Why is SONOS the Most Popular Wireless Multiroom Music System?

Why Is The Sonos Multiroom Home Audio System In This Review So Popular?
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Does SONOS Deserve Best-Seller Status?

Sonos was started in 2002, with the express purpose of designing and selling networked audio systems. While the company is relatively new, they include talent from some established audio companies, and it shows both in the technical performance of their products, and in how their products have been optimized to work together.

Sonos is what we call an music ecosystem or as some call it a walled garden. While individual Sonos products are intelligently designed, include a good selection of useful features, and work well by themselves, they are also clearly intended to work together as parts of a system (at RateYourSound we only touched on these capabilities with our Play:5 Wireless Speaker Review) Each individual Sonos product is a good product, but they really shine when you start combining them into a system, and they work exceptionally well together.

What Can You Tell Me About Every Sonos Product?

Here’s a quick review of the current product line

There are several combination packages and accessories included in this table

All Sonos Models Comparison Table

Image Model Name Buy now Color Current price Weight Features Streaming Services Warranty Bluetooth Dimensions Warranty WiFi Remote Control Details
PLAY:1 Sonos Play:1 Compact Wireless Speaker for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:1 Black lowest prices available now Black $192.95 4.08 lbs <ol><li>2 Drivers</li><li>Humidity resistant</li><li>Wall mountable</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B00V9Z2VXE:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:1 + PLAY:1 Bundle Sonos PLAY:1 2-Room Wireless Smart Speakersfor Streaming Music - Starter Set Bundle (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:1 + PLAY:1 Bundle Black lowest prices available now Black $398.00 <ol><li>Bundle</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B01N39TAQE:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:1 + PLAY:1 + PLAY:1 Bundle Sonos PLAY:1 Multi-Room Digital Music System Bundle (3 - PLAY:1 Speakers) - Black buy this Sonos PLAY:1 + PLAY:1 + PLAY:1 Bundle Black lowest prices available now Black $597.00 <ol><li>Bundle</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B01NBAJ44T:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:1 + PLAY:5 Bundle Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music (Black) with Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:1 + PLAY:5 Bundle Black lowest prices available now Black $689.67 <ol><li>Bundle</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B005441AJC:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:3 Sonos PLAY:3 Mid-Sized Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:3 Black lowest prices available now Black $279.00 7.7 lbs <ol><li>3 Drivers</li><li>Stereo sound</li><li>Multiple orientations</li><li>Wall mountable</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 12.3 x 9.5 x 8.6 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
PLAY:5 Sonos PLAY:5 Ultimate Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:5 Black lowest prices available now Black $499.00 14 lbs <ol><li>6 Drivers</li><li>Stereo sound</li><li>Line-in</li><li>Humidity resistant</li><li>Multiple orientations</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B001CROHX6:title] [model number] in comparison table CONNECT Sonos CONNECT Wireless Receiver Component for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. buy this Sonos CONNECT White lowest prices available now White $349.00 1.5 lbs <ol><li>Update existing stereo or receiver with wireless multi-room audio</li><li>Analog - Optical and Coaxial digital audio outputs</li><li>Line-in</li><li>Plug into any device</li><li>Play your turntable through your Sonos</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 5.5 x 5.4 x 2.9 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B001CROHU4:title] [model number] in comparison table CONNECT:AMP Sonos CONNECT:AMP Wireless Amplifier for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. buy this Sonos CONNECT:AMP Silver lowest prices available now Silver $499.00 5.1 lbs <ol><li>Upgrade wired stand alone speakers with wireless multi-room audio</li><li>Control with App</li><li>Built in amplifier</li><li>55W per channel</li><li>RCA line-out for subwoofer</li><li>RCA line-ins for connecting playback sources</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 8.1 x 7.3 x 3.5 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
SUB Sonos SUB Wireless Subwoofer (Black) buy this Sonos SUB Black lowest prices available now Black $699.00 35.27 lbs <ol><li>2 Drivers</li><li>Connect wirelessly to PLAYBAR - PLAY:1 - PLAY:3 - PLAY:5 and CONNECT AMP</li><li>Zero cabinet buzz or rattle</li><li>Simple one button set-up</li><li>Slim subwoofer sounds great standing up or on it’s side</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 14.96 x 15.83 x 6.22 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B00AEMGGU2:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAYBAR Sonos PLAYBAR TV Soundbar/ Wireless Streaming TV and Music Speaker. Works with Alexa. buy this Sonos PLAYBAR Black lowest prices available now Black $699.00 11.9 lbs <ol><li>9 Drivers</li><li>Complements HD tv</li><li>Wirelessly streams music</li><li>Pair with two PLAY:1s and a SUB for a 5.1 surround system</li><li>Simple two-cord setup</li><li>Control with TV remote or Sonos app</li><li>Night sound</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 35.4 x 5.5 x 3.3 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B01KU6XP2S:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAYBAR + SubWoofer Bundle Sonos 3.1 Home Theater System PLAYBAR and SUB Combination buy this Sonos PLAYBAR + SubWoofer Bundle Black lowest prices available now Black $1,398.00 <ol><li>Bundle</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B00NZ80B80:title] [model number] in comparison table BOOST SONOS BOOST for Sonos Wireless Network buy this Sonos BOOST White lowest prices available now White $99.00 6.7 oz <ol><li>Solution for homes where Wi-Fi doesn’t reach all rooms</li><li>Not required to set up a Sonos wireless speaker</li><li>Plugs into your Wi-Fi router to create a dedicated wireless network for your Sonos system</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 4.5 x 4.5 x 1.3 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app

