Why I don't own a Sonos system (and what Sonos can do about it)


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I have owned several Logitech Squeezeboxes (Squeezeboxen? 🙂 ) for many years, so I am familiar with the network music paradigm. I like the concept, but the Squeezebox has always been a tempermental device. From what I have seen at retail stores and what I have read and seen on the Internet, I have no doubt that Sonos is a better system. I would definitely buy several Sonos components, especially since they have removed the requirement for the Bridge component (they call it something else now) so that I don't have to buy something extra.

In fact I went to the big box store yesterday with the intent of starting my Sonos collection by buying (2) Sonos Play: 1 speakers for my wife's office (her desk). We demoed a Play:1 and it sounded great. The day before she had actually purchased a Bose Revolve Plus for her desk, which also sounds great (but not quite as good as the Sonos Play 1: in my opinion.)

So I told my wife, this Sonos does so much more than your Bose speaker. First, you can buy two of them ($350/pair right now) for less than one Bose Revolve+ ($399). And you can play all of these network music stations, and Spotify, and another 30+ different music services, plus all the music on our server, and on your iPhone, etc. And look how nice the App is I told her, it would be easy to switch between sources, and select your music. She was impressed. She didn't care that the Sonos wasn't battery powered, and wasn't as portable as the Bose speaker, she just wanted them at her desk anyway. I mentioned that they connected via Wifi, so they wouldn't have any dropouts like Bluetooth sometimes does. Then she says, oh OK, and of course they play music and sound from my laptop that is on my desk, so I can watch YouTube, and news stories and such, and listen to them on these speakers. Of course they do, I said... Little did I know, you can't!!! This is a huge miss from Sonos. These speakers should definitely have bluetooth capability added in addition to their network Wifi interface.

Sonos, add that and I'll buy a whole house full of these. But having to have an entirely separate set of speakers just for PC audio? That's a non-starter!

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Sonos just aren't in the PC speaker market . The question has been around for years without Sonos thinking it was the best use of development time.

Having said that, Airpllay 2 is promised for next year, although details of which speakers it will work with are unclear at this time.
Reverting back to the original issue of using the Sonos speakers as a line out device from their PC you would think it be reasonably simple for Sonos to solve. It just requires the Sonos software to install a line out option on the PC it is installed on and for that Line Out to broadcast as a radio station or similar music source.

Seems someone has tried to achieve similar before (https://en.community.sonos.com/music-services-and-sources-228994/a-howto-sonos-pc-speaker-free-with-stream-what-you-hear-6194840 ). Seems to have issues with delay that could be a problem when watching you tube or a film on the PC but something that the Sonos software developers could no doubt resolve with enough coffee / cakes / late nights :)


It does seem simple and I think Sonos would sell a heck of alot of these as PC speakers. I would buy some and I have two Sonos Ones.
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Just on the topic of AIrPlay to Sonos, I decided to write myself an application that does the job. It can be found here https://sourceforge.net/projects/aircast-airupnp.

It's a generic AirPlay to UPnP gateway, but works with Sonos. You just have to set the latency (-l 1000:2000) to avoid shuttering as Sonos does not seem to buffer streams.

It's very early days of the application, but it works on Mac, Windows and Linux (x86 and arm). There is no dependency, just get the binary and run it (will a few DLL on Windows).
Hmm..ok, thanks. Something to keep in mind once Alexa rolls out - I have neither fire TV nor play bar. This is why Echo Show looks interesting to me.
@kumar. The best I've seen regarding display of music playing on a screen would have to be using Alexa through a fire tv. I have a playbar connected to a tv, and fire tv is one of the inputs. If a play music through the fire tv, I'll see what's playing and scrolling lyrics if available. The downside is that I'm limited to Alexa sources and the voice control remote.

I imagine the same setup exists with the Echo Show.

