Sonos: ev­ery­thing you need to know

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Buyer's Guide Best Buys -

Want to lis­ten to mu­sic any­where in the house? A wire­less Sonos sys­tem may be the an­swer. But what is Sonos? What can it do? With the com­pany’s Beam com­pact sound­bar cer­tain to in­crease eyes on Sonos’s of­fer­ings, we’re here to help

How does Sonos work? The Sonos wire­less sound sys­tem works by con­nect­ing one sin­gle speaker to your home net­work, then adding more Sonos units (up to a max­i­mum of 32) us­ing a ded­i­cated se­cure wire­less mesh net­work known as Sonos­net. That net­work is in­te­gral to the way Sonos’s multi-room speak­ers oper­ate, as it sits at one re­move from your home net­work. That means it’s a stronger, more ro­bust sig­nal and isn’t prone to dropouts when stream­ing mu­sic.

Get­ting started The Sonos Con­troller app (An­droid and IOS) will walk you through the set-up, but it re­quires lit­tle more than press­ing the speaker’s sync but­ton to link them to your net­work and other Sonos speak­ers; find­ing the con­nected speaker on the app and en­ter­ing de­tails such as your wi-fi pass­word. You can as­sign each speaker to a room of your house, pro­gramme it so the vol­ume can be con­trolled via your TV’S stan­dard re­mote, and add your favourite stream­ing ser­vices. The app recog­nises which speaker you’re us­ing, and in which room you’re us­ing it. Adding other speak­ers is a breeze: just tap in the app to add a new speaker, press the sync but­ton on the back and it’s all done.

Apps and ser­vices Sonos’s aim is to be plat­form-in­clu­sive. Ap­ple Mu­sic, Ama­zon Prime Mu­sic, Google Play Mu­sic, Spo­tify, Deezer, Pandora, Sound­cloud and Tunein are all sup­ported. You will need premium subscriptions for some of these. Ad­di­tion­ally, Qobuz and Tidal bring Cd-qual­ity, loss­less stream­ing to Sonos.

While the other mu­sic ser­vices of­fer files up to 320kbps, they pro­vide un­lim­ited stream­ing ac­cess to Cd-qual­ity FLAC files at 16-bit/44.1khz for a monthly sub­scrip­tion charge.

One of Sonos’s best fea­tures is that you can build playlists within the Sonos app, and from mul­ti­ple sources. If you want to add tracks from both Spo­tify and Tidal onto a playlist of tracks from your NAS li­brary, you can. And there’s also voice con­trol. Con­tin­u­ing its in­clu­sive ap­proach, Sonos aims to of­fer all three main voice as­sis­tants – Ama­zon’s Alexa, Ap­ple’s Siri and Google As­sis­tant.

True­play Where you place your Sonos speaker in the room will af­fect its sound. Sonos’s True­play fea­ture within the Con­nect app (IOS only) aims to counter this, us­ing the mi­cro­phone on an iphone or ipad to mea­sure the re­sponse of the speaker in your room and tweak its sound to suit. This set-up process runs through a se­ries of test tones and sweeps, which will be fa­mil­iar to any­one who has set up an AV re­ceiver. The process tunes your speaker to the room, ad­just­ing the bass and the tre­ble for the best sound. True­play’s cal­i­bra­tion is par­tic­u­larly use­ful if your Sonos speaker is placed in a less-thanideal lo­ca­tion.

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