A few months ago I attended a Sonos Wireless Music System demo at the local Abt Electronics Store in Glenview, IL. Seeing the system in action there was nice, but I inquired about testing a system in home. Boy am I glad that I did. This is one review item that I REALLY did not want to give up! But I reluctantly packed it up and sent it back. 🙂
As part of the system, I received:
Sonos ZoneBridge BR100 ($99)
The ZoneBridge BR100 is the heart of the Sonos system. It plugs into your router (or other active network ethernet jack) and talks to the other components of the system and the internet to stream music around the house. This is what makes the system wireless. With the ZoneBridge hooked up, the other components can be moved around your home to fit your needs. But the ZoneBridge stays put plugged in to your router to ensure that the system is connected to the internet.
Sonos ZonePlayer S5 ($399)
The ZonePlayer S5 can be an all-in-one music system all on it’s own. It is a stand alone speaker that can be moved from room to room to take the music with you. The 5 speaker system is individually powered by 5 digital amplifiers, 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers, and 1 subwoofer. All in a nice compact body that looks great in any room. It is loud, the bass is good, and the sound is very rich. It does not sound like it is coming from one unit at all.
My house has whole house audio which I got wired when the home was built 4 years ago (because I’m a nerd like that), but for some logical reason (or so I thought) at the time, I did not get the master bedroom wired. The S5 sat right on top of my dresser and served as my bedroom stereo system. I had the white version, but while I was reviewing the unit, Sonos released a black
version which fits nicely with any decor. The S5 can be used on it’s own by connecting it to your router via Ethernet, or it can be added to a larger Sonos system using the components below.
ZonePlayer 90 ($349)
The ZonePlayer 90 lets you connect your Sonos system to your existing stereo equipment. This allows you to bring more content to your system without having to purchase an additional speaker system. I used this in my Family Room where my stereo system is which allowed me to stream Pandora, or music on my hard drive through my whole house audio system. Even if you don’t purchase the entire Sonos system, this is totally worth it at $349. Yes, it’s pricey, but it can add a ton of content to your existing stereo system without much hassle.
Sonos Controller 200 ($349)
The Sonos Controller 200 is a very cool, very slick touchscreen remote for your Sonos system. It allows you to control what is playing in each zone. You can use it to browse your music library, start up streaming radio, or control which rooms play what music and how loud.
The remote is nice to have, but if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or even iPad, you can save some money and install the FREE Sonos app from the Apple App Store that includes all the same exact features of the Controller 200.
It’s very easy to navigate and I loved being able to either mute the music quickly or switch around what room played what which is perfect for the grown folks hanging out in a different room than the kiddos. The rooms are called Zones. You set that up when you install the system. A Zone can consist of one room, or a group of rooms, your stereo, or just the S5 unit. It all depends on how you want to set it up, which is a piece of cake using the including software that you install on your PC.
I really, really feel in love with that Sonos system. As stated, I did NOT want to send it back. It really enriched my existing system since I was already streaming music from my office computer. It fit in nicely and made everything easier to use. However, I think once you add up everything that I reviewed, the price is a bit steep at just over $1100. But if you are looking for a great way to easily outfit your home with audio WITHOUT busting the wall, and your budget allows this system is perfect.
If I had to say anything bad about the Sonos System, it would just have to be that I cannot afford it. I ran into a couple of issues with the unit losing the connection to the internet, but I am convinced that was my iffy router and not the system itself.
Disclosure: The Sonos system was loaned to me for this review. No compensation was received.