Question

First Sonos purchase

  • 24 February 2017
  • 11 replies
  • 360 views

In our bedroom we have a clock radio on which we use as an alarm and listen to the news every morning. We also have our 20-year-old stereo receiver with CD player and turntable wired to floor standing speakers that we listen to only a few times per year.

We both want more music in our lives. Can I get Sonos 5 and be done with it, or is there a less expensive alternative that uses some of the existing equipment? (I do understand that we have to get our music onto the network, but I don't know how expensive or satisfactory streaming is.)

Thank you for your suggestions.

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11 replies


We both want more music in our lives.

In just the world of Sonos, there are many ways to skin that desirable cat.
But any way that you choose, needs a stable WiFi environment in the home as a foundation, and I assume that is in place.
The other question - do you feel any need to retain the 20 year old set up - other than the CDs? For now I assume that this isn't the case, only because adding a Sonos front end to it isn't cheap. The required Connect is more expensive than a play 1 speaker.
Now if you also have a large CD collection that you must be able to listen to, you will at some time need to buy a device called a NAS - just a wired to the router hard disc drive that costs about USD 100, to which you will transfer the contents of all your CDs, so that any Sonos unit in the house can access these.
My suggestion would be to get just one play 1 unit and see how things go with that, with music streaming from the net. The 1 unit is a very versatile building block that also does decent music on its own. If that works well, adding another 1 unit to it allows for music in two rooms or as a stereo pair in one room and changing over from stereo to two rooms occasionally is also very easy. As is relocating the stereo pair to another room.
For now, I also suggest holding on to your bedroom solution until you settle on using the 1 unit in a way that is just as convenient. As I said, the NAS purchase can also wait, so the best way is to start with just one play 1 unit, and use that for streaming and alarms in the bedroom and move forward from there in time. But until the NAS purchase decision gets made, hold on to the 20 year old kit.
Music streaming, even from hundreds of free radio stations, is quite satisfactory and often of excellent sound quality. The paid music services for about USD 10 a month give you more control over what to listen to. Of course you will also have to pay the charges for the broadband internet service, but that ought not to be more than what you are paying today for it.
In fairness, I must also point out that if you want more music in just the bedroom, there is a simpler and cheaper way to get this, via a bluetooth speaker. For the price of the 1 unit, you can get excellent sound quality provided by a used handheld device dedicated to providing music + quality Bluetooth speaker, with the handheld left in the vicinity of the speaker. Music streaming/Internet service can both be accessed via the handheld device and played via the speaker. Of course there must be a decent Wifi signal in the room.

And in all probability, the same handheld can be wired to the stereo receiver for the times you want the same music via the floor standers.

Sonos becomes value for money only when all its features are used and simultaneous multi room play - either the same music or different - is a big part of this story. If that isn't a requirement, value delivery for the money can be a challenge for Sonos.
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hi Colovaca, Welcome to the community!

While I do agree with kumar in the post above, I might make a few different suggestions, but please consider my view just one more of the above mentioned "ways to skin the cat" and more colour commentary around the decisions ahead of you .

Much of the answer depends largely on you, the space you wish to fill with music, and your typically preferred choice of music.

If you know in your gut that the 20 year old system simply isn't going to be used when you more fully go to wireless music, and you can think of better uses for the space they currently occupy, (even if it is to be open space and "clean up the look") then there are a variety of great options that you can consider that do have you eliminating that system and likely not missing it. I know I don't miss mine. At all.

However, if that 20 year old system is a core part of who you are and was insanely great quality when you bought it and needs to be retained as part of the audio environment... well then you certainly can connect that system to a Sonos setup (through a device called a "Connect") and continue to utilize it. (as kumar says... it isn't really a "cheaper" option.) But in my opinion, a legacy system is materially different in the experience you get in interacting with Sonos because there is a process of needing to turn it on, ensure correct selection of inputs, etc. etc... Not so with Sonos Players. The Sonos products are permanently connected wireless audio devices that are designed to always be available. So high quality audio is always just a few "clicks" away.

Yes, you can get a Play5 "and be done with it"... but as discussed, there are options that you will need to select from.

You may find more utility with a pair of play 1's that you set up as a stereo pair. A little less money, less bass response, but still alarmingly good audio from an incredibly small footprint. I fill an office space in my house with a pair of Play1s and love it... I also have a pair or Play 1s in our master bedroom, and again, I find they provide excellent audio for the cost and for the size of the space. The Play 5 has broader frequency response, and exceptional audio built into a single housing that is a truly exceptional device... It can fill a larger space... and a pair of these as a "stereo pair" (that just means telling the Sonos controller you want them to each separate the "left" and "right" audio channels between them) is truly exceptional. A pair of Play 5s bonded in the app as a stereo pair will rival many many many many (maybe the vast majority) of "20 year old systems". I have a Pair of play 5s in a living room space and I know playing them alone is certainly better audio than a "quality" stereo I had 20 years ago.

