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Sonos beginner looking for where to start

  • 18 September 2019
  • 5 replies
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We're doing a major home reno and want to upgrade to Sonos for music and TV sound. Currently my music is coming off iTunes on a Windows PC via an Apple Airport (I know, I know) to my old component system. We just use big TV built-in speakers. We're not big special-effects-movie people so we're probably going to go with a Beam rather an a Surround Sound setup for living room. So I have questions.

1) I'm one of those guys with 80 gigs of music on his computer, and I'd still rather play from the PC -- and use my years of iTunes playlists -- to play through the Sonos. Can I do that?
2) Should I get another Beam for music in the kitchen or do I need to go to separate standalone Sonos speakers? Advantages?
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Best answer by Airgetlam 18 September 2019, 20:50

First paragraph: The Beam is also part of a surround system.....but then again, none of Sonos' sound bars require the surround speakers, they all will work as front right, center and left speakers. 🙂 The Beam just happens to have all of the latest "tech" in it.

1) Yes, and no. Or maybe no, and yes. In the Sonos system, you don't "play from the PC". The Sonos system plays from the speakers. You point the Sonos system at the data on your PC and it then goes out and grabs the music from your PC to play, as long as the PC is up and running, and not asleep in any way. The controller app, which you can run on your PC if you so choose, is merely a remote control to tell the Sonos system running on the speakers what to do.

2) I'd recommend different speakers for the kitchen, perhaps the Sonos SL, or the Sonos One. They're smaller in size than the Beam is, and can be tucked away in various locations more easily. And would probably distribute the music better. I've got a pair of Sonos Ones set up as a stereo pair in my kitchen. Awesome sound.
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First paragraph: The Beam is also part of a surround system.....but then again, none of Sonos' sound bars require the surround speakers, they all will work as front right, center and left speakers. 🙂 The Beam just happens to have all of the latest "tech" in it.

1) Yes, and no. Or maybe no, and yes. In the Sonos system, you don't "play from the PC". The Sonos system plays from the speakers. You point the Sonos system at the data on your PC and it then goes out and grabs the music from your PC to play, as long as the PC is up and running, and not asleep in any way. The controller app, which you can run on your PC if you so choose, is merely a remote control to tell the Sonos system running on the speakers what to do.

2) I'd recommend different speakers for the kitchen, perhaps the Sonos SL, or the Sonos One. They're smaller in size than the Beam is, and can be tucked away in various locations more easily. And would probably distribute the music better. I've got a pair of Sonos Ones set up as a stereo pair in my kitchen. Awesome sound.
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You will need an Android or IOS device to set up the system, as this cannot be done from the PC. It is also worth running a Sonos utility called Trueplay, which adjusts the speakers’ output to compensate for any acoustic peculiarities of your rooms. This can only be done on an IOS device - eg iPhone.

Your playlists will import and you and you can create new ones. But there is a limit of, I think, 64,000 tracks in the Sonos environment.

IMHO, you will get better stereo separation and imaging from 2 One’s than you will from a Beam.
Thank you both for thoughtful answers so I'll ask more 😉 ... we currently run an Eero mesh network, and I see Sonos also offers some sort of signal boost device. Will the Sonos use the Eero bandwidth or is it on its own frequencies?
Yes, and sometimes yes :)

There are sometimes some peculiarities on mesh networks. Generally, Sonos suggests that your run on their own SonosNet network. You can indeed use a Sonos BOOST to do so, or in fact just wiring one of their speakers to your router with an ethernet cable creates that same network. It all depends on how close you end up putting speakers to your router as to whether you may want to use the BOOST.

You can search this forum (note: I recommend using Google, the search function on this forum is hit or miss, frequently) for Eero installations. I think you can pretty much have any mesh network work, if you're careful about setup. For instance, Sonos expects all wifi connections to be on the same channel. I'm not an expert in any way about mesh networks, though, so that Google search or more questions are appropriate. There's a lot of frequent users here who have an significantly greater knowledge of networking than I do, and you'll certainly get better responses from them than you would from me.

I happen to run using a BOOST, and I've got about 18 Sonos speakers, give or take. It works for me, and it keeps the music I'm streaming off of my own wifi. I'm fond of that system, it basically just works, so I've never tried connecting directly to my wifi itself.
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I second Airgetlam about using the BOOST for your Sonos network. To borrow an Apple phrase, It just works!

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