Should I invest in sonos ?


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Great to find a dedicated forum.

This journey started by looking at soundbars lol

Anyway I currently have a Squeezebox which I love when it works properly. I particularly like using Spotify on it (see below)

I am old school having come from LPs, cassette tapes and CDs. However I am now signed up to Spotify and my LPs are in some dusty box somewhere and my CD sit unused on a shelf. I do have a NAS and have ripped all my CDs to that but not really that easy to get to them. I have an AV amp with a few HDMI ports on it that drive my surround sound for Sky and streaming from a Mac Mini. Its aging a little and I doubt I will replace it as its just too loud to use the subwoofer which sits idle in the corner most of the time and acts as a side table lol

Anyway I think Spotify has changed the way I listen to music now. I run it on my android phone, Ipad and Mac Book Pro. Basically I love it, any song any time (mobile even) for £9.99.

I have a little X-Mini speaker which is great for out and about and as I said my Squeeze box is great when it works.

Ok thats the background. So as I said I have been looking at soundbars mainly to replace my aging surround sound system and allow blue tooth to play from my spotify devices. I went to look at them and the guy from RicherSounds showed me Sonos lol

Wondering if to just start and try with a Play1 ? though I see I could also hook in my existing HiFi with the Sonos Connect ?

I think the only advantage of the Sonos against a stand alone bluetooth speaker/sound bar is the ability to set up zones and play throughout the house. I am sick of all these separate systems and want something integrated and love how everything can be controlled through an app.

I have also been looking at

Cambridge Audio Minx Go

and/or

Maxell MXSP-SB3000

Would I be better to just start with a Play 1 and see how I get on. It seems with Sonos you cant play direct from Spotify for example but have to run their App ? Their App does not for example include iplayer so if I was using my iPad with Sky Go or iPlayer I could not stream to a Sonos device ?

Regards

Jerry

60 replies

I would go with a connect added to your surround amp. Whilst the Play 1/3/5 units are very good an amp with speakers always wins for me.

As you are in the UK you could try a Connect from theses guys http://www.simplysoundandvision.co.uk They offer some form of 30 day guarantee, in that if it does not work as thought you can get a refund.

If you have an Android device you can use the Google Music software and cast to the Sonos directly.
shevans wrote:


If you have an Android device you can use the Spotify software and cast to the Sonos directly.



Are you sure about this?
wadgel wrote:

Are you sure about this?




Oops, sorry its Google play music that does this, but you can cast music from your Android device directly. Google music is also more reliable than Spotify.
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Thanks for the replies. I am thinking I may start by trying one of the Play 1's to see if I like the interface rather than commit to the more expensive connect devices :o

Regards

Jerry
All Sonos equipment sells well on eBay so you won't have any issue getting rid but you will probably get another.... Play 1's paired make for a rather nice setup.
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I have the Spotify app integrated into the Sonos app. I launch the Sonos app, click Spotify and select my tracks voila!

BTW the Sonos soundbar is great for music as well as TV.
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Sonos is a BIG difference compared to Bluetooth on so many layers. Let me outline some key features:

- BT needs pairing / connecting the speaker. If you leave the room, you have to reconnect. You cannot be connected to more than 1 speaker at a time. Very uncomfortable experience. And BT is very limited in sound quality. There is no point in streaming 320kBit/s if that is castrated by BT.

- With BT, you always stream from your mobile device to the speaker. Leave the right BT distance and the speaker stutters and/or stops. Apart from that, with BT your mobile drains the battery faster, as it needs to receive the music and play it via BT. With Sonos, your mobile is only a (very nice) remote, the speakers pull the music themselves. You can leave the house with the mobile or even switch off the mobile completely. It will simply continue to play.

- With Sonos, you can use more than one controller at the same time. So it doesn't matter if you start playing on your mobile phone and continue adjusting playlists on your iPad. Both controllers show the same.

- The most amazing thing is the "multiroom". That has completely transformed me from someone not hearing too much music to a "regular". It is so amazing going through your space and having music neatlessly everywhere. That is a thing you definitely cannot have with a BT speaker, you cannot even have it with Airplay. If you start with one play1, you will for sure continue, until all of your rooms are covered. ;)

- Yes, you will not use the Spotify app with Sonos, but you will use the Spotify section of the Sonos app. There is some reduced function, but the advantage of that approach is ONE unified interface for ALL services (and there are several other good ones as well, e.g. Pandora, Songza, Google Play, Thousands of radio stations - also Internet radio like "Digitally Imported").
And with that integration comes added functionality: you can search across all connected services, so a search can give you results from Spotify and your local resources as well.

