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View Full Version : So Air play just make sonos irrelevant?




iansilv
Sep 1, 2010, 05:21 PM
i just read that airplay is going to be licensed to device manufacturers... does this mean that Sonos is no longer unique or useful?



Wingnut330
Sep 6, 2010, 09:47 PM
Funny - I was just wondering the same thing, did a search for Sonos and found this thread. I don't think it's irrelevant just yet - unless there is a way to get Pandora etc via iTunes. If they start doing that then...uh oh Sonos!

alust2013
Sep 6, 2010, 09:50 PM
You still can't do Rhapsody through Air play, so Sonos still wins there.

ChrisA
Sep 6, 2010, 10:33 PM
You still can't do Rhapsody through Air play, so Sonos still wins there.

Yes you can. There is software available to play any audio over "air tunes". If you can hear it on the Mac's speakers you can send it over the network. But it lags a bit so it's not usable for movies

Also I'm not sure if air play compresses the audio or not. I think it might.

iansilv
Sep 7, 2010, 09:42 AM
What about sound quality and sonos proprietary network that makes everything sync perfectly?

macjonny1
Sep 9, 2010, 01:55 PM
What about sound quality and sonos proprietary network that makes everything sync perfectly?

Exactly. Apple's wireless speaker network just plain sucks, unless you are just going to one speaker and you like lots of dropouts and sync problems. I just switched from my airport extreme setup to sonos, and the difference is like night and day. Plus, Apple won't do Pandora, and you won't be playing different tunes in different rooms.

mooeymoose
Sep 10, 2010, 01:19 AM
I would not by stock in sonos. Lots of stuff from people that have no idea what Mr Jobs has planned has been said. For those that think you know its features I think you are pretty stupid. Apple it going to perfect airplay so to be cheaper and more powerful than sonos in no time. The best part is you will be able to do much more then sonos ever could and half the cost.

Apple is not going to do this half ass.

macjonny1
Sep 10, 2010, 04:11 PM
I would not by stock in sonos. Lots of stuff from people that have no idea what Mr Jobs has planned has been said. For those that think you know its features I think you are pretty stupid. Apple it going to perfect airplay so to be cheaper and more powerful than sonos in no time. The best part is you will be able to do much more then sonos ever could and half the cost.

Apple is not going to do this half ass.

newbie fanboi speaks.

bobr1952
Sep 10, 2010, 04:13 PM
Funny - I was just wondering the same thing, did a search for Sonos and found this thread. I don't think it's irrelevant just yet - unless there is a way to get Pandora etc via iTunes. If they start doing that then...uh oh Sonos!

Pandora works just fine with Airfoil.

sircrisp
Nov 5, 2010, 07:08 AM
I own an iPhone, iPad, iMac, Airport Express, Apple TV, several Sonos zone players and a Sonos CR200 touchscreen remote. I'm an iOS developer as well and have been running the iOS 4.2 beta with airplay since the day it dropped. I also own a home automation / AV distribution company and i've played with more music distribution systems than i care to count, from the cheapest iHome radio to the most expensive Crestron system. i'm also a musician, and i take my music listening very seriously.

If you're looking to set up quality multi-zone audio, sonos is the ONLY way to go, and actually works out to be more flexible and CHEAPER than apple. Plus Sonos has already said they are looking into airplay and will more than likely add this via a simple software update, just like denon did. (sonos is known for frequent, and useful updates)

COST

airplay requires an individual iphone/ipod/ipad ($230-$830) or a mac running itunes ($730-$1500+) for each unique audio stream. plus you need an airport express or apple tv ($99) for each audio zone. so you're starting at $330 with only 16gb ipod touch and airport express, or starting at $800 for 320gb mac mini and airport express... and you STILL need an amplifier and speakers...

the sonos zone players average $450 for a truly respectable sounding amp/speaker combo, or just the amplifier model that you power your existing speakers. and every sonos zone you add gives you a unique audio stream so each room can listen to different music or be easily grouped in any combination with the other rooms.

FEATURES

- every sonos zone player also has a line in for a cd, ipod, or other analog source which streams out to any/all other zones. apple has pretty much 0 support for analog/local sources.
- itunes internet radio is terrible... sonos has consolidated nearly every am/fm station, internet radio station, pandora, last.fm, and iheartradio. compatibility with subscription services rhapsody, napster, spotify, sirius, and wolfgangs vault. all through one consistent simple GUI.
- the subscription service's on demand tracks can be side by side in your playlists with tracks from your local mp3/aac library.

