Mystery resolved: new Sonos gear

by Volker Weber

So what was in the two mystery boxes last week? The smaller box was just there to confuse you. The big one contained a lot of Sonos gear, most of which goes back tomorrow. The only keeper is the new ZonePlayer 120:

Sonos ZonePlayers ZP120 and ZP100

As you can see, it's much much smaller than the ZP100, and it loses some capabilities. No more analog out (just subwoofer), two instead of four Ethernet ports. It's smaller because it has a new switching power supply. It can drive two speakers with up to 55 Watt RMS per channel at 8 Ohms, and more than 100 at 4 Ohms. And it gets hot while doing that. Well, you won't keep it on your lap; but please don't put any paper on top of it. The other gear was stuff I already have and the new ZP90, which looks almost identical to the ZP80. And it now has the correct Sonos logo on the top.

Two new zones with ZP120 and ZP90

The other major difference between the old ZP80/ZP100 and new ZP90/ZP120 is the wireless network. It now has three antennas in a MIMO setup. You know this from Draft N access points. Throughput and range should be higher. Only between new devices of course.

Sonos 2.6

You also get new software today. Update your existing systems. Major new feature is a bigger index, which now can hold 65,000 tracks. As you upgrade to 2.6, Sonos will send you an email with instructions on how to redeem 150 Euro worth of music from (3 albums), eMusic (50 tracks) and (10 concerts). Consider this a first free shot. :-)

It's all nice and dandy, but there are a few things I am disappointed about:

Other things on my wishlist:

  1. iPhone controller
  2. Desktop controller on par with iTunes
  3. All-in-one device like a Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  4. QoS. Hanno says he can saturate SonosNet with non-Sonos traffic. Sonos should be able to prevent this.

Summary: Good enhancements. No need to buy new gear. I think they are working on more ...

Update: Sonos also launched a new website:



maybe this is a stupid question - but what's the advantage over AirTunes?
AFAIK you can group AirTunes, control it via you iPhone (Remote) and it is cheaper.

Timo Zimmermann, 2008-08-05

Thanks for mentioning the QoS issue. (Feature request and problem description on Sonos forums.)

Other than this, Sonos is just great! Vowe, you were 100% right with your earlier reviews of their gear and I'm a very happy owner!

Hanno Zulla, 2008-08-05

Thanks for asking I am wondering too ...

Claude Lehmann, 2008-08-05

Timo, that is pretty simple to understand. Just shut down your computer while your music is playing. Sonos continues, Airtunes does not.

It's a completely independent system (if your music is stored on a NAS). You tell it what to play, it plays. It's also multi-room, so you can play the same stuff all through your house, or different things in different places.

Volker Weber, 2008-08-05

Sonos should add following features:
- Audio Out / in for "Soviet Controller" for connecting Headsets or using IPOD as an input device.
- "Output" Device Driver for PC for streaming any audio output directly to SONOS
- Integrated Hard Disk or at least USB Port for external HDs

Olaf Boerner, 2008-08-05

@Olaf: Head to the Sound Ideas forum at and make your suggestions there. Sonos is known to implement ideas discussed there, if other users support like them.

One comment:

Integrated Hard Disk or at least USB Port for external HDs

By not offering this, Sonos has nicely avoided the problem of how to shut down a spinning hard drive. Dealing with this is a difficult problem and I guess they leave that problem to the NAS you intend to use.

The current Sonos can be shut down or removed from the power outlet at any time, there is no shutdown sequence.

Hanno Zulla, 2008-08-05

Somehow I guessed it was new sonos gear. I was hoping with all fingers crossed that the smaller box was a new controller!

John Cawrey, 2008-08-05


Beside this "Just shut down your computer while your music is playing. Sonos continues, Airtunes does not." as I understand, Airtunes is also making it possible have different music in different places...

Claude Lehmann, 2008-08-05

It does not. iTunes only playes one track at a time and can feed one or more APXs.

