buy an alternative, and this time it will be Bluesound. This I must buy from the worst audio reseller in the country, who has p….. me off before, since they are the only reseller. As far as I can see, they are owned by the same people who produce the Bluesound.

Like jumping from one “family” to another in this respectless and seemingly criminal world of music streamers that really should have been about enjoying the beauty of music.

Userlevel 5

I recieved a reply - unfortunately not from the CEO but from the well-meaning support. Here it is, and following is what I responded.

It doesn’t look like anybody in the “community” really cares, so I will leave with this as my final words.

 

Dear Jörgen,

Thank you for reaching out to share your feedback about the new Sonos app.

I understand you rely on being able to play folders from a local library and search your local library via the Sonos app.

I know you are disappointed that these features are not available, and I want to assure you that your feedback has been heard loud and clear. We are committed to providing our users with the best possible experience, and we are working tirelessly to reinstate some important features in the app in the coming weeks.

The ability to play and search music from a local library is planned for next month. You can reference this article for additional details on upcoming updates. In the meantime, a couple workarounds to play local music are to use AirPlay (iOS devices) or via the Sonos web app.

Thank you for your engagement and for being part of the Sonos community.

Best regards,

Sonos Customer Experience

 

Hi,

Don't worry and don't bother - I'm out of here. You cannot continue doing such things to your customers. Your product was interesting once, but now you have spoiled the magic several times - first when you suddenly sneaked in an update that required everybody to log in in order to use their devices, meaning that they couldn't avoid forced updates. Second, when you threatened us to use that mechanism to kill our old devices if we were not buying new ones from you - and now, destroying every usefulness that was there with sending out a miserable excuse for an app that isn't even half finished.

I don't want to use Airplay and keep my Mac running just to hear music. And I don't want any other such trouble. That was why I bought a Sonos device. To avoid all that. Otherwise, I could have streamed music through Airplay to my Denon amplifier or some other device already in the house.

I want convenience, and you have destroyed any dream I may have had of getting that with Sonos.

 

But thanks for the reply.

Userlevel 1

@jorwin makes an excellent point. There isn’t really an overwhelmingly compelling alternative, even if we do decide to ditch our Sonos systems altogether. They’ve got us stuck on the platform and nothing much we can do about it...

Userlevel 2
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So, please advise on who is providing a system for playing music that actually works.”

Just set up ‘Connect Spotify’, it found all devices, including Sonos Amps, & the GUI is pretty good. Plays all of my ‘Library’ from our servers here as well :-):

Alternative to Sonos App :-)

 

Userlevel 2
Badge

I recieved a reply - unfortunately not from the CEO but from the well-meaning support. Here it is, and following is what I responded.

It doesn’t look like anybody in the “community” really cares, so I will leave with this as my final words.

 

Dear Jörgen,

Thank you for reaching out to share your feedback about the new Sonos app.

I understand you rely on being able to play folders from a local library and search your local library via the Sonos app.

I know you are disappointed that these features are not available, and I want to assure you that your feedback has been heard loud and clear. We are committed to providing our users with the best possible experience, and we are working tirelessly to reinstate some important features in the app in the coming weeks.

The ability to play and search music from a local library is planned for next month. You can reference this article for additional details on upcoming updates. In the meantime, a couple workarounds to play local music are to use AirPlay (iOS devices) or via the Sonos web app.

Thank you for your engagement and for being part of the Sonos community.

Best regards,

Sonos Customer Experience

 

Hi,

Don't worry and don't bother - I'm out of here. You cannot continue doing such things to your customers. Your product was interesting once, but now you have spoiled the magic several times - first when you suddenly sneaked in an update that required everybody to log in in order to use their devices, meaning that they couldn't avoid forced updates. Second, when you threatened us to use that mechanism to kill our old devices if we were not buying new ones from you - and now, destroying every usefulness that was there with sending out a miserable excuse for an app that isn't even half finished.

I don't want to use Airplay and keep my Mac running just to hear music. And I don't want any other such trouble. That was why I bought a Sonos device. To avoid all that. Otherwise, I could have streamed music through Airplay to my Denon amplifier or some other device already in the house.

