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...