Sonos - the not so obvious things

by Volker Weber

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You have set up your Sonos, connected your iTunes library, and now you are enjoying your music. The music you had before. And it might take a while until you discover the world out there. As Jess wrote on Twitter today:

@vowe I just found out I can listen to my local FM radio stations on @Sonos! It made me so happy, I've had the worst luck getting it before.

Yes, that is the next thing you can do. And then you realize you cannot only listen to your local radio stations but to tens of thousands of radio stations all over the world. One of my favorites is from Moscow. You can even listen to specific radio shows without waiting for them to be on.

Are you a sat radio subscriber? SiriusXM is available. Not only that, you can add lots of music services like Spotify, Beats Music or Rhapsody. As you add those, you may discover a little button called "Sonos Labs". There are even more Music Partners. 8tracks, HypeMachine, you name it. My lastest craze is Shuffle.fm. Bought any MP3s or CDs on Amazon? They should be available through Amazon Cloud Player. Just add the service and enter your Amazon credentials.

And those trusty old CDs you haven't ripped? Connect a player to Line-In* and then even play it in a different room. Same goes for your TV. Have a Playbar and a game is on? Group all Sonos players in Party Mode and hear the game commentary in all rooms. Bathroom time-out!

Last not so obvious hint: I have an Apple Airport Express Line-Out wired to a PLAY:5 Line-In. I have programmed this Line-In to autoplay in my Office. If I am sending audio from my office iMac to my Airport, it comes out of the Sonos in my office.

*) Line-In is available on PLAY:5, CONNECT and CONNECT:AMP.

Comments

Thanks Volker!! I didn't know about Sonos Labs at all.

I recently backed up my entire iTunes library over to Amazon Cloud (which remembered and automatically added the songs I had already purchased from Amazon).

It just seemed easier than always leaving my iMac on to access my music library. I don't have a home NAS yet.

So far we all just love it so much. I find myself using it the most by picking the songs directly from my iPhone playlists. But it's great because I can start it from there, and then control it from my desktop, when I move to it.

Love, love, LOVE it.

Jess Stratton, 2014-02-13 20:40

I bought my wife a Play:1 for Christmas to replace the shower radio. We wake up and shower to the news :). Later today we'll buy another Play:1 for the kitchen so we can boogie while we cook.

I still love my big HiFi and vinyl but eventually a Connect will add to that (and via linein allow coordinated vinyl listening throughout the house).

Beautifully engineered & superb sound. It.just.works. My only niggle has been having to wait 2 months for local stock!

Colin Williams, 2014-02-13 22:14

Sonos is struggling meeting the demand for the PLAY:1. The other big surprise was how many people wanted to add a SUB, which is still in short supply after so many months.

I had a big HiFi myself. The only thing that I still have are the big speakers. And if you compare those with my TV rig (PLAYBAR + SUB + 2xPLAY:3) you will cry.

I see a lot more Sonos players in your future. :-)

Volker Weber, 2014-02-13 22:43

The other cool feature I discovered (as if it was lost) recently, is that you can also have Sonos play a streaming file.
My brother works on a radio station in Australia. His show is in the middle of the night, so my parents can't listen. Howeber, they have each weeks show streaming from the same URL.
So, in comes Sonos... Manage, Add Radio Station... copy and paste the URL in, and voila!!
Each weeks new show is ready for listening too, at any time

Colin Hensley, 2014-02-13 23:44

Won a Play 3 at Connect this year. To be honest, didn't think much of it. At first. Love it. Only, don't like that Sirius will disconnect after some time like the internet app does on my iPad. Still, GREAT device and will likely buy more to connect to the bridge down the road.

Andy Donaldson, 2014-02-14 02:57

Verflixt. Ich glaube, ich muss mir sofort ein Airport Express kaufen ;-)

Oliver Regelmann, 2014-02-14 09:59

A recommendation for a state radio, free, no ads and *excellent* music editors is FIP

http://www.fipradio.fr/

It's what wakes me up every morning.

Andrew Magerman, 2014-02-14 12:15

Andy - SiriusXM has an activyt monitor on it. If it senses no activity, it turns off. The problem is Sonos doesn't have the same heartbeat that their web page and mobile apps have. I am hoping Sonos updates their SiriusXM support to add that - and add in all the MySiriusXM on demand and balancing features.

John Head, 2014-02-14 16:03

I love, love, love my Sonos gear. But I hate, hate, hate the fact that they force irrelevant software updates on us. It wouldn't bother me if they were seamless, but several times I've had to walk through the whole "setup your Sonos" process again just to get a software update that I didn't want to begin with. I wish they would show just a tiny amount of respect for their customers and allow us to choose which updates to apply and when to apply them, rather than locking down our whole environment without any warning and forcing us to apply every update on demand. It's extremely irritating and I would never allow it on my computers.

Rob McDonagh, 2014-02-14 17:26

Volker, there's a very busy post on the sonos forums about not being able to stream from your pc/mac without a line-in. For example, I only have play 3's in my house but would love to stream from traktor on my mac to each room in the house.

Sonos support haven't offered much in the way of ruling this in or out - do you have any thoughts on it?

Ben Rodway, 2014-02-15 01:21

I am afraid I don't know much about hat. I have several (7) Sonos players with Line-In, so I never bothered working something out like this.

I do use Traktor once in a while, and always found it to be very sensitive to latency. You can't really mix if monitor and masters are on two different paths. Since a Line-In with going from analog to digital introduces a short latency which gets bigger if you want to stream across a network, I cannot imagine a good scenario for that.

Therefore I use Traktor with a boombox: http://vowe.net/archives/012901.html

Volker Weber, 2014-02-15 01:29

I would so much like to play a nice game (and be it Civ 5 on my Macbook) and have the Soundbar and Play:3's help to enjoy it. A laptop is not that good for sound. I cannot think why it would not work. So I second that, and have done so on the forums.

What I dislike is the DTS support (...), with some devices you are missing out a lot. I know, Vowe, you hardly ever see that/ have hardly yet seen that yourself (if I recollect correctly from your previous posts - I would not want to put words into your mouth), but it starts to be very annoying.

Lastly, SiriusXM is seriously expensive for the car, and then you have to pay yet another 3 or 4 bucks per months for the Internet experience. Really? Other services are getting so much better, and for a fraction of the money I have better for many channels of theirs, depends on what one is looking for.

Alexander Koch, 2014-02-16 01:54

... and still missing the Spotify features, like Discover, Radio, etc ...

Matthias Schynk, 2014-02-16 13:32

Matthias, das Problem wird generisch gelöst. Kann ich aber nicht erzählen.

Volker Weber, 2014-02-16 14:00

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vowe.net is a personal website published by Volker Weber a.k.a. vowe. I am an author, consultant and systems architect based in Darmstadt, Germany.

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