I want convenience, and you have destroyed any dream I may have had of getting that with Sonos.

 

But thanks for the reply.

Sonos Alternative :-)

 

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Spotify Connect isn't a replacement.  It's Spotify only. 

Good grief! 

Bluesound speakers can suffer from STICKY GOO syndrome within 2 years - no fix. 

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

Given that this is not the first time sonos has shown questionable customer service (S1 - S2 precedent), there is no way I am remaining in their eco system.

 

I have therefore started the process of changing my hardware.

A sonos amp (paired with monitor audio silver 100s) has been replaced with a pair KEF LSII speakers (active with streaming built in) which I am very pleased with and were cheaper than the original pairing.

Currently looking at replacing my other amp with a WiiM amp or a Bluesound Powernode.

The 2 ports I have will be replaced with a Bluesound node or WiiM Pro Plus.

All of the devices in question are Roon Ready and I have taken out a Roon subscription (which to be honest is a bit on the pricey side) but it will give me a unified point of entry for any of the hardware I choose. That way I am not tied to any hardware vendor. Should any them act in the reprehensible way that sonos have.

Unfortunately I will still have my arc I use in the bedroom. It’s wall hung and the room has just been decorated otherwise I would have probably replaced it with KEF LS50’s given how good their smaller siblings are.

 

Userlevel 1

Let’s face it, saying we’re going to ditch Sonos sounds like all the people who said they would ditch Twitter. Are we really going to switch to the Threads equivalent of speakers?

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

Be careful what what you write - this topic is being pre-moderated. Big Brother is watching you!!!!

Not sure why this would be necessary. Why would any courageous ethically sound company that supplies fully functioning, feature rich hardware and software be worried about their customers posting information as they will all be happy and content.

It would only be companies that do the opposite. For example, a company that forcibly release an app that they know removes functionality and is bug-ridden. Then arrogantly refuse to roll the app back.

 

Ah, now I understand.

Userlevel 2
Badge

Spotify Connect isn't a replacement.  It's Spotify only. 

Good grief! 

Bluesound speakers can suffer from STICKY GOO syndrome within 2 years - no fix. 

Spare me your “Good grief” arrogance, especially with “superstar” in your handle :-(

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

Let’s face it, saying we’re going to ditch Sonos sounds like all the people who said they would ditch Twitter. Are we really going to switch to the Threads equivalent of speakers?

Yes I am already doing it with great results thanks.

Userlevel 5

Let’s face it, saying we’re going to ditch Sonos sounds like all the people who said they would ditch Twitter. Are we really going to switch to the Threads equivalent of speakers?

I ditched Twitter long ago and am quite happy about it. When recently trying to find back to it, I realized that I see no value in it at all any more, so it will not happen.

About Sonos: I was happy to get my first Sonos device years ago, and mostly because of the app that allowed to operate the system from either a computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone - at my own choice. And that app allowed me to hear my music collection without breaks between the pieces (good for classical music, for instance), and it allowed me to queue seemingly unlimited amounts of music - I just added the full set of albums by an artist to the queue, and the music pieces would be played after each other as requested - not alphabetized, no unwanted breaks, or otherwise ruined.

I had a wish then that it would be possible to play the albums according to their publishing year, but that wasn’t possible. Apart from that, the usability of the system was close to perfect.

I do admit that the sound quality wasn’t optimal, but even that was a sacrifice I could agree with for a start, given the advantages of the user interface.

One day, Sonos decided to kill the computer app - starting by removing some functionality from it. Then they wanted to kill the older devices - litterally - by making a new OS and insisting that they would and could make changes that potentially could cause “some key features” to stop working, or what exactly they called it, on the older devices. And now they killed the mobile app, letting know that the remains of the computer app will also be removed.

Already, the settings (now vanished) for showing DLNA servers in the sources has never worked, and I must admit that there has been problems at times even connecting to my music collection folders, but when something after a lot of work happend to function, it continued to function. Until now.

Those simple needs I had for which the Sonos system was a good solution, they cannot be fulfilled by the sonos system anymore.

