Wednesday January 27, 2016
Will Sonos Disrupt the Home Audio Market?
I am in the process of a major renovation at my residence in Wilmington, DE and made the decision a while back to design my
distributed audio around the Sonos system. Music is a big part of my life and having music from multiple sources available
throughout the house is very important to me. I have used hardwired systems in the past which included user interfaces in most
rooms allowing users to drive music from multiple sources into multiple rooms. After installing Sonos in my newly renovated home,
I am convinced that their technology will be disruptive to the residential distributed audio market.
Content, Playback and Control - The Keys to Your New Music System
Sonos is, at it's core, simply audio distributed to speakers using your home's WIFI connection. Sonos sells various speakers as well as
devices that enable you to add your existing speakers to the Sonos network. The speakers sound fine although they would never be
considered "audiophile" quality. What makes this system amazing is the software. This is the most elegant music distribution
system I have found.
Content - Where do you get your music? Pandora? Spotify? iTunes? Custom play lists? Google Play Music? It really doesn't matter.
These music services and many more can be linked to your Sonos account. Once they are linked they appear as available sources on the Sonos
app on your phone or computer.
Playback - I am not aware of any limit on the number of speakers you can add to your system. Anywhere on your property where you can
receive a WIFI connection can be a Sonos "room". Speakers can be fixed or mobile, Sonos or any other manufacturer. There are several speaker options including a Playbar for your TV that can be easily grouped with a powerful sub-woofer and surround speakers.
Control - This is the real genius of the Sonos system. The easiest way to control the system is from your smartphone app. It is amazingly simple
and powerful. Want to change the music source on the basement speakers? Simply select those speakers from the drop down list and change the music
source. Want to lower the volume in the master bedroom? Switch the speaker selection to those speakers and use the volume slider or your phone's
volume control. Want to group the speakers from the living room and the patio to play the same music source? Simply press the Group button and
check the box next to each room you want to group. Once speakers are grouped the volume controller splits so you can modify volume in each room
independently or all grouped speakers collectively. Want to add a new speaker to the system? The app walks you through the process in a few short
steps that take about 2 minutes to complete.
Conclusion Everything I tried to do with Sonos was seamless, intuitive and well thought out. I highly recommend that you give it a look before
deciding on an audio distribution system. It's not cheap, but it is powerful and obsolescence proof.