Rocking The House with Sonos

As a member of the extended SoundVision family, I was extremely excited when Scott asked if I’d try out the Sonos wireless music system in my San Francisco apartment and let him know my thoughts. I’ve been trying out the Sonos Play:5 integrated speaker system for the past few weeks, and it’s been a great experience. It’s rare that I come across a tech experience that fully embodies the “It just works!” catchphrase popularized by Steve Jobs and Apple, but this descriptor suits the Sonos wireless music system perfectly.

Sonos Play 5

Sonos Play:5 formerly ZonePlayer S5

Setup

The Sonos Controller app installed on my Mac within a few minutes, and it had detected the Sonos system on my network within five seconds of me pressing the Link button after being prompted to do so by the software. About ten minutes after I started this process, I was done without a hitch. Adding Sonos Controller apps on my iPhone and iPad was also super simple: download the free app from the App Store, fire it up, hit the Link button on the Sonos and voila—you’ve added a new controller to your system.

The Tunes

Sonos music options

It’s hard to quantify the sheer volume of music options Sonos users can access. Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, IHeartRadio, Last.fm and other online music streaming services are all available, right from the Sonos Controller app. I’m already a Spotify Premium subscriber (which is required to use Spotify on Sonos), so I was able to log in and access all my saved playlists and albums right from the Controller app. It’s the same story with Pandora—all my saved stations were available for me to choose from, and I can create new ones right from the Controller app. I also like to listen to terrestrial radio every now and then, so IHeartRadio was nice to have for those situations.

I only found one hitch. While Sonos is great for accessing online streaming music, the user experience for playing your iTunes music library can be tricky if your library was started back when Apple music was heavily restricted. Some of the older tunes in my library were unavailable to the Sonos system. However, i’m able to access virtually all of the songs I have in my iTunes library on Spotify, so this is not a huge problem.

Sound Quality

Simply put, the sound quality of the Sonos Play:5 is nothing short of incredible, and proves the Sonos team has been doing their acoustic homework. I’m a self-confessed bass junkie, and I was blown away by the depth and richness of the bass that comes out of the Play:5 even at low volume settings. Of course overall audio quality varies based on which streaming service you’re listening to, with Spotify and Pandora being among the best in my sampling. It truly sounds like I have a full stereo setup in my room, with vibrant and lifelike sound, all from just the small Sonos box on my bookcase.

In Summary

The Sonos Play:5 is perfect for apartment-dwellers like me, who want a whole-house music solution but where a permanent wired solution is impractical. I’m already looking forward to adding another Play:5 in the kitchen and a Sonos Connect to my living room sound system to really expand the music around the home.

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