If, like me, you have looked to move into a diskless household, no more dvds, blurays, cds, you have endeavored to look for the perfect solutions for your media. For movies and TV shows, there seems to be a raft of different options, but for music, there were limited choice. To have a centralised music location on a NAS and the ability to stream them to a device or multiple devices via a user interface.
In the past, I had a squeezebox radio and boom. The hardware made Logitech was fantastic, especially the Duet Remote. However, I had problems with the software side. For the squeezebox to work, it needed server software to be ran on a PC, or in my situation, a NAS. Whilst running, it never let my hard drives spin down, which can cause malfunctions and reduced lifespan. So I sold them. I don't know if they ever resolved the problem, but Logitech killed the product line last year.
Logitech were, at the time, the only alternative to SONOS, which was and still is very pricey. Apple have their AIRPLAY functionality, but I would never restrict myself to Apple and their closed box software and music, so that was a no go. Other solutions included wireless/Bluetooth speakers, but this meant the music was stored on the device you are connected to and range was limited.
I looked at trying to build my own, raspberry PI's, android sticks, android tablets, XBMC, etc. I came up with a whole raft of ideas, and then SONOS released their Play 1 at £159 (with a free Bridge promotion before Christmas). Pricing up my ideas, it worked out to be cheaper, especially with the free bridge, and a lot less hassle, to go for the SONOS option.
SONOS have multiple devices, but the Play 1 is their entry level device, a single wireless speaker. Their Play 3 is priced at £250 and Play 5 at £350. I am no audiophile; my primary concern is the functionality and ability to fill an average sized room with music.
The Setup is very easy. There are a few ways to do it, but if like me, you have music stored on a NAS, all I had to do was plug the bridge into my router and speaker into a power supply. Controlling the device is either done through an App on your smart phone or software on your PC. This is where you tell the SONOS where your music is stored. If you have the right tags on your collection, the remote will now show your music through Artist/album/genre, also giving you album art.
The SONOS also has internet radio, capable of picking up all radio broadcast through the internet, around the world. During the festive period, I found an Irish station called Christmas FM, which, you guessed it, played Christmas songs throughout the day. Also, the SONOS can link into any free/premium music service you may subscribe to, such as Spotify or Deezer. Giving you the ability to control, browse and select through your phone or PC and play to the speaker.
The sound, for my uneducated ears anyway, sounds crisp, sharp with plenty of base, which fills the room. The quality will depend on the format and compression levels of you backup up music, mine is in FLAC (lossless) format.
One of the biggest selling points of the SONOS, and like my squeezebox prior, is the ability to have multiple devices setup around your house and control each one as "Zones". They can play different things, stream music individually or join them up 2, 3, all, to play the same thing, synchronised. For example, I could walk around the house listening to the football commentary, not missing a thing. At the moment I only have the one device, but this is the plan for the future.
Over the years I have made multiple "gadgets" buys, but this one has to rank up there as one the best purchases, one that I am extremely happy with and one that I would recommend to others.