School me on SONOS and other home streaming systems

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I can't find a specific thread about this other than some discussion buried in the Spotify thread. Most of my home listening nowadays is through to streaming audio (either digital files or Spotify) straight from my laptop to my living room stereo via an Airport Express. This is fine sound quality-wise but patchy in terms of reliability, and having to open up my laptop whenever I play music is a pain in the arse. I want to upgrade to something better, seemingly bewildering array of options out there, so help me ILM. Criteria are:

- I have an excellent separates system and really good speakers in my front room, I do want or not need something that comes with its own speakers.
- It might be a decent option for other rooms in the future though, so the option to add speakers later would be nice.
- Without wanting to be a tossy audiophile about it, sound quality is important, but without having to resort to a two grand Linn streamer. Good enough is good enough.
- I don't currently have a server and I don't really want to keep a computer on 24/7. The ability to just plug an external hard drive into the back of it would be ideal.
- Ability to stream Spotify in high quality is essential
- So is internet radio (primarily BBC)
- Ability to control via an Android phone would be nice

Does anything actually exist that fits the bill here?

Matt DC, Friday, 29 January 2016 15:05 (two years ago) Permalink

The Marantz M-CR611 is the one I crave. It does everything you want, I think. as soon as I have the money...

droit au butt (Euler), Friday, 29 January 2016 15:11 (two years ago) Permalink

Another not-inconsiderable concern is how long developers will continue to support the hardware, so I'd rather not drop a bomb on it unless it's relatively future-proof.

Matt DC, Friday, 29 January 2016 15:15 (two years ago) Permalink

I like Sonos pretty well, sounds good, was relatively cheap, mostly works fine. But I don't like my internet connection so much. Mostly it all works fine but occasionally bad internet connection makes me wonder wtf was wrong with a stereo and physical product.

japanese mage (LocalGarda), Friday, 29 January 2016 17:45 (two years ago) Permalink

I went with Sonos (after also using Airport/Airplay for years) and am totally in love with it. The only downside to it for my purposes is the expense — the unit you would need for your existing setup is the Sonos Connect, which at $350 seems overpriced to me to attach your amp to the network. But the ease of use and rock solid reliability makes the cost worth it for me.

It ticks every one of your requirements except being able to plug in an external hard drive. If you don’t want to leave your computer on you’ll either need a NAS or do what I did — upload your library to the Google Play Music cloud (the first 50,000 songs are free, which has been plenty for me so far — and now I can also access my library from work or anywhere else, which is pretty neat). I believe it limits your local library to around 65,000 songs.

One thing I really like about it is that everything goes through the Sonos app, so playing music from multiple services is pretty seamless and you have a unified interface. Some people don’t like that aspect of it because certain features might not be ported over from a service’s native app and if the service isn’t supported within the Sonos app you can’t stream it — e.g. no YouTube which bugs a lot of people. But you’d want to be sure that any specific features you like about your current apps are supported.

I believe it's been around the longest and as far as I can tell is the current market leader, so it’s probably the safest bet as far as future-proof.

A much cheaper though much less slick option is the Google Chromecast Audio. You’d still need to upload your library to the cloud, and you’d need to use different apps to play your music — Google Play for your library, Spotify, whatever radio app you use, etc. It’s sort of a low budget cross between Sonos and Airplay.

Lots of info on Sonos and comparisons with competition both here and on the horizon: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/sonos-player/

early rejecter, Friday, 29 January 2016 18:06 (two years ago) Permalink

I have a multi-zone Sonos setup at home. Have used it for the last two years and I love it. My only issue is the iTunes library limit is something weird like 80K tracks.

brotherlovesdub, Friday, 29 January 2016 22:52 (two years ago) Permalink

The limit is 65,000 tracks. There's ways to get around that - installing a Subsonic server is one of them. You can also connect to Sonos speakers via DLNA - I use BubbleUPNP on my Android phone for just such a purpose, connected to my JRMC Media server. Setting up all this stuff isn't all that hard, actually.

I've got one Sonos Play:1 speaker (a gift) and I quite like it, though it's technically mono. The newer, more expensive stereo Play:5 has a line-in port which opens up other possibilities. The primary appeal of Sonos is IT JUST WORKS. You don't have to buy anything other than a speaker or two and use them via their app or another that supports DLNA. And the word on the street is their customer service is second to none.

I've also got a Chromecast Audio and find it a terrific value ($35) and an easy way to connect to regular speakers that have a line-out. You could add one to a Sonos Play:5 for the best of both worlds.

