Most helpful positive review
606 of 644 people found the following review helpful
Sonos is my dream come true. The Play5 is Excellent
on November 12, 2009
<> WHAT IS SONOS?
Sonos is a wireless speaker system that streams music from your COMPUTER HARD DISK (such as your iTunes library or other downloaded music) and streams music from the INTERNET directly to Sonos Speakers. (Internet Music includes 100 thousand internet radio stations, Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody or most anything else, with Apple Music support coming soon) You CHOOSE that music on the fly using the Sonos iPhone or Android apps (or others). With Sonos, such music does not need to stream THROUGH your phone. You use the phone just for the purpose of making your choices. (The phone is the controller not the streamer, unless you want it to be)
Sonos is special because of the extraordinary range of music available, the intuitive phone app interface which so simply controls every aspect of the experience, the sound quality, the whole home flexibility, the ease of setup and installation, and the benefits of doing all this without needing to stream from the phone.
All you need to get started is one Sonos speaker (like the Play1, Play3, Play5 or Playbar). Note that each of these speakers is fully self contained, including its own amp, pre-amp, sonos-wireless network, wireless access to the full range of music from your computer or the internet, and the ability to respond to sonos controller apps on your phones and tablets.
If you want, you can later add Sonos speakers for every room in your home, all perfectly integrated with your same phone/tablet controllers, music and grouping options. You can also include your 3rd party stereo system with a Sonos-Connect (which would be a sonos input source for that stereo system); or add 3rd party speakers with a Sonos-Connect-Amp, (a small box which itself would be both the SOURCE and AMP for any pair of 3rd party speakers. Perfect for outdoor speakers for example). These Sonos Connect devices also respond to the sonos apps on your phones and tablets, and provide the same options for music and for syncing/grouping with other rooms and speakers.
<> HOW GOOD IS THE SONOS SYSTEM?
I've been using Sonos since 2009, and it's been FLAWLESS, and an ABSOLUTE JOY.
I've got instant, automatically-updated access to all of my iTunes TRACKS, ARTISTS, PLAYLISTS AND ALBUMS. Sonos also has an excellent implementation of PANDORA, RHAPSODY, other music services, and internet radio. It's such a pleasure to hear them throughout the house and patio, controlled by my iPhone in every way, and with full broadband quality sound.
The FLEXIBILITY and EASE OF USE are equally impressive. Each room can play any independent track or other music choice, or be instantly grouped (synchronized) with any number of other rooms. When multiple rooms are grouped, it's so easy and natural to
- choose and navigate music for the group just as you would for a single room.
- control the volume of any individual room within the group.
- control the volume of the entire group while maintaining their relative levels.
I've had multi-zone home systems, costing ten times as much, that couldn't do these things. Nor can you do any of these things with standard airplay speakers or bluetooth speakers.
The ability to SIMULTANEOUSLY PLAY DIFFERENT TRACKS IN DIFFERENT ROOMS from a single iTunes library, located on a single computer, is a technological feat that also can not be achieved with standard AirPlay speakers alone. (You can also play music from multiple libraries from one or more computers or from networked attached storage, NAS). ALL OF YOUR CHOICES for any or all of your rooms can be beautifully controlled by a SINGLE IPHONE, iPod touch, iPad, Android, PC, Mac or by any number of such controllers.
I also have an Apple AIRPORT EXPRESS linked to a sonos line-in, so that my friends can stream any ITUNES OR APP music to my sonos system using Apple AIRPLAY from their iPhone. That works well, but sometimes a streaming iPhone will loose its WiFi connection as you move about the house. (Of course, iPhone/Airplay WiFi streaming glitches are not sonos related problems. This is more of an illustration of how a Phone/WiFi streaming system is likely to work.) Nonetheless, it's great to have Airplay available for friends. Some of this can now be accomplished without an Airport Express, since newer versions of the iPhone/iPad/iPod SONOS APPs can stream the iDevice's ITUNES tracks (but not other app music) to your Sonos system directly from the phone or tablet over wifi. (In this case the audio would be going from phone to router, via wifi, and from router to speaker, via SonosNet)
My Sonos system has been absolutely flawless, with a CONSISTENT, INTUITIVE INTERFACE, and my iPhone, with its Sonos controller app, is always right there in my pocket, ready to go.
Setup for all of the Sonos zones has been a snap, and the system has been a total joy from day one.
<> DO YOU NEED A BRIDGE ?
