Sonos Sues Lenbrook for Bluesound and BluOS, Alleging Patent Infringement



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Again, the first sentence quoted makes the same point that I am making about multi room, and its importance to the extent only Sonos delivers to more than a niche. The first existential crisis that Sonos faced once it was past its early days, was delivered to it via Echo. That would suggest Echo did more than just "target a slightly different demographic". For some time, that is what I too thought about Echo in the initial days; it was thus a big surprise to learn just how much their success affected Sonos sales when I read about the crisis they caused in Sonos.

Kumar, it is obvious you would feel this way since your only exposure to multi-room via Alexa is using line-ins from Echo Dots. Trust me, the actual multi-room experience via Sonos is far superior to that of Alexa alone.



Kumar, it is obvious you would feel this way since your only exposure to multi-room via Alexa is using line-ins from Echo Dots. Trust me, the actual multi-room experience via Sonos is far superior to that of Alexa alone.

I used multi room before the advent of Alexa via Sonos groups and that worked well enough for what I needed it to - music from a NAS in perfect sync from multiple sets of speakers - Sonos as well as third party- in the open plan area. And before streaming services came to India, whenever my son was with us, he used the feature to play his music in his room from the one NAS.

Echo Dots wired in to the line ins now provide just as good service in the open plan area for music that need not be NAS sourced, and they would do so even without Sonos there. My son carries his phone with him that gives him access to Apple Music which he streams via BT to an Echo Plus in his room whenever he is with us now, or uses Amazon Music directly with the Echo. He has no need for the music on the NAS now, and has surrendered his play 1 unit to the open area.

While I have no doubt about what you say about the clear Sonos superiority for multi room, I don't seem to have use for it and therefore do not think it is as unique as it seems to be for people like you. I see no need to sell Sonos kit since it works as well as I need it to, but if I had to replay 2011 today, I may not buy Sonos given the options now available. Correction: I may still choose to, because I still like to use the NAS at times, but there are many people that have never had a NAS and may choose different.

I was quite surprised to see how well the Dots work where music play stability is concerned, singly or as a group. As well as Sonos does, although the Dots do not use Sonos net.

It seems to me that the question therefore is the size of the market that needs all the Sonos multi room superiority versus that for which the basic multi room service of Echo and the like suffices. From all accounts, Sonos cannot sustain itself in just the former market, while for the latter, Sonos multi room isn't the USP that it is in the former.
To the question of how the above is relevant to the topic:
It is an argument in support of my view that Sonos patents are not going to stymie the growth of multi room home audio - that horse has bolted - or give Sonos any significant enduring advantage, except against imitators like Bluesound. I somehow doubt that Sonos sees such imitation as threats to survival, or sees the license fees from such as a significant long term source of profits.
Kumar, I can't help thinking your formerly high praise of Sonos has been spoiled by your loss of the Dock, which while useful to some, it was a relatively fringe component compared to Sonos' other offerings. Just my opinion, but it does seem the dropping of that unit has spoiled your overall view of Sonos functionality, regardless of how independent that functionality is from the Dock itself.
Not so, quite a bit of my disappointments predate the loss of the dock, via a combination of acts of commission and omission by Sonos in the last couple of years. Like the frenzied UI churn, or not keeping pace with Amazon for India initiatives as just two examples that come to mind. Add to that the availability now of genuine alternatives to Sonos, that allow me more scope to be objective in assessing Sonos. Where praise is merited, I still do not withhold it. And nor do I need to think about switching over - because I have so many line in jacks, I am able to enhance Sonos functionality by adding other kit to it: for example, always on artwork display via a Spot.

Basically, wherever I find a better horse for a particular course, I see no reason to not use one or recommend it.

Ironically, Sonos has been the most effective for getting my remote room browsing experience to become just as good as it is near the router, via a AEX wired to the line in of a Connect Amp, piggy backing on Sonos net. On the other hand, my Dots work just as stably without the benefit of Sonos net. I simply use what works best for me; I don't care who makes it.
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Kumar, it is obvious you would feel this way since your only exposure to multi-room via Alexa is using line-ins from Echo Dots. Trust me, the actual multi-room experience via Sonos is far superior to that of Alexa alone.
I used multi room before the advent of Alexa via Sonos groups and that worked well enough for what I needed it to - music from a NAS in perfect sync from multiple sets of speakers - Sonos as well as third party- in the open plan area. And before streaming services came to India, whenever my son was with us, he used the feature to play his music in his room from the one NAS.