My setup is so hodge-podge that I never bother with playing something in multiple rooms. That's now how my life and house is configured anyway.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 29 January 2016 23:56 (two years ago) Permalink

Having said all that, there are new Sonos competitors on the market. Samsung has multi-room speakers as does Denon. You can set up multiple Chomecast Audio's and sync them together.

If were starting from scratch I very well might just go with Sonos, in part because I like how they sound, it's dead simple to set up, and their app is quite clever in the way it can easily combine tracks from various sources.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 29 January 2016 23:59 (two years ago) Permalink

This may well be a dumb question but can you plug Audiocast into the back of an amp, or does it need to go straight into the speakers?

Poacher (Chinaski), Saturday, 30 January 2016 19:52 (two years ago) Permalink

Here are the various ways you can connect Chromecast Audio to an amp, speakers, or whatever:
https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/6280276

Sonos looks good but is a little pricey for my budget. If I were setting up a new multi-room system on the cheap, using existing stereo systems, I'd probably go with Chromecast Audio. But those would not support Matt DC's requirement of being able to plug in an external hard drive rather than running a server.

Currently I use antique Squeezeboxes and the free Logitech Media Server software, which streams the contents of my iTunes library and (via a plug-in) Spotify. I love being able to synch audio throughout the house. Based on what I've read, I think I could get my server talking to Chromecast Audio devices without too much craziness ... I hope I won't have to test that for a while!

Brad C., Saturday, 30 January 2016 20:54 (two years ago) Permalink

chromecast audio is frustrating in what you can use with it. on a pc, you can only stream browser tabs, not from stuff like itunes or spotify. you can basically only stream from paid mobile apps, etc. it's useful sometimes, but you can only do exactly what google wants you to do with their platform.

circles, Saturday, 30 January 2016 21:04 (two years ago) Permalink

But on an Android phone you can stream all output, regardless of source, to a Chromecast Audio.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 30 January 2016 21:37 (two years ago) Permalink

xp There are some ways to work around that, both in and outside the browser, but yes, it is frustrating.

In the browser, you could use the Spotify web player and stream that tab. There are some Chrome extensions that can play media files from your computer, and I guess those tabs could be streamed too, as a way to send things from your iTunes library to the Chromecast ... I doubt this would work with DRMed stuff.

So many devices now support streaming that it's hard to keep up with what they can do. The other day I replaced the Blu-Ray player on our home theater system and without my doing anything the new player discovered and connected to my local music server. It has a Spotify app too, so that is an option for streaming music that appeared in my living room more or less by accident.

Brad C., Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:02 (two years ago) Permalink

okay, i knew you could stream from the regular android music player but didn't realize you could just do anything. lol obv i have an iphone.

circles, Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:34 (two years ago) Permalink

Chromecast audio using the optical into a DAC is really great. CCA is the greatest value audio product in history

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 30 January 2016 23:12 (two years ago) Permalink

thanks for this thread, had been meaning to sort this shit out for ages and it made me think about properly - in a similar situation to Matt DC, but a little less worried about quality. On top of that, also need something the family can use - like I love thinking about clever cheap solutions, fiddling with connections, weird off-brand black boxes from tottenham court court road, but everyone else in the house will want something that just works, ie as-if-by-magic players that they can control, rather than me saying "it's quite simple. First, open terminal…"

Always dismissed Sonos before - expensive, a bit too single-company dependent, and multi-room was never a need… but shit it does look easy and clever, so… a Sonos 1 to start, get another down the line if it works & have stereo or second room, and maybe build from there. Get my library into Google Play, and down the line run a sonos connect into my old amp and speakers if it all seems to be working. In the meantime, a chromecast audio for them because it's cheap and interesting and why not.

woof, Saturday, 30 January 2016 23:49 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah both my wife and I have Android phones and will I think continue to for the foreseeable future, so the Chromecast Audio looks a pretty easy solution. Although getting my entire library into the cloud, while probably sensible in the long term, still feels like a massive ballache.

Are there really no options that involve just whacking a hard drive into the back of them? TV streaming boxes have been offering that functionality for years, with the ability to zip files round the network vi wifi.

Quality is an issue for me (this is a really good Linn system that we were amazingly lucky to get second-hand) so any option has to sound good on that kind of setup. Then again streaming any source to the Apple Express sounds good in that setup, and I doubt the Chromecast will be a big step down from that.

NAS + Sonos Connect might be the way to go, happy to pay a bit more for something robust in the longer-term. But that Marantz box in the first response does look tasty.

