I had a pair of Audioengine speakers which crapped out and figured I’d look into alternatives for getting music playing around my home. I’m using Sonos speakers and have had a good experience with then so far. My setup is fairly simple: one Sonos Player:3 speaker in the kitchen, one more in the living room and a Sonos bridge to connect them. I should state that I’m not an audiophile by any means and excellent sound quality was not my first priority in buying this system. Above all I wanted something that was easy to set up and expand if necessary and that would perform flawlessly. So far Sonos seems to fit the bill.
The best thing about Sonos is that it plays music directly from any of multiple online services as well a from a library on a home computer. I have enabled playback of music from Rdio, Pandora, DAR.fm and Songza. Sonos also plays online radio stations and allows you to set up your city to select stations from. Of course you also have access to radio stations from around the world and around the internet.
I’m finding I’m really enjoying Songza, which offers curated playlists based on genre, mood, even time of day. My favorite find there so far is a playlist of songs from Wes Anderson movies which is great in that it’s a group of songs I want to listen to but wouldn’t have found together anywhere else. If the fundamental unit of music is no longer the album or the single but the playlist then Songza may turn out to be a big hit. Certainly they are better at putting playlists together than I would be, but hey, I still listen to albums.
If there’s any downside to Sonos it’s that it can only be controlled by an app on your mobile device (iOS or Android). There is a stand alone Sonos controller but from what I understand it’s being discontinued and the price is prohibitive anyway at $200 on Amazon right now. The iOS app is good but takes a couple of seconds to connect, a minor inconvenience but noticeable.
As for the sound quality, the Play:3 speakers are as good or better than any comparably sized speakers I’ve heard. The sound is clear and balanced and plenty loud even in my living room. At some point I may experiment with doubling up my speakers in the same room to get true stereo and see if that sounds significantly better. There’s also the bigger Play:5 speakers if I decide to upgrade that way.
Bottom line: I’d recommend Sonos to anybody looking for a hassle free way to serve music from multiple sources around their home.