Echo Dots wired in to the line ins now provide just as good service in the open plan area for music that need not be NAS sourced, and they would do so even without Sonos there. My son carries his phone with him that gives him access to Apple Music which he streams via BT to an Echo Plus in his room whenever he is with us now, or uses Amazon Music directly with the Echo. He has no need for the music on the NAS now, and has surrendered his play 1 unit to the open area.


It sounds to me like you're only look at your particular use case and assuming this is the only valuable use for multiroom audio for anyone. Or perhaps that other uses may have value to a few, but not enough to matter. While I see where your situation is just about playing music from streaming services with little use for multi-room, and many people fit that, I'd say the fact that Sonos sells Home Theatre products well shows that there is a significant market for people who want more from their system.


Just for my case alone, my main living area has the playbar/play:3s, sub setup. Although I could replace that with a different set of products, the room layout requires that the surrounds and sub be wireless. I could theoritically use an echo dot tied to that system, but it would mean I could not use TV audio and speak with Alexa at the same time. It also means the echo would need to be near the soundbar, which is not where I want it. I want it closer to the kitchen as it's more useful there. It also means that I could not play TV audio in other rooms of the house. I have two other rooms with similar setups.

Amazon's come up with the echo link products as a way to try and resolve this problem, and it does look at it handles it to an extent. However, you still cannot take a TV or other non-streaming source and include it in your multiroom audio.

I have two rooms with stereo pairs of Sonos Ones. This probably can be replaced with an echo stereo pair, and for those rooms, that would probably be fine. There are few times where I'd need the speakers to join another room in the house midstream.

In the garage and the backyard, I have a setup were passive speakers are wired to a Sonos amp/Connect amp over a long distance to an indoor closet. In both those cases, there's an echo not near the speakers for control. I suppose I could have a 75' line in connection from a dot from the amp, but I certainly would rather not. In the case of the backyard, I actually have 6 dots controlling the single Sonos amp. How would I do that by line in connection? I get that these might not be the standard setup, but certainly anyone who wants to use architectural speakers would not say using line-in to amp with dots is just as good. Although again, echo link would help a lot with this.

While I have no doubt about what you say about the clear Sonos superiority for multi room, I don't seem to have use for it and therefore do not think it is as unique as it seems to be for people like you. I see no need to sell Sonos kit since it works as well as I need it to, but if I had to replay 2011 today, I may not buy Sonos given the options now available. Correction: I may still choose to, because I still like to use the NAS at times, but there are many people that have never had a NAS and may choose different.


I would consider Sonos features to be unique such as they are the little things that make a big difference. Often times, the little things aren't useful to some, or people don't understand what those things are or how big an impact they can have. So yes, people may not see why Sonos has anymore value than an echo multiroom system. Along those same lines, I would bet that a lot of people saw multroom audio, smart speakers as being out of reach or not worth it. In that regard I think echos changed that and expanded the market tremendously. That has benefited Sonos and others.

I was quite surprised to see how well the Dots work where music play stability is concerned, singly or as a group. As well as Sonos does, although the Dots do not use Sonos net.


I'm not surprised. Echos have a bit of a luxary being their sources are all streaming and can have a rather extensive buffer. Being that Sonos allows for audio sources that can't be buffered like that, and the grouping can change on the fly, the demands are going to be greater.

It seems to me that the question therefore is the size of the market that needs all the Sonos multi room superiority versus that for which the basic multi room service of Echo and the like suffices. From all accounts, Sonos cannot sustain itself in just the former market, while for the latter, Sonos multi room isn't the USP that it is in the former.


I would agree with this, accept that I think the latter market is actually causing the former market to grow. How many people buy an echo dot for their living room and think it's great. Then they start to wonder how it would be over a better speaker, or if the speaker played TV audio as well and didn't take up space on their table. Then they think about adding surround speakers, etc. They may certainly opt for something other than Sonos for this need, but these are customers that never would have looked at Sonos at all if it were not through the echo dot introduction to the market

I actually think that your particular case is rare. That being someone who had the 'superior' Sonos system and then migrated to echo for multiroom. Is it fair to say that you never would have done that he it not been for the the voice control that echo's provide? If the sonos-alexa integration were fully implemented where you live, I'd say you surely would have used that integration rather than line-in integration so that you could get the best of both worlds.

I actually think that your particular case is rare. That being someone who had the 'superior' Sonos system and then migrated to echo for multiroom. Is it fair to say that you never would have done that he it not been for the the voice control that echo's provide? If the sonos-alexa integration were fully implemented where you live, I'd say you surely would have used that integration rather than line-in integration so that you could get the best of both worlds.

