Replacement CR100?

  • 31 January 2018
  • 81 replies
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Userlevel 7
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What's best to replace the CR100 ?

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81 replies

Userlevel 1
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How about a CR100.

Fire tablets are fine but you still need to open it up, open app, then do what you need to do. They're also not particularly waterproof (I use my CR100 in the bathroom). As for the £100 / $100 that's for Sonos stores only so no good towards a new tablet of any kind.

The xPress is instant but very limited, no easy zone selection / source selection etc etc.

I'm struggling with this and not sure why Sonos couldn't just leave it as unsupported. Perfectly happy to acknowledge no more updates, not so happy about having it cut off altogether.
Folks, can we please keep the anger and bickering to the "Save the CR100" thread? People have asked for replacement devices and others are just trying to help them. The suggestions are just that, suggestions (well, except for the obligatory Squeezebox pimping). You don't need to use what is suggested, but someone else just may find it useful. No need to taint this thread with negativity, there is plenty of that going around.
Userlevel 6
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One thing I really miss on the iOS Controller is that not even in "kiosk mode" (guidede access) I can make it wake up at pick up like the CR100 and CR200 can do. Of course it's not the end of the world but it's ano of those little details that I believe contribute to the love of the dedicated Sonos controllers.

Is wake up on pick up available in any way on Android Tablets?
I don't believe I can do the trick in any way with iOS at least.
Userlevel 7
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But aren’t they going to give you $100 for each of them - net free?
There's no way I'm buying anything else from this disreputable company, I'm already getting stick from the wife for the thousands I've already spent over the years on their gear, only to find around a grand of that is due to go down the toilet next month!

You and me both, only as my wife has reminded me, with 7 CR100s and 7 Cradles, we will be down about £2,500 as soon as the next OS update installs on our system. Of course we will hold off as long as we can but who knows how long we will be able to sustain this approach.
Userlevel 7
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We all know that there are ways & means of implementing a CR100-a-like.... I'm not going to get into the whole "why should I have to thing" - I'll save that for the "Save the CR100" thread... This thread is primarily to try to discover the options that are available to achieve the closest CR100-a-like possible... To wit, I thought I'd list out the features (in no particular order of importance) that make the CR100 what it is, and so uniquely useful to ME - please feel free to add other features as you see fit.

- Always available, always charged. possibly the most important thing... OK, wall mounts are available for various tablets...
- Always connected & focused - Pick up the CR100 and its ready to use, instantly to control the speaker..
- Screen - for at-a-glance confirmation of the source, song title etc.
- water "proof" - or at least as water resistant as the CR100 is, as all of mine are in wet rooms.
- screen saver - put a CR100 down, it goes dark in a few seconds, pick it up & it's ready to go again - don't want the screen on all night wasting juice, but also don't want to have to do too much to activate it again. - in my case the extremely sensitive tilt sensor inside the CR100 cannot be beat - it reacts to the vibration of the bathroom door closing so it's like magic!
- pick-up-able - a tablet in a permanent flat-against-the-wall mount is restrictive - I like to pick up the CR100 & hold it up to my eyes, or walk around a bit with it.
- NO WIRES!! - all my CR100's are wall mounted in the official cradle. All wires are inside the walls & completely hidden
- Physical, tactile buttons... - possibly the hardest to replicate? and possibly the one I *could* most easily give up, - that said however, in my experience of using an iPad in the bath, the touchscreen becomes decidly "flaky" when wet, where the CR100 is always 100% rock solid. I don't currently have touch control in my wetrooms, so I don't miss it, and won't say that it's an important requirement for me..

I'm beginning to wonder if there's not a Raspberry Pi project I could contrive, that could be mounted inside the stripped out case of a CR100, to kind of rebuild a replica CR100 with modern innards... - I'm going to start to investigate what might be possible there... probably can't connect up the scroll wheel, but perhaps the press buttons could be connected to GPIO pins...
I found my work-around. I pulled out an old Squeezebox V3 and found it sits very neatly on top of a Sonos Connect Amp. This gives me a nice "always ready" hard button remote that can access my local music library. Kind of a waste to use the Sonos component only as a basic auto-on amplifier but at least this setup will not be made non-functional by some random update any time soon.
Userlevel 4
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Looking for something more integrated, I stumbled upon this:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XP5H63T/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=I2D00J2NX01X2B&colid=1LVGRHHQL7P4H&psc=0

I'm sure this thing is real slow, but might be good enough to run the win app.

