I am an integrator and have been in business for 11 years. I am trying to spec a system for a customer who currently has a 3.1 system with a Zone 2 on a Denon receiver. I am recommending upgrading to a 5.1.2 Atmos experience, they want the current zone 2 which is outdoors and also want to add the kitchen and dining into the mix. I have done this many times with Sonos Connect Amps and a Sonos Connect for the receiver, but the experience is awful on the control side and depending on the receiver we use, latency is a big problem on jobs like these for zones like the kitchen that are close by. (Note: I fully understand that advanced control systems can remedy the control issue but IMO you loose the elegance of the Sonos app which is the Sonos experience for Connect users, I may as well use a multi-zone network receiver.)
The obvious solution is a Sonos receiver or a partner that licenses Sonos software for compatibility. The only Sony receiver that would be capable of delivering Atmos and eliminating the control issue is a $2600 unit and it still comes with a latency issue, something that should not exist when you are spending that much money. I was looking to see if anything was in the pipe from Sonos and came across an article where Sonos co-founder Tom Cullen said of A/V receivers "We think the notion of switching between physical sources will be seen as quaint. Instead of putting Sonos into receivers, we're going to make receivers unnecessary."
I love music, my customers love music. My goal is to deliver an amazing experience and Sonos does that on many levels, but not every level. It will not for example replace B&W, Kef, Klipsch, or many other speaker manufacturers who make wonderful speakers. Not to mention people who already own and want a true LCR instead of a sound bar, or 7.1, 9.1, Atmos etc. The idea that the receiver is antiquated is, to me, an incredible display of "in the bubble thinking", a bit arrogant, and dismisses a great number of use cases that Sonos just cant deliver on.
I have a couple of goals in writing this post. I want to hear from Sonos, just to make sure I have a clear picture on the future they are projecting. I disagree with Tom Cullen's prediction when he says "We don't believe receivers are long for this world" and I want to know if Sonos still stands by this as the article I read was from 2011. If this is the Sonos way of thinking, I will have to start looking really hard at Hoes and MusicCast as alternatives, which bums me out because I really do love Sonos. Full disclosure, I intend to circulate this post to my customers and industry friends. I want to have the best solution today and moving forward for my customer and my fear is that Sonos is the company that wont be long going forward.