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Could Sonos ever add a physical switch to make the speaker "dumb"?

  • 8 January 2020
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I’ve had my Sonos 5 for probably about 8 years now, and the recent news about “recycle mode” has brought back some of my older worries about buying into Sonos -- that I have this nice speaker, but if Sonos were to go away, it’s a big paperweight. More practically, I’ve brought this speaker to other places from time to time and relied on auto-play mode (where it will auto-play line-in even if it’s offline) but it feels like a hack.

It would be really cool if Sonos were to ship these speakers with a physical switch which, when flipped, turned it into a “dumb” speaker that just played whatever came through line-in. It would be a show of good faith that I’ll be able to use this speaker in 50 years, it would improve recyclability, and it would make it easier for me to disconnect it from the network and take it to-go on those rare occasions when that’s useful.

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Best answer by Ryan S 8 January 2020, 23:04

Hi hokietoner, I’ll pass along the suggestion for you to the team. I can’t comment on if it might make it into the hardware/software at some point in the future, but thanks for asking!

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Hi hokietoner, I’ll pass along the suggestion for you to the team. I can’t comment on if it might make it into the hardware/software at some point in the future, but thanks for asking!

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The Move is pretty close to the product you’re describing.  No, not aux input, but when in bluetooth mode, WiFi is turned off and it is pretty much a dumb bluetooth speaker.

 

As to your point about Sonos going away, I don’t think that’s an imminent threat.  I do kind of agree that a ‘dumb mode’, where as much of the Sonos tech is bypassed, would be a nice feature. It certainly not possible on speakers that have no aux input, and would be pretty useless on the Connect itself.  However, it could have been a nice compromised on those unhappy with recycling mode fully bricks device.  A play:5 that can’t connect to other Sonos players or the internet, would be a reusable device, but perhaps disabled enough for Sonos purpose of cleaning it off the market.  A Connect:amp could have been similar.  A Connect will just be a brick though.

 

Probably too late now, but a feature Sonos could consider in the future.

 

edit: Also would be nice if dumb mode was a away to bypass latency issues as much as possible.

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Yeah, I have a Sonos connect, and seeing as it’s purely a “Sonos in, audio signal out” box, I get that it’s tied to the Sonos ecosystem. If it became obsolete after 15 years, it would be sad but fundamentally not surprising. But when I bought this stuff, I also bought a nice amp & tower speakers (to go w/ my connect) and I hope to have those my whole life.

I bought the Play 5 for the kitchen to complement it, and while I’m not worried about Sonos going away anytime soon, it’s a really solidly built speaker (heck I dropped the thing from like 8 feet and it didn’t miss a beat). It would have been nice if in 50 years if Sonos is gone or if the thing is obsolete I could still use it as a speaker. 

Ah the joys of being young. There is rather more chance that the Play:5 will still be functioning in 50 years than there is that I shall be. 

it’s a really solidly built speaker (heck I dropped the thing from like 8 feet and it didn’t miss a beat). It would have been nice if in 50 years if Sonos is gone or if the thing is obsolete I could still use it as a speaker. 

I like this line of thinking too. I wonder if a good technician could not do this - rewire the internals from the line in jack to the amp to the speaker drive units after opening the box. The challenge might be to find such a technician.

I also suggest to Sonos that when they brick any speaker line in future, whether this ability can be part of the bricking code should be closely examined.

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Wires might not do the trick, lots of digital signal pathways in Sonos gear.

Not impossible for someone to do as a hobby but if you are paying someone with the skills to do it you’d be better off buying a new speaker in an hour or two of their labor.

 

if you are paying someone with the skills to do it you’d be better off buying a new speaker in an hour or two of their labor.

Better off at the cost of more electronic waste? And less money for the skilled technician!

Is that not a microcosm of the present state of affairs in the West, that is spreading globally?

My concern would be about the skills even being found easily.

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