- If you want to use the original apps, you can use a Airport Express with it's Airplay input and do what Airplay itself cannot do: play Airplay music across several rooms.

- If you still have several LPs and a player, you could even hook the LP player to a Sonos input and play your LPs in other rooms / your whole space. How cool is that? Old and modern combined. :D

- There is the Sonos Connect to plug your exisiting system into the Sonos world. There is however one problem: instead of "instant music", you will need to switch on your system, select the right input and possibly adjust the volume. All that is somehow against the "ease of use" you should experience. In my opinion, a Connect is best used with dedicated (active) speakers, where no other configuration is needed. In that case, the Sonos AMP may even be the better choice, as there you can use (often cheaper) passive speakers of your choice.

EDIT: to integrate your ripped CDs from you NAS is a very easy thing, simply add the network path to the configuration. There is a technical limit of ~64.000 songs in the DB max. You could however also sync your music to Google music (20.000 songs for free) and would not have to use the NAS at all.
Good post. A minor correction if I may:

Thunderbyte wrote:

There is a technical limit of ~64.000 songs in the DB max.



The limit is actually 65,000.
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Thanks, right. It is 65.000 songs. Well I have written "~". ;)

Apart from that I am under the impression, that this limit could also hit earlier, depending on how much metadata (ID3 etc) is stored in the file?

I personally do not really care. If you can have 20 million songs via Spotify on Sonos why should anyone care about the local 65.000 limit? 😮 The only service I use with my "own" music is my iTunes media, synced via Google Music, so that the Macbook does not have to be running. And that is WAY under 20.000 songs.

Spotify and Pandora are my most used services, I have a Premium "Digitally Imported" account running via TuneIn on Sonos and I have discovered "Sophisticated Indie" on Songza, a channel I really like. I almost NEVER use my local music (on Google Music) and do not even have a local share configured with Sonos, as that was not really necessary at all.
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Wow you guys are helpful :)

Well I bit the bullet. I went to JL and purchased two Play1's and a bridge. I had £150 of vouchers so wasn't so hard on the wallet. Plus they offer a 90 day return policy!

Having spent time before setting up a squeezebox radio I dug in and set about setting the sonos system up. Nothing like the fav of setting up my squeezebox radio. Within minutes I had the first Play 1 up and running :p

Its so easy! The squeezebox frustrates the hell out of my wife always freezing etc. Five more minutes and the second Play 1 was up and running. Its only after using it a for an hour or so you realise just how powerful sonos is! Forget a single BT speaker as stated. I am so glad skipped that and a a sound bar with BT capability.

Here is a few highlights for me, already expanded on by the time I came back to this thread

1. I have three devices i.e. two android phones and an iPad air running it. They all sync to whatever is playing and you can move from one device to another and take control where you left off!

2. My wife can use it and already sees how powerful it is!

3. The new Sonos app lets you search on spotify and any radio station. I have just discovered the power of internet radio! I soon had Radio 1, 2, 4, world service, local radio and a couple of country music stations saved in my Sonos favourites!

4. If you leave one Play 1 (in my kitchen) set to Radio 2 (my wife always listened to the queezebox in there) and disconnect your phone you can pause it on the Play 1 itself and restart it at will.

5. You can have different music playing on each Play 1 in different rooms or all sync up playing together.

I guess I sorted of read all this but nothing like trying it for real.

I haven't even connected my NAS box. I have a Synolgy NAS with 4 drives in it and about 2TB of space. I think you can plug this straight into the bridge network port.though quite frankly I don't see any point. I have everything on spotify and internet radio I could ever need to listen to.

I can see me buying a couple more of the Play 1s for the living room as I tried them in a stereo pair and they were more than enough volume for me. I think I might do this and just leave my existing AV as is and just use it for the telly till it breaks and then replace with more Sonos kit. That said the sound bar is very expensive. As stated by others here trying to faf around with hooking the AV into Sonos seems a pain having to switch on the amp, change input set volume etc. for the same cost as the Sonos connect I could just get another two Play 1s. If i wanted to replace the whole AV later I guess I would need to figure out how to connect both Sky and the Mac mini in and switching between the two. I kinda like the 5:1 surround or should I say 5:0 as I never switch on the Sub (that needs to go on ebay too). Anyway for now I think just get two more Play 1's along side my existing AV stereo speakers for listening to music in the main room.

