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The Anti-Dock: Sonos 2.0 Reviewed

Music Freedom = House Party

Since 2004, broadband has proliferated, and competitors in the wireless home audio sharing category have joined Sonos in the market. One in particular, Slim Devices’ SqueezeBox line, was purchased by Logitech. The basic concept followed by both manufacturers is to take all of the collected digital audio you’ve stored on your home network since the day the CD died, and play it over your high-end living room stereo. While Logitech sells a single-room Squeezebox option and says that buying multiple boxes permits multi-room synced music, Sonos enforces a multi-room experience. With Squeezebox, a remote control is available with some models, but with Sonos the remote control comes with the base package. The Sonos base two-room package costs $999, while Logitech gives you two rooms for $599. These are only some of the differences, too.

On August 5, four years after Sonos’ original product introduction, the company introduced a hardware refresh and software update for all 350,000 existing Sonos customers. The new hardware is evolutionary—we’ll get to the updates later in this article—but we took the opportunity to evaluate Sonos’ features and progress in making multi-room home audio a reality. We also compare it to the Logitech Squeezebox model that this reviewer has been using at home for the past three years.

Will Sonos succeed in converting my household to its seamless audio nirvana? Read on to find out. The conclusions I draw won’t be applicable to every home, of course, and your own interest in the Sonos music system will depend largely on your home’s size and layout, your technical know-how, previous home audio equipment investment, and of course, disposable income. The real point of this exercise, however, is to inform you that your music is now free to move about your home, take advantage of your Ethernet connection, and help you throw one heck of a house party. iPod docks just can’t compete with that...

  • ro53ben
    A couple of tips:

    1) When scrolling through the artist list on the Sonos controller, push the soft button labelled "PowerScroll". This will allow you to skip straight to any letter in the alphabet, like the W you mentioned in the review. This function was added by Sonos a couple of years ago following customer requests.

    2)Sonos can actually play some DRM protected files from stores that use MS Play for Sure technology.

    3) Get your microwave checked out, the magnetron really shouldn't leak that much interference and may be unsafe. Getting a unit with better shielding won't just improve your wifi signals, it will help protect your husband's fertility more than getting that laptop of his thighs!
    Reply
  • ro53ben
    A couple of tips:

    1) When scrolling through the artist list on the Sonos controller, push the soft button labelled "PowerScroll". This will allow you to skip straight to any letter in the alphabet, like the W you mentioned in the review. This function was added by Sonos a couple of years ago following customer requests.

    2)Sonos can actually play some DRM protected files from stores that use MS Play for Sure technology.

    3) Get your microwave checked out, the magnetron really shouldn't leak that much interference and may be unsafe. Getting a unit with better shielding won't just improve your wifi signals, it will help protect your husband's fertility more than getting that laptop of his thighs!
    Reply
  • On the price comparison: With Logitech yet get two unamplified Zones for $599, to compare with the Sonos bundle you need to figure in the cost for an amp as well, which is included in the ZP120
    Reply
  • Another note: Sonos does offer a "jump to" option to jump to a certain letter. It is on the left soft button (below the screen).
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    ro53benA couple of tips:1) When scrolling through the artist list on the Sonos controller, push the soft button labelled "PowerScroll". This will allow you to skip straight to any letter in the alphabet, like the W you mentioned in the review. This function was added by Sonos a couple of years ago following customer requests.2)Sonos can actually play some DRM protected files from stores that use MS Play for Sure technology.3) Get your microwave checked out, the magnetron really shouldn't leak that much interference and may be unsafe. Getting a unit with better shielding won't just improve your wifi signals, it will help protect your husband's fertility more than getting that laptop of his thighs!Thanks Ro53ben, great advice about the microwave. It is likely an old machine. :)

    The powerscroll function worked for me, but it still requires the gesture of scrolling, which can get tiresome, I found, If I was making a long list of songs.
    Reply
  • Tomsguiderachel
    AveeOn the price comparison: With Logitech yet get two unamplified Zones for $599, to compare with the Sonos bundle you need to figure in the cost for an amp as well, which is included in the ZP120Thanks Avee. If you do another read of my review, you'll see that I did factor the amp into the price comparison. I said you'd need to pay (at the absolute least) $200 for an amp for your extra SqueezeBox unit, which would bring the price difference down quite a bit. I am assuming the consumer owns at least one amp (Sonos makes the same assumption with its bundle).

    -Rachel
    Reply
  • I know that this is a Sonos review, but since you brought up SB and Roku, I would like to see a more detailed comparison between them. SlimServer is a very powerful piece of (free!) software that is open source and has several plug-ins available for it. I haven't used SqueezeCenter yet. I don't know how the Sonos server compares. Also, since Roku can connect to SlimServer, it can reap all the rewards of it *at a much lower cost*...
    Reply
  • I agree, you are giving Slim Devices the short end of the stick when overlooking its openness. There are alot of plugins. At least a year ago, this was not the case with sonos. This along with price is why I choose it over the Sonos. I am using a wireless PDA to control the slimserver. You can use your cell phone too. Why bother carrying another control when you cell is always right there?
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    ro53benGet your microwave checked out, the magnetron really shouldn't leak that much interference and may be unsafe. Getting a unit with better shielding won't just improve your wifi signals, it will help protect your husband's fertility more than getting that laptop of his thighs!I have yet to see ANY microwave(high and low powered) not have some amount of impact on wireless B and G. A would have been a better choice(unless I missed it in there somewhere). We have gone through many a microwave so I can confirm that this is a normal behavior for a 2.4 GHZ device. 2.4 GHZ phones will static if they are analog skip if they are digital unless they are extremely powerful units.

    Even the manual on many wireless routers warns about 2.4GHZ interference from phones/bluetooth and microwaves.

    I can sit my laptop between 2(Yes 2) microwaves running and music is fine, but video is a lost cause. The router is fairly high powered.

    Bottom line, you should have have to worry. Getting your access point higher may help. Changing the channels and seeing whats best is also a good idea.
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    Oppsy

    you should NOT have have to worry
    Reply