I don't think it is as rare as you think, but we can never prove things either way; also, I did not migrate to Echo for multi room, it was a later addition by Amazon to the feature set. And I can't speak to the hypothetical situation of what I would have done if the Sonos Alexa integration was available to me. I think there are some benefits to line in that aren't there in the integration. I could be wrong, but simpler voice commands is one. Artwork display on the Spot is another. Certainly the addition of bluetooth capability to Sonos is only available via line in - at my desktop set up that has a dot wired to the line of a Connect Amp, I can now play music from the NAS, or via voice from Amazon, or via Amazon casting, or have better sound for the times I see a video on the Mac. So the Dot does more than voice control; indeed the mic on it is muted quite often. The Dot just makes the Sonos system a lot more versatile even at just my desktop.
PS: where I may be rare is in detesting the presence of TV in common open plan areas; I happen to think it is not civilised. Here I agree that I do not know what Sonos has to offer because I don't see the need for any Sonos AV product and have none.
Since Alexa Groups, the "simpler voice commands" point is moot. My Echo Dots each have a preferred speaker assigned, so I can say to my Kitchen Dot "Alexa, play cooking music" and cooking music plays on my Kitchen Play:3. Alexa Groups has made what was a nice gimmick into a very powerful way to control my music. The only thing missing is the ability to group on the fly via Alexa without stopping the playing stream (something you can do with the Sonos app, but Alexa simply cannot do).
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I actually think that your particular case is rare. That being someone who had the 'superior' Sonos system and then migrated to echo for multiroom. Is it fair to say that you never would have done that he it not been for the the voice control that echo's provide? If the sonos-alexa integration were fully implemented where you live, I'd say you surely would have used that integration rather than line-in integration so that you could get the best of both worlds.
I don't think it is as rare as you think, but we can never prove things either way; also, I did not migrate to Echo for multi room, it was a later addition by Amazon to the feature set.


I meant 'for' in the sense that you are currently using echos to perform multi room. Not in the sense that mult room was the reason you started using echos.

And I can't speak to the hypothetical situation of what I would have done if the Sonos Alexa integration was available to me. I think there are some benefits to line in that aren't there in the integration. I could be wrong, but simpler voice commands is one.


This was the case before Alexa groups functionality was implimented. You no longer need to state the Sonos room(s) you want music to play in. In fact, in the case where you always want music to play in multirooms automatically, this is slightly easier to do with Alexa groups than a line in connection.

Artwork display on the Spot is another.


Yep I can see that. I rarely care about this feature. When I do, I run the music through the firetv (and thus the playbar). Much bigger screen.

Certainly the addition of bluetooth capability to Sonos is only available via line in - at my desktop set up that has a dot wired to the line of a Connect Amp, I can now play music from the NAS, or via voice from Amazon, or via Amazon casting, or have better sound for the times I see a video on the Mac.


I don't think these have anything to do with the dot per se. You can add a bluetooth reciever to the line in of the Connect/connect:amp to accomplish the same thing. You can use the Alexa integration to get voice via amazon, casting, etc. I don't think there is an argument that a line in has it's value. I'd rather have that available for something other than a dot and allow the alexa integration to handle alexa related functions.

So the Dot does more than voice control; indeed the mic on it is muted quite often. The Dot just makes the Sonos system a lot more versatile even at just my desktop.


Again, I don't think it's the dot + line in that makes your connect:amp more versatile, it's the line-in. Using the alexa integration, you'd never have to mute the mic on your dot because you want to use the connect for NAS music or audio from your mac.
Again, I don't think it's the dot + line in that makes your connect:amp more versatile, it's the line-in.
I agree that it is the line in that makes the Connect Amp more versatile and I wish the play 1 units had it for just this reason, but if I did not also need the NAS, the line in also need not be the one on Sonos - I could just as well be using active speakers from other makes, with a Spot for an always on album art display. With said Spot also allowing the speakers to play audio from the Mac via BT, or from the phone via casting.
So not just Lenbrook, more of a bulk mailing...

https://lenbrook.com/lenbrook-plans-to-defend-patent-infringement-claims-made-by-sonos-and-clarifies-status-of-dispute-negotiations/
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Not sure what you mean, but Denon dispute is done and busted.
Never new Lenbrook made NAD and bluesound, this dispute could have legs, the lawyers will be swooping in like vultures 😏
Not sure what you mean, but Denon dispute is done and busted.
Never new Lenbrook made NAD and bluesound, this dispute could have legs, the lawyers will be swooping in like vultures 😏


”Furthermore, Lenbrook is also aware that in November 2018, Sonos sent letters to multiple audio companies, including Lenbrook, providing notice that Sonos believes that they all infringe certain Sonos patents”
The ability to bond units as left/right pairs, add a SUB and surrounds is just a variation of another "room" when using the SONOS stable of technologies, a "cheap trick" if you like.

