Tag Archives: sonos

Sonos One with Alexa voice control

sonos play one

The Sonos One is basically a Play:1 with integrated Alexa voice recognition. You can play music by simply saying “Alexa, play Ramstein”. If you want to play the music in another zone, simply add the zone name after. Or “everywhere” for playing the same music on all speakers in your home. It has six onboard microphones to be able to capture the commands from any direction.

In some ways Sonos One is a work in progress. It does not have support for voice commands for Spotify at launch, even though it will get it soon after. It does have Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeart Radio, and other. It will get Google Assistant support sometime in 2018.

As with Play:1, Sonos One is a mono speaker but two Sonos Ones can be combined to a stereo pair for filing a room with hi-fi-like sound, or used as surround speakers with a PlayBase or PlayBar and an optional Sub.

sonos one top

To protect privacy, the microphone is disabled with one click. The on board leds indicates if the mic is active or not.

Sonos is challenged by a wide range of new competitors that tries to take a piece of their market. The new speakers from Google, Apple and Amazon are based around voice commands. With Sonos One, the company shows that they won’t give up their market leader position without a fight. Good for them, and the market.

Sonos PLAYBASE

playbase

Sonos expands its home theater offering with the new PLAYBASE that is meant to be placed below a TV as compared to the PLAYBAR that is meant to be placed on the wall below a TV or in front of its stand. It has the same functionality as its older sibling. Which includes the ability to be paired to a SUB and a pair of Play:1s to get real 5.1 home theater audio. It can play music on its own through the Sonos app and connects to a tv with optical input.

A difference is that it incorporates a woofer along with nine other speaker drivers. So Ten amplified speaker drivers in total. Six mid-range, three tweeters and one woofer. It has one ethernet port. PLAYBAR has two.

PLAYBASE securely supports TVs on top of it up to 77 lbs (35 kg).

Both PLAYBASE and PLAYBAR supports Speech Enhancement and Night Sound for optimal listening without disturbing the sleeping part of the family.

PLAYBASE will cost 699$ and be available in stores in April 2017.

Multi-room news from CES 2016 part 3

Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

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Philips has shown four new Bluetooth speakers in the Izzy line that can be paired together to play the same music in different zones or seamlessly switch speaker when changing rooms. Bluetooth is usually used in simpler stand alone speakers and more advanced uses Wifi due to the added range, throughput, network environment with attached devices and obviously an internet connection. So it will be interesting to see if Philips can deliver on a more advanced Bluetooth based system. Comparing it against Sonos is stretching it a bit far, but it can add value compared to a stand alone Bluetooth speaker.
You will of course need your smartphone to play the music that is outputted to the Izzy speakers and it will take a toll on your battery while doing it.

Insteon supports Sonos

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Insteon has added the ability to control Sonos multi-room speakers using Insteon’s connected home system. Through their hubs, remotes, and wall-mounted keypads.

This includes basic functions like volume control and more advanced home-automation scenes so that music can be paired with changes in lighting. A morning scene could open your motorized blinds in the morning, turn on your coffee machine and start to play a Sonos playlist or genre.

Users can assign functions such as volume control and radio stations to buttons on the Insteon remote and other Insteon controllers. They also plan to make dedicated keypad buttons for Sonos functions on new controllers.

Insteon adds this feature to their iOS app first, this week. Android compatibility is in the works but they have no official release date. Sonos integration requires Insteon Hub 2245-222.

Klipsch

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Premium sound brand Klipsch enters the multi-room market with eight devices based on DTS Play-Fi. Three soundbars, an upgraded Stadium desktop stereo speaker, a Heritage-series stereo speaker, a Gate streamer/preamp, an amplified Gate and two active Play-Fi speakers which also can be used as wireless surround speakers if paired with a Play-Fi soundbar.

Mcintosh

Speaking of high end and DTS Play-Fi, the high end brand Mcintosh also announced multi-room products based on Play-Fi. They are the RS100 Wireless Loudspeaker,  the MB50 Streaming Audio Player and the MX122 A/V Processor.

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The RS100 wireless speaker allows you to easily add streaming music capabilities to any room you want. Install the Play-Fi Apple or Android mobile app or Windows desktop app to stream your music. Up to 16 speakers can be connected to a single Wi-Fi network – enough for stereo playback in 8 separate rooms.

MB50_Angle_Right_400
The MB50 Streaming Audio Player should be connected to an existing audio system and the The M​X122 A/V Processor is the heart of your home cinema with support for 4k, Dolby Atmos and DTS X.

Google Cast

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Google announced new partners for its Google Cast audio platform. They include B&O Play, Harman Kardon, Onkyo, Philips, Pioneer and Raumfeld.

Google Cast speakers will also soon get the multi-room playback functionality that Chromecast Audio got in December.

Sonos PLAY:1, multi-room for the masses

PLAY1

Sonos today announced the PLAY:1, a small tower speaker that fits perfectly in their current lineup. At 199$, Play:1 is the new entry level Sonos product. A smart and obvious move, in retrospect.

The PLAY:1 works in the same way as all other Sonos products. You control it with the Sonos remote app and play music from Spotify, locally, Internet radio and much more.

The PLAY:1 has two Class D amplifiers, one 3.5″ mid-woofer for mid-range frequencies and to deliver deep bass. And one tweeter for crisp high-frequency response.

inside-play1

Sonos states that no other wireless speaker this size delivers such rich, clear HiFi sound.