Really useful thread, thanks! I figured I was unlikely to be the only person wondering about this stuff.

Matt DC, Sunday, 31 January 2016 12:28 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm running a Chromecast Audio through optical to Musical Fidelity VDAC II into s Cambridge Audio amp and nice speakers. Even using Spotify it gets pretty close to vinyl and CD, there's still some harshness which I think midrange speakers that aren't so revealing might be better... But all said I spent $35 for the CCA and $150 off eBay for the DAC and it's great

One thing to point out, Chromecast Audio doesn't "stream" from your phone. It has its own broadband WiFi connection. Your phone just "points" the CCA towards what you want to play. That means it's not compressed like Bluetooth streaming and even better you can go to another app like YouTube or take a phone call and it won't affect the music. Even if you turn your phone off it will continue to play until the end of the current album or play list.

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 31 January 2016 14:57 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm sure Chromecast works best with Android devices, but I've had good luck using my iPhone and a regular, video-oriented Chromecast -- no problems using the iPhone to control Spotify or YouTube on the Chromecast.

Brad C., Sunday, 31 January 2016 15:45 (two years ago) Permalink

also need something the family can use . . . everyone else in the house will want something that just works

This might actually be my favorite things about Sonos. My wife had just about given up on listening to music between her frustration with Airplay and the impracticality of CDs/vinyl on our main stereo with two kids under the age of 5 running about pressing any button within reach. Now she has music playing all day long and is rediscovering her love for forgotten bands, the kids are being exposed to so much more music, everyone is asking for more speakers throughout the house . . .

early rejecter, Monday, 1 February 2016 03:19 (two years ago) Permalink

I got my parents into Sonos w/ Spotify. My mom is the kind of person who types GOOGLE.COM in the search bar on Google.com. She can work the Sonos from her phone.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 1 February 2016 03:44 (two years ago) Permalink

Anyone here with experience replacing a Squeezebox 2/3/Touch with a Sonos Connect? I guess since it doesn't have a screen you need an iPad or something to control it?

erry red flag (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2016 04:17 (two years ago) Permalink

I was also thinking about this recently. My hifi is very old and i haven't listened to any of my cds or vinyl in years. It's also difficult to find a space for it in my current living room.

How are the actually sonos speakers? I don't care sooo much about sound quality but I certainly don't want anything that sounds like a portable bluetooth speaker.

Or is it a better option to investigate a new standalone hifi and then get a sonos connect or similar?

tpp, Monday, 1 February 2016 06:12 (two years ago) Permalink

Sonos app makes it unusable to me. True heads can't even listen to Youtube & my 64 gb itunes library never fully syncs. Currently use apple airplay thru vintage gear but it buffers so I'm interested in other options as well.

Captain Maximus, Monday, 1 February 2016 09:50 (two years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the tips in this thread, I've been looking for a streaming device too. I have only one audio set in one room I would need to stream to, so I ended up ordering Chromecast Audio... However, upon looking at Google own streaming app, Google Play, it noticed that it transcodes all the FLAC into MP3s. And I know Plex does the same... Most of the music files on my computer are FLACs, and Chromecast itself supports that format, so are there any good music streaming apps that would stream FLACs to Chromecast without transcoding them?

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 09:55 (two years ago) Permalink

I agree with ums that chromecast audio is THE best bargain on the market. But for multiroom purposes I think Sonos, HEOS or Bluesound are better (though more expensive) choices, in part because of the dedicated control app.

Sonos Connect is a great way to get started with streaming on your current stereo system, it's probably the most stable and developed system on the market. Heos Link and Bluesound Node 2 are good alternatives, they offer more connectivity (usb, optical input, bluetooth-adapter, subwoofer pre-out, triggers) and improved sound (24 bit support, better built-in DACs, better optical outputs).

If you're looking to replace you current amplifier, you'll need active speakers or streamer-amps. The stand alone speakers (like the Sonos Play 1) are impressive but can be a bit tiresome to listen to for very long - unless you're allergic to passive speakers I'd recommend the Sonos Connect Amp, Heos Amp or Bluesound Powernode 2 with a set of budget passive speakers for your main listening room. Price will be similar to a Play:5 or a stereo pair of Play:3s, sound is going to be a lot better.

No matter what system you choose, I think you'll experience improved functionality with a NAS - so if streaming your own collection of music files is important, I think that's a solid investment.