SETUP

Sonos has about the easiest set up process I've ever come across. You plug it in, power/ethernet/audio. The zone players all have a two port network switch in the back, so no need for an extra network switch. You can run the entire setup from the iPhone app (which I do routinely at my customer's homes). Enter language, zip code for am/fm, press the single button on the zone player and you are done. Apple TV is pretty easy too, but first you need homesharing set up, navigate settings on the Apple TV and in iTunes, enter the pins, etc. Not that big of a deal for you, but the average consumer is already intimidated i assure you. Airport Express requires airport utility for mac, and is definitely not as easy as it should/could be.

AIRPLAY? BATTERY DRAIN MUCH?

by the time i get home at the end of the day i need to leave my iphone by the charger, i don't need to drain the battery further by streaming audio. my sonos system is controllable via app on my imac, iphone, or my ipad if i'm reading on the couch. but honestly, if my iphone or ipad isn't already physically in my hand i reach for the sonos touch screen remote. it's got a motion sensor so it's instant on, no swipe to unlock, launch an app, etc.

CLOSING ARGUMENT

My closing argument is that having used both, the sonos app for ipad and iphone is better than apple's remote app. It consolidates far more music services than apple is interested in offering you. And I am quite certain Sonos will be adding airplay compatibility sooner or later.

And finally, maybe you haven't noticed, but it seems to me apple has been spread a little thin lately trying to roll out iOS updates for iPad and iPhone, reinventing laptops, etc. and their priorities are ever changing:

http://gizmodo.com/5603424/why-has-apple-neglected-the-remote-app-because-just-one-guy-made-it

Sonos on the other hand lives and breathes multi-room audio. As a daily user and critic of both Apple and Sonos products, an iOS developer, home automation specialist, and a musician, I assure that you Apple has not bested Sonos... not yet.

cstrac
Nov 9, 2010, 05:21 AM
sircrisp

Thank you for that excellent response. I am an apple fan boy and have been using an original Apple TV to stream to airport expresses with my iphone and ipad.

However having recently purchased a new Apple TV I was disappointed to find that Airplay is completely incompatible with Airtunes. The new ATV cannot stream from the original, nor can the original see the new one as a remote speaker.

This can all be done from a Mac but we only have macbooks and it's not convenient to have them on all the time.

Sounds like it's time to invest in Sonos

Thanks again

netdog
Nov 9, 2010, 05:38 AM
Exactly. Apple's wireless speaker network just plain sucks, unless you are just going to one speaker and you like lots of dropouts and sync problems. I just switched from my airport extreme setup to sonos, and the difference is like night and day. Plus, Apple won't do Pandora, and you won't be playing different tunes in different rooms.

That's just ridiculous.

I use Apple Lossless files > AirTunes > to optical out > optical in on my DAC > > integrated amp > a great set of B&Ws.

The sound is really good. No need for Sonos now, never mind once AirPlay comes out.

dawolf
Nov 24, 2010, 05:50 PM
Sonos on the other hand lives and breathes multi-room audio. As a daily user and critic of both Apple and Sonos products, an iOS developer, home automation specialist, and a musician, I assure that you Apple has not bested Sonos... not yet.

I fully agree with your conclusion. I recently bought a Sonos system and absolutely love it. It also streams music from my NAS so i don't have to leave a computer (or iOS device) running to listen to my music. Add alarm feature/sleep timer and the nearly unlimited amount of internet radio stations and AirPlay pales in comparison.

Maybe Apple will build up AirPlay in the future, but they have a lot of catching up to do to come near Sonos any time soon.

daveathall
Jan 22, 2011, 08:19 AM
I love Apple products, fanboy? Perhaps, I have a MBP, Magic trackpad, Battery charger, iPhone 4, iPod touch 64GB latest gen, iPad and time capsule.

I wont be ditching my Sonos system comprising of an S5 and ZP90 zone players plus dock and bridge any time soon, it is just too good.

If Apple get anywhere near the ease of use/setup, integration with on line sources and ones on/off line music library as sonos they should feel justifiably proud, Cant see it myself.

bobr1952
Jan 22, 2011, 10:25 AM
I have a friend who has the sonos system and it really is great--and the easiest way to integrate your whole house--but it does come at a price. I agree Apple doesn't have it all together yet but between Airfoil and a couple Airport Express/Apple TV units, you can have something almost as good. :)

Uofmtiger
Jan 22, 2011, 11:37 PM
First of all, adding the price of a computer to the Aiplay configuration is a bit ridiculous. Do you have any music files of your own that you stream to the Sonos? How did you rip them without a computer? What do you stream them from? I think a NAS also costs money.

Let's say you don't own an iOS device, but are like most people and own a computer. You can buy the cheapest Zoneplayer for $350 and add one of their controllers for another $350 or you could buy an iPad ($499) and AppleTV2 ($99). The iPad will give you many more options than a Sonos controller (I use my ipad as a remote for my computers, iTunes, and my Denon receivers..not to mention the numerous apps available). The Appletv2 can send audio to a DAC when you just want music or send video and audio via HDMI when you want more ( if you only want Audio, an Airport Express can be even cheaper).

The iPad has the ability to start any app with audio (Rhapsody, Pandora, XM Radio, YouTube, Netflix, etc..) and stream them to the ATV2 or AE. Yeah, I like to do this with video apps to stream to a DAC/headphone amp setup when I need to be quiet (at night or when someone is watching TV in the same room). The number of radio stations and Podcasts is nearly unlimited with apps like Pocket Tunes.

My Denon receiver also works with Airplay, so I can open an app, tell it to send the signal to my receiver and it will turn on my receiver and allow me to use the iPad to control the volume. Finally, Airfoil is a program that works with a PC or Mac and will send any audio source to the ATV2, AE, or iOS device.

Personally, I prefer the flexibility of Aiplay. The AE is bit perfect over digital, so any argument about sound quality is moot. However, the ATV2 sends out 48khz (from what I have read), so I am not sure what affect this has on sound quality. If all I cared about was SQ, I might look into the logitech Squeezebox touch with it's ability to play 24/96 files without down mixing. Fortunately, I have very few albums in this format, so it is not currently an issue.

Edit: I forgot to mention that it will cost at least another $99 to make your Zoneplayer wireless (you could buy another Atv2 with that money). Also, I did not compare the setup to the $450 Zoneplayer that includes an amp because it would not offer any opportunity for upgrading the rest of the system because it lacks a digital output.

garybUK
Feb 2, 2011, 06:53 AM
But Denon gear is no where near the quality that some of the other media streamers like Linn's stuff. Denon is pretty poor quality when it comes to sound unless you go for their reference stuff, which won't have this toy (airplay) in it.

Take a look at the Naim Unity and Linn Majik series streamers, makes Apple's and even Sono's systems seem like rubbish!

with the Logitech and Sono's systems they support true uncompressed and compressed lossless format music (Apple is so restricted to.. ugh.. aiff).

Uofmtiger
Feb 2, 2011, 10:32 PM
But Denon gear is no where near the quality that some of the other media streamers like Linn's stuff. Denon is pretty poor quality when it comes to sound unless you go for their reference stuff, which won't have this toy (airplay) in it.

Take a look at the Naim Unity and Linn Majik series streamers, makes Apple's and even Sono's systems seem like rubbish!

with the Logitech and Sono's systems they support true uncompressed and compressed lossless format music (Apple is so restricted to.. ugh.. aiff).

1. The Denon 4311ci is not just a music streamer. It is a receiver with many other features. We can discuss it's merits if you like, but it is not just a music server. Unless you have heard it in a controlled environment side by side with something else, I would ask that you try not to make comparisons based solely on price tag. Many audio manufacturers pour tons of money into things that have nothing to do with sound quality, so we can't just say product X costs more so it has to sound better.

The "toy" aspect of having airplay actually shows what can be accomplished with Ethernet connected receivers these days. They allow additional firmware updates that make the receiver more functional. Please explain how this can be considered a shortfall.

2. Apple lossless is a "true" compressed lossless format.

3. The Aiport Express will send out a bit perfect "CD quality" signal via optical output to the DAC of your choice.

The one issue is that it can't natively put out a signal beyond CD quality. However, very few people have files that exceed 16/44.1, so it is a non-issue for most.

I am sure the linn offers more functions for the HUGE difference in price, but it really comes down to personal preference and what you want to accomplish with your system. So many people judge a system's sound quality based on price tag...but very few have compared systems side by side to make conclusions worth reading.

My main point is that the AE is bit perfect and it is hard to improve on that.

daveathall
Feb 14, 2011, 04:02 PM
Although I still prefer my sonos system to the Apple equivalent, I certainly don‘t think that Denon Hi Fi can be called poor quality (No matter the price) I agree that the Naim and Linn systems mentioned are very lust worthy, but at that sort of price the laws of diminishing returns and the quality of one’s hearing come into play.

garybUK
Feb 16, 2011, 10:35 AM
Although I still prefer my sonos system to the Apple equivalent, I certainly don‘t think that Denon Hi Fi can be called poor quality (No matter the price) I agree that the Naim and Linn systems mentioned are very lust worthy, but at that sort of price the laws of diminishing returns and the quality of one’s hearing come into play.

Absolutely I have compared these side by side. By the way, a 5.1 Receiver will NEVER be as good as a stereo system made to do this thing, purely by the processing chips interrupting the signal path.

1) I have demo'ed the Linn & Naim systems along side Denon Kit, you can't even put them in the same league, a Linn Majik (with built in x2 100watt amp + Speakers) and Naim Unity + Spendor A6 speakers

Personally, I have a Naim Nac 282 + NAP 250 Power ampp, Spendor A6 Speakers and a CD5 CD Player, I've tried the Airport connected to Dac's and, sorry, the Airport just doesn't cut it, especailly as it doesn't have a hardware clock so it looses connection everytime there's silence. The denon is a bit better but for music, their receivers are rubbish.

Also want to add that Apple's stuff doesn't stream flac and itunes ripping doesn't match that of DBPowerAMp / Flac L5 to something like the Linn.

By the way Uofmtiger, if you think i go off price: i made my own speaker cables for about £30

Uofmtiger
Feb 17, 2011, 11:10 PM
Absolutely I have compared these side by side. By the way, a 5.1 Receiver will NEVER be as good as a stereo system made to do this thing, purely by the processing chips interrupting the signal path.

1) I have demo'ed the Linn & Naim systems along side Denon Kit, you can't even put them in the same league, a Linn Majik (with built in x2 100watt amp + Speakers) and Naim Unity + Spendor A6 speakers

Personally, I have a Naim Nac 282 + NAP 250 Power ampp, Spendor A6 Speakers and a CD5 CD Player, I've tried the Airport connected to Dac's and, sorry, the Airport just doesn't cut it, especailly as it doesn't have a hardware clock so it looses connection everytime there's silence. The denon is a bit better but for music, their receivers are rubbish.

Also want to add that Apple's stuff doesn't stream flac and itunes ripping doesn't match that of DBPowerAMp / Flac L5 to something like the Linn.

By the way Uofmtiger, if you think i go off price: i made my own speaker cables for about £30

1. Denon has something called Pure Direct mode that turns off video circuitry when it is engaged. Furthermore, if fed an analog signal, it also turns off digital circuitry. What circuitry is destroying the signal in this mode? Also, for music, there are many recordings in 5.1..including DSOTM, Telarc's many recordings, NIN, etc.. on SACD and a growing number of Bluray concerts that look and sound fantastic. In three channel, the RCA living stereo and Mercury Living Presence on SACD have the extra track that was laid down in the studio. Also, your argument is weak as it pertains to the two channel all in one systems you mentioned that obviously have digital circuitry built in.

2. Tell us more about this demo? When was it? Where was it? Was it an ABX test? Were volume levels matched? Was it done by someone that wasn't interested in selling you the more expensive item? What Denon "kit" was used? Was "pure direct" mode on?

3. Sorry that your setup is unable to deal with the signal from the AE. I have the AE in two separate setups and neither DAC (Little Dot Dac1 & older Beresford tc-7510 DAC) has any issues with cutting off the beginning of songs. I would suspect that this issue was more common in older DACs, but I have no experience with DACs that don't work, so I can't say for sure. Stereophile also tested it with two DACs and did not have any issues, either.

4. It is very easy to rip to Wav using EAC and then transcode to ALAC if you are really anal. ALAC is a lossless format. Since many people have ALAC thanks to Apple owning a major portion of the PMP market, not playing ALAC would be a major blow to those that don't have separate Flac and ALAC libraries.

Once again, the Airport Express is bit perfect. The clocking issue is only an issue on certain DACs. Luckily, you can return the AE if your DAC has issues. However, I would get a Squeezebox Touch or a new DAC if I had issues.

The thing we did not touch on was the airplay ability that makes it much more flexible than any other device on the market. It can take any audio ( at least every audio source I have tried) and stream it from iOS to AE. This makes it compatible with every app that has sound...including Netflix, YouTube, rhapsody, pocket tunes, apps for podcasts, etc... The list is growing with each passing day. For me, this feature, makes the AE more desirable to my setups than something like the Squeezebox touch, which I was considering before Airplay was announced.

One other thing that should be mentioned. If I was building a two channel audio only setup for $2000 or $3000, I would not start with an all in one system.

atolius
May 26, 2011, 12:12 AM
thanks for below comparison. it was quite helpful. as an expert to topic i wanted to ask your opinion on multi-zone setup using a networked, IP controllable A/V receiver. How does Sonos stack up against a multi-zone setup where you can control A/V receiver with iphone/ipod?


I own an iPhone, iPad, iMac, Airport Express, Apple TV, several Sonos zone players and a Sonos CR200 touchscreen remote. I'm an iOS developer as well and have been running the iOS 4.2 beta with airplay since the day it dropped. I also own a home automation / AV distribution company and i've played with more music distribution systems than i care to count, from the cheapest iHome radio to the most expensive Crestron system. i'm also a musician, and i take my music listening very seriously.

If you're looking to set up quality multi-zone audio, sonos is the ONLY way to go, and actually works out to be more flexible and CHEAPER than apple. Plus Sonos has already said they are looking into airplay and will more than likely add this via a simple software update, just like denon did. (sonos is known for frequent, and useful updates)

COST

airplay requires an individual iphone/ipod/ipad ($230-$830) or a mac running itunes ($730-$1500+) for each unique audio stream. plus you need an airport express or apple tv ($99) for each audio zone. so you're starting at $330 with only 16gb ipod touch and airport express, or starting at $800 for 320gb mac mini and airport express... and you STILL need an amplifier and speakers...

the sonos zone players average $450 for a truly respectable sounding amp/speaker combo, or just the amplifier model that you power your existing speakers. and every sonos zone you add gives you a unique audio stream so each room can listen to different music or be easily grouped in any combination with the other rooms.

FEATURES

- every sonos zone player also has a line in for a cd, ipod, or other analog source which streams out to any/all other zones. apple has pretty much 0 support for analog/local sources.
- itunes internet radio is terrible... sonos has consolidated nearly every am/fm station, internet radio station, pandora, last.fm, and iheartradio. compatibility with subscription services rhapsody, napster, spotify, sirius, and wolfgangs vault. all through one consistent simple GUI.
- the subscription service's on demand tracks can be side by side in your playlists with tracks from your local mp3/aac library.

SETUP

Sonos has about the easiest set up process I've ever come across. You plug it in, power/ethernet/audio. The zone players all have a two port network switch in the back, so no need for an extra network switch. You can run the entire setup from the iPhone app (which I do routinely at my customer's homes). Enter language, zip code for am/fm, press the single button on the zone player and you are done. Apple TV is pretty easy too, but first you need homesharing set up, navigate settings on the Apple TV and in iTunes, enter the pins, etc. Not that big of a deal for you, but the average consumer is already intimidated i assure you. Airport Express requires airport utility for mac, and is definitely not as easy as it should/could be.

AIRPLAY? BATTERY DRAIN MUCH?

by the time i get home at the end of the day i need to leave my iphone by the charger, i don't need to drain the battery further by streaming audio. my sonos system is controllable via app on my imac, iphone, or my ipad if i'm reading on the couch. but honestly, if my iphone or ipad isn't already physically in my hand i reach for the sonos touch screen remote. it's got a motion sensor so it's instant on, no swipe to unlock, launch an app, etc.

CLOSING ARGUMENT

My closing argument is that having used both, the sonos app for ipad and iphone is better than apple's remote app. It consolidates far more music services than apple is interested in offering you. And I am quite certain Sonos will be adding airplay compatibility sooner or later.

And finally, maybe you haven't noticed, but it seems to me apple has been spread a little thin lately trying to roll out iOS updates for iPad and iPhone, reinventing laptops, etc. and their priorities are ever changing:

http://gizmodo.com/5603424/why-has-apple-neglected-the-remote-app-because-just-one-guy-made-it

Sonos on the other hand lives and breathes multi-room audio. As a daily user and critic of both Apple and Sonos products, an iOS developer, home automation specialist, and a musician, I assure that you Apple has not bested Sonos... not yet.

Wingnut330
Jun 26, 2011, 09:30 PM
After month sof deliberation I bit the bullet yesterday and started my Sonos system with a zone bridge and S5. All I can say is wow! It's amazing. The system was very easy to setup and the S5 produces great sound. iPhone / iPad control app is nice as well.

I have all the components needed to try AirPlay but I'm I went with Sonos now.