Sonos :: Decisions, decisions, decisions

by Volker Weber

[Story removed. Ever since Sonos introduced TruePlay Tuning in 2015, it became obsolete.]


This is one of the pieces, which is gonna cost me money after reading.

Henning Störk, 2013-10-18

You forgot to place a Sum(F3:F18) at the bottom! It would give everyone an indication on how much they will happily spend in the long run...

Ole Saalmann, 2013-10-18

AFAIK with v4.2 you can use a Connect (or Connect:amp) to keep the back channel speakers of an existing surround setup. Or when you don't have power behind your couch.

Can I mix a Play:1 and a Play:3 with the Playbar?

Oliver Regelmann, 2013-10-18

Ole: if you've got enough rooms to use all these combinations at once you totally wouldn't mind the sum of their prizes ;-)

Oliver Regelmann, 2013-10-18

Oliver, you can only use a pair of Play:1 or a pair of Play:3 for the back channel. It is quite an investment. I recommend to use those speakers in a different room and bring them in for the movie experience. Unless of course money is not an issue.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-18

Thx for clarification. I already have a Play:3 and soon will have a Play:1 in other rooms, so it would've been nice to be able to use these two for an instant surround setup.
But I'm sure there'll be a second Play:1 in the house, someday.

Oliver Regelmann, 2013-10-18

The CONNECT:AMP fits also perfectly where you've got in-walls or outdoor speakers at your sundeck, for example.

Thomas Lang, 2013-10-18

Pricey! 1800 for a proper surround setup or any of the other combinations. Exactly how good is the sound from these players compared to a normal amp / speaker combination in that price range?

I don't see how a wireless speaker set (which still needs cables for electricity, so this kind of defeats the wireless part) with a littlebit of internet magic can make anyone ditch their existing surround setup. Hmm ...

P.S.: If the "Connect" were a littlebit less expensive compared to their other solutions and included a wireless adapter (the "bridge") one could easily "try out" the Sonos experience with existing amp/speaker combinations. Most 349€ amps can stream internet and local music just fine by themselves ... "enhancing" them with an equally expensive addon seems ... unreasonable ;-)

Sebastian Herp, 2013-10-18

@Sebastian: Sonos is like the iPad. You need to use it yourself to know how good it is and why you have a need for it. ;)

Abdelkader Boui, 2013-10-18

Sebastian, you don't want a Sonos. :-)

Volker Weber, 2013-10-18

@Sebastian. Maybe vowe is right and Sonos is not for you. A good friend of mine was as sceptical as you are. That was four years ago. This weekend he will finally order a Sonos system: Sub + Playbar + Play:1: Thomas Lang will like that :-)

As vowe has mentioned each and every time: You will not become a Sonos fan by theorizing about it. You have to experience it yourself (sounds like marketing talk but it's true). Once you have a single Sonos component in your house you cannot go back. As vowe said: you will spend money (as one's financial situation permits) until every room contains Sonos components.

Back to my topic:
I did extensive testing comparing the following setup of the course of a couple of many hours:
(1) Denon AVR Receiver + Canton Subwoofer AS25 + Canton Karat M80 DC
(2) 2x Sonos S5 (Play:5)
(3) Sonos Playbar + Sonos Sub + 2x Play:3

I tested all kinds of music: pop, classic, bass-heavy stuff, ...
My finding was: The Playbar is absolutely on par with the Denon/Canton setup. When it comes to bass there is nothing better than the Sonos Sub I am aware of. Have somebody play Tron (movie and/or soundtrack) to you on the Sonos setup (3) mentioned above. It will blow you away.
Even 2x Sonos Play:5 where virtually indistinguishable form the Denon/Canon setup.
In some occasions the traditional speakers (Canton) sounded a notch better in others the Sonos won. Long story short: The Sonos can absolutely replace your traditional stereo setup. In my case it did. It felt weird in the beginning that the massive Canton speakers were gone: What to do with all this additional space in your living room ;-) After two days I never looked back.

A little note on the side: During that one evening when I did my thorough sound quality comparison ((1) Denon against (2) Play:5 against (3) Sonos Playbar) my wife spend time with me in the living room. Once I was done I asked here if she felt bothered by me constantly switching between the three different setups. Here answer: "I wasn't aware that you did anything". In other words: She didn't even notice the difference. Okay, she clearly didn't pay the kind of attention I naturally did, but still.