As a final note, I'll add that your streaming system is never going to function any better than your router - so if you're using the one supplied by your ISP, getting a proper router (~80$) can make all the difference.

niels, Monday, 1 February 2016 11:45 (two years ago) Permalink

No matter what system you choose, I think you'll experience improved functionality with a NAS - so if streaming your own collection of music files is important, I think that's a solid investment.

Sorry if I sound stupid, but what's a NAS and how do you acquire it?

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 11:58 (two years ago) Permalink

and can i eat it?

NAS, Network Attached Server. dedicated file server running something like FreeNas or MediaVault.

koogs, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:08 (two years ago) Permalink

NAS : network storage.
basically a big hard disc that you access via your home network.
they are not too pricey these days :

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing-accessories/data-storage/data-storage/wd-my-cloud-personal-cloud-storage-4-tb-21817659-pdt.html

i use the NAS/Sonos Connect setup, and its brilliant.
not fussed re speakers round the house, just needed to get my digital archive into my stereo, and figured this was the best option for my needs.
and yeah, the desktop app is very easy to use, and i love the way you can flip from digital radio, various streaming services (i got 12 months free deezer when i bought the sonos connect), and your local digital library without any trouble whatsoever.

mark e, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:10 (two years ago) Permalink

Rather than full-blown NAS enclosure… can i kill 2 birds/1 stone: buy a new, stronger router with a USB port, plug a terabyte hard drive into that, then point Sonos and/or CCA towards that?

woof, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:23 (two years ago) Permalink

So basically it's an external hard drive that also works as a cloud? The price is pretty steep, but I guess it'd eventually pay itself back since you don't have to pay a monthly/yearly like with net-based cloud services...

One thing that seems a bit worrying, in order for it work you have to keep it and your modem on all the time, right? That seems like a bit of fire hazard, or am I overtly cautious?

(xpost)

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:28 (two years ago) Permalink

yes, to keep your network up and running, then you do need to leave the router on.
i dont think this is a fire hazard !
re router+ USB : no idea, i would suspect it is possible, just depends on how the router maps the USB drive.
if you can access the USB drive as a standard external network drive, then i see no reason why you cant point Sonos to that location and pick up the digital files.

mark e, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:34 (two years ago) Permalink

One thing that seems a bit worrying, in order for it work you have to keep it and your modem on all the time, right? That seems like a bit of fire hazard, or am I overtly cautious?

people turn off their modem/router???

tpp, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:36 (two years ago) Permalink

One thing that seems a bit worrying, in order for it work you have to keep it and your modem on all the time, right? That seems like a bit of fire hazard, or am I overtly cautious?

You're being overly cautious. The equipment is designed to be on 24/7 and to just burst into flames would represent a major design flaw. Virtually every office building in the developed world has a server on constantly, if your concerns were realistic they'd be burning down all the time.

I don't think I've turned a router off except to reboot it in about 15 years.

Matt DC, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:49 (two years ago) Permalink

Rather than full-blown NAS enclosure… can i kill 2 birds/1 stone: buy a new, stronger router with a USB port, plug a terabyte hard drive into that, then point Sonos and/or CCA towards that?

I think my BT Homehub might do this but I've never worked out how to actually set it up properly.

Matt DC, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:50 (two years ago) Permalink

if you think about it there is also electricity CONSTANTLY running into the house. you can prove this by flipping a light switch on, there is no latency, i.e. the electricity is storing up behind the walls in an active state.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 1 February 2016 12:51 (two years ago) Permalink

haha that is not how electricity works

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:07 (two years ago) Permalink

Like even if any of that post made sense, "you can prove this by flipping a light switch on, there is no latency" is cartoon funny - the idea you could see the delay between your fingers flipping a switch and a light turning on if it wasn't "storing up behind the walls".

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:15 (two years ago) Permalink

You're being overly cautious. The equipment is designed to be on 24/7 and to just burst into flames would represent a major design flaw. Virtually every office building in the developed world has a server on constantly, if your concerns were realistic they'd be burning down all the time.

Yeah, I get this, but those servers have inbuilt cooling, unlike my modem, which gets fairly hot if I keep it on for two days in a row. I assume this NAS has its own cooling system, though?

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:24 (two years ago) Permalink

i acquired a sonos player last year and the sound is really good but

It ticks every one of your requirements except being able to plug in an external hard drive.

this was just a bit of a deal-breaker - i play all my music off an external HD and the speaker seemed to be requiring that i never switch my laptop off? i don't really see how that's remotely desirable.

cher guevara (lex pretend), Monday, 1 February 2016 13:41 (two years ago) Permalink

Yeah I think this is why people are talking about servers/moving everything to the cloud. Always-on laptop is the scenario I want to avoid.

