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Media Software Linux

Linux HiFi: The Sonos Digital Music System 183

TractorJector writes "Mad Penguin published a 5 page review of the Sonos Digital Music System, a wireless music distribution system built on Linux. According to the site, you can use a single remote to control up to 32 "zones" (locations throughout your house where the receivers are placed). The interface is intuitive and well done for such a compact device. According to the review, it's extremely simple to setup as well."
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Linux HiFi: The Sonos Digital Music System

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  • ... neat idea ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ninjagin ( 631183 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:51PM (#12891824)
    I looked at this system awhile back, but it seems a little too costly.

    I ended up just putting a computer with some decent speakers in each room I wanted music and accessing my music files over my existing network.

    One thing in Sonos' favor is that their system is a lot more consumer-accessible.

    Very neat.

    • I did the same thing as far as speakers, but instead of computers, I bought squeezeboxes from Slimdevices. They have a decent remote control, decent search funtions, stream Live365 and Shoutcast, among others, and the devices can act independently or be synced together.
      • The best thing about Sonus is that you can control everything, including volume, from the remote. The problem with streaming devices like squeezebox is that, while you can control a lot of things via a web interface, volume isn't one of them. So you need at least two remotes. And, in my opinion, that just sucks too much.

        I'm using mpd [] now, which does allow you to control volume. So I use my laptop as a remote to one of mpd's web UIs, then I can hide the ugly sound system in a closet. It's not ideal, becaus
        • The problem with streaming devices like squeezebox is that, while you can control a lot of things via a web interface, volume isn't one of them.

          Not true, the current slimserver interface allows control of the volume from the web interface.
        • But you don't have a volume control on a CD player, tape player, or record player either.

          Now if you could program your tuner remote to the Squeezebox code, that would be something.
          • That's true, but the Sonos isn't a stereo component like those other things are. It's an amp with an ethernet input and software to control what it reads from that input.

            They're obviously not aiming this at people with CD/tape/record players. But honestly, those are ancient audio technology now.
        • Hmm...I do have a 'media box' I've built to house my audio (flac) and some video and integrated it to my stereo. I just crank it up loud as needed to hear it in whatever room in the house I currently have to be pretty good, and if I'm in the back of the neighbors get to hear what I'm listening to too....

          Everybody wins...


        • > 'm using mpd now, which does allow you to control volume.

          Looks like you put the wrong link in.
          From the project description :

          Mpd is a netgraph(4) based implementation of the multi-link PPP protocol for FreeBSD.

          did you mean this [] -

          Music Player Daemon (MPD) allows remote access for playing music (MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, AAC, Mod, and wave files) and managing playlists.

        • That would be sucky, it's also wrong. You can control playback, volume, create playlists, etc etc from either the web interface or the regular remote. There's very little that requires the web interface, typically it's config and setup stuff which you don't need to play with very often anyway.

          Squeezeboxes are by far the most flexible & cost effective solution for network audio around these days.
    • How convenient that there was an ad for a Microsoft Media Center at the bottom of the page...

      Check out the screen shot []

  • ipod clickwheel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by x102output ( 536049 )
    i wonder if they will get sued for apple, or got the proper rights for that clickwheel
  • won't this cause people to desert Windows in even greater numbers?

    I mean, think of all those MSFT coders ...

  • Scalability (Score:3, Funny)

    by ndansmith ( 582590 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:52PM (#12891833)
    What if your house only has one zone? Do you still have to pay full price?
    • by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:54PM (#12891851)
      And why is there no bathroom zone in their screenshot? They'd better have a toilet icon, or I'm not getting this...
      • Users would be confused: they'd try to drag and drop their least favorite songs into the toilet.
      • And why is there no bathroom zone in their screenshot? They'd better have a toilet icon, or I'm not getting this...

        I know this was modded funny for a reason but, I for one would love to listen to my classical station with some news while I do my SSS routine. Good sounding water/moisture resistant speakers are dirt cheap these days (check out Bose), and enjoying a little Mozart or Led Zeppelin would get me going in the morning.

    • you need one zone player per zone that you want to cover... so, yes you only get what you pay for :)
  • Scroll wheel (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @01:54PM (#12891853) Homepage
    Looks like a very cool system - well outside my price range (and with 3 small children, outside of my "what can my heart stand when the little buggers touch the expensive equipment").