Maybe Sonos will manage to repair the new app prototype and put the needed functionality in it, which I doubt, honestly - because if they could do better, they would have done so already, wouldn’t they? And maybe it is possible to simply use a third-part app and forget about Sonos’ user interface, which they have destroyed.

But for how long will it last? When will they again do something stupid that will ruin my day?

Streaming music isn’t rocket science. Every electronic device can do it by the help of simple and cheap electronics components readily available on the market. The trick is to provide for a nice user experience and then stick to it - because users of such equipment want it to just work, and work, and work. We want a stable addition to our world, like the utilities such as cold and hot water in the taps, electricity, internet, etc.

But apparantly this wish for stability and convenience doesn’t match what is taught at business schools, so the manufacturers of audio streaming equipment believe that they must change our world non-stop, ruining our feelings of flow and happiness, and instead disrupt our world regularly. They believe that this is the only way they can make money on us, the consumers.

If there is nothing else left in my relation to Sonos than being a consumer to be disrupted all the time, then I am not interested. Then we must break up.

Unfortunately, despite this being a very big market with a huge potential for manufacturers, none of the existing ones seem to care about creating that daily convenience many of us want. So the main problem by not using Sonos is - what then? If I still want to listen to music and be free of the need to put a record, a CD, or some other medium into a player every hour, then I need a streaming approach. I just have to find something that fulfills my needs - even if I must end up making a product myself.

For now, I can listen to playlists created in the macOS app and played from there on the Sonos Port with a good result. The sound quality of Sonos’ DAC is really good, and the further processing in the Denon AV amplifier and the Canton loudspeakers makes it a pleasant experience to listen to. At this moment, Robert Reed’s “Sanctuary” series of albums smoothes the air around me - and after some hours it will be some other artist and their full collection, not interrupted by adds or mixed with unwanted music as from the online streaming services.

It works for now, as long as Sonos hasn’t yet killed the macOS app, which they say that they will. After that, their hardware will be close to useless to me, as I cannot use it for what I want.

So I am leaving. Later today, the postman will bring me a Bluesound player, and I will just have to hope that it will work well for my needs. That system is too expensive, in my opinion, but if it works, I will use it. If not, I must again go hunting for something that does - or make it myself, as mentioned.

Userlevel 5

Be careful what what you write - this topic is being pre-moderated. Big Brother is watching you!!!!

Not sure why this would be necessary. Why would any courageous ethically sound company that supplies fully functioning, feature rich hardware and software be worried about their customers posting information as they will all be happy and content.

It would only be companies that do the opposite. For example, a company that forcibly release an app that they know removes functionality and is bug-ridden. Then arrogantly refuse to roll the app back.

 

Ah, now I understand.

Yes, they are watching, I hope - but will they learn from what they see? I doubt.

Userlevel 7
Badge +8

Let’s face it, saying we’re going to ditch Sonos sounds like all the people who said they would ditch Twitter. Are we really going to switch to the Threads equivalent of speakers?

Yes I am already doing it with great results thanks.

It will happen over time, step one will be that users don’t upgrade or add new speakers then in a few years time they will replace them. 

Userlevel 6
Badge +3

Jorwin,

 

thank you!! I just signed uo Roon. Looks like 14 days free trial and then a discount if you buy a year. I’m pretty sure Sonos is messing with the desktop app that has not been updated so I needed to do something. (I leave music on for my dog when I’m out, calms him down. I noticed the last 2 times that the Sonos had turned off pretty quick despite what I loaded up. CRAPPY! that hadn’t happened in a long time.) After I got Roon rolling (Macbook pro as the server and iphone app too.) I ordered a pair of same Kef’s as you from Crutchfield. Crutchfield gives you 60 days to try them out. 

I’m with you 100%, I am out fo the Sonos ecosystem for good. Any body buying Sonos speakers or headphones needs their head examined. 

 

Thanks for ideas!!

Userlevel 5

Given that this is not the first time sonos has shown questionable customer service (S1 - S2 precedent), there is no way I am remaining in their eco system.

 

I have therefore started the process of changing my hardware.

