Outdoor Speakers... Where are they?

  • 6 July 2018
  • 7 replies

Userlevel 1
The company that has created three different TVs sound units in four years is also the same company that has ignored the most requested item in its history - an outdoor solution.

The playbar was a NEAR bust from the beginning. Without paying up for DTS support, it played less than 50% of BluRay discs. Literally ZERO sounds form Star Wars, etc. It was a nightmare. And I returned mine. But rather than fixing the quirks and pitfalls through software updates, they have engineered 2 more units that are redundant. Completely redundant.

And yet, they year after year ignore the MOST customer requested item - an outdoor solution. The Play 1s are technically not outdoor rated. The Connect Amp has poolside speakers listed in its description and yet the Connect Amp is not rated for outdoor use. A mobile Play 5 with a handle and a battery back up with rock the pool/outdoor option. And yet - crickets.

Sonos is an incredible company that is successful at almost everything and yet doesn't give ONE damn about what their customers actually want. It is extremely aggravating.

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7 replies

Fully agree! I have been waiting for a long time for a Sonos outdoor solution to be able to extend my Sonos system to garden. Can't be that difficult to have Play 5 with battery back to be able to bring unit outside!
Outdoor music needs are catered to very well by "Connect/Connect Amp indoors with excellent quality passive speakers outdoors" systems with a choice of speakers at price points from USD 50 to USD 500. For those that prefer something simpler these days that is less permanent there is the handy solution of portable weatherproof bluetooth speakers with music supplied by internet music services via smart phone/similar devices.

Those that are satisfied by neither of these two options are probably too small a market for Sonos to spend development dollars to develop a speaker that sounds good out of doors while still remaining weatherproof - it isn't just a matter of giving an existing play unit a rain jacket - and also address the need to safely provide these with mains power when located out of doors. If that was not the case, Sonos would have exploited the profit potential in addressing such a market, as a business economics driven entity.
Userlevel 1
Kumar, I couldn't disagree more. You're saying that Sonos is proactively exploiting a demand for 3 different TV soundbars without fixing the overarching flaw of the first one? That surveys came back overwhelmingly for 3 different soundbar selections?

The number 1 most requested new item from Sonos has been a clear outdoor solution. Not a Play 1 hidden from the elements or a Connect Amp housed in a waterproof box. It is a speaker solution that is designed for outdoor use. From heat, cold and rain. Or something that can be taken outside on a semi mobile platform.

No one wants to drill through their siding to run wire outdoors. People may compromise and do it. But there isn't a single person on this forum site that proactively wanted to drill through their siding to have an outdoor solution.

Sonos doesn't care about customer wants. They just know that enough customers will suck it up and continue to buy their stuff.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
@jgaepi, where are you getting your data from? I've seen or heard nothing stating that more people would buy an outdoor speaker than they would a soundbar (the beam in this case).

I agree to an extent that I think a lot of people would love to have outdoor Sonos speakers. It's requested often. However, I can't say that they'd sell enough of them to turn a profit, considering the extra cost of weatherproofing the speakers, greater returns for speakers in outdoor conditions, adding the battery in the case it's mobile. Then there is the probability that most people don't have ideal access to power outlets outside, nor very good wifi coverage. I'd suspect the number of people who say they want Sonos outside will shrink significantly when they consider all the aspects of such a thing.

As for drilling holes, not a problem for me and for a lot of other people. Many DIYers are fine with it. Others have their home prewired during constructions. Still others hiring contractors to do the work. It happens. I really prefer the idea that I have cheaper speakers outdoors with parts in it that are less likely to be damaged by weather than expense Sonos.

As far as Sonos not caring about what the customer wants, they get market data, they look at customer data (where customer allows), they do surveys, they read these forums and other social media. Why go to that trouble if they don't care what the customer wants? They do realize that a company doesn't exist without customers. That's not to say they make the right decision every time, but it certainly points to the probability that they care. They obviously can't do everything every potential customer wants as they would never be profitable that way.
I have to agree with Danny's well-argued post. I have found that 'Sonos doesn't listen to its customers' generally translates as 'Sonos isn't making my pet request its number one priority'.

Sonos doesn't care about customer wants. They just know that enough customers will suck it up and continue to buy their stuff.

Why would Sonos be uniquely blessed with such customers that buy from a company that does not care about their wants? I don't know of any other company in any other domain that is so blessed.
Or is it that Sonos doesn't seem to care about what you want, and your wants may be in a minority to an extent that won't deliver Sonos the required business returns? If your want really was the "number 1 most requested new item" that you claim it to be, what rational reason could there be for Sonos to deny themselves the business returns from meeting that want as they seem to be doing according to you?
It is a speaker solution that is designed for outdoor use.
No one wants to drill through their siding to run wire outdoors.

To the above, most people will still have to drill to supply mains power to even an outdoor Sonos solution. And supplying this safely outdoors is much more of a challenge that supplying low voltage signals to external passive speakers via speaker cables. If battery powered, there is the hassle of bringing the speakers indoors to charge them and remembering to do this before every use, planned or otherwise. Finally, there is the issue of WiFi range outdoors.

There are good reasons why Sonos has not made the moves you desire, hidden though these reasons may be from you.