    My only question is on the school wheel interface. My understanding is that Apple had purchased the rights to use the patents to the scroll wheel touchpad system for their technologies (I don't recall the actual patent holder). Does this mean that Sony's scroll wheel is not touch pad based (could be a physical wheel and *not* violate the patent, I guess), or did they also get a piece of the patent license somehow?

    Just curious.
    • Re:Scroll wheel (Score:3, Informative)

      by ductormalef ( 260954 )
      I asked them this exact question at CES in Vegas. First off, it IS a touch-sensitive scroll wheel. Second, they said they had someone else design it and got around the patents somehow (this was their salesperson speaking, not their patent attorney). Anyone from Sonos care to weigh in.
      • Re:Scroll wheel (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The Panasonic Toughbook CF-R1 has a round, scrolling touch pad for quite a while, and I haven't seen Apple complain. I believe they just have an exclusive license with the clickwheel manufacturer, not a patent, so there's probably nothing they can do.
      • Ahhh - ok, that makes some sense. Thanks!
  • I could buy a cheapo $299 Dell for each bedroom, network them wirelessly to a huge 300GB drive and have far more functionality than this setup. Am I wrong?
    • Yes. The $299 Dells don't have surround-sound-out or wireless, you would have to rig up a PDA or laptop as the wireless controller, and the towers are much larger than the Sonos stations. You would also lose out on the ability to play the same thing in multiple zones all at once without some careful synchronization (also not easy).
    • by RapmasterT ( 787426 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:14PM (#12892055)
      I could buy a cheapo $299 Dell for each bedroom, network them wirelessly to a huge 300GB drive and have far more functionality than this setup. Am I wrong?
      No, you're not wrong, you're simply not in the target market for this device. Clearly they're marketing this at people who's first reaction WON'T be how much cheaper they could do it themselves

      Ultimately, they will reduce the price by about 50% or they will fail. I looked at the Sonos a while back and it was great, pretty much everything you could want in a multi-room wireless music distribution system, as long as money is no object.

      My only complaint is that by making it white and oddly sized, they made it look like a Mac Mini, not like a stereo component. I don't know why so many companies have such a difficult time understanding that oddly shaped/colored components may be a plus in the computer world, but not in the audio one.

      • I'm not sure how soon they'll drop the price. I talked to a guy at BestBuy (where they are also selling it as part of their new Magnolia line) and he said they were jumping off the shelves. Some guy had just bought 8 zone players and 2 remotes without blinking. Anyone with a house big enough to want different zones will more than likely have the dosh to drop on the system. About the size/shape, I like it. For my stero rack maybe not... but for my bedroom? For my patio? for the garage? I definitly do
        • It it was $900 I'd grab it in a heart beat.
          exactly my feelings on it. But when I was looking at it, I found it was far cheaper to produce pretty much exactly the same thing with a PC and a wireless PocketPC. If I could buy something cheaper, and that probably had far better integration than what I could whip up, hell yeah I'd buy it. But at twice the, just not gonna happen.

          I still want it to be black though.

        • "I'm not sure how soon they'll drop the price. I talked to a guy at BestBuy (where they are also selling it as part of their new Magnolia line) and he said they were jumping off the shelves."

          Also...Best Buy isn't exactly the place I'd go for any reasonably good stereo equipment. All they carry is mostly mediocre consumer sound equipment for people that don't know/care what good sound is available out there....and really not for THAT much more $$'s.

      • they made it look like a Mac Mini, not like a stereo component

        When my ancient stereo system gave up, I went to the audio store expecting to be wowed by all the new audio tech, instead I found myself in a timewarp back to 1980 or so.

        Aside from remote controls, there hasn't been a significant advance in audio equipment UIs since the '70s or '80. The Sonous probably isn't for someone who still appreciates all those dreary kobs and switches, but it's exactly the thing I was looking for.
    • You're absolutely correct from what I've seen. Most of the audio manufacturers' flavors of wireless multiroom entertainment (a bunch are covered in on_id=2&article_id=831&page_number=1 []) are awfully expensive, on the magnitude of dropping multiple thousands of bucks.