A sonos amp (paired with monitor audio silver 100s) has been replaced with a pair KEF LSII speakers (active with streaming built in) which I am very pleased with and were cheaper than the original pairing.

Currently looking at replacing my other amp with a WiiM amp or a Bluesound Powernode.

The 2 ports I have will be replaced with a Bluesound node or WiiM Pro Plus.

All of the devices in question are Roon Ready and I have taken out a Roon subscription (which to be honest is a bit on the pricey side) but it will give me a unified point of entry for any of the hardware I choose. That way I am not tied to any hardware vendor. Should any them act in the reprehensible way that sonos have.

Unfortunately I will still have my arc I use in the bedroom. It’s wall hung and the room has just been decorated otherwise I would have probably replaced it with KEF LS50’s given how good their smaller siblings are.

 

Thanks for very useful input! I didn’t know the WiiM products, but they seem to be more affordable than most other solutions (half price of Bluesound node, it seems). And if several brands can be mixed in one solution by the help of Roon, this could be a good way forward. Maybe even the Sonos hardware can be mixed in, so that it will not be wasted?

I will have a look at KEF too, which is another brand I hardly know of. 

My experience since when I was annoyed with Sonos for being reckless with my working hardware in 2020:

Preconditions are Sonos kit with line in jacks, and no need for local music files to be played:

Wire Echo units to the line in jacks of Sonos units. If you can find Echo Show units with line out jacks, even better. Then you even get album art.

A one time effort to configure the Sonos line in jacks to autoplay, via the Sonos app.

Play Spotify via either Alexa voice command or by casting from the Spotify native app to Echo units, either singly or grouped via Alexa.

Works brilliantly, with no need for any Sonos app. In my case, I use the S1 app for the rare times I want to play local files on my NAS.

This is the cheapest alternative since it does not involve junking Sonos kit that is in good working condition.

Userlevel 5

Jorwin,

 

thank you!! I just signed uo Roon. Looks like 14 days free trial and then a discount if you buy a year. I’m pretty sure Sonos is messing with the desktop app that has not been updated so I needed to do something. (I leave music on for my dog when I’m out, calms him down. I noticed the last 2 times that the Sonos had turned off pretty quick despite what I loaded up. CRAPPY! that hadn’t happened in a long time.) After I got Roon rolling (Macbook pro as the server and iphone app too.) I ordered a pair of same Kef’s as you from Crutchfield. Crutchfield gives you 60 days to try them out. 

I’m with you 100%, I am out fo the Sonos ecosystem for good. Any body buying Sonos speakers or headphones needs their head examined. 

 

Thanks for ideas!!

I have noticed too that tunes are often being cut off in the end, stepping to the next tune in the queue prematurily. That is not new, howver, as I have had this on my “do not like” list for Sonos almost always. But at times, it has worked better. Also, this happens with Heos as well, and possibly with MusicCast, even though I am beginning to mix up the problems with the different systems I have tried.

Sonos has been selling a dream, so I will not say that it has been wrong to buy their products, but their are obviously keen on taking that dream away from their customers. That leaves some of us with an empty feeling that cannot be replaced with another promise of things getting better after they just made them worse. It is, as a dramatic parallel, like the man beating his wife and then giving her flowers. Well, being that wife, would you prefer not getting beaten or not getting the flowers?

Hopefully, something will happen that changes things to the better. Probably the current management has a different way of seing things than I have, so perhaps, if Sonos will be taken over by another company or through some other mechanism will have a new management instated, there could be hope.

Until then, we just have to accept that they are not dreaming our dream with us.

Userlevel 5

My experience since when I was annoyed with Sonos for being reckless with my working hardware in 2020:

Preconditions are Sonos kit with line in jacks, and no need for local music files to be played:

Wire Echo units to the line in jacks of Sonos units. If you can find Echo Show units with line out jacks, even better. Then you even get album art.

A one time effort to configure the Sonos line in jacks to autoplay, via the Sonos app.

Play Spotify via either Alexa voice command or by casting from the Spotify native app to Echo units, either singly or grouped via Alexa.

Works brilliantly, with no need for any Sonos app. In my case, I use the S1 app for the rare times I want to play local files on my NAS.

