Google Home Max vs Sonos 5


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Google has announced their Home Max speaker. That thing looks like a direct copy of the PLAY:5. No one knows how it compares sound-wise. We'll see when it launches next year.

My worry is: Google will take a huge chunk of music-centric customers to the Google eco-system and monopolizing yet another home product area. For those looking to switch, please share your opinion. It's a BATTLE for sure!

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I'm not convinced how much of a battle it really will be, since it's unlikely that Google will support all of the sources of music beyond Google Music. So people who are Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc, will probably be unmoved.
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As Bruce mentioned this is why Sonos has to go the "agnostic" route of supporting multiple platforms. If Apple, Amazon, and Google insist on their walled gardens (and history suggests they will) then being able to support them all is a decided advantage.
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Airgetlam wrote:

I'm not convinced how much of a battle it really will be, since it's unlikely that Google will support all of the sources of music beyond Google Music. So people who are Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc, will probably be unmoved.



I am pretty I heard Google mentioned the support of Spotify Free and Spotify Premium as well as other music subscription services in the Keynotes.
Airgetlam wrote:

I'm not convinced how much of a battle it really will be, since it's unlikely that Google will support all of the sources of music beyond Google Music. So people who are Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc, will probably be unmoved.



I agree it probably won't be a battle with all that Sonos offers but Google will probably support many platforms, they already do on Chromecast and Chromecast audio. It also wouldn't make sense for Google to take on an industry that it wants to adopt it assistant.
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Next year, we will see more of Sonos-like products from major tech companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon. I personally like Sonos and the idea that the product I am buying now won't be obsolete next year. Thus, I find more value for Sonos and possibly the Apple HomePod when it launches than any other wireless multi-room audio systems.
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masayako wrote:

Airgetlam wrote:

I'm not convinced how much of a battle it really will be, since it's unlikely that Google will support all of the sources of music beyond Google Music. So people who are Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc, will probably be unmoved.



I am pretty I heard Google mentioned the support of Spotify Free and Spotify Premium as well as other music subscription services in the Keynotes.


Fair, it's likely they will support everything Chromecast does. So Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn if I recall. It's better, but it stands to reason they'll likely not support Apple Music or Amazon. Those are big chunks of users.

More importantly though, I remain unconvinced that Amazon, Apple, or Google actually want to be in the "speaker game". The speakers are the method of delivery for their digital assistant into your life, and I actually expect them to somewhat back out of the game as specialists like Sonos serve as a conduit. This is well reflected by what Amazon's doing with the Echo in other markets.
I certainly hope so. I'm a fan of the "platform agnostic" view, it pains me that each one of these companies are anti each other. And I certainly don't expect Apple to support much beyond Apple Music and maybe the services that aren't associated with Amazon or Google.

While I can understand a bit of the "they have to stay in my garden" thinking, it really limits my choices for hardware. And I like choices. Currently, Sonos is my choice.
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Skelton wrote:

masayako wrote:

Airgetlam wrote:

I'm not convinced how much of a battle it really will be, since it's unlikely that Google will support all of the sources of music beyond Google Music. So people who are Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc, will probably be unmoved.



I am pretty I heard Google mentioned the support of Spotify Free and Spotify Premium as well as other music subscription services in the Keynotes.


Fair, it's likely they will support everything Chromecast does. So Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn if I recall. It's better, but it stands to reason they'll likely not support Apple Music or Amazon. Those are big chunks of users.

More importantly though, I remain unconvinced that Amazon, Apple, or Google actually want to be in the "speaker game". The speakers are the method of delivery for their digital assistant into your life, and I actually expect them to somewhat back out of the game as specialists like Sonos serve as a conduit. This is well reflected by what Amazon's doing with the Echo in other markets.




I agree Google's aim is not in the speaker business, but my main point is: Google now is stepping into the speak domain with a Google Home Max ($399) which looks to serve the folks who care about their music (sound quality). These group of people will now have to choose between Google Home Max vs Sonos. Well, both speaks obviously at similar price point, similar functionality, similar look and feel. No one can deny that.

Frankly, I really hate to see that because companies like Amazon, Google (or even Apple) are trying to be "Technopoly". These companies stepped into every aspects of our lives and, for the sake of integration, making it harder to use other non-Google, non-Amazon products or devices. Here is another examples: NEST (Google bought NEST).