But this led me to think... why mess with Sonos then? The only advantage I saw with Sonos is that, with its closed system, you have something rock solid, which will always work the same, be elegant, well integrated etc... Now that this is gone, why not ditch Sonos entirely, and connect a small, good quality integrated USB DAC & amp? I don't have speakers, only players, so this won't make much difference, and I can play with different sw players.

Not trying to be a smart a$s, trying to figure out the pro's and con's... Any comments?
Userlevel 7
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That might be a good option for me, shame the $100 voucher is only good at Sonos and it sounds like you only get one per system, not one per CR-100.
Userlevel 6
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But if the CR100 can become useless from one update to another how do I know these remote controls won't?

Also, if these remotes work. Why can't the CR100 keep on working? Perhaps with some reduced funcionality...
Userlevel 6
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But if the CR100 can become useless from one update to another how do I know these remote controls won't?

Also, if these remotes work. Why can't the CR100 keep on working? Perhaps with some reduced funcionality...


You don't. In fact you should go forward assuming that any control option is subject to being discontinued at some point. That is why most replacement suggestions involve cheap "disposable" tablets that you won't mind replacing every couple of years.


That's too bad. If Sonos and others making similar proucts could come up with a proper protocol for remotes and their "normal" remote actions they would open up for a market of better designed remotes. Has there been such an initiative? Never heard of it.

It's probably not that hard. If you look at the musical instrument industry the vendors use a couple of protocols they have agreed upon and there is an immense amount of highly advanced hardware controls available nowdays. And most of them are not proprietary, instead they are open to control a lot of various softwares and hardwares. And the capabilites of these controllers are way more advanced than what's needed for stuff like Sonos.

Here's a small fraction of hardware controllers for musical equipment:
https://www.thomann.de/gb/daw_controllers.html

They all make money. Everyone is happy. All that's needed is a well designed protocol that everyone can use. It's not rocket science.
Userlevel 3
But aren’t they going to give you $100 for each of them - net free?
No - definitely not, it's one voucher only for £100 towards another product ... that you hope won't be bricked at some time in the future on a whim by Sonos.
There's no way I'm buying anything else from this disreputable company, I'm already getting stick from the wife for the thousands I've already spent over the years on their gear, only to find around a grand of that is due to go down the toilet next month!
Userlevel 1
While extremely disappointed with the move by Sonos to render my 5 CR100s useless (and possibly do the same thing to the 5 CR200s we have), I was reading the threads for good alternatives. One person suggested that getting an amazon fire tablet 7" which you could buy for $49 and using it as a dedicated controller would be a good thing to do as an option. A conversation with a Sonos representative confirmed that would be a good option but he mentioned that while Amazon using the android platform they make the system an amazon system (I may not be using the correct technical term) so that it probably will become obsolete sooner than if we purchased a not so new android cell phone (above a certain version) and that would continue to update for a while and that way the android cell phone could be used as a dedicated sonos controller. In addition, he mentioned that every time you turn on the amazon fire tablet that there will be an amazon advertisement. If anyone out there confirms all this to be true, any recommendations on some inexpensive android phones (brand, model or version) that could be purchased to use as dedicated sonos controllers that would have some extended life and use without breaking the bank. Thanks much.
You can turn off the advertising by paying extra (I think it is $15) and some even report a little nagging to Amazon support gets it turned off for free. As for the Amazon version being more prone to being made obsolete, I've not experienced it. Unlike iOS, Android based systems have a much longer life and are not forced into obsolescence. Looking at the release notes, only the first and second generation Fire tablets from 2011 and 2012 are not compatible with the Sonos app. That's 6 years, a lifetime in the age of forced obsolescence, and fully in line with obsolescence of the standard Android 4.2, also released in 2012.
Userlevel 7
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Not wall mountable, not splash-proof, no hard buttons and that is just for starters! :P