Sonos NEED to release a portable/chargeable one of these Play 1s so I can use it in the bathroom or outside!

No doubt I will be back with more questions. The squeezebox radio is going on ebay (they still fetch a bit) and I will put the money to some more Play1s. Maybe I should check out a Play 3 though the 1s seem enough to me in a pair ? No dropouts yet so the bespoke Sonosnet WiFi seems do do the job well.

Jerry
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Hey! 🙂 Welcome to the growing Sonos user family. It won't be your last Sonos device... I am talking out of experience! ;)

jerrysimon wrote:


3. If you leave one Play 1 (in the kitchen) set to Radio 2 (my wife always listened to the queeze box in there) and disconnect your phone you can pause it on the Play 1 itself and restart it at will



Yeah, I use that all the time with the Play1 in my entry area, comin in and going out.

One small tip on that matter I have picked up somwhere here in the forum: if you use some personal radio (e.g. Pandora, Songza and others from the services list) or internet music services, you can skip to the next song via a quick double-press of the Play/Pause button. That does not work with "live radio", of course. I prefer those personal radios btw (where you can select e.g. an artist or a song), as there is no talk in between music and - if it is a Premium service - not even ads.

EDIT:
jerrysimon wrote:


I haven't even connected my NAS box.



Well, that is very easy as well. But consider using Google play instead and upload your stuff there.

that said the sound bar is very expensive.



Yep, it is, and it does not support DTS and has only one input. And you might need an additional Sub.

As state by others here trying to fav around with hooking the AV into sonos seems a pain haing to switch on the amp, change input set volume etc. for the same cost as the sonos connect I could just get another two Play 1.



That is exactly my opinion. The connect is too expensive as well and - as you wrote - your Amp is not always on and on the right volume. So no "instant on" experience.

Sonos need to release a portable/chargeable one of these Play 1s so I can use it in the bathroom or outside!



That would be nice. However have in mind, that you need to be in SonosNet and that might be a problem outside. You can use a Play1 in the bathroom already. For outside and mobile use, I have a Bose SoundLink mini with Bluetooth - amazing sound and rich bass in a very small and portable package. I even used it once outside during the soccer worldcup to "enrich" the TV sound. It did a great job giving me a "soccer stadium sound" (and saw my German team win - which has of course nothing to do with that 😉 ).

and I will put the money to some more Play1s.



Having bought a Play3 because I thought it would have a better sound for the sleeping room, it is my opinion that the Play1 sounds way better than the Play3.
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Thanks Thunderbyte I was still editing my post :)

As I said Sonos need to release a portable/rechargable Play 1

Ps seems you were editing as well. Thanks for the extra info. Two more Play 1's on the shopping list this week I think :)

Pps I don't have a power socket in my bathroom for obvious reasons lol

Regards

Jerry
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Keep finding new features :p

1. An alarm feature!

2. Forward song to new position of play. I thought this was not available in the Sonos app until I found it. Push the little circle with three vertical dots takes you to another menu :)

Jerry
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Ok went back to setting up my two Play 1's in the living room setup in a stereo pair to play like my hifi. I have two wall mounted Modaunt Short Avant 902i's and a Denon AV amp. Purchased these three or four years ago.

I A/B them and quite frankly the Play 1's blew my existing HiFi away in terms of treble detail, clarity and base. 😛

I guess small speaker design has improved a lot ?

I am going to buy another two or three Play 1s to spread around the house. The problem is I want to ditch all my existing HiFi/AV now running 5:0. I will start a new thread with my thoughts on how to do this ?

Regards

Jerry
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jerrysimon wrote:


I guess small speaker design has improved a lot ?



The Play1s are amazing indeed. And in my opinion better sounding than the bigger Play3s. Only the Play5s are better, but hey, they are almost twice the price.

The problem is I want to ditch all my existing HiFi/AV now running 5:0. I will start a new thread with my thoughts on how to do this



Well, as written in some other posts, Sonos is great for audio, but as a full replacement of a 5.1 VIDEO sound system, it has it's shortcomings. So as long as you use the Play1s for music - great.

You might however think about 1 or 2 Play5 or a Connect nevertheless, if you want to have some sort of line-in input, e.g. connected to an Airport Express for Airplay in the whole house. Only Play5, Connect or AMP have line-in inputs (the Playbar has one optical input).
Note that attaching PLAY:1 or PLAY:3 to a TV is not always practical because these units lack a Line-In. You may need to add a CONNECT. At this point you should step back and look at the total cost. A CONNECT (for the Line-In) plus two PLAY:1's is at the level of a PLAYBAR.
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buzz wrote:

Note that attaching PLAY:1 or PLAY:3 to a TV is not always practical because these units lack a Line-In. You may need to add a CONNECT. At this point you should step back and look at the total cost. A CONNECT (for the Line-In) plus two PLAY:1's is at the level of a PLAYBAR.