I am afraid awesome companies like Sonos will be outplayed by Tochnopolies. That'll be a shame. :(
If it is anything like Apple's (iPod Hifi) or Google's (Nexus Q) former audio streaming offerings, Sonos has nothing to worry about. Those are two of the biggest failures in streaming history. One of the things about Technopolies, they can afford to fail. So often times they do.
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This is a very interesting thread. Ultimately there is concern among we Sonos fans about the state and intensity of competition from these big guns.

I think another dimension to this is price points. I think this is where having another speaker with a price point between the Sonos One and the Play 5 is important. They current Play 3 is not modern enough and frankly starting to be sidelined by Sonos themselves. Having a Play 3 or new Sonos Three would put more pressure in the Google Max. If someone is concerned about sound quality and want to step up past the Sonos One they may find the Play 5 $499 a bridge too far. They may look at the Google Max and of course ppl consider the mix of sound quality, supported services, platforms etc.

I would suggest that Sonos revitalize the Play 3 in line with the Sonos One. Ensure there is a recognizable step up in audio quality against the Sonos One. You could price this unit anywhere between 299 and 349. I would do that after this holiday season so as not to convolute the battle against Apple in the holiday season when the HomePod comes out.
jgatie wrote:

If it is anything like Apple's (iPod Hifi) or Google's (Nexus Q) former audio streaming offerings, Sonos has nothing to worry about. Those are two of the biggest failures in streaming history. One of the things about Technopolies, they can afford to fail. So often times they do.



iPod HiFi was way before any streaming services and it sold well enough. It was designed to be used with an iPod physically connected to it.
We will see about the Homepod but comparing this device from years ago to current devices and saying Apple will fail makes no sense at all.
There are plenty of companies that no longer exist that didn't think Apple would impact them or their market.
Not much of a battle if you want real stereo imaging, or to add a sub. Google loses pretty quickly. Same for the upcoming delayed Apple widget. Both will be dead ends for those desiring true stereo sound. I'm betting a stereo pair of Ones will seriously outclass either of those, and a stereo pair of Ones with a Sub will blow them away. No dead ends with Sonos. :D
DarwinOSX wrote:



iPod HiFi was way before any streaming services and it sold well enough. It was designed to be used with an iPod physically connected to it.
We will see about the Homepod but comparing this device from years ago to current devices and saying Apple will fail makes no sense at all.
There are plenty of companies that no longer exist that didn't think Apple would impact them or their market.



Huh what? iPod HiFi is listed on Gizmodo and many other sites as one of the biggest flops Jobs ever had. You putting a positive spin on it is the very definition of putting lipstick on a pig. :D
I recently bought a sonos play 5 and now have a google home max. The play 5 sounds a little better, not dramatically so. Unlike most people, I think the greatest weakness of the sonos platform is it's app. In my opinion, it's pretty bad. It's harder to use and not as well designed as most first party music apps I've tried. I haven't used it in a few months so it may be better now. I'm sure sonos spends a lot of time and resources keeping their app up to date and working with so many other services and, imo, it's a losing strategy long term.

Every music service I use supports streaming via chromecast (which amazon music now supports). Also, you can add a chromecast audio to almost any existing setup - setup's that can sound much better than sonos speakers for less money.

I mainly use google play music, spotify, and amazon music. On android, I can cast to the sonos 5 via google play music app directly. However, on iOS you cannot and have to use the sonos app. This means my wife is using my google play music account via sonos integration. She also doesn't like the sonos app.

I understand the appeal of sonos but I think the chromecast audio experience is more versatile and I'd be willing to bet google will introduce a play 1 / play 3 competitor for the people that don't want to bother with a chromecast audio. I think if sonos supported casting universally and apples airplay, they would have a ton of the market covered without the need for their app. I also think they should support bluetooth streaming because, why not?

I will keep the sonos speaker because it does sound pretty good for it's size but the sonos ecosystem is not for me. The google home max sits in my kitchen which is perfect for listening to music at reasonable volumes as well as all the handy google assistant functionality: making phone calls, asking about traffic and travel times to destinations, weather, measurement conversions, etc...
Great. Now try to stereo pair your Google Home Max for real stereo imaging. Ummmm, what, it can't do that? How about bonding a sub for much more realistic bass? Oops... Wait, maybe I should wait for that new Apple smart speaker... What, it can't do those things either? And I'm stuck with Siri, the dumbest assistant by far? Hmmmmm. What's that? Sonos is adding Google Assistant AND Apple's ecosystem, in addition to Alexa next year? Seems like a no brainer to me. Sonos is easily the way to go.
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The current Sonos app released a few months ago is "Identical" I mean serious copied "Identical" to spotify's native app. So if you like native apps like Spotify's you will like the current Sonos app.