As of Sept 2014, it is NO LONGER required that one of your Sonos devices be hardwired to your router. So a bridge is usually not necessary. However, if none of your sonos devices is in wireless range of your router, a bridge can be used to extend the routers wireless range and establish a wireless connection with your sonos system.
<> THE SONOS WIRELESS NETWORK
Every Sonos device can use your home WiFi network or, alternatively, the Sonos Wireless Network, which itself offers some key advantages over most competing speakers.
With the sonos network, each sonos device wirelessly communicates directly with other sonos devices (using what's called a "wireless mesh network"). Thus when you have multiple sonos devices, each one automatically becomes a wireless relay to the next closest sonos device and on and on, successively back to the router. This means that multiple sonos devices are likely to give you far better wireless streaming connections than you'd have with standard wireless speakers. With standard wifi, each one needs to communicate wirelessly back to your router itself, which can be much farther away than the nearest speaker.
Here's another benefit of the sonos wireless network: The extra ethernet port on a sonos device provides a solid connection to the Internet and to your home network for any device that can use an ethernet port. Thus, you can extend your wifi network to distant locations in your home (for better laptop internet connections, eg), by plugging a standard inexpensive WiFi access point into the ethernet port on any play5. Also, because of the Mesh network relay system, these sonos ethernet ports can often provide a stronger internet connection for VIDEO streaming devices (like ROKU or AppleTV) than the built-in WiFi on those devices. My friend and I eliminated all of his video stutter by use of sonos ethernet ports.
Note that if you want to use the Sonos wireless network (rather than Sonos' basic wifi approach), you'll just need to have one Sonos device, anywhere in your house, connected directly to your router or LAN. That connected Sonos can be a Play1, Play3, Play5, Playbar, Sonos-Connect, Connect-Amp, Bridge, or Sonos Boost. Alternatively, when using Sonos with its basic WiFi approach, no hardwired connection is required.
<> PROTECTED ITUNES TRACKS on sonos
iTunes tracks bought after 2008 are not protected, and WILL work on sonos and other devices. If you have a lot of earlier, protected, iTunes tracks, they can ALL be converted for a one time total fee of $25: Just subscribe to iTunes Match ($25/yr) and apple will upgrade your tracks to unprotected. Apple allows you to keep your upgraded tracks if you later cancel iTunes Match, but the $25 will not be refunded. IMO, that $25 is a nice price for converting a large library to "play anywhere", and independently, you might decide to keep iTunes Match as I have.
<> The SONOS Play:5
Sounds better than my Bose Sound Dock. Looks great. Sets up in seconds, and moves easily between rooms when needed. It can really be cranked up in VOLUME WITHOUT DISTORTION. Perfect.
ADVANTAGES in BUYING A SINGLE Play5 (or Play3) rather than a Bose SoundDock or other docking speaker:
1) CONTROL FROM YOUR SEAT: It's an absolute pleasure to have complete control over what you're listening to, right where you are, keeping your iphone or android in your hand or pocket. You don't have to stand up to choose any specific track, playlist, artist, radio station, internet music service, or to see what's playing. And because your iphone is only the controller (you're streaming from your desktop computer hard disk or from the internet, rather than from your iPhone - unless you choose to, as noted above) you're not using up valuable phone battery life or suffering mediocre sound quality, as you might be otherwise. Further, your phone is still with you for answering phone calls or using other phone apps, with no disruption to the music system.
2) INTERNET RADIO: Sonos probably has the worlds best remote control user interface for internet radio. Listen to Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius, last.fm, Spotify, all of your local radio stations (local radio is quick to find, given it's independent menu item. A very nice touch.), or about 100 thousand other internet radio stations, organized by location (country, state, city), or searchable by genre, sub-genre, station name, station number, or radio show name.
3) UPGRADABILITY: Add another zone (or multiple additional zones) at any time in the future and you're set with a multizone system. Also, the system will continue to be just as valuable if you change your phone from an iPhone to an Android or vice versa, which would not be the case with a phone docking speaker or an airplay system.
I should point out that there are some benefits in going with a single Docking Speaker instead:
1) Cost Savings.
2) Some might prefer a docking speaker away from home, but the Play5 DOES includes a line-in port and cable that can be used with your phone when away. OR You can use an inexpensive bluetooth adapter with the Play5's line-in. The Sonos phone app won't typically work away from home, but you won't need it. Just make sure to turn on autoplay in the play5's line-in settings before leaving home.
Final Verdict: I really do love my Play:5 and my entire Sonos system.