Along with this, I want to highlight the convenience and quality of digital music. For a relatively low cost, Spotify, Apple Music, etc, (you pick your preferred flavour), provides an amazing access to quality audio. Yes, I do have my old CD library all "ripped" to a network storage device from which I can pull any of my music to play anywhere, but the truth is, I explore an amazing amount of music from the access available in a service. Additionally, my wife doesn't love complex electronics, but loves music. Now that we have transitioned to Sonos devices, I now often come home to find my home filled with music in a way that simply never happened before because of the quality and ease of access that Sonos provides.

That leads to the (tongue in cheek) warning 😉 If you do want "more music in your lives". (And I totally get, and love, this comment from you) I suspect you are not likely to just "get a Play5 and be done with it." Because you will eventually want a PLay5 in the kitchen, and a pari of PLay1s in the bedroom and a pair of 5s in the den... you get the idea. Some of us jokingly refer to the addiction, but as an example - the truth is when I go into my basement .. that as of yet does not have Sonos devices in the space, the inability to have music follow me seems like the space lacks something. So I know I will fill that space sooner or later. Having said that... you do not need to do everything at once.

The Play 1 is exceptionally versatile and is a simple way to start, but if you need to hear deeper base because of what you like to listen to, you will prefer a Play 5... If you do start with 1's ... don't worry about it ever being a mistake, you will be able to use them somewhere. Also, if you buy direct from Sonos they do have a 45 day return policy... and many vendors will have 14 days or so... feel free to purchase a pair of PLay1's and if they don't feel perfect, return them for a Play5... step by step Sonos will absolutely help you bring more music back into your lives. It is what Sonos does... and they do it better than anyone in my (biased) opinion. Enjoy the journey!
if you need to hear deeper base because of what you like to listen to, you will prefer a Play 5... If you do start with 1's ...
A small correction to the above quote from an excellent post: you can also get base that is just as deep from a 1 unit that you may start with, by anchoring it later with a Sub that goes even louder than a 5. Just underscoring the versatility of the 1 unit and why I recommend it as the first building block, IF you think you will be doing more building. My second post amplifies this IF.
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if you need to hear deeper base because of what you like to listen to, you will prefer a Play 5... If you do start with 1's ...
A small correction to the above quote from an excellent post: you can also get base that is just as deep from a 1 unit that you may start with, by anchoring it later with a Sub that goes even louder than a 5. Just underscoring the versatility of the 1 unit and why I recommend it as the first building block, IF you think you will be doing more building. My second post amplifies this IF.



... ok well sure... but given that the OP stated "....or is there a less expensive alternative... " I wasn't about to throw an $899 dedicated SUB into the mix 😛

We both want more music in our lives.

In just the world of Sonos, there are many ways to skin that desirable cat.
But any way that you choose, needs a stable WiFi environment in the home as a foundation, and I assume that is in place.
The other question - do you feel any need to retain the 20 year old set up - other than the CDs? For now I assume that this isn't the case, only because adding a Sonos front end to it isn't cheap. The required Connect is more expensive than a play 1 speaker.
Now if you also have a large CD collection that you must be able to listen to, you will at some time need to buy a device called a NAS - just a wired to the router hard disc drive that costs about USD 100, to which you will transfer the contents of all your CDs, so that any Sonos unit in the house can access these.
My suggestion would be to get just one play 1 unit and see how things go with that, with music streaming from the net. The 1 unit is a very versatile building block that also does decent music on its own. If that works well, adding another 1 unit to it allows for music in two rooms or as a stereo pair in one room and changing over from stereo to two rooms occasionally is also very easy. As is relocating the stereo pair to another room.
For now, I also suggest holding on to your bedroom solution until you settle on using the 1 unit in a way that is just as convenient. As I said, the NAS purchase can also wait, so the best way is to start with just one play 1 unit, and use that for streaming and alarms in the bedroom and move forward from there in time. But until the NAS purchase decision gets made, hold on to the 20 year old kit.
Music streaming, even from hundreds of free radio stations, is quite satisfactory and often of excellent sound quality. The paid music services for about USD 10 a month give you more control over what to listen to. Of course you will also have to pay the charges for the broadband internet service, but that ought not to be more than what you are paying today for it.
Thank you. This makes sense. And yes, I have good wifi throughout the house.
Thank you Kumar and Sharkb8t. I have learned a lot from both of you, and see lots of options going forward. I think I will start with a one in the bedroom. If it does what I hope, and we adapt to our new options, another for the kitchen and some stereo options are next!
I just ordered a pair of one's for either bedroom and kitchen or stereo in the bedroom. Thanks again.
You'll find, Colovaca, that those pair of Play:1s will require you to purchase more "friends" for them. It's an incredibly convenient system, and you'll be telling yourself "Hey, I need music in this room, too, so maybe just one more...." many times, if you're anything like me 🙂
I just ordered a pair of one's for either bedroom and kitchen or stereo in the bedroom.
Good start.
Keep in mind that while you can start with using it on the Wifi in standard mode, and stay in that mode if things work well, recommended practice is to wire any one Sonos unit to the router, so that it sets up a dedicated to audio WiFi layer called Sonosnet. If wiring any of the 1 units is not physically convenient, get a Boost to wire it to the router and the Boost will then communicate to every other Sonos unit wirelessly on Sonosnet.

So if you see problems of unstable music play in standard mode, before buying any more Sonos kit, do what it takes to move to Sonosnet mode.

Good luck and happy listening!