Matt DC, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:46 (two years ago) Permalink

what about an always-on raspberry pi?

koogs, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:53 (two years ago) Permalink

it really confused me when i got it because it was like...how on earth did sonos not take that into account when designing their weird system?

xp

cher guevara (lex pretend), Monday, 1 February 2016 13:53 (two years ago) Permalink

I have the older version of the Marantz mentioned near the top of the thread.

I went for this because, after selling all my high-end gear in 2012 and going with a basic separates system (10yo Sony DVD player into 30yo Cyrus amp), and then giving those up too, I wanted to start from scratch with something good but simple. The sound quality is great (basically just the Marantz into Q-Acoustics monitors and Sennheiser headphones), but there are a few niggles with it dropping off my network with some regularity - so it can't find Spotify, or my iPhone / tablet app can't find the Marantz. CD playback was essential for me (again, it would be nice here if, seeing as it's a networked device, it could do a Gracenote-style lookup and not just say "11 tracks 55:12" like a dumb CD player), but there is a cheaper model without.

It also has a useless Last.fm mode (support for that was withdrawn before I bought mine), good FM/DAB and NAS/USB/Bluetooth/AirPlay connections (the last of which I use a lot when I can't be bothered navigating Spotify via the clunky Marantz app).

As an amp, it's perfectly fine - I route the TV and MD deck in via S/PDIF, and the turntable pre-amp via analogue. I think that's about all the connections taken up, mind.

Michael Jones, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:01 (two years ago) Permalink

it's tempting to think there's a NAS out there that you can dump your music onto, and feed your Spotify Premium details, and it would provide a unified search/playlist interface to? with RCA out?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 1 February 2016 14:05 (two years ago) Permalink

I'm looking to reconfigure my home audio system, hopefully in a way that also integrates with my TV. My main music source is Spotify and my main TV platform is Roku. The essential apps for me on Roku are Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Twitch, and Spotify. Unfortunately, the Roku Spotify app is pretty bad. It doesn't allow you to play from folders, only from individual playlists, and it doesn't support local files, only songs in Spotify's library. I've tried doing screen mirroring from my Android phone to Roku for Spotify, but Roku's screen mirroring is junk, it crashes a lot and pretty much disrupts my wi-fi.

I don't think SONOS is the answer to this, but I'm curious about Chromecast. My main reservations are the lack of Amazon and the concern that casting from my phone to my TV/stereo will cause similar wi-fi issues as the Roku.

Check Yr Scrobbles (Moodles), Monday, 1 February 2016 14:19 (two years ago) Permalink

I wonder if there are any players that would do the same as what the Marantz does, but also work as an bluray/net video player with an HDMI out and surround sound? I have 5.1 speaker set and I watch movies and play music through the same Yamaha A/V receiver... It feels pretty pointless to have separate systems for music and videos, but most audiophile players/receivers seem to be for audio only.

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:23 (two years ago) Permalink

(xpost)

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:24 (two years ago) Permalink

I have been looking at that Marantz thing for a while actually. If it had phono input I would have bought it already. But I've been in a state of indecision for a while now about whether to get that plus separate phono preamp OR vintage integrated amp plus bluetooth adapter (plus separate CD player I guess).

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:24 (two years ago) Permalink

Oppo players might they are supposed to be great dacs

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 1 February 2016 14:25 (two years ago) Permalink

i just plugged my new alexa (!) straight into my stereo and it's great

"play 1xtra" and it does it. spotify is plumbed in so i say "play the new gas album" and it does it. wild

podcasts are shonky. it's via tunein and i can't tell if any sort of subscribing or "bookmarking" is possible i.e. all the things that make podcasts good.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 00:52 (eleven months ago) Permalink

however. i can just bluetooth to it from my phone. which is probably a better interface for podcasts anyway.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 01:00 (eleven months ago) Permalink

bye bye airport express, you always pretty much sucked

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 01:00 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Hm, AE is lossless, and the most recent has a DAC which measures better than most audiophile gear. Works for me.
Also - https://www.wired.com/story/hackers-can-rickroll-sonos-bose-speakers-over-internet/

attention vampire (MatthewK), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 10:56 (eleven months ago) Permalink

AE dropped out constantly for me, totally unreliable whether i was using phone or computer.

it also didn't tell me the weather

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 11:36 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Can be chancy in a cluttered wifi environment, but I stream to mine literally dozens of hours a week and typically get maybe 2-3 dropouts in that playtime.

attention vampire (MatthewK), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 12:15 (eleven months ago) Permalink

no weather, but

attention vampire (MatthewK), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 12:15 (eleven months ago) Permalink

yeah i live in London, literally more than a dozen Wifi networks visible in my dropdown

almost just wrote "me dropdown" like some salty sailor tutting at his poor wifi reception on the open seas

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 12:18 (eleven months ago) Permalink

We got a second-hand Linn Numerik DAC over Christmas and plugged the Sonos Connect into it, and it's improved the sound even on Spotify to an audible degree. Everything just sounds more three-dimensional now.

