Reviewing Sonos, or “I want to build a stereo system out of Lego and I have too much cash!”

Reviewing the Sonos is overdue. I’ve had a Sonos system since early 2013 and, well, I know reviews are supposed to tease you all the way to the end of the many thousands of words I’m writing for free…

…the long and the short of it is that Sonos is freakin’ awesome and if you can afford to buy into it you should.

Bear in mind this isn’t so much of a proper review as it is an embarrassing admission to how many of these things I ended up buying.

I don’t like to talk about money stuff, and I’m certainly not swimming in cash at all. I blow my spare money on these kinds of gadgets, and if I were more fiscally responsible I wouldn’t buy any of them at all.

Unlike Hue, this thing just worked out of the box with perfectly usable software.

My Sonos system acquisition process:

Went to JB-Hi Fi to purchase a plug-and-play style system, you know the boxes that let you pop your phone in. Since this was late 2012/early 2013, the notion of a Bluetooth system was a bit silly since the sound quality was awful. I think we were looking at a $400 system or so. Not finding anything, we asked about the Sonos boxes lying around. The rep walked us through the process and we kind of thought it was pretty cool but hm it costs a lot of money oh wait we have an interest free card and if we buy a couple of things they might give us a discount…

Behold the powerful influence of Sonos

So our initial purchase consisted of a controller, 2x Play:3, 1x Play:5. This meant we could put the Play:5 downstairs (for the best sound) and then a Play:3 in our master bedroom and a Play:3 in our daughter’s bedroom.

After a while (about a year?) I bought the Sub, too. This works in conjunction with a paired speaker set, and so the Play:3s came out of the bedrooms and into the living room downstairs as Left + Right + Sub, and the Play:5 went up into our bedroom.

We acquired an AirPort which plugs into the back of the Play:5 and is an AirPlay target, so we can push things to the AirPlay target, select line-in as the source for any of the rooms, and get the sound in. A clunky but effective way to play music directly from our phones. Note: This was before you could just connect Spotify or Apple Music to your Sonos, obviating the need to have any local iTunes music (or whatever equally hellish Windows parallel) available.

When the Play:1 became available I bought 2 of those, and nabbed a free Bridge. Although we still use our Bridge, the continuous firmware updates have since removed the necessity of one of those. Each Sonos device now independently connects to the network, apparently, although since I still do have our legacy Bridge I haven’t had to test setup for that.

So the configuration became: Play:1s for Left + Right + Sub, Play:3 in the kitchen, Play:3 back in our daughter’s room, and the Play:5 still in our main bedroom.

After that (say, another year and a half) we acquired a Zone:Play (not entirely sure what the name is, and I’m not entirely sure they are still for sale). We bought this from a lovely gent on GumTree at a 30% discount from new. It’s basically a Sonos amplifier into which you plug your spare speakers. That one now graces the garage. A final addition to that is a single white Play:1 in the bathroom upstairs. You know, for when I want to listen to music in the bathroom (yes I am insane).

Are you a witness, now, to the depraved expansion of Sonos? My next purchase will be the Play:Bar, probably. Maybe?

Make it stop!



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