Why do People Love Sonos?

Connectivity is among the best… Every technology product, app for your phone or Bluetooth pairing can sometimes not go as smoothly as promised. Fortunately, Sonos products are quite simple to connect.

How does Sonos Work at Home?

If you have a single Sonos device, it must be connected to your network – either using an Ethernet cable or a standard WiFi wireless connection. If you have multiple Sonos devices, then at least one of them must be connected to your network, and the others can connect to that one using a separate Sonos wireless network. Sonos also offers other options, such as connecting multiple Sonos devices separately to your network, which can come in handy if you have a weak network connection, or some other unusual issue. You should note that most of Sonos functionality does require that you have a relatively modern home network.

What Music Can I Connect To My Sonos?

Sonos devices can play music from a wide variety of sources, including computers or network attached storage (NAS) devices connected to your network, Internet Radio stations, streaming music services like Spotify, and even local connections from your stereo or a portable music player. When you have multiple Sonos devices, they all talk to each other, so they can do all sorts of cool stuff. For example, you can connect your stereo or some other source to one Sonos device, then tell that device to play its input through any other Sonos device. You can have multiple Sonos devices play the same music, or different music, and control all of them from one place using the Sonos app.

Sonos devices are controlled from a central music control app which can be run on any smart phone, or on any Apple Mac or Windows computer. The control app serves as a remote control, and also enables you to make some of the more advanced configuration settings. Note that, since Sonos devices don’t have complicated control panels or screens, you will need to use the free Sonos app to do anything more complicated than changing the volume or advancing to the next song.

Sonos multi-room home audio system is a best-selling popular high end audio system

Why is Mixing and Matching Sonos Speakers Cool?

Sonos takes the concept of “mix and match” to its ultimate conclusion. For example, you can use a single Sonos speaker, and it will play your stereo music in stereo. Or you can configure it to play in mono if it makes more sense. Or you can connect a second Sonos speaker, and set it to play by itself in stereo, for example in another room. Or you can connect a second Sonos speaker and have it play with your first one – as a stereo pair. Or you can add a Sub to your stereo pair for a 2.1 channel system. Or you can connect a Sonos Playbar separately. Or you can make a complete surround sound system by combining a Playbar, and a Sub, and a pair of separate speakers. Sonos also makes the Sonos CONNECT, which is a separate box that you can use to add Sonos network music functionality to your regular stereo amplifier or AVR, and there’s a powered version you can use to run a separate set of passive speakers in another room.

Is Sonos the Most Flexible Wireless Music System?

Sonos really can’t be beat for flexibility and convenience. The various Sonos products are also very well thought out, and this not only extends to how well they work, and the features they offer, but it even extends to their limitations. The smallest Sonos speaker doesn’t sound as good as the biggest one, and even their biggest Play:5 speakers may not sound quite as good as the very best separate speakers you can buy, but each offers an exceptionally well thought out combination of sound quality and features for its size and price.

Is a Sonos Multiroom Wireless Music System Reasonably Priced?

One final factor that we have to touch on is price. While the individual Sonos devices are reasonably priced, and represent excellent value for the money, if you’re building a system for several rooms the overall cost will add up. We feel that this is well justified for several reasons. First, because the individual products are well thought out, and offer a lot of flexibility, which means that it’s more likely that you’ll be able to build just the system you want in the Sonos ecosystem. Second, because Sonos uses an expandable architecture, you will always be able to buy Sonos components when you need them, or when you have the budget, and then add more later. For example, you can start with a pair of Play:3 speakers and upgrade later to Play:5’s, moving the Play:3 set to another room. Or you could buy a single Play:5 speaker for your bedroom, than upgrade later to a stereo pair, or perhaps add a Sub. And, because Sonos has been around for several years, and seems to be doing quite well, you get all the benefits of their ecosystem. (Sonos will continue to support their current products for the foreseeable future, you’ll continue to be able to buy new Sonos products when you want them, and their new products will continue to work with the ones you already have.)

