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    Thread: Tell me about Sonos or other network ready multi-room speaker systems

    1. Member Angina's Avatar
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      12-12-2013 09:20 AM #1
      I usually have a lot of my friends over my home for parties/gatherings, and I am looking for a good audio component that will allow me to play music off my phone (or other network connected devices) via wifi or bluetooth to speakers in my home.

      I have a home theater receiver connected to my living room home theater system, but it is not network connected, nor has bluetooth capabilities. I have used it connected to my macbook (via rca input), and using the apple Remote app, I can control my iTunes via iPhone. However, I have moved to using Spotify and other apps outside of iTunes. Aside from something like Sonos (which allows me to play any devices on the network that can then output to Sonos speakers setup in any room in the house), are there any other good alternatives where I can use my phone as the controller, and play music out of my old stereo receiver and other systems in the home? Maybe Sonos is the best solution here, but just want to find out about other alternatives. If you do have Sonos, do you recommend?

      An added bonus would be to play different sources at the same time (from different speakers), all controlled via my phone (the phone can be one source of the music).

    2. Member kwalton's Avatar
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      12-12-2013 11:02 AM #2
      I was seriously considering a Sonos system for my home to accomplish the same thing you are trying to do. I have been installing Sonos systems for a while now and they are awesome but a little pricey. For the best bang for your buck I would get an AppleTV. You can stream via AirPlay to the AppleTv from your phone. It is a much cheaper alternative to Sonos. Your receiver will need and HDMI input for it to work though.

    3. Member Angina's Avatar
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      12-12-2013 11:21 AM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by kwalton View Post
      I was seriously considering a Sonos system for my home to accomplish the same thing you are trying to do. I have been installing Sonos systems for a while now and they are awesome but a little pricey. For the best bang for your buck I would get an AppleTV. You can stream via AirPlay to the AppleTv from your phone. It is a much cheaper alternative to Sonos. Your receiver will need and HDMI input for it to work though.
      My receiver doesn't have an HDMI input... I could probably pass an optical cable from TV to receiver for the connected Apple TV but rather like a direct connection so TV doesn't have to be on.

      For the Sonos:
      1. Can I use any device that is visible on my wifi network as a source on Sonos (ie, phone, network drive, Computer) without physically connecting them to Sonos?
      2. Can I buy the $300 Sonos receiver unit to connect Sonos to my receiver to output sound from whatever is playing on Sonos to my non Sonos system? Does it perform the same function as the $49 bridge device to connect other sonos speakers?
      3. If I have 2 Sonos speakers connected to the Sonos receiver or Bridge, can I have each speaker play different inputs, given that I have multiple network devices visible on network?

    4. 12-12-2013 11:48 AM #4
      Check out my thread regarding "Bluesound"...similar to Sonos, but with ability to play higher quality files. You can connect locally attached music, or network share, and is controlled by either an Apple or Android app.

      http://www.bluesound.com

      FWIW, I'll be picking up a 2nd "Node" for another stereo system in my house.
      Last edited by colnago; 12-12-2013 at 02:45 PM.

    5. 12-13-2013 11:42 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Angina View Post
      My receiver doesn't have an HDMI input... I could probably pass an optical cable from TV to receiver for the connected Apple TV but rather like a direct connection so TV doesn't have to be on.

      For the Sonos:
      1. Can I use any device that is visible on my wifi network as a source on Sonos (ie, phone, network drive, Computer) without physically connecting them to Sonos?
      2. Can I buy the $300 Sonos receiver unit to connect Sonos to my receiver to output sound from whatever is playing on Sonos to my non Sonos system? Does it perform the same function as the $49 bridge device to connect other sonos speakers?
      3. If I have 2 Sonos speakers connected to the Sonos receiver or Bridge, can I have each speaker play different inputs, given that I have multiple network devices visible on network?
      1. You set up your music library by telling the Sonos system which folders to look at on your networked devices. These can be NAS drives, hard-drives on networked pc's, etc.
      2. The "Connect" product is meant to allow you to stream from any of the Sonos music services and play back the audio through a standard AV receiver. This is how I get Sonos into my surround system where I have an Anthem receiver.
      3. Each Sonos device can act as an independent "zone", meaning you can play different sources at the same time. If I want to play music from MOG in the garage while my wife listens to Pandora in the kitchen, it's no problem.

      The "Bridge" device doesn't connect to anything other than your home network- it has no audio outputs. It exists to create Sonos' proprietary wireless network and broadcast it to the remote Sonos devices throughout a home that may not be able to connect to a hard-wired ethernet connection where they are located. You should try to hook up as many of the Sonos devices as possible to hard-wired connections.

