Workaround for Line-In on Play:3?


Userlevel 2
I'm thinking about getting my first Sonos equipment to play music from my computer and from a CD player. Right now I'm thinking I'll get the Play:5, only because it has line-in. I'd rather get a pair of Play:3 speakers because I think in the long run I'd like a pair of 3s more than a single 5 (especially if I want to use the 3s as part of a surround sound set-up later). Additionally, I'm new to this all but the more I read about an NAS set-up, the more I'm interested. Therefore, I may see myself setting up an NAS in the future and I would no longer need the line-in. I'm just not ready to go all in (two Play:3's and a NAS) just right now.

Therefore, is there a workaround for line-in on the Play3?

20 replies

Welcome to the forums.

Whilst there are workarounds which send PC audio over the network -- by setting it up as a local 'radio station' -- there is no solution for physically connecting a CD player (or a PC for that matter) which doesn't involve a Line-In jack somewhere.

Clearly ripping CDs to digital music files is the long term answer, from which point your CD player will gather dust somewhere.

If you're set on the 2xPlay:3 (which IMO is a great solution) then one possibility would be to pick up a used ZP80 off eBay, which could then serve as the Line-In device.
Userlevel 2
Thanks for the ZP80 suggestion. I considered the Connect as a possible workaround (albeit expensive for my intended usage). Unfortunately there does not seem to be a good supply of ZP80s on eBay right now.

Overall, how would you compare the sound of one Play:5 as opposed to a Play:3 pair?

Overall, how would you compare the sound of one Play:5 as opposed to a Play:3 pair?


The pair sounds better because it allows for the physical separation of left and right channels for the necessary stereo imaging that a single play 5 cannot yield.

Setting up a NAS is very simple - instead of looking for line in workarounds, that would be the way to go, even with a single 3. Since you have music on the computer, moving it to the NAS won't take the time involved in ripping CDs to move their contents across.
Userlevel 1
But if you have the music on the computer you don't actually need a NAS straight away, just share the music folder on the computer and point the Sonos at it, surely?
But if you have the music on the computer you don't actually need a NAS straight away, just share the music folder on the computer and point the Sonos at it, surely?

Doing this wirelessly may/may not work, and if the latter, Sonos won't support or suggest solutions?

Although looking at the 4.1 beta announcement, it looks like that is going to change, if I understand what that post says.
Userlevel 2
The music on my computer is in mp3 format which I like to have to sync to my iPhone. If I was doing away with CDs entirely, I would like to have the CDs in FLAC on the NAS (not enough room on my laptop's hard drive). My hesitation is between spending $450 for the Play:5 and bridge as opposed to $1000+ for 2xPlay:3, a bridge, and a NAS (thinking about a Synology212 - I know there are cheaper options but if I am going to set up a NAS, I might as well get something nice). Basically, considering I'm new to all of his, making a $450 investment is more palatable than a $1000 investment, but I know he $1000 setup would likely benefit me more in the long run.
My hesitation is between spending $450 for the Play:5 and bridge as opposed to $1000+ for 2xPlay:3, a bridge, and a NAS (thinking about a Synology212 - I know there are cheaper options but if I am going to set up a NAS, I might as well get something nice). Basically, considering I'm new to all of his, making a $450 investment is more palatable than a $1000 investment, but I know he $1000 setup would likely benefit me more in the long run.

If it is for audio alone, a NAS doesn't need to be nice, just good enough - about a 100 dollars? And I remember reading about bridges throw in for free in the US.
Userlevel 2
Free bridges? That is news to me - where have you seen this offered?

Maybe since I will have hard copy back-ups (the actual CDs) I don't necessarily need to worry about getting a RAID NAS setup right now.

Any recommendations for an affordablw but reliable 2 TB NAS?
At times Sonos have included the Bridge for free in bundles with Play:3 and/or Play:5.

A straightforward NAS is the Western Digital My Book Live. Go for a single drive version and keep backup copies, ideally with one off-site. RAID is all very well for a single HDD failure but it won't protect you if disaster befalls the entire unit.

BTW treating the original CDs as backups is fine as a last ditch option, but you really won't want to be spending weeks re-ripping everything.
Userlevel 2
Free bridges? That is news to me - where have you seen this offered?

Maybe since I will have hard copy back-ups (the actual CDs) I don't necessarily need to worry about getting a RAID NAS setup right now.

Any recommendations for an affordablw but reliable 2 TB NAS?


I got a free bridge with my play 3s last week mate (based in Scotland):

hificorner.co.uk
Free bridges? That is news to me - where have you seen this offered?

Maybe since I will have hard copy back-ups (the actual CDs) I don't necessarily need to worry about getting a RAID NAS setup right now.

Any recommendations for an affordablw but reliable 2 TB NAS?


Free bridges? On this forum, people referring to offers at Target or Best Buy. No personal experience.

My NAS is a simple WD My Passport USB drive that plugs into the router. My back up is another similar drive, mirrored manually, that was lying around unused.

The USB drive has worked fine for me for over 18 months now, but the usual recommendation here is the WD drive that has its own power supply.

And although legally you need to hold on to the CDs, backing up ripped files asap is always a good idea to not have to do that chore again.
Userlevel 2
Thanks for all the feedback.

I do know that having the physical CDs as my only backup is far from ideal, I only
meant to say I wouldn't experience total data loss if the single drive NAS crashes.