What’s the Bottom Line When it Comes to Sonos?

Before talking about a few individual Sonos products, we’d like to remind you that one of the major strengths of Sonos is that all of the Sonos products work together seamlessly. This means that you can start with one Sonos device, and add more as you need them, or as your budget allows. Sonos has also provided a very intelligent upgrade path. If you have a single Play:5, you upgrade it by buying a second one, and configuring them as a stereo pair. Because the individual components are so flexible, with a little planning you won’t end up with unused components after an upgrade – which happens a lot with more ordinary stereo systems.

Play:5 the Sonos Flagship Product

We are extending our review of the Sonos Play:5 Speaker for its multiroom skills and how it plays with the products you’ll need to extend your Sonos system throughout your home or apartment.

Sonos PLAY:5 Comparison Table

Image Model Name Buy now Color Current price Weight Features Streaming Services Warranty Bluetooth Dimensions Warranty WiFi Remote Control Details
PLAY:5 Sonos PLAY:5 Ultimate Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:5 Black lowest prices available now Black $499.00 14 lbs <ol><li>6 Drivers</li><li>Stereo sound</li><li>Line-in</li><li>Humidity resistant</li><li>Multiple orientations</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B014LFIN58:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:5 Sonos PLAY:5 Ultimate Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music. Works with Alexa. (White) buy this Sonos PLAY:5 White lowest prices available now White $499.00 14 lbs <ol><li>6 Drivers</li><li>Stereo sound</li><li>Line-in</li><li>Humidity resistant</li><li>Multiple orientations</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 in 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B01NBAJ44T:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:1 + PLAY:5 Bundle Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music (Black) with Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker (Black) buy this Sonos PLAY:1 + PLAY:5 Bundle Black lowest prices available now Black $689.67 <ol><li>Bundle</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app
Review of Sonos [amazon:B01MSP3L9A:title] [model number] in comparison table PLAY:1 + PLAY:5 Bundle Sonos PLAY:1 Compact Wireless Smart Speaker for Streaming Music (White) with Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Speaker (White) buy this Sonos PLAY:1 + PLAY:5 Bundle White lowest prices available now White $697.99 <ol><li>Bundle</li></ol> <ul><li>Amazon</li><li>Apple</li><li>Spotify Connect</li><li>Pandora</li><li>Google Play</li><li>Sirius XM</li><li>Soundcloud</li><li>Rhapsody</li><li>Deezer</li></ul> 1 Year No 1 Year Yes Remote control by smartphone app

Is Play:5 the Best Wireless Speaker From Sonos?

The Sonos Play:5 is the top speaker system in Sonos line of powered network speakers. The Play:5 itself is relatively compact compared to many other speakers. At about 14-1/2 inches wide, 8 inches high, and 6 inches deep, and weighing in at just over 14 pounds, the Play:5 is compact enough to be located on any convenient counter, table, or even bookshelf.

Each Play:5 houses six separate speaker drivers, including three 10cm mid-woofers, two 20mm tweeters and one 23mm center tweeter, each of which has its own dedicated amplifier. Without getting too deep into technical details, by using a separate amplifier for each driver, Sonos is able to optimize the performance of each one, which enables the Play:5 to play louder and sound better than you might believe possible considering its compact size. It also enables the Play:5 to do some other cool stuff, which we’ll get to later.

The Play:5 can be used in several different ways:

  1. If you position a single Play:5 horizontally, it works as a stereo speaker. The drivers are positioned so that a single Sonos Play:5 can fill a room with stereo sound, and a single Play:5 will produce plenty of high quality audio to fill a typical room with music. The Play:5 is a complete self-sufficient system, and can be configured to play music from your computer or network attached hard drive, or from a streaming music service like Spotify, or from your smart phone, and you can control it using the free Sonos app on your computer or phone. If all you want is a great sounding network music player, then you can stop right here.
  2. If you position a single Play:5 vertically, it switches into a different mode. Because you wouldn’t want it playing in stereo, with one channel pointed at the ceiling, and the other facing the floor, when it’s vertical your Sonos Play:5 switches into monaural mode. In this mode, both channels are combined, and the audio signal sent to each of the internal drivers is optimized for monaural operation. (This is just a techie way of saying that it sets itself completely differently so it sounds its best as a single vertical speaker.)
  3. But wait, there’s more! If you add a second Play:5, position both of them vertically, and change a few settings in the control app, you’ll end up with an awesome pair of stereo speakers. In fact, since you don’t need a separate amplifier or AVR, what you’ve got is a great stereo system – but one that doesn’t take up much space and is actually easy to use. There’s also a cool feature that measures the acoustics of your room, and configures your Play:5 speakers to work perfectly with it. It’s sort of like magic, the speakers just play whatever you tell them to, with no extra boxes to connect, and only a couple of wires.
  4. And, yes, there’s even more! You can add a Subwoofer and, if you do, it will just play along with your Play:5 speakers. And, if you add more Sonos components in other rooms, they talk to each other. And, if you get a Sonos Playbar for your video stuff, then that will work seamlessly with all the other as well.