ThanksThunderbyte. Buzz thanks also and I realised that after a bit of thought :(

I really now want to ditch all older AV/HiFi "gubbins" though. I think I might buy a cheaper sound bar to tie me over until I get a new TV (The Panny Plasma 42" is still going great after 6 years) and then concentrate on the music around the house with the Play 1s.

Regards

Jerry
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OMG, what have I done today! :D

Our local tech mall had -19% on ALL stuff. WOW!

My instant buy was a Playbar and a Sub for an impossible price! :rolleyes: Jeez.

The Playbar is not yet on its final place but already sounds great. And the SUB!!! THE SUB!!! Friggin pumpin bass like hell! 😉 I thought it was too expensive, but way does it upgrade every Sonos component instantly to one serious setup.
Thunderbyte,

I'm sure that eyes roll when one of us praises SUB. "Fanboys" always praise, right? Be aware that, now that you have experienced SUB, you'll likely be thrown into that fanboy bin too. SUB is special.
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Dammit. Im in that SUB fanboy hole and cannot crawl out... :D

Dat bass!!! Once again. :o

Well, I can really see now, how that SUB can elevate a pair of 1s, 3s (I don't like 3s particularly),5s or the Playbar to something way "bigger".
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Thunderbyte wrote:

Dammit. Im in that SUB fanboy hole and cannot crawl out... :D

Dat bass!!! Once again. :o

Well, I can really see now, how that SUB can elevate a pair of 1s, 3s (I don't like 3s particularly),5s or the Playbar to something way "bigger".



Yeah well, add a pair of play 1s in a 5.1 config, crank them up to " full" surround and see what you get.

I pretty much have music on every second I'm home and not watching TV.
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I got a second Play5 yesterday at an impossible price. At the moment I have the 2x5s plus Sub configured as one System and the Playbar separate. As a group, that setup performs incredibly.

The final setup (I have to drill holes etc first) will rather be Playbar, Sub, 2x1s which I all have already at home (but the 1s in other rooms).

I am still experimenting what sounds best with what - as long as the setup is not yet finished that can be done easily.
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My playbar arrives tomorrow :D

At the moment I have my two Play 1s set up as a stereo pair in my main room. I have been listening to music I have not listened to for years and love the simplicity of a single stereo pair.

I am not sure what will happen when I install the playbar and if I will like music just through that as much. I am toying with using the two Play 1s for surround though I think the playbar, connects to them separately and they are then not available for this other configuration ?

I have two sofas in the room and was wondering if I could have the Play 1's to be setup for surround when I am watching telly with the playbar and then as a stereo pair when I move across to the other sofa to listen to music ?

If the playbar is sufficient for music on its own then I will move the Play 1's to the other rooms if not I still have two more Play 1's on my shopping list :rolleyes:

With the bridge thats about £1000 pounds spent! Oh well I am older now the kids have left home and music is my passion.

I also fancy a pair of the floor stands if I chose to keep the Play 1's in my main living room.

Jerry
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I have many of those questions myself right now and unfortunately I have had not yet time to test everything out.

Yesterday I was struck with awe with a configuration of 2xPlay5 with Sub added, together in a group with the playbar. VERY NICE and FULL sound. I can easily imagine that configuration filling a much bigger room (my living room is too small!).

My next setup will be Playbar with Sub and added Play1s (as it is supposed to be). If those devices are configured as 5.1, you will only see 1 "room" for all of those devices. You have to go to settings to crack that setup open if you want to use the Play1s separately. Somewhere I however seemed to have heard about some configuration, that lets you use the 5.1 configuration as "2x Stereo" with music. I cannot confirm that yet and will have to try out in the evening or tomorrow how that works out.

There are floor stands and wall mounts available for all speakers.
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Thanks Thunderbyte,

Yes I have seen the Sonos Play 1 specific stands and although again they are quite expensive they seem to get a good review.

As you say we will need to play around to see whats possible with different configurations. My living room is not that big so I think the playbar and couple of 1s will be sufficient. I already have a sub with my existing AV system and its never used because its too intrusive and my neighbors would be banging on my door in minutes.

Jerry

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