Do I REALLY need to point out all the splash proof cases and wall mounts available for tablets? Besides, a Sonos One doesn’t need to be touched at all, so it’s the perfect bathroom and kitchen solution, without the need for buttons. This thread is about replacing the CR100, not whining about its demise.

https://www.armor-x.com/case/google-nexus/nexus-pad.html?dir=asc&order=news_from_date
Whoa!!! where did "whining" come in?? Not to mention that I have said nothing about the demise of CR100 (whining or otherwise) here.

I do however take issue with your statement that a Nexus tablet "would be far superior to the CR100", it might be better in some respects but not far superior overall (YMMV!).

I also disagreed with Smilja's view that the limited functionality of the CR100 since 2009 meant that a device offering full control (such as managing your music library, create a stereo pair, rename a room etc.) was therefore far superior. As we have a long standing and stable set-up we have no need to any of these things. So I agreed to differ with Smilja on this, as I understand their view, and it will always different be from mine.

Now back to your question "Do I REALLY need to point out ..." - No you do not.

Nor do I need to list out the functions any replacement for the CR100 should have, as you are well aware of them, even if you try and underplay/belittle them.

So far the NEEO looks the best CR100 replacement if/when it allows Zone grouping/up-grouping and alarm setting. The lack of wall mountablitiy and splash-proofing are a shame but programmable hard buttons looks to be a bonus.
Userlevel 7
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How about old iPhones without service? I think a v4 will run the controller. Glue it to the wall. $40 on fleabay.

My kids will have exploding brains that an iPhone is only a Sonos controller.
I like the idea of blowing the kids minds, but I think this solution would only have a limited lifespan, from the "Save the CR100" thread:-

"Apparently after July, apple app store will only work with iOS 11.3, so my iphone5 Sonos controller stuck on 10.3 will follow the CR100s to the grave, unless Sonos brings back partial controllers."

Also there is the "little issue" that none of the current App based controllers give the functionality of the CR100. 😉
Amazon Fire tablets are cheap, and can pin the app to the screen making it instantly available. Buy a stand and enable the "constant on while being charged" feature in the Developers Options screen (Google it) and it's like having a custom controller.

https://www.amazon.com/All-New-Amazon-Fire-7-Tablet/dp/B01GEW27DA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517429669&sr=8-1&keywords=fire+tablet

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-IPM-TAB1-AMZ-Adjustable-Tablet-Stand/dp/B006ZT4VA0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1517429771&sr=8-3&keywords=tablet+stand

There. Both for $40 less than the compensation you get for the CR100, before you even count the fact you get an actual tablet. And those stands are awesomely simple and cool. I own 3.
As I said, you can pin the app so only it is available, put it on a stand with the charger plugged in, set to not sleep while charging via Developers Option screen, and it is instantly on for use with the Sonos app. No opening, no choosing the app, just like a dedicated controller.

I'm not saying it is perfect. The OP asked for the best option. I gave them one. That is the purpose of this thread. The Save the CR100 thread is another thing entirely, so let's not let that argument spill over into here.
Don't know where it is on Fire tablets, but on Android it is under Settings, Security, Other Security Settings. Set Pin Windows to On. Press again to choose to require the screen unlock to unpin. Then you run the app you want to pin, choose the Overview screen (menu button to the left of home) and there is a pin on the lower left of the app. Press the pin.
Userlevel 7
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A good alternative, which can be configured to control a specific zone. https://iportproducts.com/xpress/#xpress-intro