My old Airport Express used to drop out all the time, it was hugely annoying.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 12:22 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I connected my Airport Expresses to inexpensive powerline adapters via ethernet and it solved all of my dropout issues. I've mostly moved to Sonos but still use a couple of AEs and can't remember the last time I had a dropout. Don't know how well those adapters work in apartments though.

This might be outside the scope of this thread and better suited to computer questions in ILE, but -- I picked up a Chromecast Audio to use at work, not realizing that client isolation would prevent me from using it on the office wifi network. I think I can get around this by using one of those $20 wireless travel routers in bridge mode to create my own wifi network that piggybacks off the office wifi. Will that complicate my life in any ways I'm not anticipating?

early rejecter, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 15:48 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Wouldn’t the travel wifi itself have to join the office network, encountering the same problem?

attention vampire (MatthewK), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 19:34 (eleven months ago) Permalink

if you have access to an Ethernet port at work, you might be able to use the Ethernet Adaptor for Chromecast

Brad C., Wednesday, 3 January 2018 20:17 (eleven months ago) Permalink

It would have to join the network, but no other wireless devices would need to communicate with it on that network, so I think I would be ok. The reason I can't use the Chromecast now is that our office router isolates all of the wireless devices connected to it, so my phone can't communicate with the Chromecast over the network. But with the travel router they'd be communicating through the new wifi network that it creates, so I think I'd be ok. I think if I can set my phone to prioritize my new network over the office one it should work pretty seamlessly, but I wouldn't be surprised if I'm overlooking something.

I hadn't seen that Ethernet Adapter for Chromecast -- will look into that too, though my stereo isn't very close to the available ethernet ports unfortunately. Might be worth running a cable though. Thanks.

early rejecter, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 20:42 (eleven months ago) Permalink

the travel router needs to be a repeater, not a bridge, no?

Scatperson (ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-whore.) (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 21:26 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Wouldn't a repeater mean that I'd be on the same network that is causing me problems now with AP/client isolation? (I'm no expert on this stuff.)

early rejecter, Wednesday, 3 January 2018 21:53 (eleven months ago) Permalink

I am also not an expert. but when I set my second router to "repeater mode", it creates new wifi network for forwarding to the main router. if I connect to that new network, I believe the main router still only sees the repeater as a client. when I set the second router to "media bridge mode", I am connecting to the LAN of the main router and connecting to the bridge with ethernet. I don't think I am treated as a wireless client in this case? this is at least the convention used by my old asus router.

Scatperson (ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-whore.) (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 22:41 (eleven months ago) Permalink

actually, I think the bridge is treated as a wireless client. so you'd need to do "repeater mode". I think we are in agreement here, and just using different terms.

Scatperson (ski-ba-bop-ba-dop-whore.) (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 January 2018 22:47 (eleven months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

These Controller updates can be slightly painful, especially when WiFi is a little dodgy. Wonder what the latest one is about

The Sound of the City Slang (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 28 January 2018 17:18 (ten months ago) Permalink

I have the feeling there is almost an update per day. It's dubious. The user interface has become worse after the last major update from a while ago. I will never understand why software is too stupid to find out my faves, here the radio stations. I have about 3 or 4 but sonos sytematically proposes those i just don't want to listen to. I also lose the wlan connection despite repeater very often.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Sunday, 28 January 2018 17:52 (ten months ago) Permalink

This latest update seemed to require admin password on my Mac to do something

The Sound of the City Slang (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 28 January 2018 17:53 (ten months ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

I'm researching because I want to get a Sonos system, the above's been of great use already. Just one quick (dumb) question: Sonos lists it works with different music streaming services (Spotify, iTunes etc), but will it also stream any sound coming from my mac/pc laptop? Like youtube?

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 6 December 2018 10:08 (one week ago) Permalink

Also: I'm thinking of getting two Play:5's for the living. Will an extra Play:1 suffice for a smaller working room/home office (25 m2)?

