Would sonos work? External harddisk and wifi hotspot

  • 9 January 2019
  • 15 replies
  • 395 views

My home entertainment system is very limited: an ultrabook, an iphone that I use as home hotspot (I don't have other internet) and there's an old android tablet somewhere. All my music is stored on at the moment an external USB harddrive.

I want to play music in my livingroom from a tiny speaker without having cables all through that room. Is this possible? I need to get a bigger harddisk, thus I could potentially get a wireless one. I want to play whole albums that are stored in the file structure Alphabeth -> band -> album.

Would Sonos be a solution for that? I don't want to set up a server at home, build a tiny computer and I don't have the possibility to use anything but my mobile hotspot or have more stuff that needs electricity as I don't have many sockets and don't want to have more extension things in view. My interior design is very airy and simple. No way to hide cables and computer stuff.

Thanks for thinking along.

15 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
In all honesty - your best bet is to get a Bluetooth speaker not Sonos. You can play from the ultrabook or iPhone direct to. Your setup just isn't right for a networked speaker (since no network).
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
I would agree with Chris. Sonos has a huge benefit if you want to have a multi room solution, but in your case it sounds like that is not what you want or need.
My problem is that the amount of music is too much to store on either the phone or computer. And I try to avoid even more cables at home. So basically this won't work either I guess.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Plug the external hardeive into computer and play via computer via Bluetooth.
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
You could make it work I guess. I think it is possible to buy a router with a USB socket and then set your USB drive as a network server. If so you could then link your Sonos to the router and play from the library on the USB drive. It seems an expensive way of doing it though, there must be a better solution? It would also be worth checking with someone more IT orientated than me as to the technicalities of achieving that.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
again though - you seem to not want a network and therefore you should go Bluetooth
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
My problem is that the amount of music is too much to store on either the phone or computer. And I try to avoid even more cables at home. So basically this won't work either I guess.

A Sonos solution can't do anything about your storage solution. Sonos can't access anything your computer can't already access, including and cloud storage. And as suggested, since you don't want a network, Bluetooth is your best option.
Badge +1
Yes, I have my system set up like this. I have an external hard drive plugged into an Apple Airport USB, and have the Sonos set to read my library off that drive. You have to make sure your router supports an external USB drive, and also set up the library path for the Sonos on the desktop application. Sonos will read the library now without my computer being on, works like a charm. There is a thread somewhere on topic, I went from that.
again though - you seem to not want a network and therefore you should go Bluetooth

Well, the annoyance with connecting the disk to my computer is that it sits on my lap. I'm a superclumsy person and pull the charging cable out of my computer constantly, or stumble over the cable and pull the computer to the ground. That's why this is not a good option. Hence the idea with a wireless enabled disk. But I guess this won't work if I don't have a network either.

I don't have a network because I can't get any internet in my flat. Well.. only one provider who doesn't offer half affordable cntracts here. So I only have the option of 4G tethering via my phone.
Yes, I have my system set up like this. I have an external hard drive plugged into an Apple Airport USB, and have the Sonos set to read my library off that drive. You have to make sure your router supports an external USB drive, and also set up the library path for the Sonos on the desktop application. Sonos will read the library now without my computer being on, works like a charm. There is a thread somewhere on topic, I went from that.

I don't have an apple computer, thus I don't know what Apple Airport USB is. Can't find much about it. At the moment I have no router as I can't get internet in my flat.
I'm kind of thinking of using a cloud storage solution. But with only about 3gigs of data per day, and about 1tb to upload this will take ages. Thus this won't really work either. Argh! Plus I'm currently in the annoying situation that my bank in the country I've just left threatens to close my account, and I won't be able to get a credit card here for another 4 months or so. And this will likely always happen again with international moves. I just have a very international job.
Userlevel 4
Badge +11
I could be wrong, but I thought a Router is to create a home network. You need a Modem to access the internet. Most Routers also have Modems, but if you got a Router with a USB socket that supported the disk drive, you would be able to set up a home network without it being connected to the internet.
I could be wrong, but I thought a Router is to create a home network. You need a Modem to access the internet. Most Routers also have Modems, but if you got a Router with a USB socket that supported the disk drive, you would be able to set up a home network without it being connected to the internet.

Thanks a lot. Phew, this is all a bit above my knowledge. And I suppose above the knowledge of staff in shops selling speakers. I need to look into this. Maybe this is an option, somehow.

Ok, before I look into this further: Is it possible to play complete folders (thus complete albums) on a sonos using the app? Is there a way to navigate through a folder structure and select a complete album?
Badge +1
Yes, I have my system set up like this. I have an external hard drive plugged into an Apple Airport USB, and have the Sonos set to read my library off that drive. You have to make sure your router supports an external USB drive, and also set up the library path for the Sonos on the desktop application. Sonos will read the library now without my computer being on, works like a charm. There is a thread somewhere on topic, I went from that.
Badge +1
I’ve updated my system to have the music library on an Apple Time Capsule. Sonos will read the library directly off that without the need for a computer after the path is set up in the desktop app. Works perfect.

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