Sonos is one of the most popular wireless, connected speaker systems on the planet — but is it right for you?
You're walking down the street, your head bobbing to the music playing in your earbuds from your phone. You get home and decide that you're going to make dinner, but you want to keep listening to the playlist on your phone while you work. But wired earbuds, knives, and counter-edges don't go well together.
Well, if you had a Sonos system, you could seamlessly keep listening to that playlist in your kitchen, or in whatever room in which you had a Sonos speaker. Here's some information about Sonos and what it can do for you.
What is Sonos?
It used to be that if you wanted to play music in any room of your house other than the room with the stereo, you had to run wires and connect them to at least a pair of speakers in each one. Talk about cumbersome and labor-intensive work! And let's not forget all the holes in the walls and yards of unsightly wires running everywhere.
Well, those days are over: Sonos is a speaker system that connects wirelessly to your computer, phone, or tablet to play music in any room or every room of your home. It also can play music direct from a music streaming service on the internet, such as Google Play Music, Spotify, Apple Music and more.
How does Sonos work?
Sonos uses your existing Wi-Fi setup to establish its own secure wireless mesh network (SonosNet). Over this network, the speakers connect to and play music from any device with Wi-Fi capability and the internet. All of this is managed by the Sonos app, which is available for Windows computers, Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers.
If your Wi-Fi connection isn't reliable, Sonos has included ethernet ports on every speaker so you can hardwire a speaker into your router to guarantee a secure connection, or daisy chain speakers together in rooms where the Wi-Fi strength is lacking.
What are the different Sonos players?
Whether you're an audiophile who can discriminate between the most minute differences in sound quality, or just a person who wants to enjoy music wirelessly in his or her home, Sonos has a player to suit your needs. At the moment, Sonos offers three players:
The Play:1 is Sonos' entry level player in its roundup. With its two dedicated amplifiers, single tweeter, and mid-range woofer, it produces a crisp high fidelity sound for your audio enjoyment. It is wall-mountable and humidity resistant, so you can place it in your bathroom without worrying about moisture damaging its components. While you can't get stereo sound out of one Play:1, if you buy two, you can set them up as a stereo pair of left and right speakers.
As Sonos' middle-of-the-pack offering, the Play:3 offers more features and a more robust architecture than the Play:1. The Play:3 is larger than the Play:1, while still compact. Inside, it contains three amplifiers, one tweeter, two mid-range woofers, and one bass radiator. While you can pair two Play:3s as separate left and right stereo speakers, one Play:3 is all you need to get stereo sound. Other cool features of the Play:3 include the ability to change its orientation either vertically or horizontally without changing the quality of its sound and that it comes with rubber feet so that you don't have to worry about scuffing up your nice furniture.
The Play:5 is the most expensive and the largest player Sonos has on offer. With the heftier price tag, comes more features and bigger sound out of one player. Boasting six amplifiers, three tweeters, and three mid-range woofers, one Play:5 is all you need for big stereo sound. Like the Play:3 and Play:1, you can create a pair of stereo speakers with separate left and right channels, but it's not necessary for a stereo effect. Also like the Play:3, you can place it either vertically or horizontally without sacrificing sound quality. Like the Play:1, it is humidity resistant, so take one into the bathroom with you while you shower.
Unlike either the Play:1 or the Play:3, it has a separate line-in jack to which you can connect any device that produces sound and has a 3.5mm audio connector. For instance, you could connect any MP3 or CD player to your Play:5 and listen to music from those devices on any Play 5 in your home, even those to which the devices are not connected.
The Playbar consists of nine speaker drivers: three tweeters and six midrange woofers. It also has nine separate amplifiers to boost its sound output. Using Dolby Digital Audio as the encoding for its virtual surround sound, it offers a superb home theater experience. It connects directly to your television via an optical cable, which is included. (How refreshing!)
Are you a night-owl while your significant other is an early bird? Do you have children? If so, you can benefit from the NightSound feature of the Playbar. NightSound reduces the volume of crashes and bangs while ensuring that softer sounds remain audible, so that you can watch the latest superhero movie late into the night without disturbing the rest of the house. Neat, huh?
It also functions as a music player, which like the other players, connects to any device with WiFi capability and the internet to stream music through it and any additional players you have in your house.
The Sub is Sonos' subwoofer and adds richness and power to the bass notes in your setup, whether its a home theater system, a music system, or all of the above.
With its two force-canceling speaker drivers set up so that they face each other, the Sub is capable of frequencies as low as 25 Hz without any cabinet noise.
Good to know. But should I buy a Sonos?
You should definitely consider Sonos if you want to play music from any of your Wi-Fi capable devices or your favorite music streaming service in any room of your house. While not the only company that produces similar devices, (Bose comes to mind,) Sonos has received positive reviews from audio-snobs and regular music lovers alike.
Whether you're one of the aforementioned audio-snobs, or regular-joe-music lover, give Sonos a try!