They have announced that Sonos will have native support Airplay2 next year (which will be great for those ios users - but may require you have one of the newer Sonos units in your system like Play:5 gen 2). Currently to use airplay you need to attach an airport express to your play:5
chicks wrote:

Great. Now try to stereo pair your Google Home Max for real stereo imaging. Ummmm, what, it can't do that? How about bonding a sub for much more realistic bass? Oops... Wait, maybe I should wait for that new Apple smart speaker... What, it can't do those things either? And I'm stuck with Siri, the dumbest assistant by far? Hmmmmm. What's that? Sonos is adding Google Assistant AND Apple's ecosystem, in addition to Alexa next year? Seems like a no brainer to me. Sonos is easily the way to go.



I knew I would get some flak for this post, which is okay, I know it's just my opinion. However, you should definitely research a little more before spreading information that is not correct.

You can absolutely pair two google home max speakers for "real stereo imaging." I don't have two to test, but several reviewers have mentioned this. Here's a quote from engadget - This is doubly true when pairing two Home Max speakers in stereo. On its own, the speaker outputs in stereo when horizontal or mono when standing up, but two speakers greatly extend the soundstage.
Also, no need to buy a super expensive sonos sub, I can already cast to my current home theater setup easily through nvidia shield tv. I can assure you, it sounds as good as anything sonos sells.

I can also group it with any of my other home / cast enabled audio devices - https://support.google.com/googlehome/answer/7174267?hl=en

I'm not saying sonos is bad, they make great speakers. I just think they would be better off supporting the streaming protocols and assistants available from the big players rather than investing so much in their app.
Chris wrote:

The current Sonos app released a few months ago is "Identical" I mean serious copied "Identical" to spotify's native app. So if you like native apps like Spotify's you will like the current Sonos app.

They have announced that Sonos will have native support Airplay2 next year (which will be great for those ios users - but may require you have one of the newer Sonos units in your system like Play:5 gen 2). Currently to use airplay you need to attach an airport express to your play:5



Thanks for the feedback Chris, I'll have to try the app again. I'm sure the app is why so many people like sonos, I just don't find it inconvenient to go to whatever app I want and cast and as I'm on android almost every app supports it.
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Everyone is different. While you didn't like the app and you like the feel of something like the Spotify native app.

There is a holy revolt going on because they changed the controller to the new version, as others say they loved it the way it was.

To each his own.

Sonos is in the process, according to them, of reviewing feedback and getting out another version that hopefully is a happy median for both groups.

I think the new version does some things right but they went too far making it just like the spotify app as it really is not intuitive when it comes to multiple services and multi-room. They need to keep the bottom bar from disappearing during now playing (which the spotify app makes it disappear - obvious copy again) to make navigation easy between services and rooms.

Overall I think with tweeks to the new version it will be the best Sonos app yet. I completely prefer the sonos app to any native apps because of the complete control of rooms and the universal search between mulitiple services and my local library.
Can currently cast to Sonos from native apps from Pandora, Tidal, Spotify and Google. Can voice control from Spotify, Amazon Music, and the radio station aggregators. Soon, Google Assistant will be added, enabling far-field voice control for Google and Deezer. Then Airplay 2 support will be added, allowing casting from Apple Music or any other source on an iOS device, and possibly far-field voice control of Apple Music.

Amazon, Google and especially Apple want to lock you in to their ecosystems. Sonos wants to open up to all. Pretty simple choice.
chicks wrote:

Can currently cast to Sonos from native apps from Pandora, Tidal, Spotify and Google. Can voice control from Spotify, Amazon Music, and the radio station aggregators. Soon, Google Assistant will be added, enabling far-field voice control for Google and Deezer. Then Airplay 2 support will be added, allowing casting from Apple Music or any other source on an iOS device, and possibly far-field voice control of Apple Music.

Amazon, Google and especially Apple want to lock you in to their ecosystems. Sonos wants to open up to all. Pretty simple choice.



** on android you can cast natively, after you add the service to sonos. If I could cast from iOS, I probably wouldn't have bought a home max.

All companies want to lock you into a system to make more money, the same could be said for sonos. What if I want to stream a podcast on an app that isn't supported by sonos or use another pair of speakers?

Chromecast is is my preference, sonos is yours, but I wouldn't say it's a "simple" choice.
jvkii wrote:

All companies want to lock you into a system to make more money, the same could be said for sonos.



Quite the opposite for Sonos. They want all the providers to work with their system. They make no money from streaming, only from hardware sales.

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