    6. Member Angina's Avatar
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      12-13-2013 11:53 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by osiris View Post
      1. You set up your music library by telling the Sonos system which folders to look at on your networked devices. These can be NAS drives, hard-drives on networked pc's, etc.
      2. The "Connect" product is meant to allow you to stream from any of the Sonos music services and play back the audio through a standard AV receiver. This is how I get Sonos into my surround system where I have an Anthem receiver.
      3. Each Sonos device can act as an independent "zone", meaning you can play different sources at the same time. If I want to play music from MOG in the garage while my wife listens to Pandora in the kitchen, it's no problem.

      The "Bridge" device doesn't connect to anything other than your home network- it has no audio outputs. It exists to create Sonos' proprietary wireless network and broadcast it to the remote Sonos devices throughout a home that may not be able to connect to a hard-wired ethernet connection where they are located. You should try to hook up as many of the Sonos devices as possible to hard-wired connections.
      If I get the "Connect" product, do I still need to get the "Bridge" device? I thought the "Connect" was essentially the bridge device with added function of audio output connections.

      As far as control of the independent zones... So I can have a SONOS speaker in the kitchen play Pandora that is running on a network PC, have a SONOS speaker in the living room that is playing music saved on a network drive, and a SONOS speaker in my bedroom that is playing music streaming from my iPhone, all the while i can control the volume of all 3 SONOS devices via my one iPhone?

    7. 12-13-2013 01:41 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by Angina View Post
      If I get the "Connect" product, do I still need to get the "Bridge" device? I thought the "Connect" was essentially the bridge device with added function of audio output connections.

      As far as control of the independent zones... So I can have a SONOS speaker in the kitchen play Pandora that is running on a network PC, have a SONOS speaker in the living room that is playing music saved on a network drive, and a SONOS speaker in my bedroom that is playing music streaming from my iPhone, all the while i can control the volume of all 3 SONOS devices via my one iPhone?
      Any Sonos device can be the entry point for the connection of the Sonos network to your LAN in the house. You are correct that a Connect performs all the functions of a Bridge, with the addition of audio output.

      Your assumption about being able to play independent zones is correct. One minor clarification is that Sonos natively connects to most all streaming internet music services, so when you are playing Pandora you are accessing it through Sonos internally, not controlling Pandora on a networked computer.

    8. Member zhenya00's Avatar
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      12-13-2013 01:58 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Angina View Post
      My receiver doesn't have an HDMI input... I could probably pass an optical cable from TV to receiver for the connected Apple TV but rather like a direct connection so TV doesn't have to be on.

      For the Sonos:
      1. Can I use any device that is visible on my wifi network as a source on Sonos (ie, phone, network drive, Computer) without physically connecting them to Sonos?
      2. Can I buy the $300 Sonos receiver unit to connect Sonos to my receiver to output sound from whatever is playing on Sonos to my non Sonos system? Does it perform the same function as the $49 bridge device to connect other sonos speakers?
      3. If I have 2 Sonos speakers connected to the Sonos receiver or Bridge, can I have each speaker play different inputs, given that I have multiple network devices visible on network?
      The AppleTV has optical output as well as HDMI.

      If you only want music, the Airport Express is a better option as it doesn't have to be managed through a TV and it tends to respond a bit quicker to the wakeup command to play music.

      If you already have an iPhone/iPad or something, this is by far the cheapest and simplest option. Any app that will play music on those devices can be sent via Airplay.
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    9. Member Angina's Avatar
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      12-13-2013 02:46 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by zhenya00 View Post
      The AppleTV has optical output as well as HDMI.

      If you only want music, the Airport Express is a better option as it doesn't have to be managed through a TV and it tends to respond a bit quicker to the wakeup command to play music.

      If you already have an iPhone/iPad or something, this is by far the cheapest and simplest option. Any app that will play music on those devices can be sent via Airplay.
      For the airPlay option on iOS devices... Will it only stream audio from the iTunes library, or can it stream from apps like spotify or pandora on your phone to the airPlay device (airport express or appletv)?

      If I choose the cheaper option of using one of these devices, I think the appleTv would be the better option than airport Express (both are $99) since I would not be connecting the optical out cable to my TV, meaning I would not have to manage audio through the tv? I could connect the HDMI out to the TV for any TV content on appleTV...

      Sonos option is still very enticing.

    10. Member zhenya00's Avatar
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      12-13-2013 03:00 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by Angina View Post
      For the airPlay option on iOS devices... Will it only stream audio from the iTunes library, or can it stream from apps like spotify or pandora on your phone to the airPlay device (airport express or appletv)?

