One of the most fascinating things about the tech revolution is how quickly the way in which we listen to and enjoy music has changed in the past 10-15 years. Music lovers like me once had to buy and collect 100’s of Compact Discs, or Vinyl records and store them somewhere in our houses, where they took up a bunch of space. If we wanted to listen to something, we had to locate the physical CD, pop it in the player, and listen to it in one room. Oftentimes the CD you wanted was in the Car or vice versa. That all changed with the Internet and gained widespread popularity soon after Steve Jobs offered the iPod with “your entire music collection in your pocket”
And now with iTunes match/Amazon Cloud drive/Google music we have this value proposition: “Your entire music collection in the cloud, able to be streamed on any device”
As amazing as this is, when you are in your home, you still must connect your iPod or music player to one single home stereo.
Apples solution to this problem is “airplay” which is a way to wirelessly stream your music from your IOS device to a single point where have speakers connected to an airport express or apple tv. So now we can just take out our iPhones, and play a song/album/playlist on any speaker. But there are two main problems with Air Play
1. Its not always reliable
2. I can only stream to a single point at once
And now ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Sonos: The Game Changer.
Sonos began in 2003 in Santa Barbara, CA. I have known about them in passing for a while, but had always resisted because I was already invested in an array of apple hardware devices and “airplay” points in my house.
Since I took the plunge with Sonos I must make an admission that startles even me, and should startle you as well: Sonos, as a music system blows away Apple’s Airplay. Crazy I know, but its true. Here are some of the reasons why:
Sonos makes speakers that are wireless, more of an all of one solution that doesn’t necessitate separate purchases of speakers and air port expresses. The speakers sound amazing, they are not large by any means, but the sound is. Here’s how it works: You must connect at least one of your speakers to a physical router (if a speaker is not near, then Sonos makes a small device called a “bridge” that can be connected to the router) Once done, other speakers can be put all over your house, garage, backyard/pool. Unlike apple, Sonos creates a mesh network called “Sonos net” different from your wireless signal so that it is much more reliable. It also is synchronized exactly between zones, so you never lose the music no matter where you are in your house. Setting up a new speaker is amazingly easy, to take a page from Apple it does “just work”. Upon setup the new speaker very quickly synchs up with all of its friends wirelessly. Type a name for your new speaker like “Kitchen” and an icon of a Kitchen appears on your Sonos Controller. Oh and I almost forgot, it is compatible with airplay. In fact it vastly improves the airplay experience in that it allows streaming to all points in your house instead of just one.
Sonos has partnerships with every streaming music service as well as all the Internet radio you could ever contemplate, Sirius, Pandora, etc. And it is compatible with your iTunes library. Unlike Airplay, you can control multiple points in your house at once and even play a different song in every room at once, if you so choose. All this is of course done from your iPhone or android device.
I bought Sonos shortly after I decided to subscribe to one of the 4 major streaming music services which are Spotify, Mog, Rhapsody, and Rdio. I have tried them all and decided that MOG is best for me. All of them cost 10 dollars a month and they have much of the same content. Instead of “owning” music, I now stream it. MOG has 14 million songs and is really cool for music discovery.
My only negative with Sonos is that I didn’t discover it sooner!
Sonos Play 3 : Their smallest speaker is probably my favorite one it has multiple speakers in one package.
Sonos Play 5: Their largest speaker that is a little big bigger and has an extra speaker or two than the play 3
Sonos connect: a piece of hardware that lets you connect a Sonos Point to your existing stereo/home theater
Sonos Amp: a piece of hardware that lets you connect your own speakers.
Sonos Sub: A subwoofer that is compatible with the play 5 and 3.
Sonos Bridge: a piece of hardware that plugs into your internet router if your play 5 or 3 is not nearby.