A majority of my blog posts lately have been about future tech and how great things are going to be months or years from now. I wanted to take the time to talk about a product i have had for over 4 years now, Sonos! Click on the read more below to find out more about Sonos and how it can serve you.
Tech today is evolving fast, maybe too fast. There is not a lot of technology being used daily in our household which is more than four years old. But there is an exception off course, Sonos. Not all off my Sonos devices are older than 4 years, I have some new ones as well. Point being though is that Sonos has year after year proven that it is way ahead of any competition within the area, the design is without time boundaries and the quality is exceptional. I have not once experienced a Sonos update with instability or faults, and that is not something we see often these days.
Sonos was formed back in 2002 and had their release in 2005. Back in the day our smartphones were not what they are today, it wasn't even given that your phone was connected wirelessly to you local network, and device to device network communication was not a plug-and-play experience like it is now. So in the beginning Sonos had their own controller, not touch screen like we are used to now but equipped with a familiar scrolling wheel much like the Apple iPod and tactile buttons.
The Sonos Connect Amp and Connect previously named Zone player 90 and 120 were boxes connected to the local network. The system then created it´s own separate network for controlling and playing audio. The controller let you play internet radio or music files stored on an accessible network drive. By time Sonos evolved, new services like Pandora, Rdio and Spotify let users stream music from the internet. Having a large network attached music library was not needed. Streaming became accessible and Sonos was the perfect solution for using these services. in 2009 they released their first speaker the Play 5 and by time the Play 3. The speakers were very well recieved in the industry.
Sonos has in recent time released a subwoofer, a Play 1 and the Play bar. The linup is known for their excellent quality. The smallest speaker the Play 1 will easily fill a medium room or small apartment with great audio quality. The most important feature though is that it is expandable and at the same time very flexible. The system is not very cheap but you can start with a small and basic system and expand by time. Like i said initially, the system i own even though most of it is from late 2009 it has never been outdated or felt old. So you can start off with a Play 1 playing in mono and expand your way up to a full blown 5.1 home theater system with all your Sonos devices paired together.
Now i wanted to tell you a bit about my set-up and how it was done. Not that it stands out in any way but i have had people asking me from time to time about how to design a multi room audio system in a house or in their apartment. And in this context we are mainly talking about new-builds or homes during renovation. As per today i currently have 4 Sonos zones, with the 5th one being the living room which is linked wirelessly to a Sonos Sone.
Now lets start off with the living room. I have installed in-wall speakers in the wall and in the ceiling. We started off with only the wall frames and without any drywall plates installed.
From a cardboard box we created a mockup of what would one day be the position of the flatscreen TV. From there we positioned the speakers relative to the TV and relative to each-other.
We created a solid frame for all the speakers with stiffeners on all sides. The speaker boxes themselves were created with car/boat insulation material bought at the local cheap Norwegian hardware store Biltema. In the slideshow below you can see the progress.
Here is the result and what the setup looks like today.
Here are some photos of the rest of the house, in-wall speakers in the living room and kitchen. In-wall speakers in the main bathroom and outdoors speakers on the balcony.
All the wired Sonos sones have been centralized in a technical room upstairs. I have 3 Sonos Connects in this room all connected to A ICE circuit Rotel Amplifier.
I have also established a bluetooth receiver on one of the Connect inputs and an Apple Airport on the other. This allows me to use both Airplay or bluetooth audio upon need.
As previously stated Sonos has expanded over the years and the platform is very controllable. Here are some examples of the ways you can control Sonos.
Here is a short video of how i used the Fibaro Smart home system and connected doorbell to start Sonos "scenes" during Halloween last year.
Here is another short video showing the possibilities in Smart home controllers like Fibaro HC2, Vera or Smartthings. In a connected environment you can let alarms or similar make announcements on your Sonos system. In this example i am simulating how the water sensor will report to Sonos which room has the detected leak. This is probably more handy for fire detection letting you know in which room there is a fire if you wake up to a fire in the middle of the night.
As you can see the potential is huge and it is really up to you as a user to think of new and creative ways to use your system, it can be used for more than just playing music. The system is capable of satisfying both the audiophile and more advanced users looking to use the system for an expanded purpose. It may not be cheap but start small and work your way up. There are some alternatives out there but from my understanding they are not as flexible as Sonos.
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