"First Class Kit"on by Amos-E
Pros Excellent control interfaces
High quality sound
Great streaming radio stations
Online manual is very clear
Cons Doesn't integrate fully with iTunes
Summary The Sonos units and their supporting software, manual and internet facilities are a first-class example of modern consumer technology. Simple to install, with excellent control interfaces and producing high quality sound.
We have two Sonos ZonePlayer 90's driving amplifier and speaker systems, one ZonePlayer S5 and one ZoneBridge. The S5 and one ZP90 are linked via the ZoneBridge to the incoming internet router, the other ZP90 is linked directly to a separate network repeater hub in an annex. These were all installed in February/March 2012. Our music is stored on an 1TB Iomega Home Media Drive directly attached to the network. Control is effected via PCs and an Android mobile 'phone. This system replaces an earlier network/wifi system which was much about half the price: the differential in cost is much improved by using the control software on PCs and 'phone thereby eliminating the Sonos controller.
It is difficult to see how the installation could be made simpler or faster: just follow the step-by-step diagrams. It takes longer to get the kit out of the box and plug it in than it does to get it working!
Indexing of our music library (about 8500 tracks) is fast and accurate. Note that if you have a storage device attached to the network it is not necessary to have a computer running for the system to work, unless this is your only way of running the control software.
The online manual (via Help on the PC control interface) is very clear, very well organized and appears to cover all normal queries. We have had only minimal need to refer to this, when switching a ZP90 from a wired to a wireless connection via the ZoneBridge.
At present we use Sonos control software on two PCs and an Android mobile 'phone. As a part-time software developer I have to say that this system has a top-class, dare I say beautiful interface. It is very intuitive, we found nearly all functions quickly without reference to the manual; the exception being the little trick to open the "Group Volume" slider window (double click on the volume slider on the PC, tap the volume slider on the Android).
We use a variety of audio sources: principally the music library (music stored mainly in Apple lossless format), also the television as a line input on one ZP90, Napster and the radio stations. The grouping facility is used a lot; again this is very easy to manage.
Music sounds great via the hifi systems (a notable improvement on an earlier non-Sonos system!). The output from the S5 is also great for a device of this type, easily as good as any standalone radio or MP3 dock device I have heard.
The Napster library has proved a great way of exploring the music of artists we'd never normally hear much of (amazing how much our listening habits are influenced by the output of the main radio stations), but having said that it is not totally comprehensive and the indexing is imperfect. Sometimes a track can be found only by sifting through the artist's output and not directly by track name, for example. We looked at Spotify but this now requires you to have a presence on Facebook link which we prefer not to have!
There are a vast number of radio stations available through Sonos: this works brilliantly and switching from other sources is seamless (the previous system we had was a nightmare in this respect).
Using the TV as a line input pipes the sound via the hi-fi so is a big improvement on the TV's own speakers. We have a PVR and DVD connected to the TV so the sound from these is likewise improved. By grouping the Sonos units can be shared to another room (e.g. the kitchen) so at least if you have to nip out to put the kettle on you can keep up with the dialogue!
We have had only one Sonos software update since installation nearly two months ago. This was quick and applied to all units simultaneously. Again, a contrast and relief after our earlier system which had frequent updates, slowly applied to each unit in turn.
The control software on the PCs has crashed a couple of times but this is almost certainly due to the PCs being 5+ years old and gummed up with all sorts of background processes courtesy of Mxxxxxxxt and others.
The units do not have to be left on continuously: playlists and favourite radio stations are preserved when they are turned off. It's necessary only to re-select the "music" source when they are turned on again.
Note: for best deal I suggest you have to check at: Allinonemusicplayers.blogspot.com/p/sonos-play-5.html
Wholeheartedly recommended, wonderful stuff, a joy to use, not a single complaint. Expensive relative to some alternatives but well worth the money.
Pros Unit is very well made
Sound is wonderful
Easy to use
Cons No have for cons
Summary I've had a Sonos network up and running with a ZoneBridge and ZonePlayer 120 for a couple of years (see my reviews of those products). So I was already impressed with Sonos. When I learned about the new Play5 and Play3 devices, they appealed to me because there are places in my home where I wanted a smaller system that sounded great and joined the Sonos network easily and quickly. I gave the Play5 a try, and I'm glad I did! I purchased two of these -- one for my kitchen and one for my home office.
Here's my summary of the system:
Like all Sonos components, I can't imagine making it any easier to set everything up. You plug in the component, go to the desktop controller software, click the "Add a Sonos Component" menu, then follow the instructions. Within three minutes (literally), the system is detected and ready to play music from your library. Whether you have an existing network or are creating a new one, the idea is the same. It's really quite amazing how nicely Sonos handles the installation part of this. You can trust the system to hold your hand through the setup procedure. No technical jargon or network complications.
If you have just one player, there is just a single "zone." You give it a logical name, like "living room." With more than one player, the setup makes it easy to create different zones in your home. For example, if you have a player in your kitchen, and another in your living room, you can give each one a name so it's easy to identify. It sounds complicated, but again Sonos has taken care to create a system that makes everything easy to set up with plain-language instructions.
The Play5 has the option of connecting wirelessly through a ZoneBridge (which I use), or you can wire your router directly to the Play5 using an ethernet cable (the Play5 actually has two ethernet ports).