It's possible that the upcoming Alexa/Sonos integration will have a visual aspect to it, but I doubt we'll see that in the first iteration.
Reverting back to the original issue of using the Sonos speakers as a line out device from their PC you would think it be reasonably simple for Sonos to solve. It just requires the Sonos software to install a line out option on the PC it is installed on and for that Line Out to broadcast as a radio station or similar music source.

Seems someone has tried to achieve similar before (https://en.community.sonos.com/music-services-and-sources-228994/a-howto-sonos-pc-speaker-free-with-stream-what-you-hear-6194840 ). Seems to have issues with delay that could be a problem when watching you tube or a film on the PC but something that the Sonos software developers could no doubt resolve with enough coffee / cakes / late nights 🙂
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Talk of software spawned obsolescence, this is a classic example, very annoying.Although Apple support their latest OS on their devices for many, many years longer than any other manufacturer (inc. Google) support any Android device i know of.
Still don't own an i device though.
I will look at that, the only hitch there is that an old iPad is close to getting obsoleted for such use by Apple's antics already; I have a 32GB 2011 generation iPod touch that is useless now for such use. Fortunately, it still works very well as a dedicated source for my weather resistant and battery equipped BT speaker that is used on travels. Every other feature including battery life and WiFi/BT works brilliantly on it, but it won't run Apple Music. Or the Sonos control app. Talk of software spawned obsolescence, this is a classic example, very annoying.
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It does; but that means having to find it to start with and then invoking the controller. I don't have a tablet and a permanent box that essentially incorporates a tablet with a large display dedicated to Sonos is what I would like to see. I doubt I will find an elegant answer to this.

Why not dedicate an old iPad for this purpose? Put it in a wall mount or something? When my brother renovated his house a few years ago he actually embedded an iPad into a wall, for this purpose.
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I also have a multiroom SB based system in the downstairs of my house. Here I have a RPi in each room (i.e. A Sonos Connect), connected to
Hifi Amps and speakers. So it's equivalent to a two room Sonos system. I can't ever think of a time I was playing the same thing in both rooms.... I guess sometimes the TV in each room is playing the same channel, when sport is on.

The equivalent and more elegant solution using Sonos would be to use as many Sonos speakers as are necessary to produce the required music presence in the second/additional rooms. Declutter the space of amps and wired speakers.
If the 5 was one of these, the line in necessary for taking input from all that a device can play is also present. Correction: the line in on your existing 5 can be used to stream content from a device wired to it to any other Sonos speaker anywhere else in the home. Or to as many as are grouped together.
What you will not get is the geek attraction of a visible PCB.
Depending on the speakers replaced, you may not get equivalent quality sound, but it may even be better. Ditto on budgets.
Discussing the subjective merits of Sonos speakers versus any HiFi speaker is something I can do at length, but that would be completely off topic.


Yes, that would be an alternative setup, but the direct Sonos equivalent would surely just be Two connects in place of the RPis.

I still don't think anything beats the simplicity and flexibility of old fashioned amps, with input select buttons, and physical controls. Not to mention zero latency when putting the tv through them. So I think it would always be amps and speakers for my main areas, with the Sonos powered speakers reserved for 'bedroom radio' type use.

But that's just me!
It does; but that means having to find it to start with and then invoking the controller. I don't have a tablet and a permanent box that essentially incorporates a tablet with a large display dedicated to Sonos is what I would like to see. I doubt I will find an elegant answer to this.
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I will investigate that, thanks. And in the meantime, on further reflection, is there a readymade box with a clear display for music now playing, that can play internet radio including Apple Music from the home WiFi, that has audio outputs that can be wired to the line in jacks of the Connect Amp? That will address one of my missing Sonos features - knowing what music is playing without looking at the handheld for that.