      The key is the consumer-friendliness other posters have noted. Personally, I entered the world of open source when I pulled an old Pentium II machine out of the closet and installed t

    • I'd say you are wrong. Unless those Dell's are small, silent and have a built-in 50 watt amplifier. Not to mention that if you wanted to play the same music in two rooms with no delay/echo you'd have a very difficult time.
    • by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:18PM (#12892813) Homepage
      I could buy a cheapo $299 Dell for each bedroom, network them wirelessly to a huge 300GB drive and have far more functionality than this setup. Am I wrong?

      Yes. What you save in dollars you'll be spending tenfold in time.

      Stop thinking of price as something only measured in dollars and you'll better understand why people buy things like this when they could have something "better".
    • A social, not technical, analysis of your proposal.

      With the Sonos solution party goers attending parties at your house will think you're a bastard with too much money on his hands, but at the same time be impressed with how sweet the system works. They'll linger around drinking your booze and bouncing between Infected Mushroom beats in the Living Room and the smooth sounds of Stereolab in the guest bedroom.

      With the Dell solution party goers will think you're a cheap rich bastard with too much time on his
  • by bedroll ( 806612 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:04PM (#12891935) Journal
    of things that I don't need, can't afford, will never get, but want anyway, updated.
  • by mfago ( 514801 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:09PM (#12891987)
    The Sonos sounds more like what I had hoped the AirPortExpress [] would be: awesome looking remote control and multiple zones. Although Apple's product is much cheaper...

    Jobs has hinted at a remote control feature for AirportExpress, but nothing has materialized so far.
  • by Hollins ( 83264 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:09PM (#12891993) Homepage
    The biggest need I have in this realm is for a UPnP media player that runs under linux and can play streams from a Windows server. I'd be happy with one that only supports audio, but so far no dice. I'd like to interface with Real's Rhapsody from a Linux box.

    There seem to be plenty of UPnP servers being developed under Linux, but no clients.

    Are there proprietary codec issues that are hindering this?
    • I'm sure you could capture the audio stream from rhapsody and do with it as you please. Why though? Rhapsody does run pretty well under wine as long as you stick to version 2, not the v3 update.

      V2 is still available from the Rhapsody home page.

    • Pick yourself up an xbox, softmod it then run xbox media player on it. Bingo you've got something that fits in your entertainment unit, streams mp3/mpg/avi/ogg/whatever the hell you want off anywhere you want. If you so desire you can even install linux on it and run your own software.
  • by brundog ( 675895 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:12PM (#12892015)
    I looked heavily at a Sonos system and decided against it. Although it's got an incredible "coolness" factor to it, it's limited. There is no built-in support for AM/FM radio. XM Satellite radio or a CD player? Nope and nope.

    Therefore, what I did opt for is a system from Russound. Their "CA-Series" is very nice. Check them out at []. I have two six-zone systems, creating a total of twelve integrated zones.

    You definitely loose the oohs-and-ahhs factor that Sonos brings with their remote LCD. However, when I walk into a room in my house, I can control that zone from any one of six sources: two AM/FM radio tuners, XM Satellite radio, a CD player, my MP3 collection, and even a cable TV feed. Yes, I can even tune the station I want on the radio, skip tracks on the CD player, etc.. This is all done via the in-wall control panel.

    It's not as [fancy|sexy|cool] as the Sonos, however, it's more functional for my listening style.

  • 1. Will it interfere with existing wireless networks?

    2. Have they now beaten Apple to the crunch ahead of their proposed Airport expansions?

  • by MattW ( 97290 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:19PM (#12892115) Homepage
    Of course, the excellent is pretty much what you'd expect given that you're paying $1200 for a remote control and a pair of wireless bridge+tuner boxes.
  • Expensive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:20PM (#12892125)
    I checked this out via an ad at Engadget, and it is pretty nice, but man, that price tag is way too expensive to even consider them. While I like the remote control that has the built-in monitor (for the love of God, all remotes for small devices should have that, otherwise you can't see what you're navigating around in unless the player is at arm's length, in which case, who needs a remote?), $1199 for two wireless boxes and a remote w/monitor is waaaaaaay out of my price range.
  • What sort of interference will this cause, or will be affected by? My grandson showed me something with his cell phone: turning it on near his computer speakers would cause them to emit unusual reverberating sounds. And before the phone rang, the speakers would emit a squeal. Would this sound system be affected by cell phone or wifi or wireless networking or other similar devices and technologies?
    • Bzzzt! That's his shitty speakers' fault! More likely than not, the wires going from his computer to his speakers are improperly shielded and are picking up electromagnetic interference. That really has little to do with "interference" as you'd tend to think of it, that is, one device messing up the broadcast/transmission mechanism/frequency of another device, the problem there is relatively lo-tech. Get better speakers, get better speaker cables (although with low-end consumer grade speakers, it's simply e
  • A system that will let me create a different playlist for each of my 3 bathrooms.