Keep in mind that, while the Play5 is relatively small, it's not tiny -- about the size of a large toaster oven. Plan accordingly. Mine fits on a bookshelf in my office.
After the easy setup procedure, you're ready to play music.
My biggest concern before buying the Play5 was sound quality. After hooking them up, I ran a range test. I played several songs of different types (vocals, instrumentals, high energy, mellow, and more). The more I listened, the more I was sure this is a quality sound system. I could pick out musical details and hear words with true clarity. Everyone's opinion is different when it comes to sound quality. But in my view, the Play5 definitely conveys rich lows and crisp highs, equivalent to a very good speaker. It has volume capacity far beyond what I would ever need.
There is an option to link two Play5 units together so one becomes the "right" and the other the "left" speaker. When I tested this idea, they created a sound quality equal to what I'm getting from two independent Primus speakers.
To control the system remotely, you can purchase a Sonos controller, or you can use the free app available for the iPod Touch and iPad. I use the free app. After installing the app, you see your whole music collection right on your device in a graphical environment. If you have set up multiple zones (see my notes in the "SETUP" section above), you can use the controller to select which zone to play. You can even have each zone play different music. Everything is in plain language and easy to visualize. The volume controls are right there, as well as the song listings, and access to your whole music library.
Through the controller, you can grab radio stations, Napster, Pandora, and a lot of other music services right from the controller and play them through your Play5.
If you are looking to create a Sonos network in your home (but before you will buy the Play5 I suggest you have to check for best price before you decide at: sites.google.com/site/musicplayerdeals/-sonos-play-5 ), or extend an existing one with a relatively compact unit that sounds great, the Play5 is very impressive.
Pros Simple, quick set up ... even for a non tech guy like me.
Attractive and unobtrusive
iPhone app excellent, convenient, FREE
Great sound quality, better than the best Bose or other single unit sound systems have to offer
Excellent tech support
Cons Does require 1 unit to be connected by ethernet cable. So its only 99% wireless, BUT this was a piece of cake to deal with since I wanted a ZonePlayer in the same room as my router anyway.
Otherwise there are NONE
Summary I have a large home, with many rooms and an old, outdated, in-walls sound system. Didn't want to invest many $ thousands to replace wiring/speakers/etc especially with wireless technology continuously improving. I've been following Sonos and others for a few years hoping for what has now been delivered in the S5....a wireless, simple, high quality, quick/easy to install system that's reliable and provides great sound seamlessly played throughout the house. When I saw the S5 and read the reviews, I purchased directly from Sonos the same day and received the system 2 days later. It does everything as advertised!
Set up literally took 15 minutes for a 3 ZonePlayer system. Download of the iPhone app was seconds. Connection to Pandora for streaming music was seconds. And I now have great sound through most of the house. May add 1-2 more ZonePlayers later.
The system worked flawlessly for 2 weeks....and then... I started having problems, which turned out to be an opportunity to experience great tech service. It turned out the problem was a wireless telephone that was interfering with the Sonos network that is layered over my wifi. The tech rep was able to get online with my system and troubleshoot the problem remotely. I switched the phone's location and the problem resolved. Pretty sophisticated, very responsive, and available after waiting less than a minute. These guys really have their act together!
Some have written that it's a little pricey. Guess that depends on your perspective. I think its a great value! Yes I spent $1200, but got a 3 room system that plays all my music plus all that's available through online sources like Pandora ... all operational in minutes with no "collateral damage" to the house. The alternative would have been MUCH more expensive. Its a great system!!
Pros I am not a tech guy and I can tell you this system is flawless. I love it and have the bu250 and an s5. The sound is amazing and frankly, the internet radio pays for the system anyway.
Cons I had one set up issue that involved the two boxes being too far away from each other. I made a slight adjustment and all is well.
Summary This system is a must have for people that love music and don't want to spend thousands building a new music library each year. Take your existing music and add free internet radio and you are in business.
Pros Portability - Just take it where you need music
Sound quality - fills the room with great sound
Build - feels solidly built, like all the previous Sonos products
Cons Remembering what you 'named' the S5 when you move it somewhere else. I have 3, so when I take one into the garage when working in there, I have to remember if I have the 'Master Bedroom', 'Den' or 'Kitchen' S5, so that I can control the right one!!
Summary I have 7 Sonos zones setup now, including 2 outside. What I love about them is that you can have them seamlessly playing the same music or radio station and they are absolutely in-sync. So whole-house music is easy to set up with Sonos. Adding the 3 S5s now means I can fill in some of the rooms that were going to be difficult to hard-wire for permanent speakers.
I am so happy with them, as I never really though of the portability before purchasing, but that has to be one of the best benefits. Wherever I might be (inside or out) working on a project, I know I can now have access to my whole iTunes library, my favorite radio stations from around the world, or Pandora and Rhapsody. Just plug it into an outlet, wait a minute or so for it to connect to the Sonos Network, and hey presto, you are ready to go.
They are as simple as all the other Zoneplayers to set up. Some may think they are expensive, but try getting an electrician to wire up your house for whole-house audio, with the ability to control everything through your iPhone (including the very simple process to get new software updates) and you will realize that $400 is very reasonable.
Save up and buy a few - you won't be dissapointed.
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