Surely any iPad or iPhone would do that?
I will investigate that, thanks. And in the meantime, on further reflection, is there a readymade box with a clear display for music now playing, that can play internet radio including Apple Music from the home WiFi, that has audio outputs that can be wired to the line in jacks of the Connect Amp? That will address one of my missing Sonos features - knowing what music is playing without looking at the handheld for that.
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If I understood you correctly, AirSonos does that for Apple devices: stream from your iXXX to Sonos directly (using uPnP, but that's not user-visible). A bit geeky, but works

I have no interest in a Bluetooth speaker.

Sonos lacks the direct streaming, that's all.

I thought that it is the nature of BT tech that allows streaming to a BT speaker of whatever is being played via the device speaker and this therefore does not need any app maker collaboration of the kind that tech used by Sonos does need, if direct streaming to Sonos kit is to be started from the native app/device.
Is there a way of doing direct from device streaming of all device speaker output, that can be done without BT on both sides or without a wired connection?
PS: Even if geeky, if it is stable and if it can interface with my Sonos installation that has Connect Amp units with line in, this looks like something worth exploring further.
I also have a multiroom SB based system in the downstairs of my house. Here I have a RPi in each room (i.e. A Sonos Connect), connected to
Hifi Amps and speakers. So it's equivalent to a two room Sonos system. I can't ever think of a time I was playing the same thing in both rooms.... I guess sometimes the TV in each room is playing the same channel, when sport is on.

The equivalent and more elegant solution using Sonos would be to use as many Sonos speakers as are necessary to produce the required music presence in the second/additional rooms. Declutter the space of amps and wired speakers.
If the 5 was one of these, the line in necessary for taking input from all that a device can play is also present. Correction: the line in on your existing 5 can be used to stream content from a device wired to it to any other Sonos speaker anywhere else in the home. Or to as many as are grouped together.
What you will not get is the geek attraction of a visible PCB.
Depending on the speakers replaced, you may not get equivalent quality sound, but it may even be better. Ditto on budgets.
Discussing the subjective merits of Sonos speakers versus any HiFi speaker is something I can do at length, but that would be completely off topic.
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My opinion is that sample accurate multi room sync is a very, very niche requirement compared to the ability to stream audio from a device to your Sonos speaker. I personally have zero use for multi room sync.

If you don't mind me asking, what does your sonos setup look like then? What is your big draw? In my mind, if I wasn't interested in multiroom, I might be very tempted to go with a standard receiver (w/Bluetooth) and speakers setup as it would be cheaper and allow for more flexibility. The only draw for sonos would then be the form factor and wireless bonding of speakers.

I don't really see multi-room sync as niche. It's huge for me. I love being able to walk throughout the house and outside without missing a beat, or throw the tv audio to the backyard. That said, I do know people who bought sonos just to have a wireless and less complicated 5.1 setup.


My Sonos set up is just one Play:5 in my home office. I also have a multiroom SB based system in the downstairs of my house. Here I have a RPi in each room (i.e. A Sonos Connect), connected to
Hifi Amps and speakers. So it's equivalent to a two room Sonos system. I can't ever think of a time I was playing the same thing in both rooms.... I guess sometimes the TV in each room is playing the same channel, when sport is on.


I also don't think any music service is stable enough yet to completely replace a NAS. I would not want the time and effort I put into collecting music and building playlists to be lost because some company suddenly decided to discontinue service in my region or lost the rights to key portions of their music catalog. Also, without a NAS what would you listen to when your Internet goes out?


I've never had any problem with Amazon and would be very surprised if they stopped providing services or lost a licence somehow. Either way though, I can upload and download my library at any time, so there's no risk really. It also gives me the flexibility to play a song I purchased at or home or away with no concern. Honestly though, and perhaps it's my age, I find myself listen to the various radio stations more than my own collection these days. As far as the internet going down, it's very rare in my area. Maybe once or twice a year for an hour. I manage.
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My opinion is that sample accurate multi room sync is a very, very niche requirement compared to the ability to stream audio from a device to your Sonos speaker. I personally have zero use for multi room sync.
You may have a point in that I don't see any use for it in different rooms either, but in a large open space living+dining+kitchen, where I have three zones to cover the whole space without music having to be too loud in any place, it is invaluable. Is this a super niche case - I could not say.