Volker Weber, 2008-08-05

For accuracy - if you do use an Apple TimeCapsule you can use it to serve up music to Airport and then turn off your PC.

It does, however, limit you to the same music in every room in the house.

I often listen to different music, my wife doesn't like Sisters of Mercy much :)

When comparing pricing of any other solutions, ensure you include the prices of required amplifiers.

Ben Rose, 2008-08-05

Volker, did they say why the CR100 hadnt been upgraded ?

I am assuming that the fact the CR100 doesnt have the SonosNet2.0 capability means that it will not benefit from range improvements in the ZP's, and therefore usability out in the garden will still be limited.

John Cawrey, 2008-08-05

A feature that would be extremely usefull, is the ability to mix between line in and music. This would make the Sonos a great PC amp/player. That way, one could hear the assorted sounds that are generated by the computer while still listening to music.

Christopher Caruk, 2008-08-05

Actually, the "decoy" smaller box made me think it's Sonos equipment in the first place. The combination if one bigger box and a smaller box made me think so, because (at least in my memory), most posts in which you cover Sonos equipment show a big and a small device.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2008-08-05

@John - The CR100 is unchanged but the garden has never been an issue for me - remember, Sonos is a mesh system. It doesn't need to talk to your router, it talks to any ZonePlayer within range. In my case I have Sonos in 4 rear facing rooms and the controller will lock onto any one of them. Whilst my laptop will hardly work outdoors, as the router is central to the house, the Sonos never has an issue.

@Christopher - Many PC speakers have support for an external line-in, my ZP90 connects there.

Ben Rose, 2008-08-05

John, no they have not explained why the CR100 has not changed.

Ben, you are answering two questions that have not been asked. You may not have difficulties with SonosNet 1.0, but John seems to have. Christopher is not asking for PC Speakers but he wants to connect PC Line-Out to Sonos Line-In and then hear BOTH his music and the sounds that the PC sends to Sonos.

Volker Weber, 2008-08-05

@Ben, yeah I realise that, but my ZPs are fairly central (in order to keep them in range of each other and the zone bridge which is at the front of the house). Guess I'll just have to get some more zones and place near the rear windows.

John Cawrey, 2008-08-05

ah thanks, I got it. Maybe I should take a look after moving in my new apartment.

Timo Zimmermann, 2008-08-05

@John - Sounds like your house is pretty large but you may well be able to reposition your existing kit to significantly improve the situation.

Tech support will be able to give you signal strengths between each of your players which will give you an idea of which ones you can move away from each other, towards the back of the house, without signal degradation. Each zone player only needs to see one other.

Alternatively a second zonebridge on the back of the house would probably sort it completely and avoid you having to move your existing setup around or buy any more ZPs.

If you speak to tech support, ask for Gordon and tell him I sent you. He's quite excellent at maximising wireless coverage, even with the old wireless.

@Volker - I hear both PC and Sonos sounds through my PC speakers concurrently, which meets the solution requested. Christopher may decide that ¢50 for a pair of suitable speakers may be ideal until such a time that Sonos meets his requirement.

Ben Rose, 2008-08-05

They just put their new homepage live. Nice!

And the ZP100 and ZP80 simply disappeared from their site. I wonder what happens to those they still have in stock. (I'd definitely buy some at reduced price.)

Hanno Zulla, 2008-08-05

I asked the same question. Sonos says inventory was very low. And they already have loaded the channel with new devices.

Volker Weber, 2008-08-05

Simply Sonos in the UK are discounting their old stock.


They will ship overseas.

Ben Rose, 2008-08-05

That link was borked. Here it is. Summary:

zp100: 299 gbp = 378 eur
zp80: 199 gbp = 252 eur

zp100 + cr100: 499 gbp = 631 eur
zp80 + cr100: 399 gbp = 505 eur

zp100 + zp80 + cr100: 599 gbp = 757 eur

Volker Weber, 2008-08-06

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