    How many people need different music for different rooms anyway? Aren't most people listening to the music in the same room as the device? Plus, unless you happen to be cruising around you house with the giant remote control, you're just going to have to run to the room with the remote in it instead of the room with the stereo...
    • I do. I want different music in my office/bedroom than my wife wants downstairs in the kitchen/patio. She has the remote while I can control the music via my computer, so no running around.
  • ARGGG! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Damn it! I clicked on the link thinking it was a system I could emerge on my Gentoo box. Never post something again that has the word 'Linux' in it and requires you to actually pay for something.
  • Essentially Airport Express and a bunch of less usable products from Cisco et al do everything Sonos does except the analog loophole (which is a cool feature ... but only useful in rather odd situations).

    Consider possible users:

    1. Hi Fi enthusiast.

    This person is not going to pay $1200 to use a cheesy 50W amplifier.

    2. Computer Nut.

    Already has all his/her audio digitized and several spare computers lying around along with a wireless network and some decent stereos. Why pay $1200 for Sonos when $129 per A
    • 4. Businesses.

      Which sometimes fall into the category #3 you quoted above, sadly.

      It almost seems like this is supposed to be used in something like a restaurant, where you can control the different zones... however, I don't know of a restaurant that has "zone" control that plays different music on different zones. Usually just volume - that's it.
    • As a "Computer Nut" I do the Airport Express solution now. It's not perfect, and strongly lacking in some ways:

      - With the Airport Express you don't get a nice GUI or remote control device.

      - With the Airport Express, you can't play the same music in multiple rooms at once.

      - You also have to have a computer running. I'm told the Sonus will play interenet radio without requiring a computer or file server running. (Roku does this as well, and apparently the new Slim Devices product does as well)

      Sonus is too
  • Slashvertisment? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:32PM (#12892280)
    "[if (blahblah) and if (blahblah2)...] then the Sonos Digital Music System is for you. It's the current state of the art for wirelessly controlling music in a large home or business where you need just the right music in the right room at the right time.

    Analog loophole, analog loophole... a whole page raving about that and the fact that you can rip CDs to MP3s on your computer and play them on this thing! And there isn't even a single real-life photo, only those found on the official [] site. [] Nobody seems to be complaining about the slashvertisment now, eh?
  • I have demo'd these (Score:3, Informative)

    by KenFury ( 55827 ) <> on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:33PM (#12892308) Journal
    The company I work for. [] sells these and I had a change to demo them for use on our network. We only used three zone but they were dead simple and worked great. If you can afford them (I can't) you will love it. Before I hear the cries of "astroturfing, astroturfing!" I did not submit the article.
  • by loudgazelle ( 861612 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:34PM (#12892313) Homepage
    My dad got the Sonos a couple of months ago, and I saw it in action last weekend. It's really cool stuff and well implemented.

    The big selling point for him was being able to have all the "zones" synchronously play the same song in every room. None of the other solutions he looked at were able to do that.

    As far as I remember, the scrool wheel doesn't move- it's touch based, like on the recent iPods.

    I just wish I had the money to buy one for myself...
    • "The big selling point for him was being able to have all the "zones" synchronously play the same song in every room. None of the other solutions he looked at were able to do that."