Another Sonos USP that also may be getting eroded over time is of using one NAS to pipe different music in different rooms. As more people turn to streaming services, this is also no longer a big deal for them because each occupant can stream whatever they please from single room solutions as well.

With voice and home automation also presenting challenges, these no doubt are testing times for Sonos. Perhaps more than any since the days when it was getting established. I believe Sonos recognises this, as well as the need to be more agile. Will this recognition translate into outcomes? Only time can tell.


That's a good point - using multiple powered speakers in one room in cars where single units are not sufficient - obviously sample accurate sync is vital for that.

That's a use case I hadn't really considered, as In cases where a single play5 doesn't cut it, I've instead used a single source (in this case a SB, but could equally be a Connect) connected to HiFi amp with several speakers.

But you are right - I don't think that's a particularly niche use.
My opinion is that sample accurate multi room sync is a very, very niche requirement compared to the ability to stream audio from a device to your Sonos speaker. I personally have zero use for multi room sync.

If you don't mind me asking, what does your sonos setup look like then? What is your big draw? In my mind, if I wasn't interested in multiroom, I might be very tempted to go with a standard receiver (w/Bluetooth) and speakers setup as it would be cheaper and allow for more flexibility. The only draw for sonos would then be the form factor and wireless bonding of speakers.

I don't really see multi-room sync as niche. It's huge for me. I love being able to walk throughout the house and outside without missing a beat, or throw the tv audio to the backyard. That said, I do know people who bought sonos just to have a wireless and less complicated 5.1 setup.
My opinion is that sample accurate multi room sync is a very, very niche requirement compared to the ability to stream audio from a device to your Sonos speaker. I personally have zero use for multi room sync.
You may have a point in that I don't see any use for it in different rooms either, but in a large open space living+dining+kitchen, where I have three zones to cover the whole space without music having to be too loud in any place, it is invaluable. Is this a super niche case - I could not say.

Another Sonos USP that also may be getting eroded over time is of using one NAS to pipe different music in different rooms. As more people turn to streaming services, this is also no longer a big deal for them because each occupant can stream whatever they please from single room solutions as well.

With voice and home automation also presenting challenges, these no doubt are testing times for Sonos. Perhaps more than any since the days when it was getting established. I believe Sonos recognises this, as well as the need to be more agile. Will this recognition translate into outcomes? Only time can tell.


I think sync is important even when the music is in different rooms because it is disconcerting to move from one room to the next and find yourself at a different point in the song. If you want to fill a space with music it is important to maintain sync even in areas where the sound does not overlap because your mind expects continuity as you move from room to room and will notice if it is off even a little.

I also don't think any music service is stable enough yet to completely replace a NAS. I would not want the time and effort I put into collecting music and building playlists to be lost because some company suddenly decided to discontinue service in my region or lost the rights to key portions of their music catalog. Also, without a NAS what would you listen to when your Internet goes out?
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[...] I personally have zero use for multi room sync.
Do you actually own any Sonos gear?


Yes, a Play 5.
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My opinion is that sample accurate multi room sync is a very, very niche requirement compared to the ability to stream audio from a device to your Sonos speaker. I personally have zero use for multi room sync.


No wonder you have so many complaints and spend an inordinate amount of time lamenting that Sonos isn't what you want it to be. Turns out, YOU BOUGHT THE WRONG PRODUCT!!! You literally bought a Ferrari when you had no use for a sports car!

I personally use multi-room sync every day of my life, and would not have bought Sonos if it didn't have perfect multi-room sync. It was the single feature that sold me on the system. I imagine there are far more of me out there than those who "have zero use for multi room sync", because most people who want only the features of a Bluetooth speaker would actually buy a Bluetooth speaker!