Keeping things synchronized is not as easy as one might think. An interesting demo is to use two identical CD players, each playing the same CD. Start play by simultaneously pressing Play on the two players. (or start Play via the remote control) By the end of the first track they are obviously out of sync and by the end of the disc they are seriously out of sync. Someone walking into the room at the end of the disc would assume that the experimenter had casually used the same finger to start play on the first player, then walked to the second player. In a SONOS system one can listen all day and into the night without loss of sync.

The reason for the rapid loss of sync is that the basic "clocks" inside each player do not run at exactly the same rate. The SONOS method keeps all of the clocks aligned in real time. If one is VERY observant and has some patience, one might be able to detect very gentle clock adjustments from time to time.

This "trick" is what the SONOS patents are protecting.

Can one bond DOT's into L/R pairs?
Can one bond DOT's into L/R pairs?
Yes, as far as I know, for the latest generation Echo Dot. I don't use them that way though, because all of mine are stereo wired to line in jacks.
And to clarify, I used the word trick with no imputation of the word cheap to it. I was making the point that there are many ways now to skin the multi room cat, if one is willing to have only streaming services as a source.
And that these ways did not exist before the advent of streaming services and Echo like devices.
Echo also does Sub bonding to the stereo pair, but all of this bonding only works for streamed music; it does not work when music is sent via bluetooth from a device. And of course, there is no way to get music from a NAS.
It would appear therefore that this bonding is done at the source, in the cloud.
I reckon that the multi room groups are also handled in a similar manner.
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And of course, there is no way to get music from a NAS.

Hey Kumar, small point (and apologies if you already know this) but you can stream local music to an echo with Plex.
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I don't think you can stereo pair echo dots, but you can pair echos together, at least on the 2nd and 3rd generation units, along with a sub. Because you can do multi room with all the echo versions, but pairing only on some, leads me to believe that the pairing method is different than multi room in this case. As well non-Amazon alexa devices can be in the alexa multi room group (if they aren't part of their own multi room system like Sonos) but can't be stereo paired.

Also from what I've read, although various echos can play audio from non streaming sources through bluetooth and other means (as @Kumar stated), only streaming sources can broadcast for multi room. I don''t know if that means that some or all of the syncing work is done in the cloud, or perhaps the syncing is done locally but requires a significant enough buffer that local content can't be synced.

Amazon has a huge budget for R and D though, so I would not be surprised to see the capabilities change in time. I bet they could do it without infringing on patents as well, or perhaps can work out a deal with Sonos. I don't think the market is at a point where the differences between what Sonos and Amazon (and some of the others) do in multi-room has enough value by itself to sway a consumer's purchasing decision. May be some day it will, and may be Amazon, or others, will have improved their system by then.



Hey Kumar, small point (and apologies if you already know this) but you can stream local music to an echo with Plex.

No, I did not know this, so thank you. Something I need to investigate.
I don't think you can stereo pair echo dots,
Amazon says you can:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GPSQQS7N3SBKAEWU
The 3rd Gen Dots are supported devices.
Danny - I think you are right that multiroom with Echo devices is not possible when the source is via Bluetooth. Or rather,my attempts to do so failed, which is not at all the same thing!
To the Plex suggestion: my WD NAS works fine for Sonos, but it seems that it is too rudimentary to run Plex.
How does it work though if it does? How can one play playlists via Alexa/Plex from music files on the NAS - the Sonos ones rest in the Sonos boxes, so is there some way different ones can be made for this purpose?
Digressing a little:
A play 1 pair + Sub remains a reference system for me for music play sound quality in a up to moderately sized space.
I wonder how a Dot pair + Echo Sub, at less than half the price/footprint of Sonos, compares today, if one only needed streamed music as a source. Even if it isn't there yet as is very likely, it may be within striking distance after a couple of more iterations in a couple of years - because I don't see Sonos moving the bar on sound quality much further on the music front. Though I suspect that adding bluetooth capability to that configuration will take more than just iterations, but that isn't a lack for those that do only streaming; and I am sure that even today, the Amazon cast feature works for those that don't like talking to their music system.
Back on topic, it would be interesting, as an academic curiosity given the silly pricing, to know the patents situation surrounding the recently launched B&W Formation line. From their site it looks like it does all that Sonos does using some kind of mesh wireless, but also does Hi Res and Bluetooth.
Some more info:
https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/audio-giant-silencing-the-competition-72890/

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