      Squeezebox ( does that, but isn't standalone and assumes you're providing the computer and hard drive holding your music collection. Each player ("zone") is $300 ($250 if you don't need wireless) and requires external amp/speakers. For those of us who like the sound of our existing systems, it seemed better.
  • What I really want to know is which approach they use for synching audio between multiple rooms/zones. That's pretty much the biggest hurdle to designing a home-brew version. The only reliably synched method I can think of would be a custom streaming protocal that partially relies on LAN performance to keep many rooms/zones playing the exact same audio so that your ears don't hear delay from the speakers in an adjacent room. When I tested this at home I think I had to get down to 40-60ms offsets before m
    • I should have added that most streaming solutions I found required buffering of the source. The only way I could see around that was to have the server be silent, and all of the clients (even if one was the server) connect using the same buffering settings. And even then you'd have to eliminate other factors like DNS lookups and software load times on disparate hardware. I kept coming back to the need for an embedded-like realtime system.
    • Don't need a new protocol. We already have multicasting. As long as you are using the same receiving algorithm / software / hardware, it should be exactly synced. Why send the same stream multiple times?
  • Nice, but for a complete solution I would at least expect a surround module for the home cinema room. I'd seriously consider buying this then.
  • Amp-less Version? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 706GL ( 172709 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:38PM (#12892381) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't they lower the price a little bit by selling a version of the box to integrate with your existing stereo. Just a receiver box with a RCA and digital output jack on the back. For a lot of applications I would image people already have the amp covered and don't need to spend the extra money on a part of the system that isn't going to get used.

      The Squeezebox is an excellent low-cost solution, especially if you already have amps and speakers, music ripped on a server, and a home network.
  • TFA is talking about "high-quality speakers which have bare-wire connections:

    Running wires this way allows you to trim your speaker wires to exact lengths without having to crimp a jack on the end of your speaker wires.

    That would be a "plug". The male (sticky-outty) thing is a plug. The female (takie-innie) thing is a jack.

    I'm about to run speaker wire to the upstairs bathroom, to put a pair of car speakers in the ceiling above the sink. That means crawling in the attic, pulling wires, etc. I

  • by kurkpeterman ( 840658 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @02:46PM (#12892489)
    I see a lot of people out there discounting the capabilites of Sonos because they really don't understand what exactly the system does versus alternate setups. To be fair, Sonos competes directly with high-end multi-room, multi-source systems such as [], [], and []. All of these systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars for product/install and require that you hardwire your whole house.

    *multi-room capability (control up to 32 rooms on one controller)
    *multi-source capability (play different songs in different rooms)
    *synchronization capability (play the same in different rooms, or in groups of different rooms)
    *built-in amplifier (not everyone has a speaker amp in each room)
    *line-out to existing amplifier (for those beefy existing home theatre setups)
    *line-in on each zoneplayer that can be streamed to any other zoneplayer (connect any legacy device like cd/dvd/tape/sat radio/etc.)
    *integration with music services (rhapsody)
    *integration with internet radio streams
    *wireless controller w/ lcd (huge benefit on getting the wife/gf to use it)
    *ease of use (anyone can use that scrollwheel interface)
    *ease of setup (not everyone is a tech)

    Now let's look at the other talked about solutions and compare their capabilities:

    Airport Express
    *line-out to existing amplifier
    *can play one audio source at a time (so can either play on my computer, or my airport express)
    *walk back to computer each time you want to change anything

    Cheapo Dell ($500 - I have yet to actually see anyone get a computer for $299)
    *computer functionality at each room [benefit, assuming you have a montior, keyboard, and mouse to take advantage of it]
    *no sychronization (might was well have a indepent cdplayers in each room and burn cds)
    *need powered speakers at each location (more $$$)
    *walk up to computer and change tracks on it

    Besides all the extra functionality (link/separting rooms of audio, rhapsody integration, ease of use/setup,...) everyone is missing the most important thing [and what makes the iPod so successful]. THE INTERFACE! Why do people buy iPods in droves instead of getting a regular flash/hard drive based player. It's because the iPod has blended simple but powerful functionality with elegant design. Sonos wireless lcd controller gives that same beautiful abstraction and gives *anyone* control of the audio in their house seamlessly.
    • if it requires ANY software to be installed on the host computer then it is crap.

      I love my audiotrons. they use the samba share of my music on the main server in the house perfectly. and at only $299.00 each + $299.00 for a pair of alesis powered monitors that kick the crap out of most "home speakers" in each room I get much more for much less.

      I can program in icecast stations on my audiotrons, and have a perl script that has all my podcasts in a podcast section that auto delete if listened to during th
      • if it requires ANY software to be installed on the host computer then it is crap

        Care to explain why? I used to use audiotron, they were OK. Nothing spectacular, browsing was a pain for one thing - they were slow. Now I use Squeezeboxes. Yes they need a server running, but it's open source perl, so (hopefully) no complaints about lockin there. What you get in exchange is much better performance when searching through 10000 files (because meta data is all in a db), support for multi-player synchronized play
    • Cheapo Dell
      *computer functionality at each room [benefit, assuming you have a montior, keyboard, and mouse to take advantage of it]

      And be able to take it to various places outside, assuming the access points can reach.