Yes, I've seen that one... kinda nice, but has a few issues.. - firstly it has no screen... I do use the screen on one of my CR100's for at-a-glance confirmation that SWMBO hasn't changed the input selection away from *MY* preferred radio station just as as I'm walking into the shower...
Secondly... $99 each??? - I have 3 CR100's that are going to brick... - I use all 3 of them in wet rooms, so I definitely need a replacement for all 3 of them... - that's $300 right there (and still no screen)...
Userlevel 7
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But aren’t they going to give you $100 for each of them - net free?
Another alternative is $39 Echo Dots, and soon, Google Minis. I use voice at least 80% of the time now to control Sonos. Nothing is more natural.
Userlevel 7
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But aren’t they going to give you $100 for each of them - net free?
No, best I can make out, it's £100 per customer, regardless of whether you have 1 or 8 of them... I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I'm fairly sure I'm not...
Userlevel 1
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I'm not saying it is perfect. The OP asked for the best option. I gave them one. That is the purpose of this thread. The Save the CR100 thread is another thing entirely, so let's not let that argument spill over into here.

Good point, I stand correctly corrected.

Im borrowing a CR200 this weekend to check it out, never wanted one before but needs must. No doubt second hand prices will now shoot up and there is a very real risk it may also become 'unsupported' very soon.
Userlevel 7
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Another option is a prepaid phone, $20-$40. Most can bypass the carrier setup using key combos at boot up. Then install the Sonos app, pin it, and set it in a cheap charging cradle (I’ve seen Android phone charging stands for as little as $1 at Dollar Tree, though they’re junk).

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/simple-mobile-zte-majesty-pro-4g-lte-with-8gb-memory-prepaid-cell-phone-black/5859401.p?skuId=5859401


aarrgghh... that's kinda getting to the point (or one of them at least) of why many of us want to keep what we have up & running now... - I don't know about you, or anyone else, I speak only for myself... but I like to keep a clean & tidy house that looks smart & stylish. I have over the years, gone to great trouble & expense to fit nice things, and to fit them properly. All my controllers are "properly" wall mounted with all cables flushed away inside the walls... I also happen to think that the CR100's, in their cradle, still, after all these years, look smart & stylish - other's taste may differ, that's fine, that's a subjective preference..
The LAST thing I want is to have to rip holes in my carefully decorated walls and mount some cheap plastic monstrosity, (or even some expensive plastic monstrosity for that matter), that ends up looking like it was cobbled together out of parts from Carphone Warehouse by a chap called Heath Robinson...
Userlevel 7
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Another option is a prepaid phone, $20-$40. Most can bypass the carrier setup using key combos at boot up. Then install the Sonos app, pin it, and set it in a cheap charging cradle (I’ve seen Android phone charging stands for as little as $1 at Dollar Tree, though they’re junk).

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/simple-mobile-zte-majesty-pro-4g-lte-with-8gb-memory-prepaid-cell-phone-black/5859401.p?skuId=5859401


aarrgghh... that's kinda getting to the point (or one of them at least) of why many of us want to keep what we have up & running now... - I don't know about you, or anyone else, I speak only for myself... but I like to keep a clean & tidy house that looks smart & stylish. I have over the years, gone to great trouble & expense to fit nice things, and to fit them properly. All my controllers are "properly" wall mounted with all cables flushed away inside the walls... I also happen to think that the CR100's, in their cradle, still, after all these years, look smart & stylish - other's taste may differ, that's fine, that's a subjective preference..
The LAST thing I want is to have to rip holes in my carefully decorated walls and mount some cheap plastic monstrosity, (or even some expensive plastic monstrosity for that matter), that ends up looking like it was cobbled together out of parts from Carphone Warehouse by a chap called Heath Robinson...
Well, Chicks, I hope you won't make the mistake of trying to help again.


Not intended to come over as ungrateful, - although to be fair, Chicks has trolled quite a few posts over on the other thread, so I'm inclined to be a tad less charitable to him/her in particular. I apologise right here & now if anyone thinks my response wasn't up to my usual standards. That said, the point is valid, aesthetics are important, Sonos acknowledge that in their design philosophy. So I'll go right ahead and add aesthetics to the list of important criteria I set out about a dozen posts up...

- Must look "good" (I know that's subjective, but I think most of us could agree that a turd is still a turd no matter how much you polish it). In my mind looking good means looking like a commercially manufactured solution that fits together properly, and looks like it was "designed" rather than "assembled".

Fair enough?