A full-blown Sonos system isn't cheap but it's money very well spend. I haven't met a single person yet who regretted buying a Sonos system.

Markus Dierker, 2013-10-18

Markus - I love SONOS, but to say that a full amp with 5.1 speakers is not better than a Playbar + sub + paly 3 means something is wrong. Either bad speakers or bad setup. I can put in a blurray of something like The Abyss or HEAT and blow away anything SONOS can put out. Is the Playbar + sub perfect for a living room or bedroom, for sure. For a home theater, no way.

John Head, 2013-10-19

I am afraid we are out of long dicks here. You win.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-19

If they just had a device without a speaker, with an integrated bridge at a reasonable price (maybe 100€, current you get the same thing with a small amp and speaker, but lacking digital out for 199 € ... the Play:1 *g*). The Play:1 is interesting, but I just don't want to spend 400 € to get Sonos to work with my existing home theater system or throw it out and spend 1800 € on Sonos equipment to replace it ;-)

Maybe it isn't for me :/

Sebastian Herp, 2013-10-19

@John: wish I could demonstrate to you in person. The Canton speakers I had got excellent reviews as did the Denon AVR. Anyway, what it boils down to is this: everyone needs to make up his/her own mind. In my case I had no trouble replacing my Denon/Canton combination (which price-wise was around 1800 EUR back in the day). The intention of my post was not to talk anybody into buying a Sonos to replace xyz it was more a personal experience report (@Sebastian asked for an option, so I gave mine). @John, let us know how your setup looks like so that I can try to asses your "blow away anything SONOS puts out" statement. Everybody have a great weekend (with or without music) :-)

Markus Dierker, 2013-10-19

@Markus: Thanks for your report. Just some hours ago a customer asked, if a SONOS 5.1 setup could replace a "normal" setup. I'll send him a link to your post. Otherwise some one could think I'll try to sell something.

And yes, I will be happy if your friend orders this weekend. ;-)

Thomas Lang, 2013-10-19

Sebastian, it isn't for you. You are invested in a different technology. That's what I like to say. If you are rich, you can first buy something else.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-19

Will a 10 points Sonos 1500,- system sound like a (let’s say) 1500,- Dynaudio studio active + Airplay system?

I mean is 10 points = 10 general hifi sound points? Or is this measuring system inside of Sonos’ capabilities?

I never had the chance to compare Sonos to a real studio sound system.

Stefan Dziallas, 2013-10-19

I love the connect - it'a been a fine fit to my existing stereo which I dearly, dearly love.

I must half-curse you, though, Volker, because there's SUB-shaped hole in my savings which is seriously starting to have itchy feet!

Andrew Magerman, 2013-10-19

The points are relative within the Sonos experience. 4 does not mean twice as good as 2. It just provides a ranking. It's better to buy two PLAY:1 and a SUB than to buy two PLAY:5 for instance. Or a stereo pair of PLAY:5 sound better than a PLAYBAR which is better than a pair of PLAY:3.

As soon as you rely on AirPlay, your whole experience cannot match Sonos. The reason is that AirPlay depends on an intermediary. Sonos is self sufficient. You only need to tell it what to do. But there is no iPhone, iPad or computer that delivers the sound. Sonos does it all by itself.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-19

Careful, Andrew. SUB only works with CONNECT:AMP, and any PLAY*. Not with CONNECT.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-19

I checked (which I should have done before). The system is really flexible! BUT the required app looks too much like 2007 design with glossy marbles. I’m not able to bear this ugly UI despite the good technical implementation.

Stefan Dziallas, 2013-10-20

I cannot disclose everything I know. But I suggest you save your money and come back later.

Volker Weber, 2013-10-20

I'll have an eye on Sonos ;-)

Stefan Dziallas, 2013-10-20


I should have thought of that. the SUB has obviously no idea of the crossover frequency it should use. Even if that was configurable, there would be no way for the sub to react to changes in the volume of my main stereo, resulting in a mismatch.

I stand corrected, and my purse is no longer itching.

Andrew Magerman, 2013-10-21

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