      If I choose the cheaper option of using one of these devices, I think the appleTv would be the better option than airport Express (both are $99) since I would not be connecting the optical out cable to my TV, meaning I would not have to manage audio through the tv? I could connect the HDMI out to the TV for any TV content on appleTV...

      Sonos option is still very enticing.
      Any audio stream on an iOS device is eligible to be sent over Airplay. We use Spotify and Pandora, among other things to do this all the time (we have several AppleTV's and Airport Expresses around the house).

      If it will be hooked to the sound system that your TV is hooked to, you might as well get the AppleTV instead as it has many more features for about the same price.

      As I say, if you really want audio only, the Airport Express is the better option because it is a little bit faster to respond, has less frequent firmware updates, and can be managed from any iOS device or computer rather than through the tv. Either one can connect direct to your receiver via optical audio out. My livingroom ATV actually uses HDMI to go to the TV, and optical to go direct to my receiver.

      The limitation on this setup compared to a fancier one is that there are no zones, and from an iOS device, there is no way to transmit to more than one device at a time. If you have multiple iOS devices though, they can play to separate devices at the same time. From a computer, you can buy a program called Airfoil which allows you to send audio from any program on the computer to any number of Airplay devices at one time with separate volume, etc.
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      12-14-2013 04:42 PM #11
      I have Sonos installed and it is the best decision I could have made. The interface is great, it is easy for my wife or anyone else to get into and start, and the sound is really good. I have 4 zones set off of one Sonos:Connect and running into a Niles speaker selector. It is a much more cost effective way to go and you don't sacrifice any sound or power.

    12. 12-16-2013 04:36 PM #12
      Of all the things I have brought home and installed over the years of doing this, Sonos is the one that my wife would be least willing to give up.

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      12-17-2013 12:21 PM #13
      Same in my house. My wife absolutely loves the fact that she can turn it on and get to any music she wants without me ever having to assist her. We listen to music about 75% of the time we are home, so this is crucial.

    14. 12-24-2013 04:12 PM #14
      FWIW, I revisited this solution, trying to find an alternative to spending another $450 on a 2nd Bluesound "Node" (debating whether or not to spend the money on a 2nd "last of the Panny plasmas") for my 2nd stereo system in my basement. Initially I got the Node over a Sonos setup for .flac support, and hopefully a better DAC. I wound up going this route and its working pretty well, and could have bypassed Bluesound all together, but I prefer having something higher-end for my better system. If you just have mp3s, then this is even simpler:


      - Moved/centralized entire CD collection to 128GB thumb drive (SanDisk $59 BBuy/$65 amazon right now) from SSD, which was attached to Bluesound
      - Connected thumb drive to existing PC ($0)
      - Updated Windows media player to recognize/play .flac files in library (two different add-ons, $0)
      - Installed HomeSpot NFC enabled BT audio receiver ($28 @ amazon), which has mini-headphone out on the unit, and comes with a mini-headphone to RCA cable, and mini-headphone to mini-headphone cable...better cables can be found, depending on needs http://www.amazon.com/HomeSpot-NFC-e...audio+receiver

      - Bought Neutron Android app for phone and tablets ($5) since there was a free trial, and it supports .flac playback, and DLNA sources. Has a PowerAmp look and feel...less polished however I think it is more powerful. I'm sure better apps exist, but this was the first that made it "really easy" to connect to server.

      While the thumb drive was not necessary, I wanted to keep wear and tear down on my mirrored sata drives in the PC. I was able to stream different "high-def" (24bit/192kHz) songs, to my two systems simultaneously, with no noticeable hiccups, or degradation of sound quality over my wi-fi network. The Neutron app allows me to stream the files to my phone, which is then pushed out via BT to the HomeSpot receiver connected to the 2nd stereo. Sound quality is pretty good, though a little bright, but the app has an equalizer, and a ton of audio/stream/file settings. I have an old Android phone that I was not using, which will now serve as a dedicated media "player/manager?", and I can always use my BT enabled laptop to manage playback as well, or basically anything that will run WinMedia Player, or connect to DLNA server.

      I know I'm late to the party and this is not a new concept, or implementation method, but if you already have a PC and a smartphone/tablet, the $28 BT audio receiver(s) may be a viable option for audio streaming...especially when cheap android tabs can be had for $50. (Stereos not included )
      Last edited by colnago; 12-24-2013 at 04:17 PM.