Is Sonos the Perfect Wireless Music System?

This is what we call an ecosystem done right!

Review: Sonos Connect and Sonos Connect AMP

SONOS CONNECT SITTING NEXT TO STEREO SPEAKERS 

Sonos Connect Amp Will Make Any Speakers Wireless For Streaming

The Sonos Connect is a small white box – about 5-1/2 inches square and 3 inches high - which allows you to add Sonos functionality to your current stereo system. By adding a Sonos Connect, you can enable any stereo receiver or surround sound processor to connect to streaming music sources or your network music server, or to play music sent to it from other Sonos devices. The Sonos Connect has digital outputs (both Toslink and Coax) and an analog line output for connecting to your stereo system, and an analog line input for accepting an audio signal from another analog source. (For example, if you connect the line input on the Sonos Connect to the tape output on your stereo receiver, you’ll be able to share what you’re listening to with other Sonos devices).

The Sonos Connect is designed to be used with other stereo components, like an amplifier or a receiver, so it doesn’t have its own amplifier or speakers. For folks who want to connect their Sonos system to their own passive loudspeakers, there is the Sonos Connect AMP. The Sonos Connect AMP is a little larger than the Sonos Connect – about 8-1/2 inches by 7-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches – and offers the same Sonos connectivity. However, instead of digital and line level outputs, the Sonos Connect AMP includes an internal Class D stereo amplifier that delivers a substantial 55 watts per channel to the speakers you connect to it, and an analog output for connecting your own powered subwoofer. It also includes the same line level analog input as the Sonos Connect.

A TV & Music All-in-One - Sonos Playbar and Sonos Playbase

At RYS we don’t spend much time in front of the television but because of how well Sonos connects everything up we had to tell about the Sonos Playbar both for TV, Game Console and Music.

The Sonos Playbar is designed to be used with a standing or wall-mounted TV monitor. The Sonos Playbar is about 3-1/2 inches thick by 5-1/2 inches wide by 35-1/2 inches long, and can be placed on a table or shelf or mounted on the wall under your TV screen. When it’s mounted on the wall, it extends a mere 3-1/2 inches from the wall. The six mid-woofers and three tweeters in the Sonos Playbar are each powered by their own Class D amplifier for powerful clear sound.

The Sonos Playbase is deeper and thinner than the Playbar – at 2-1/2 inches high by 15 inches deep by 28-1/3 inches wide – and is designed to be placed flat on a table or TV stand. The Playbase can be set on a table or shelf in front of a wall-mounted monitor, or can serve as a pedestal for a TV with a built in stand. The Playbase boasts six midrange drivers, three tweeters, and a separate woofer, each powered by their own Class D amplifier for powerful clear sound.

Both the Sonos Playbar and Sonos Playbase can be used with other Sonos components, and can be used on their own, or with a Sonos SUB for enhanced bass, and with a separate pair of Sonos speakers for full surround sound.

Connections - Why Do I Want HDMI or is Optical Just Fine?

Answer: That depends.. Unlike many other sound bars and add-on TV speakers, the Sonos Playbar and Sonos Playbase connect to your TV via an optical (Toslink) digital audio connection versus HDMI. Because most modern TVs have an optical output, which is active at all times, this makes connecting the Sonos devices very simple. And part of the “walled garden” rules is simplicity. The Sonos devices will play anything that your TV itself is capable of playing, with no complicated configuration required.

Is Your End Goal Surround Sound 5.1 or 7.1 Dolby?

Because the connection from the TV to the Sonos device is optical, (which is not too shabby) Dolby Digital audio, any connectivity and surround sound benefits from more advanced formats like Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master Audio will be lost.

The Sonos Playbar and Sonos Playbase will play audio from any source that your TV can normally play, but sources in more advanced surround sound formats will be converted to Dolby Digital before playback. This means that the Sonos device acts as an effective CD quality external speaker for the TV, as well as a playback system for all your other networked audio content.

We hope this helps! RateYourSound.

Sonos, the Home Sound System [Video]

Sonos, the Home Sound System

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