The Product

Multi-Room Music System

In the last few years, we have seen several companies launch wireless home music systems equipped with digital audio receivers or media servers that allow you to stream music directly from your computer to a stereo system, TV or multi-room speaker.  The brand Sonos has emerged as a top leader in this category with high quality products that work extremely well and require little maintenance or setup.  What the iPod did to the personal audio industry a decade ago, Sonos is now doing for your home or office.

Recommended
Sonos Home Music System
Sonos Home Music System
Pros
  • Easy to set-up
  • Operates through a remote control
  • Expandable to up to 32 rooms
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • No digital audio output

Sonos is one of my favorite products and does not require any home running of cables or wires, it’s a true mesh network music system provides coverage throughout your entire home or office.  It also could not be any easier to set-up or use and is always self updating with new software and features.  If you like Apple products, you will love Sonos. Another huge benefit is the ability to add to your system over time rather than having to make a major upfront investment for a Russound type system.

Set Up:

Sonos has the ability to support 32 different rooms, which they refer to as separate “zones”.  For each zone, you simply connect your speakers for that room to a Sonos Zone Player (ZP), either the ZP90 or the ZP120, which require power. This gives you huge flexibility in where you located the speakers and hide the ZP. If you are looking at new construction, you probably want to plan to have them at the top of a closet with an outlet, which is what I did

If you are like me and already have a home network, setting up the system is extremely easy. If you only use one Sonos device then you will need to hook up the system through a wired LAN connection using the Ethernet port. Once one ZP has internet access, it can communicate to the others across the mesh network. If you don’t have your connection near where you want the ZP, you can purchase the ZoneBridge which can be put near your router and which will create the mesh connection. If you already have a Sonos system, new components will sync with your existing system automatically.

 

Control & Access:

Your ZonePlayers communicate with one another through the SonosNet 2.0 wireless mesh network and can be set up so that each zone plays simultaneously or individually.  Essentially, each ZonePlayer can have its own individual music stream. Your Sonos system is controlled through a free desktop app for mac or pc, free iPhone & iPad controllers or a controller from Sonos.  If your PC is on the same network, you will have the ability to play music from your iTunes or music library in any room, as well as through one of the 100,000 available radio stations and podcasts. You can also connect an iPod directly into one of the ZP’s through the in line.  Another great feature of Sonos is that you have access to digital music services such as Pandora, Rhapsody, XM, Spotify and Napster that allow you to legally listen to millions of songs or stations. I can promise that you will never use your receiver again for anything other than volume.

 

Products:

There are three main components of the Sonos Digital Music System.  There are two ZonePlayer base stations, the ZP120 (with amplifier) and ZP90 (for zones with a receiver), as well as the CR200 remote control and the new S5, which is a speaker and zone all wrapped into one. Each piece is sold separately, however if you buy them as a package you can easily save a couple hundred dollars.  Although Sonos music systems are quite pricey, they successfully capitalized on the void in the Apple market and consistently release high quality, user-friendly products that could not be easier to use.


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