Sonos: everything you need to know
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.