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 6 December 2018 10:29 (one week ago) Permalink

still no youtube support and doubt it will ever be added

you might consider Heos or Bluesound which basically do the same but add bluetooth functionality (for streaming direct sound from pc/phone)

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 10:42 (one week ago) Permalink

Thanks for that, will investigate. Heos looks good but only has a smartphone/tablet app, no pc/mac

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 6 December 2018 10:45 (one week ago) Permalink

you're in the Netherlands? you can get a demo of all three systems at your local Hi-Hi Klubben https://www.hifiklubben.nl/

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 11:17 (one week ago) Permalink

Actually some of the newer Sonos speakers (including the most recent Play:5) support AirPlay 2, so you can indeed stream all audio from your Mac — Sonos specifically mentioned YouTube as a use when they announced it a few months ago. The Play:1 you’re considering for the workroom doesn’t have AirPlay, but if you AirPlay audio to a Play:5 that speaker can send the audio to the Play:1. The slightly more expensive (and somewhat confusingly named) One does have AirPlay.

As for room size, I have a single Play:1 in a room probably about 35 m2 and it’s perfectly fine for casual listening.

early rejecter, Thursday, 6 December 2018 12:48 (one week ago) Permalink

I don't know what's up with my Sonos, to be honest.

It works perfectly for Tidal. When I play a game and run the audio through the line-in there's no problem. But as soon as I try and play a movie through it-- HDMI into audio-splitter, video goes to the projector, RCAs go to the line-ins on the Bridge-- it glitches and hiccups. I got a Boost, even, to see if that'd help, but it continues to stutter. (It's almost as if Sonos can sense when I'm doing something non-profitable with it)

flamboyant goon tie included, Thursday, 6 December 2018 14:59 (one week ago) Permalink

youtube music is going to be added, i read. the app has been on various free trials for a while.

FernandoHierro, Thursday, 6 December 2018 15:22 (one week ago) Permalink

Thank you Early Rejecter, that is kind of the last piece of the puzzle I needed an answer to! (Play:5 Airplay 2 -> the Play:1) And pleased to hear a small Airplay:1 will suffice for a small(er) room. Thanks!

Niels, I won't bring my very best 'Brothers In Arms' mp3's to a store to test the different systems, but thanks ;)

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 6 December 2018 15:26 (one week ago) Permalink

* "a small Play:1", is what that should read

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 6 December 2018 15:26 (one week ago) Permalink

well, if you go to a store you get a good idea of how the speakers sound and you can try out the interface etc, I'd def try before buying

you can also bring some dope ass Knopfler recordings to hear how much better a Sonos Amp with a pair of real speakers will sound at the price of a Play:5, but I realize people are different (I would personally use a play 1 in the bathroom, tops, but I like stereo systems)

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 15:37 (one week ago) Permalink

Heos has no native pc/mac app which is a dealbreaker for me, and Bluesound is priced way higher, so I'm settling for two Play:5's for the living and a Play:1 for the writing room.

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:00 (one week ago) Permalink

that'll definitely do and Sonos is a hella cool system too

but if you have the time to pass by your local store and get a demo of two play 5s (around 1000eur?) vs a sonos amp + 2 dali zensor 3s (817 eur https://www.hifiklubben.nl/streaming/sonos/sonos-connectamp--dali-zensor-3-muziekinstallatie-met-streaming/) I think that might prove revelatory

I know you love music ;-)

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:04 (one week ago) Permalink

how much better a Sonos Amp with a pair of real speakers will sound at the price of a Play:5

That's a good point -- here in the U.S. two Play:5s are $1000; a Connect:Amp is $400. The amp paired with a $600 or less pair of traditional speakers could make a really nice system.

I would personally use a play 1 in the bathroom, tops

I find them perfect for the kitchen and small bedrooms. The big room also has a traditional stereo system that I use if I'm sitting in that room specifically to listen to music, but if I just want something playing while I'm taking care of things around the house the Play:1 is fine for me in there.

early rejecter, Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:24 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm not knocking Sonos (I've never used it) but as someone who already has a couple of stereo systems and pairs of powered speakers and not a whole lot of disposable cash, I've been getting excellent results with Chromecast Audios (on sale through February for $15 each) and the free version of Plex.

Brad C., Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:35 (one week ago) Permalink

I find them perfect for the kitchen and small bedrooms. The big room also has a traditional stereo system that I use if I'm sitting in that room specifically to listen to music, but if I just want something playing while I'm taking care of things around the house the Play:1 is fine for me in there.

my parents have a play 1 in the kitchen and it's fine, no doubt...