I have no interest in a Bluetooth speaker. I've no idea why people keep going on about Bluetooth. My use case is for a music streamer - something to play Spotify, internet radio, my music library, etc, and yes - sometimes to play something directly from my phone or computer. Hence having Sonos and Squeezebox equipment.

Sonos lacks the direct streaming, that's all.

Multi room sync isn't important to me because I'm only ever in one room at a time, and if two different zones are playing at the same time, 95% they'll be playing something different.

If my bedroom and the kitchen happen to be playing the same thing, it's utterly irrelevant to me if they are playing slightly out of sync. I can only be in one room at a time.

So to me, direct steaming is more useful than multiroom sync.


It is unfortunate that Sonos identifies their products as "wireless speakers" because they in fact are not.


They communicate without wires. How does that not make them wireless? Wireless does not mean that it uses Bluetooth protocol or any/every other wireless communication protocol that exists. By your definition, does that mean that all the Bluetooth speakers out there are not wireless because they cannot communicate through wifi?


Clearly my point was not that Sonos products aren't wireless but that they are not really speakers as such. They are devices built to retrieve files and streams from remote locations and convert them to audio. If your computer outputs sound to audio files or as a url that it streams from in a compatible format then Sonos can play it. If not then of course it can't.


All Sonos devices are basically music streamers. Some of those devices (the Play series) have built-in speakers while others (the more agile and therefore superior in my opinion Connect and Connect Amp) do not. It is useless to apply specific expectations to a music streamer to do things it is not designed to do just because it has been improperly identified as a general purpose wireless speaker. General purpose wireless speakers do exist, but Sonos doesn't make any.


Saying it's just a music streamer is somewhat of a weird way of looking at it, and ignores some of it's best features. It's hard to find a music streamer that can communicate and be in sync (or not) with other music streamers in your home. That can be bonded with other devices to create stereo, 5.1 audio, etc. That will also have such flexibility in music sources. That has the level of control that sonos has..


Not following you about hard to find. My Squeezeboxes are music streamers and sync like Sonos. Streaming products from Denon, Bluesound, DTS Play-Fi, etc. all sync like Sonos. These are all very flexible streaming products and some of them include speaker models like the Sonos Play series but none of them are general purpose wireless speakers.

But no, they are not general purpose wireless, which I guess means Bluetooth.

Bluetooth is just a connection mechanism like an optical cable or Analog RCA. To be general purpose wireless speaker you would need a transmitter that accepts an audio signal (as opposed to a file or a stream) and sends it wirelessly to a remote speaker or receiver connected to a remote speaker. You can then connect the transmitter to a PC, stereo, or anything that puts out sound and that sound will play through the remote speakers.

Sonos does not do this natively but can be adapted to operate in a similar mode by using a Connect as the transmitter and letting it translate the audio into a stream that Sonos speakers can receive directly. If you really want to connect via Bluetooth you can add a $20 Bluetooth receiver to a Connect. Either way you need to use a Connect (or Play5) to translate the audio into a stream that Sonos devices can grab because they are wireless audio streamers not wireless speakers.
My opinion is that sample accurate multi room sync is a very, very niche requirement compared to the ability to stream audio from a device to your Sonos speaker. I personally have zero use for multi room sync.
You may have a point in that I don't see any use for it in different rooms either, but in a large open space living+dining+kitchen, where I have three zones to cover the whole space without music having to be too loud in any place, it is invaluable. Is this a super niche case - I could not say.

Another Sonos USP that also may be getting eroded over time is of using one NAS to pipe different music in different rooms. As more people turn to streaming services, this is also no longer a big deal for them because each occupant can stream whatever they please from single room solutions as well.

With voice and home automation also presenting challenges, these no doubt are testing times for Sonos. Perhaps more than any since the days when it was getting established. I believe Sonos recognises this, as well as the need to be more agile. Will this recognition translate into outcomes? Only time can tell.