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Music Lovers in the House that Sonos Built: Audio Round-Up Part 2


If you really love music—its quality and variety— and you want to add simplicity and control in your home, then you really need to consider the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. In this age of personal digital music players like the iPod, many folks have forgotten about the simple, communal joy of music piping throughout their homes.

I remember growing up with music in the house. On Saturday mornings it was a mix of classical and traditional Irish music in my Dad’s room (yes, we had an 8-track player). For family reunions and during holidays like Christmas, I remember the booming bass of an ancient piece of furniture I think my Dad inherited from his father. I loved the sound of that giant-wooden-box-with-legs as it vibrated the very floorboards of my parents’ hundred-year-old home. Of course, when I got older, it was the boom-box blaring a mix of classic rock, alternative, and bad eighties tunes.

The point is the music was atmospheric. Sure it engendered some heated exchanges with parents, and later, with roommates, about personal music preferences. But everyone could hear it in the room. How impoverished I would have been if my Dad didn’t share with me the Clancy Brothers, or my roommates didn’t share with me their love of Rap in one case and Jazz in another. If they had just put on their Sony Walkmans and kept it to themselves, I wouldn’t have had the chance to vocalize my distaste for what I considered a cacophony at the time, only to find myself tapping my feet a minute later.

So it makes sense that a company like Sonos has been carrying the flag for a whole-house digital music system. In a nutshell, consider Sonos an iPod, but one that wirelessly transmits music to speakers throughout the home, and with a simple remote control to manage the system from anywhere in the house. Now add in to what you would get from iTunes any other source of music on your PC or online, including Internet radio stations and all the major streaming music services including Pandora, Rhapsody, SIRIUS and a dozen others. You can use your own stereo or home theater system connected to a Sonos ZonePlayer 90 or add in Sonos’ stand-alone sound with ZonePlayer 120s. Sonos is music from everywhere piped to anywhere in your home.

Check out this demo of the Sonos Multi-Room Music System.

I had a chance to meet with Sonos Co-Founder Thomas Cullen at CES and he showed me a demo of all the latest Sonos gear. Perhaps the biggest news, and the cause of a nice spike in Sonos sales, is that Sonos has ported their very user friendly interface to the iPhone. Now, rather than carrying around their dedicated and somewhat bulky (6.5 x 3.8 x 0.95 in., 12.5 oz.) Sonos Controller, you can just call up the app on the sleeker (4.5 x 2.4 x 0.48 in., 4.7 ounces) iPhone you already have in your pocket. A friend of mine, an iPhone user and early Sonos aficionado, raves about it. You can also use Sonos’ desktop controller (Mac or PC).

Check out the Sonos Controller for iPhone demo.

So take the head-phones off for a little while and let the floorboards vibrate.

But before you fall in love be forewarned, Sonos does not come cheap, with bundles starting at $999 for a whole-house system (available most places you would expect including BestBuy and Amazon). Bet my Dad’s giant musical furniture cost at least that much in 1950 dollars.

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