Obstructive Control - Time for a re-think?

  • 10 September 2019
  • 7 replies
  • 171 views

Badge +1
I have increasing scepticism about the extent to which the current control mechanisms are getting in the way of using my Sonos (and, to be fair, other devices around the home). If I break down the basics of listening to music:

  1. Choose some music to play... I want this to be screen based with sufficient screen estate to see an array of choices. Mobile phone and tablet is OK but the Google Nest Hub as a primary interface better still. Voice control is limiting - I can never remember what playlists are called...
  2. In-play control (volume, start, stop, skip, etc)... I want this to be hardware based - a simple remote control with actual buttons and knob or slider for volume. Affordable to have a few around the house so one is always at hand, perhaps with cradles so they can be wall mounted but removable too. On this count voice control is too unpredictable and, again, requires remembering, for example, "stop" instead of "off" - the latter does not work... Mobile devices are a pain... FInd device, unlock it, open app, wait for it to "connect" and remember where it was at... by which time I'm over it.
It's all a bit not fit-for-purpose, an exercise in form over function, and irritating too... I do value voice and mobile app based control but not exclusively.

How about a return to that pioneering spirit, Sonos? A return to straightforward user interfaces, best of both worlds, and away from solutions looking for problems?

7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21
For part of the answers you're looking for (#2), their are 3rd party remote controls available.

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/accessories/remote-controls

#1 is more difficult. I believe you can setup android tablets to default open the Sono app for ease of use. There is also things like Brilliant Control that folks have talked about in these forums before.

If you're wanting Sonos to come up with their own controller tablet, similar to the CR100 or CR200 they used to have...I think those days are long gone and won't be returning until there's a big demand and culture shift. People just don't want to pay for a dedicated controller when they can get one for free in their phone/tablet, or just use their voice.
Badge +1
Thank you. Some interesting options and do go some way to addressing my issues. I think I may just need to get my Sonos 5 down from on top of the wall cupboards in the kitchen and put it on the side. At least that way I can use the buttons on the device itself.
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
Telling isn't it, Sonos used to the innovator of design simplicity. People in 2006 said it had perfected the Apple-simple design interface. Boy if you ever want a business case in what goes wrong when the Peter Principle (google it) gets mixed up with woke millennials, a terrible new CEO, a moving of HQ from Santa Barbara, the need to go public on Wall St, and abandonment of useful hardware controllers, well your business school would be studying Sonos.

Said TheMisssing Elf: "How about a return to that pioneering spirit, Sonos? A return to straightforward user interfaces, best of both worlds, and away from solutions looking for problems?"
Wow, man, that ship sailed a LONG time ago. Sonos is now a combination between rudderless, trying to spam your inbox with new hardware, commotion as the new UX/UI principle, and meeting Wall Street's numbers so insiders can sell shares. Why do you think Heos and other systems popped up while 3rd parties try to create interfaces.

Oh, and as long as you are talking about buttons TheMissingElf, remember when Sonos forced the hardware button to now be play/pause versus Mute. Even though it would have been too easy to offer a setting for people like you and me to have it go back to Mute or Play/Pause, nope, you do what the mothership says or get the F out b/c we have Ikea people to replace you.

Now this post will be likely called off-topic and spam and likely deleted soon, but until that happens, and speaking as a former dealer who used to move pallets of Sonos product, it's my opinion that Sonos keeps digging the whole they are standing in. Read through the Release Notes in reverse chronological order and it seems like the software is getting better. Read through it in chronological order and you can see the devolution of a once great and simple system that's been chewed up and spit out in the mold of Facebook, Snap, Silicon Valley VC. Next think you know, they will partner with Uber so you can buy a Sonos speaker for 10% off during your next Uber ride. And if you Instagram yourself riding in that Uber holding your new Sonos product, they will give you 3 months of Pandora free after signing up for a 12 month commitment. Pass.
Good grief. 🙄
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Now this post will be likely called off-topic and spam and likely deleted soon, but until that happens, and speaking as a former dealer who used to move pallets of Sonos product, it's my opinion that Sonos keeps digging the whole they are standing in.

It's slightly off-topic, but probably not that big of a deal. Not spam, not trying to sell anything. Mods may clean up the language a bit, but there are tons of posts on here with complaints about Sonos, so hard to see this one getting removed. if you were to attack another poster, then your post would be deleted.
Basic controls can be had via a remote...

https://iportproducts.com/xpress/#xpress-intro
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Just for the hobbyists, it's relatively simple to add IR remote control capabilities to Sonos. For example, there's some Python code at [1] that works with a FLIRC USB dongle.

[1] https://github.com/pwt/SonosKeyController

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