The PLAY:1 is Humidity Resistant so it is ok to have it in the bathroom.

Example usage scenarios:

  • Standalone in a room.
  • Two Play:1s paired for stereo sound in a room.
  • Get 5.1 audio with two PLAY:1s paired with the PLAYBAR and the SUB.

Stream music to existing Hi-Fi with the Pure Jongo A2

JongoA2

The Pure Jongo system will soon consist of three devices. This, the previously launched Jongo S3 and the upcoming Jongo T6.

With the new streaming adapter, Jongo A2, you can play music on your existing Hi-Fi-system.

You connect the adapter to the Hi-Fi system with SPDIF (digital optical or coaxial) or analog left and right connector.

JongoA2Back

The adapter is controlled with the Pure connect app on either iPhone or Android where you select the output zone (adapter) and the music source (local mp3s, internet radio stations or the Pure Music service).

The music is then sent to the streaming adapter by Wi-Fi. Music can also be sent to the adapter through Bluetooth and in that case the sources are pretty much all music on the device but Bluetooth has it´s range limits.

From a hardware functionality perspective, the Pure Jongo A2 is comparable to Sonos Connect that is 2.5 times more expensive. But the Pure Jongo system can’t compete with Sonos when it comes to software functionality. Sonos has for instance support for Spotify and many other third party services where Pure Jongo has support for its own streaming service and internet radio stations.

So if the requirements are limited to playing local network mp3:s, internet radio stations and Pure Music, it´s great. Otherwise, look at the options.

Sonos PLAYBAR

playbar

PLAYBAR´s main purpose is to deliver high quality HIFI sound for the TV, instead of the TV speakers. Either you connect the TV to the PLAYBAR with the included optical wire

It can also be used as a standard Sonos unit that plays the usual Sonos music sources.

PLAYBAR consists of 9 amplified speakers. Six mid woofers and three tweeters.

It has an accelerometer to detect orientation and adjust EQ. Thus will a wall mounted PLAYBAR have more bass so low-frequency tones are reduced.

PLAYBAR decodes formats like Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM. It does not decode HD formats which cannot even be transferred to it due to the lack of an HDMI contact.

PLAYBAR has 3.0 audio on it´s own. It has 3.1 audio when paired with a SUB and 5.1 audio when paired with two PLAY:3s and a SUB.

You control it with the standard Sonos app or with the TV remote (it´s compatible with most IR-remotes).

Sonos plays local iOS music

With their latest firmware, Sonos has enabled the streaming of music stored on  an iOS device to the Sonos system. Locally stored  iTunes music is now a source among others that can be played on Sonos. The supported file types are MP3, AAC, and Apple Loss-less (M4A). AIFF is not supported at this time. iOS 6 is required.

Steps to get started:

  1. Update your Sonos software and your Sonos Controller Apps via the App Store to Sonos System Software 3.8.3
  2. Ensure your iPhone is on the home wireless network, then launch the Sonos Controller App.
  3. Go to the main music menu. You’ll now see all of your iOS devices’ music, playlists and podcasts all available as a music source under “This iPhone/This iPad/This iPod.”

Sonos SUB

Sonos is deepening its music offering with a sub-woofer, named Sonos SUB.
Sonos is promising that the SUB will “fill any room with thick layers of bottomless sound”. And it will “ let you hear and feel the weight of every chord, kick, splash and roll”, so prepare to be subbed 🙂

Sonos SUB

The SUB can, just like the play 3 and play 5, be placed anywhere in a room, it uses Sonos own wireless system to sync with the other units. The install is simple: Plug it into a power source, press the setup button and answer some prompts on your controler.

The SUB works with all Sonos amplified components: CONNECT:AMP; PLAY:5; PLAY:3. It does not work with the non-amplified Sonos CONNECT.

Launching on June 19, the SUB is available in a high-gloss black lacquer finish for $699 USD ($749 CAD, £699 EU, £599 UK). A black matte version will be available in September 2012 for $599 USD ($649 CAD, £599 EU, £499 UK).

Sonos adds Songza and Amazon Cloud Player

Sonos has announced support for both Songza and Amazon Cloud Player the last month.

Songza is a web radio option that has stations and these stations are made up by other Songza members. Songza can help users find stations based on a simple questionnaire. Songza is completely free, no fees and no ads in between song selections. Users can register for Songza through the Sonos website.

Amazon Cloud Player allows customers to stream music from the Cloud to any Sonos system. The storages is free for up to 250 songs. Or pay $24.99 per year and import up to 250,000 songs. Amazon MP3 purchases don’t count towards the limit.

Amazon Cloud Player is activated for Sonos on amazon.com.

New features in updated Sonos Controllers for iOS and Android

The new Sonos controllers, version 3.8.1, offers a variety of enhancements for Android and iOS devices.

The Sonos Controller for Android has been optimized for both 7-inch and 10-inch Android tablets, giving customers improved control of their music. Landscape mode on Android tablets is also added. The album art screen has also been made larger to more clearly show what is currently in play.

The Sonos Controllers for iPhone and iPad now look even better with high-resolution graphics designed for Retina displays. You can now use the hard volume buttons on your iOS devices to control the volume on your Sonos system, but only when the app is active.

Sonos has not yet released an Windows Phone app.