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:38 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm not knocking Sonos (I've never used it) but as someone who already has a couple of stereo systems and pairs of powered speakers and not a whole lot of disposable cash, I've been getting excellent results with Chromecast Audios (on sale through February for $15 each) and the free version of Plex.

if yr main focus is value for money yup I agree but Sonos is kinda like Apple in that they created a rather idiosyncratic but ultimately user friendly system that (most of the time) "just works" with minimal user interference

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:39 (one week ago) Permalink

I have a Sonos Connect plugged into a big system in the living room, and a Play:1 in the kitchen. I had some issues with the stereo amp earlier this year so I moved the Play:1 into the front room temporarily and it was amazing how much worse it sounded, it just didn't fill the room unless you turned it up really loud. The Play:1 is fine in a small room though but it's never going to be better than a proper system.

Matt DC, Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:34 (one week ago) Permalink

I mean it has much better definition and bass than any similarly-sized speaker I'd usually put in the kitchen, so definitely worth it for that alone. Plus being able to have the same music playing as you move from room to room is beyond classic obviously.

Matt DC, Thursday, 6 December 2018 17:35 (one week ago) Permalink

sonos is great for adding sound to small rooms that wouldn't otherwise have it. you can make it work for your main listening/watching room but
1. you'll want to pair a sub with either two play:5s or the bar/base/etc. you'll need to use the line-ins on the play:5s for video. bar/base/etc have optical connects to your TV.
2. I don't recommend using a connect:amp for matching video/audio as I think you'll get the sort of trouble fgti mentioned. I'd use a connect to add streaming music capability to a separate amped stereo.

if you do #1, you might be spending a bit more than you thought. if you do #2, you'll be switching sources separately on an amp and your phone/tablet, which will make your overall experience a bit worse.

Sufjan Grafton, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:06 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm sorry but I don't follow at all, doing #1 is imo throwing money out the window unless you are allergic to non-Sonos speakers

amp works fine with video ime and certainly the line in on a play 5 is no better than on the amp? in fact you'd be less susceptible to sync issues when you don't have to sync 2 play5s but only 1 amp powering 2 passive speakers with 0ms delay

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:14 (one week ago) Permalink

reason I recommend the Sonos Amp + passive speakers (any quality brand) is it's the cheapest, simplest, best sounding solution (unless you want to get fancy with a better quality amp and the Sonos Connect, but that's not really relevant here)

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:16 (one week ago) Permalink

also, just to chip in here despite my setup is not relevant.
the desktop/mac app has recently been updated with a clean new interface, but, now has reduced functionality.
you can no longer add new speakers via the desktop app, you have to add any new devices via an IOS/Android device.
there has been a big kickback in the Sonos community, but so far there are no indications that they will reverse this decision.

mark e, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:25 (one week ago) Permalink

xxp my friend has latency issues with his connect:amp. it could be the tv, though.

Sufjan Grafton, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:30 (one week ago) Permalink

doing #1 is not throwing money out the window. it is spending money to get 1.no speaker wires (without putting them in walls) 2. no external amp, and 3. a single interface to all sound sources in your home.

Sufjan Grafton, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:32 (one week ago) Permalink

I can understand not wanting to spend money on those things or situations where they'd matter less. speaker wires matter less if you have a media console sort of setup. they matter more if you have a television mounted to the wall.

Sufjan Grafton, Thursday, 6 December 2018 18:42 (one week ago) Permalink

fair enough

they will need power cables though, and an audio cable from the tv

but I'm a bit old fashioned, I know

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 20:26 (one week ago) Permalink

when you guys are saying "amp" you mean the connect:amp and not the new product just called amp, right?

kind of interested in getting the new one as a replacement for my current receiver to minimize/modernize but I'm curious how it is

mh, Thursday, 6 December 2018 20:32 (one week ago) Permalink

oh wow hadn't seen that one looks practical and more powerful too, cool

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/amp.html

I guess it was the oldest product in their lineup

niels, Thursday, 6 December 2018 20:36 (one week ago) Permalink

I am kind of considering replacing my normal receiver with that, since I now run all my video stuff to the TV and then to the receiver. I have two floor standing speakers and a subwoofer, so I'm thinking I could buy that new sonos amp, plug my existing speakers in, and then add two sonos speakers in the back of the room and do 4.1?

mh, Thursday, 6 December 2018 21:43 (one week ago) Permalink


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