      *no sychronization (might was well have a indepent cdplayers in each room and burn cds)

      And just what is wrong with the sound players that will synchronize the songs playing on two computers across a network?

      *need powered speakers at each location (more $$$)

      Are you saying the Sonos
  • Rhapsody (Score:3, Informative)

    by MSG ( 12810 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:00PM (#12892645)
    I'm a RealNetworks employee, and we recently saw these things demoed after they added support for RealNetworks' Rhapsody service. Add a Rhapsody subscription to the cost of the device, and you get a massive library of music accessible for high-quality streaming. It was pretty impressive.
  • by meanfriend ( 704312 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @03:04PM (#12892692)
    Hmmm, cool looking product but from looking at the last page of the article, the reviewer rates the ease of setup on WindowsXP 10/10 but gives the ease of linux setup as a measly 2/10.

    The reviewer said he had to ask the Sonos community (maybe a web forum?) for help getting it to work under Suse. Apparantly you need to run Samba for the Sonos controller to be able to access the music and gave the reviewer enough trouble that he writes:

    "For Linux wizards, this is probably just another opportunity to play and have fun, but for me it was some serious work, and I would not have been able to do it but for the graciousness of the Sonos community. "

    It seems that they haven't put a lot of polish on the linux support for the server end yet. I'm wondering why is there no NFS support which should do away with needing Samba... I have my entire music collection on an NFS share, and I'd expect any linux client to simply mount it over the network and away we go.

    Should we be giving much credit to a product just because it runs linux if it's really that difficult to make it play nicely with existing linux networks?
  • The Roku Soundbridge [] is a system that solves some of the problems mentioned in the comments. 1) No amp, just provides RCA jacks to integrate with your current stereo. 2) Cheap. $150 to $400, depending on the size of the screen.

    It solves some problems of the AirPort Express (no display, no ability to control the host computer).

    Has anyone here used it?

    (And to answer the question of why get this instead of an actal computer--some people have home theaters or stereos and want something that integrate with th

    • Happy Soundbridge owner. Awesome product and great support. The wireless can be flaky(check their compatible router list before buying), but they are constantly updating the functionality. And with a Rhapsody subscription to pipe through it, I pretty much don't buy cds any more....
    • I'd strongly recommend a squeezebox over the soundbridge. Better support (particularly if you want to use slimserver, which is a slimdevices product just like the squeezebox), better product (IMHO). Same price (roughly).
  • I just want a USB port, or audio in jack on my car stereo so I can plug my flash mp3 player in.
  • by anjrober ( 150253 ) on Thursday June 23, 2005 @06:49PM (#12895284)
    I'm thrilled to see this post and admittingly biased. I've had 4 ZonePlayers and 2 Controllers for a few months now and can't recommend them enough. I've plugged them into a B&W Speakers and they just rock.

    Why is Sonos great? (in no particular order)

    1. No need to put your MP3s on it's HD. You store them where you want and simply mount a drive
    2. A remote anyone can use with no training. My previous hacked together PocketPC device accessing internal website via 802 was a disaster.
    3. Use traditional audiophile grade gear (amps with sonos as preamp) and input devices (DVD, tape deck, LP, etc) as inputs to Sonos. Nothing beats an LP streamed all over the house
    4. Play multiple zones "in Sync" (all playing the same thing in time) or each zone plays what it wants
    5. It just works. Well. Hugely high Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF).
    6. Software upgrades (flashable ROM) to hardware. I've never got an upgrade to my old, black rack audio gear.
    7. water-resistant remote
    8. Desktop client, if you can't find a remote, use your laptop
    9. we just listen to more music.
    10. whole home networking without running wires (here in Boston, old home networking can be tough)
    11. programable interface
    12. active developers community

    What I don't love about Sonos:
    1. Cost
    2. No support for real/MS/quicktime, only shoutcast. For now, hoping for an upgrade

    That's really it. The wife and I just love it.
    I can't recommend it enough.

    Feel free to post questions about the devices if you like and I'll try to answer.

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato