Is starting a Sonos ecosystem worth it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zachlegomaniac, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    I've been researching soundbars lately and came across the Sonos Playbar and started looking a bit more into their products.

    It seems many reputable consumer sites feel that there are a few soundbars of various makes that come with a wireless sub for around $300.00. They also express the idea that the majority of casual movie and television watchers with a good experience.

    Now my thing is that I don't especially care for a ton of TV and movie watching, but I love audio (music, books, name it). Coincidently, I hate watching a movie from time to time and having the audio suck.

    Right now I just have a bose sounddock tucked on a shelf for when I watch a game or a movie. It's a temporary solution.

    Okay, so since I love audio I'm wondering if I should pay $1400 for a Sonos Playbar and Sub and build on it holiday by holiday, just buy a decent soundbar and add other speakers to rooms when I feel like it (in a more cost-effective way), or look into another solution altogether.

    If anyone has any experience with Sonos or other similar (or better) home systems please let me know.

    Thank you.
  2. wrx09md, Dec 29, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013

    wrx09md macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2013
    Haven't heard the soundbar yet but I just got a Play 5 and love it. I dont think its really worth the price but Amazon had them on sale. It does sound good and the app is great. Everything is very easy to set up. You could go with the smaller speakers instead of the bar for your fronts in stereo and still use the sub. You can also get the Bridge for free for a couple more days.
  3. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    Solid Advice. Thanks.

    Anyone else have experience with Sonos stuff?
  4. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
    Have 2 Play 5s and love them. Looking to get more, but other competing budget priorities.

    I think you might do well to get the Playbar and 2 Play1s to start. You'd then have the flexibility of using them in a 5.0, 3 zones, or two zones with the 1s set up in a stereo pair. I think it would give you a better experience of the ecosystem and be cheaper than the bar + sub to start.
  5. wrx09md macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2013
    Keep in mind you have to have a 110v electrical outlet near each speaker. Each speaker is self amplified. You also need to have at least one speaker connected to your network connection or get a bridge to connect to your router.
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    If sound quality is what you care for and space isn't a concern. Get a high quality vintage stereo receiver or better yet Preamp and Amp and some good tower speakers.

    I've got a Yamaha C-80 Preamp and MX-830 Amp from the late 80's connected to some giant Boston Acoustic speakers. Those little plastic speaker systems they sell now don't come close to clarity or room filling sound. Just cranking it up to about 25% power is too loud to handle but every detail of the audio remains crisp and clear. These aren't even from what is considered the golden age for stereo but at the end when quality was starting to slip.

    It's not that they can't build stereo equipment as good anymore. It's that they focus on features and what consumers expect namely small and sleek looking. Some of the very high end models can compete with the vintage equipment. But you can get the vintage stuff for 1/10th the cost.
  7. wrx09md macrumors member

    Nov 4, 2013
    I agree with the above post. Im in the same boat but bought my Play 5 for the bedroom or kitchen.
  8. linkgx1 macrumors 68000

    Oct 12, 2011
    I have a Play :3. Excellent sound quality and it's a very smart device.

    My biggest gripe is probably using streaming services. Don't get me wrong, the streaming can be awesome. But much of the apps to stream you have to have a paid subscription. For example, I can't use my free version of Rdio.

    The second problem is the cost. I mean, it's even more expensive than Mac products realitively speaking. A whole house set up can run you over $2000.

    With the 3 you also can't just hook an audiojack in it, so you must always have a network connection. Other than that...

    It has an incredible sound.
  9. lali macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2007
    important note:
    I do not have a sonos kit; I am currently shopping and reading about it. I read that some playbar owners have become quite disappointed that it does not playback DTS encoded content. I don't even know if it is true, just trying to point you to research more if this is an important feature for you
  10. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I've owned Sonos products for several years now and I heartily recommend them. They are the audio world equivalent of the Mac: a little pricey, but they sound great and "they just work".

    If you prefer to use your own amps and high-end speakers you can certainly do that using a Sonos Connect device instead of a Play:X speaker, but the Connect isn't particularly cheap either.

    I started off with a Connect (it was called the ZP90 at the time) attached to some PC speakers as my first Sonos unit for internet radio in the kitchen. The speakers are hidden above my cabinets. I have since replaced that with a Play:1 in the kitchen and the ZP90/Connect will be redeployed elsewhere in the house. I intend to buy another Play:1 for the other side of the kitchen to behave as a stereo pair to reinforce the sound in there, but that's not high on my priority list.

    Sonos does have its limitations -- as a previous poster noted, the Playbar does not currently offer DTS support, for example. This could be moot if your source (your TV, PS3, etc.) is capable of decoding the DTS stream for you, or if you don't care about DTS. Another poster already mentioned the need to connect one Sonos device to your network via a hardwire. The rest of the Sonos devices talk to each other through a proprietary, but robust, Sonos mesh network. Finally, if you plan to store your music collection on a NAS and have the Sonos players directly access them (as opposed to hosting them on a PC server), Sonos can address a maximum of about 65000 tracks.

    People will argue you could build a cheaper system (say, using AirPlay) but this is like the "I could buy the parts and build a PC for cheaper" argument. Sure, you can, but you're missing out on the experience. The first time you walk around your house listening to all your Sonos devices playing the same music in perfect sync, I guarantee you will be smiling.

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