This is the cheapest alternative since it does not involve junking Sonos kit that is in good working condition.

It sounds like you have found a good way forward. You are making the best of what you have, altering the setup as needed for making it work perfectly for you. Congratulations! 

My situation is different - almost solely wanting to listen to music from my own NAS - but I will try to learn from you and make use of the Sonos devices as I can.

Userlevel 5

 

Unfortunately I will still have my arc I use in the bedroom. It’s wall hung and the room has just been decorated otherwise I would have probably replaced it with KEF LS50’s given how good their smaller siblings are.

 

I have had a look at Roon - if you use this, shouldn’t you be able to utilize the Sonos Arc through Airplay?

I just installed my new Bluesound node, btw., and while I’m waiting for it to finish indexing my music collection (in a process very similar to the one Sonos is using, except that it worked at first attempt), I signed up for Tidal and I am impressed with the high sound quality coming out of that - definitely as good as my own music played on the Sonos Port. And I can use the mobile app for handling the device, which is making life easier. I hope that my own FLAC files will be able to play equally well on this new thing.

Next step will be to see how I can arrange for a Roon server, and then I expect that both the Sonos Port and the Yamaha MusicCast pre-amplifier, and perhaps alse the two Denon ampllifiers with Heos can, literally, come into play again, by the help of Airplay. Not sure, though, if the Sonos S1 devices can work this way?

The step into using Roon does look a bit expensive, though, as I may need to buy a new and more powerful NAS or some other computer for the purpose, but if it means that my collection of streaming devices will then not be wasted, it certainly makes sense. On top of that steep entry cost, I don’t find the Roon subscription price too high. 12 - 14 USD/month seems doable if this can help making the best use of the existing hardware.

Music library now indexed, and I can see that it is, unfortunately, handled the same way as in the new Sonos Web App: When adding all albums by an artist to the queue, the tunes are added alphabetically. I wonder, who ever wants that? I always want the tunes in the order they appear on the albums, and I definitely don’t want all versions of the same tune played right after each other (when a tune appears on several albums.)

Well, luckily I can just add the albums one at a time, but that was actually a big advantage with the old Sonos app - most alternative apps and competitors didn’t understand that this was a topic - because they never asked their users, I suppose. Like Sonos is now removing the feature, because they do not care what their users want.

I wonder how Roon works?

Otherwise, the quality is good and the functionality of the macOS app is fairly good (even if it is not as good as the old Sonos app, but those days seem to be gone.)

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

@jorwin,

Yes you can use Roon to control and play music via airplay. However is not able to control deeper Sonos functions for example sleep timers etc - mind you the sonos app is utterly incapable of doing that also.

The stupid thing is that Roon currently provides better functionality than the Sonos 1st party app. 
This just highlights how appalling this app launch has been.

but I will try to learn from you and make use of the Sonos devices as I can.

You/others would be wise to do the latter because Sonos audio hardware is excellent. Natural sounding, well built for looks and reliability. My 12 units have worked flawlessly since 2011 - from 2020, using S1.

I refused to move to S2, and will stick with S1 till the hardware dies a natural death, because as I said, the hardware lacks for nothing when it works without glitches, as it does now under S1.

I also see reports that Sonos will soon reopen the downgrade to S1 path, and it might be worth waiting for that before throwing away Sonos hardware. Using S1, local NAS play should be back to how it has been since the time Sonos came to market.

Userlevel 6
Badge +4

@Kumar 

The majority of my rooms use an amp/port to stream the music and are paired with other equipment.

The only room currently using sonos speakers is the master bedroom.

These will stay, more for convenience (ie not having to redecorate if I remove the arc from the wall) than anything else.

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

@jorwin,

Yes you can use Roon to control and play music via airplay. However is not able to control deeper Sonos functions for example sleep timers etc - mind you the sonos app is utterly incapable of doing that also.

The stupid thing is that Roon currently provides better functionality than the Sonos 1st party app. 
This just highlights how appalling this app launch has been.

Roon costs euro 180 per year.  There are free open source solutions which can liberate your hardware investments from Big Corporates 😀😁😎

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