Looking to install a Sonos system for common areas of a hostel, and need advice!

  • 16 May 2023
  • 3 replies


I’m currently looking at different options for setting up a sound system for a hostel. It involves installing several speakers to cover a rather large (fully open & connected) common area, including a reception, café and dining hall. Total probably 7 speakers, plus or minus. (either Era 100, One SL, or a combination. Recommendations between these two are also greatly appreciated!). All controlled with an iPad in our reception/café.


I’m finding it a bit difficult to figure out just by the information online, so I’m wondering if anyone knows whether or not a Sonus system could satisfy the following example use cases?:)


  1. Three specifically selected speakers playing the same music, the rest are silent.
  2.  All speakers playing the same music, but with the ability to adjust volume per speaker.
  3. Three speakers playing the same music, and a fourth one playing its own music from a different source. (could also be from a different iPad, if that is needed to work as a separate sound source).
  4. One speaker receiving audio via Line In, and the rest playing back that same audio in sync. Will be used either for playing via AUX from a computer or similar, or hooking up a small mixer and broadcasting a microphone signal or similar for one-time events.
  5. The same scenario as above, but with Line In-signal playing on a selected few of the speakers, and the rest either playing music regularly or silent.


Additional info:

  • Stereo separation isn’t too important, as the system will mostly be playing background music. Better sound quality is always appreciated though (e.g. the Era 100 being able to playback without summing to mono, but I don’t know how much this affects the listening experience?).
  • “Weird” solutions are also a possibility, I don’t have a problem with wiring up some XLR cables, cable adapters etc. if it’s needed:)


Thanks for any and all thoughts! Please let me know if I’ve worded something unclearly, and I’ll try to explain my situation better. The Sonus products look incredibly relevant, so I’m hoping it will be able to meet my somewhat specific demands. It would solve a lot of problems!

3 replies

All of your use cases are not a problem and pretty standard for Sonos.  Since you are talking about a business playing in public areas, you are probably a good fit for a Sonos Pro.  This will ensure you’re using properly licensed content,  and better/remote administration of the system.  

As far as which speakers to get, I would use Era 100s.  The One SLs are fine too, but they are older speakers.  All Sonos work wirelessly, but since lots of people in a space can interfere with WiFi signals, I would wire them as much as possible.

Note that Sonos is not good to use as a PA system, as all audio coming from the line in source is buffered slightly.

Thank you so much! Seems like this system will do just about anything!

As a last question, I was wondering about the Bluetooth/AirPlay connectivity. How will that work in a “public” setting? The plan is to have the system connected at all times to an iPad in the café, whether playing music or not, but is there a way to stop unauthorized people from connecting and playing their own music, or otherwise abusing the system? I’ve seen that Sonos Pro has some solutions for disabling AirPlay/Bluetooth, but I would still like to use that system for controlling the music. I want to play everything directly from the Spotify app, but as I’ve understood it, Sonos Pro uses its own external app for playback? Is there a best-of-both-worlds solution there?

Airplay works over WiFi, and therefore, you have access to the WiFi network to use it.  That should eliminate your customers using it, but employees may have access to the WiFi network.  I believe Sonos Pro has a way of further controlling this.

Blutooth requires pairing, and once paired to a device, you shouldn’t be able to pair to a different device without releasing the first device.  That should give some measure of security, but Sonos Pro may have additional security, or you can turn bluetooth off.

Generally speaking, the Sonos speakers play music all on their own (airplay and bluetooth are exceptions), and the Sonos app is just a remote control. So to say “Sonos Pro uses its own external app for playback” isn’t really correct.   You can use certain music service apps to control Sonos as well, like Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora.  This is generally refered to as casting, where you Spotify app would not play on your phone/tablet, but tell the Sonos speaker to play the audio instead.  I don’t use Spotify, so can’t tell you exactly how this works.  In some cases, your phone needs to be on the same WiFi as Sonos.  With Amazon for example, Amazon has my Sonos credentials so I can cast from anywhere.  I have no idea what sort of restrictions or additional features Sonos Pro would bring.