Sonos delivers a multi-room solution that is easy to use, yet very powerful. Sonos is the undisputed multi-room market leader.
The product line consists of the standalone speakers Sonos Play:5, Play:3 and Play:1. The stationary Connect:AMP (which has an integrated amplifier) and Connect. The sub-woofer SUB and PLAYBAR for home theaters.
A new version of Play:5 has been released in October 2015 with 6 speaker elements and Sonos new Trueplay system for optimal room audio setup.
Connect and Connect:AMP (previously ZonePlayer 90 and 120) are stationary units that can be connected to a receiver. Connect:AMP can also drive attached speakers due to its integrated amplifier.
SUB is a sub-woofer that can work together with Play:5, Play:3, Play:1, PLAYBAR and Connect:AMP.
PLAYBAR is a home theather speaker that has nine built in speakers and can be paired with a SUB an two Play:3s or Play:1s to get 5.1 home theater surround audio.
The devices talks to each other on their own wireless mesh network, so no need for existing WiFi. This makes the setup very easy (no WiFi configuration at all) and the performance more stable.
The system does not require a running server on a PC. It is
totally stand alone.
You can connect the mesh network to your home network by ethernet or wireless. Previously there were a requirement for at least on product connected through ethernet.
The audio quality is 16-bit/44.1 kHz which is CD audio quality. The lack of HD support is one of the few areas where some competitors has an advantage over Sonos. Even though many cant hear the difference between SD and HD audio.
Controling the devices
The devices only has buttons for play/pause/skip/volume and they lack screens on them so they require remoting software on either a computer, iPad or a smartphone to work properly.
Sonos has official and free remote apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. Sonos previously had a dedicated remote, the CR200, but it has been discontinued.
Android remote: Sonos Controler for Android
iPhone remote: Sonos Controler for iPhone
iPad remote: Sonos Controler for iPad
Sonos is AirPlay compatible when connecting the audio out and ethernet cable on a AirPort Express to the respective line ins on a Play or Connect unit. Sonos can then play the music in either one zone or many sones synced (Party mode). But it is not possible to target specific different zones like, first the kitchen and later the living-room. It is possible to target different zones by attaching them to ont AirPort Express each.
The Sonos units does not have music stored on them. Instead you play music from local network sources like a shared folder on a computer or a server. If you have an iOS device, you can play the local iTunes music on your Sonos devices.
You can also connect to a large number of online services like thousands of Internet radio stations or premium services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, Google Play Music, Tidal HiFi (Lossless Flac) and more. Spotify for example gives access to millions of songs that can be streamed to different zones at the same time for 9.99$/month.
Apple Music is scheduled to be supported by the end of 2015.