A Special Use Controller for Sonos

  • 21 January 2022
  • 8 replies
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Userlevel 7

Some have been asking for another hardware based dedicated Sonos Controller; although Sonos appears not inclined to re-introduce such a device. As it would happen I was watching a YouTube video by Peter Pee wherein he reviewed two products by IKEA. They are the: 

  1. TRADFRI Hub which is a wireless hub that connects to your home Wi-Fi and acts much in the same manner as a Philips Hue Bridge for smart lights
  2. SYMFONISK Music Controller that pairs with the TRADFRI Hub and works with Sonos for play/pause/forward/back/volume control for Sonos speaker(s).

The two devices are sold separately or as a bundle. The bundled cost is $51.98 USD. Selling the TRADFRI Hub separately makes sense as it can be paired with other IKEA controllers with different use.

There is an app for iOS or Android devices used for setup of the TRADFRI Hub and pairing of the SYMFONISK Controller. All setup components come with the TRADFRI Hub which includes Ethernet cable, USB-A to USB micro cable for power transmission and a 2 prong USB-A power wart. The SYMFONISK Music Controller comes in two pieces _base and controller. The base can be mounted to a surface either with screws or supplied adhesive. The controller attaches to the base via magnet.

Needless to say I purchased the bundle to try out with my Sonos. IMO you should have a special use for the gadgets. In my scenario I have a set of tower speakers connected to a Sonos Amp in a den area off my kitchen. It is an open concept but the kitchen is 4 feet above the den area.

I like to have music when I’m cooking. Often times I find that I may have left my iPhone in another room.  So it’s either go get the phone or walk down the steps to adjust the volume (or other functions). Granted I can ask Alexa to lower/raise the volume but the adjustments aren’t as precise as I would like.

Upon setting up the TRADFRI Hub and SYMFONISK Music Controller I was able to precisely adjust the volume, pause or move forward/backward between tracks. There is a slight delay between commands which can throw off the volume adjustment as too high or low. However, after a bit of practice I got the hang of it and now I’m a precision adjustment guru :joy:

IMO the TRADFRI Hub and SYMFONISK Music Controller are worth considering if you think you have a legitimate use scenario. Here are links you may find useful (please excuse any advertisements that may appear)

Peter Pee YouTube Video

TRADFRI / SYMFONISK bundle

Edit: I find this setup for music adjustments more convenient than a Harmony Universal remote (for example) as no-line of sight is required for the Amp. Needles to say it’s less expensive!:wink:

 

 


8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

Interesting.  I joined the Flic Twist Kickstarter campaign which is a similar device.  It should arrive in June, and I’ll see how it compares.

 

I had the nuimo, which was great but had issues with the software on later updates and the support from Scenic was awful. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +20

One question @AjTrek1 

When you go to change the volume does it respect the Volume the Sonos speaker is currently set.

I ask this because Nuimo had an irritating feature…. If you set the volume to loud on the Nuimo and then at the speaker, or through the Sonos App, you lowered the volume, the next time you adjusted the volume with the Nuimo it would start at the last loudness the Nuimo had ben set to!! 

Massively annoying and meant approach the Nuimo with caution when you could not remember the last volume you set it at.

 

Userlevel 6
Badge +14

I installed this earlier last year.  It works but with the delay stutter mentioned above.  Setup is / was a bit fiddly (and involves the use of a screwdriver on the puck!).  The hub is also quite chunky. 

Userlevel 7

@bockersjv 

Short answer…no it doesn’t. That would be a deal breaker for me.

As the iPort xPress WiFi keypads now appear to be discontinued, and have variable connection lag, and require 2.4GHz, and are a pain to reconfigure via an iOS (only) app, and, and…

 

I tried a single Symfonisk Controller (plus Tradfri hub), and very quickly went on to acquire 4 more, and a handful of shortcut buttons. (Oh, and 3 Zigbee repeaters and a few Tradfri lamps and sockets...)

 

The controllers work very well. They operate on group volume. If the target player isn’t the group controller they still work but can sometimes be slightly sluggish.

As a tip, start rotating the volume slowly to allow the little gizmo to wake and connect, otherwise you can get into a bit of hysteresis thrash between action and result. 

 

Check out the shortcut buttons too. They trigger scenes, which in turn can create groups and play items from Sonos Playlists or Favorites.

There is also the Lutron Audio Pico Remote, which is more expensive at around $40.  And you’ll need the hub, which is around $100 with a light switch included.   Actually, I believe you can use any remote to control Sonos, including the one that comes with the starter kit.

I actually forgot that I had this remote and might pull it out and give it a try.  I do use the hub to setup automation for lights and Sonos, and it’s worked very well.  Never had an issues.

ikea is clearly a cheaper option though, and the way to go since it works well.  ikea also has the stronger relationship with Sonos, so it’s likely the integration will continue for much longer.  The downside I see to this (as is the case with lutron) is that it’s yet another hub to have to deal with .  Not such a big deal if you’re using ikea for other areas of automation and control, but kind of annoying otherwise.

 

The Tradfri hub is hardly an issue. Mine sits out of the way in my office, wired into the same infrastructure as other kit. I’m just mindful to keep it 50cm or more from any other 2.4GHz components. 

Repeaters extend the Zigbee mesh into the darker recesses of the house. The devices obviously compute routes automatically, though after initial placement it can take a couple of actions before they sort themselves out.

The Tradfri hub is hardly an issue. Mine sits out of the way in my office, wired into same infrastructure as other kit. I’m just mindful to keep it 50cm or more from any other 2.4GHz components. 

Repeaters extend the Zigbee mesh into the darker recesses of the house. The devices obviously compute routes automatically, though after initial placement it can take a couple of actions before they sort themselves out.

 

It’s not the hardware (not so much), but another system to setup, app to control, and potentially have to integrate with other systems in the home.  It’s not the end of the world, but annoying.  As it stands right now, I have around 20 different apps needed for various smart devices around the house.  Some of them are only needed for initial setup, some for specific features I can control by voice or another app.  This is something I know Matter is supposed to help resolve, but it won’t cover a remote like this, at least not for a while.

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