Maybe I will get a pair of Play:3s and a simple NAS. It does seem as though the WD MyBook Live has a lot of mediocre reviews (CNet, Amazon, Newegg). If it doesn't have a USB port, I guess I would need another NAS to back it up too? Also, at that point, won't I be spending close to what I would end up spending on a dual drive RAID NAS (like the Synology)?
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
I use three QNAP NAS boxes in RAID 1. I recently had a single disk drive fail. It was quickly replaced, and the mirror rebuilt itself. I also then changed the (perfectly good) 2nd disk, just so they were a matched pair again, of identical age.

...won't I be spending close to what I would end up spending on a dual drive RAID NAS (like the Synology)?

Don't put blind faith in a dual drive RAID configuration. What happens if the NAS electronics itself should fail? No separate backup, and you are still sunk!
It does seem as though the WD MyBook Live has a lot of mediocre reviews (CNet, Amazon, Newegg).
I would treat a lot of the 1-star reviews on Amazon with a measure of caution. Read their text and set it against your probable use as a simple SMB/CIFS file server for Sonos.

If it doesn't have a USB port, I guess I would need another NAS to back it up too?
No. Back it up to a USB drive off your computer. Better still, back up the rips to the USB drive in batches as you do them, and then mirror to the NAS. That way you're getting fast transfer to the USB drive and check-pointing your ripping process.
Userlevel 2
I would treat a lot of the 1-star reviews on Amazon with a measure of caution. Read their text and set it against your probable use as a simple SMB/CIFS file server for Sonos.

Just curiously, what would I miss out on having a simple NAS as opposed to a more robust system?


No. Back it up to a USB drive off your computer. Better still, back up the rips to the USB drive in batches as you do them, and then mirror to the NAS. That way you're getting fast transfer to the USB drive and check-pointing your ripping process.


I'm not quite sure I understood that. Are you suggesting that ideally I would have an external hard drive wired to my computer, back up directly to that, and then mirror the external drive to the NAS?

Thanks again for all of this help.
Just curiously, what would I miss out on having a simple NAS as opposed to a more robust system?
It depends what you want. Sonos' needs are simple: it just requires an SMB/CIFS file sharing service. Sonos asks for files; the NAS has no idea what Sonos is going to do with them.

The WD NAS, in common with many, offers additional services such as a Twonky DLNA server and an iTunes server. Sonos requires none of these. If they're not needed, I'd recommend turning them off.

If you don't require a background backup service from your computer to the NAS then don't install/enable that either.

A fancier NAS might well offer further services, plus the ability to load your own programs. It could also have different flavours of RAID.

I'm not quite sure I understood that. Are you suggesting that ideally I would have an external hard drive wired to my computer, back up directly to that, and then mirror the external drive to the NAS?
Transactions with your internal hard drive will be much faster than with a USB or network drive. It therefore makes sense to rip to the internal HDD and complete all your processing of a batch of music files locally before uploading them to anywhere else.

During your ripping programme I'd suggest you:
- rip in conveniently sized batches of CDs (perhaps a day's worth) to your internal hard drive
- perform any additional format conversions as required
- do ReplayGain analysis if you need it and the ripper hasn't already done so
- carry out any necessary artwork and tag edits

Once the batch is complete, copy to your USB drive and upload to the NAS.

Rinse and repeat with the next batch of CDs.
Russell,
I started small by buying a Play 5 and a Play 3. I had the intention getting a NAS. I have decided against that. I have about 1500 songs on my iPad and I use radio services and subscription services.

I rarely use my own music and use Slacker and RDIO.

Right out of the box, SONOS has lots of functionality without playing your own library. For me, I love finding new music and old faves on the various services.
Userlevel 2
Russell,
I started small by buying a Play 5 and a Play 3. I had the intention getting a NAS. I have decided against that. I have about 1500 songs on my iPad and I use radio services and subscription services.

I rarely use my own music and use Slacker and RDIO.

Right out of the box, SONOS has lots of functionality without playing your own library. For me, I love finding new music and old faves on the various services.


Thanks for your input. It's good to hear from someone who came from a similar place. Based on my listening habits now (I only listen to my own music), I imagine I'll continue to do the same. As an aside, what services can you use for free on the Sonos? For example, does Spotify free work?

Ultimately, I think I'm going to get the Play:5.

Downsides:
  • Doesn't sound as good as a stereo pair - but then again, every review says the 3 alone sounds great, the 5 is better, a pair of 3s is better, adding a sub is better still . . . no matter what, there is always something better. I'm sure I'll be pleased with the sound of one Play:5. And if I wanted to later on, I could always add another Play:5 for a very pricey stereo pair.
  • Would need to set-up NAS for lossless audio
  • Can't be used for a 5.1 setup - Who knows if and I'll ever set this up. It'd be nice for the future, but I think buying 3's just for this reason is getting ahead of myself.


The Line-In is a make or break for me. It is great for other audio sources - YouTube videos from a computer, friend's mp3 player, etc. If I get the Play:5, I can always setup the NAS later (or not if I so choose).

It's just too bad the Play:3 doesn't have a Line-In.
Userlevel 1
I'm sure I'll be pleased with the sound of one Play:5. And if I wanted to later on, I could always add another Play:5 for a very pricey stereo pair.
Very pricey? A pair of Play:5s is, what, 700 quid? Try getting a traditional amp and speakers for that money and you won't get much beyond entry level gear. AND you'll still need a Sonos Connect to actually use them as part of a Sonos system or some other source.

Price, it's all relative.

Reply