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      12-24-2013 09:50 PM #15
      I was thinking about picking up a sonos system for our house. Question though, I understand that you can different music to each speaker, but can you also stream the same thing to all the speakers too?
      Looking to buy a W8 Wagon 6-Speed to haul grocceries...And I finally found one on 2-16-2008

    16. 12-25-2013 12:17 AM #16
      Did some more digging...looks like this may work better than my solution, if you want to stream the same music over different systems:

      NuForce - Air DAC uWireless System


      http://www.audioadvisor.com/NuForce-.../#.UrpnuLQu2VA





      The PC "Receiver/Transmitter Kit" is $141 @amazon, and iPhone "Kit" is $149. Additional "Receivers" are $120.


      "Easy, Great Sounding Wireless Audio for Your Computer

      NuForce Air DAC's wireless technology and the uWireless system let you stream music from your computer to up to four different receivers throughout your home or office. Easily get CD-quality sound with no latency and no interference throughout your environment-wirelessly, with Air DAC. And it's fully compatible with both PCs and Macs.

      The NuForce Air DAC wireless DAC/receiver and associated TX transmitters are based on a new wireless technology known as SKAA, which provides seamless operation and a consistent user interface across different SKAA devices. SKAA technology has several advantages resulting in CD-quality sound and ease of setup.
      "Heartily Recommended"

      "NuForce’s Air DAC iWireless and uWireless… strike me as very capable niche devices designed to get high-quality sound from a computer, smartphone, or tablet to an audio system with the least possible effort while still sounding good," reports Thom Moon in his GoodSound.com review for March 15, 2013. "I heartily recommend the Air DACs, especially at their prices."
      CD-Quality Sound and No Dropouts

      The Air DAC Wireless System is a combination wireless transmitter (uTX) and radio receiver (Air DAC) that operates in the 2.4 GHz radio band. The Air DAC Receiver utilizes a premium quality Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) stage and simple one-button SKAA control.

      Unlike similar devices, the Air DAC and associated TX transmitters do not experience the typical loss in sound quality or interference capability of cell phones and other wireless devices. Rather, they offer CD-quality sound, virtually no latency, a 15-30 meter range, and a spread-spectrum technology that detects and chooses from among available frequency spectrums in order to avoid interference.
      Automatically Locks Onto Your Music Signal

      The NuForce Air DAC Wireless Receiver and any device fitted with an appropriate matching iTX transmitter can be combined to form a wireless audio network. Each transmitter can send audio to four Air DAC Wireless Receivers, and each receiver can connect to as many as four transmitters.

      With The NuForce Air DAC, you don't move to the music. The music moves with you. The uTX transmitter plugs into the USB port of your desktop computer or laptop. If you're using a laptop, simply walk into any room with it. The system automatically locks onto its signal and streams your music to the speakers in that space. Move to the next room and stream music from the same device to that room's receiver or pair of speakers. Wherever you roam in your home or office, your music is with you."

    17. 12-25-2013 09:58 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by AJB View Post
      I was thinking about picking up a sonos system for our house. Question though, I understand that you can different music to each speaker, but can you also stream the same thing to all the speakers too?
      Yes.

    18. Member Angina's Avatar
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      12-28-2013 12:12 PM #18
      decided on sonos after looking at demo unit at best buy... its a little pricey, but the features and sound quality fit exactly what I am looking for.

    19. Member sassbs's Avatar
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      01-02-2014 02:42 AM #19
      Awesome choice good for you!!

      Sonos is an amazzzzinnnggg little system. I have two play 5's and a play 3. Also the little box you connnect to your receiver making your actual theater set up; wireless!

      Whats really amazing though is the customer service. I had an issue at first and the sonos rep spent literally an hour on the phone with me trying to sort it out. (Wifi was bouncing from my internet and neighbours)

      IMO, no other wireless system can touch sonos!
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    20. Member Angina's Avatar
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      01-02-2014 10:57 AM #20
      yea I got the Sonos Connect box, which allows me to connect my wired home theatre speakers to the Sonos network. I love that I can not only use my phone/tablet/laptop to control the sonos system, but also that it has access to pretty much all music apps/services to play. I am not restricted to whatever is playing on the phone.... if I have a Spotify account, I can use the Sonos app to access the Spotify account, select a song from Spotify and have it queued up to my living room speaker playlist. I can then select another music service to select a song to queue up in that same living room, or have it play in another room speaker.

      I am undecided on whether to get the soundbar or the Sonos 5 for my basement setup. I have a TV there next to my bar, so the soundbar could be connected to the TV, but I don't really watch movies down there so not sure... I have a Sonos 3 for my bedroom, so not sure what the Sonos 5 sounds like..

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