Wireless technologies have made enormous inroads into everyday life, not the least fascinating and useful application of these being in the area of audio solutions.
At the forefront of this technology is Sonos, a wireless music delivery system that provides playback from local sources, such as smartphones or computers, as well as from streaming services.
Sonos both manufactures speakers that automatically connect to its wireless network, and allows for speakers, amps, preamps and receivers of other manufacturers to be integrated into its system.
The Sonos product line is simple but allows for versatility and ease of use.
First, there is the software. The Sonos app is free, and once on your computer, tablet or smartphone, it is used to access music from almost any source imaginable.
The app provides control of all speakers connected to the Sonos system, and includes the capability to control each “zone” independently.
For example, six different rooms, set up as six different zones, can be controlled as independent listening areas. Dad can listen to jazz in the living room, Mom can listen to classical in the den, and the kids can listen to hip-hop in their rooms.
Zones can also be synchronized, playing the same music or any combination thereof.
Next is the Boost.
Performing multiple functions, the Boost attaches to your WiFi router and provides a portal for streaming music from the Internet.
In addition, it sets up a Sonos wireless “bubble,” creating a signal independent of your router and of an Internet connection.
As mentioned, Sonos allows for third-party hardware to be integrated into its system.
One way of doing this is by using the Sonos Connect. Attached to an amp, preamp, or receiver, the Connect will make the respective device part of the Sonos network.
This is good news to audiophiles that have invested in systems they know deliver superior sound quality, but who also want to take advantage of Sonos’s benefits.
The Connect, like all other Sonos devices, will also extend the Sonos wireless network started at the Boost.
The Connect Amp works much the same way as the Connect but precludes the need for an amp, as it attaches directly to speakers and provides sufficient power to drive them.
Regarding Sonos speakers, the manufacturer has chosen a simple nomenclature for the line, one that indicates the number of drivers, or “cones,” in each speaker: the Play 1, Play 3, and Play 5, with 1, 3 or 5 drivers, respectively.
Each has perfect applications whether it’s having a Play 1 in a small work area or a pair of Play 5s as part of a surround-sound setup.
As with most speakers, more drivers means a richer soundscape, so a standalone Play 5 will sound significantly different from a Play 1.
But, the only way to get a feel for the difference between the speaker models is to hear them, so visit your local audio video integrator, give them a listen and get a demo of the Sonos app while you’re at it.
Carlos Ramos is the sales and marketing manager with Custom Audio Video in Bluffton.