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Quick Review After Two Weeks With A Sonos S5

January 9, 2011

Not written a blog post for months and recently got a Sonos S5, so thought I’d share my opinion of it.

I had been thinking of getting a Sonos system for quite a while, but I’m not a big listener or music so thought it might just end up in a corner collecting dust, How wrong was I. Not only am I now listening to and enjoying a lot more music but I’m listening in a completely different way.

I received the Sonos S5 and Zone Bridge as a present for Christmas. From opening the box to having it set up and streaming music from the Internet took a total of 15 minutes, it’s more or less plug and play. There are a choice of different streaming services that Sonos work with, these vary depending on country but the ones I’ve tried in the UK are Spotify (requires a premium account at £10 p/m), last.fm, Napster and Internet radio. Well that’s not entirely true, I tried to use Napster but their service has been so shocking over Christmas and the New Year that it has been unusable. These are in addition to being able to stream your own music stored on a computer, within iTunes or on a NAS.

For the size of the unit, sound quality is amazing, it’s up there with the Bose Soundocks. I actually prefer it to the Bose, it’s not as bassy, but bass can be in increased from the controller if you so desire. I haven’t bought the hardware controller, I’m using the controller apps for iPhone and iPad. Both work great, particularly the iPad one, with the larger screen it makes creating and managing playlists a lot easier. The iOS apps do have one disadvantage over the dedicated controller though and that is that they do take a second or two to open and establish a connection, which makes quickly muting or changing volume impossible. But if you already own an iOS device that is a small price to pay as it’s a free app compared to £270 for the proper Sonos hardware controller.

So how has it changed the way I listen to music? Well I used to listen to full albums from start to finish, now I tend to be listening more to randomly generated playlists either via iTunes Genius, last.fm recommendations or user generated Spotify playlists. I like that it can scrobble every track played from any service (other than radio) to last.fm, this has greatly increased the accuracy of their recommendations and I’ve discovered some great groups I had never heard of before.

I would recommend the Sonos systems to anyone that likes music, particularly if you use any of the online services that they have deals with, unlimited listening to Spotify’s library at 320kbps on a Sonos is as good as streaming gets.

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