House Audio Rack

Sonos Wireless Audio System – Amazing!

House Audio Rack
House Audio Rack

I’ve been working with the audio, security, TV installer guy for the better part of 3 weeks to install/enhance the media and security systems in the house. The all house audio system and the surround system for the main TV really sound shockingly great. (I had no idea how much I would enjoy streaming music throughout the house with decent sound in every room even at very low listening levels!)

But there was a problem: the amplifiers driving the two systems (whole house—room by room, and the den surround sound system) are completely independent. (For the geeky types, the den multimedia is controlled by a Sony STR-DA5800ES 4K receiver, which really creates outstanding audio for an affordable price.) Additionally, I can’t get wiring into one of the rooms in the house because the room was not prewired and now has structural constraints that make wiring the room horrendously impractical. So, we really don’t have complete whole house audio in that I can’t play the same thing in every room in the house. The den is on a separate (surround sound) system and one room can’t be wired.

How to bridge the 2 systems together when each is a rather complex, independent system?! How to get audio into the unwirable room?!

Introducing Sonos!

Sonos is a complete  wireless audio solution. Well, no, Sonos is the wireless audio solution!

I took the 2 Airport Expresses out of the audio rack and replaced them with 2 Sonos Connects. I added an additional Sonos Connect to the Sony surround sound AV receiver that serves as an input to the media system in the den. I added a Sonos wireless speaker in the room that could not be wired into the house audio system.

So, what does this accomplish?

  • I can now use any device (iPhone, iPad, or computer) to select an audio source to listen to in the entire house or in selected rooms in the house.
  • Audio sources include my Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, and SoundCloud accounts as well as the music on the device itself, thousands of internet radio stations, my iTunes library, Steve’s iTune’s library, etc. As Sonos likes to say: “all the music on earth in every room in your house.”
  • There is zero lagtime between any audio source in any of the rooms of the house even though they are playing on 3 different amplifier systems. (The wireless speaker has its own amplifier built in to it.) The audio is perfectly in sync everywhere!
  • I can use the Sonos app on any device to play different audio sources in different places in the house. For example, I can have one Pandora channel playing on the main level and one of Steve’s iTunes playlists playing upstairs. Each Sonos Connect could even play a different audio source if you wanted.
  • The Sonos app is amazingly simple yet crazy powerful: control volume in each room, group rooms together, sleep each area after a user specified time, awake each area at specified times, create playlists for each area on the fly, control the source itself (select/create internet channels, etc.), mark favorites for later access, search across all sources and accounts, and on and on.
  • The Sonos system uses the existing house network (or could create its own) and was dead simple to setup once I got my head around how simple their products actually are. Each device creates a mesh network that extends the home network. Again, it does this with zero audio delay across the entire wireless audio network. Yes, that’s amazing!
  • Unlike AirPlay from my iOS and OS X devices, the Sonos audio system is completely rock solid and vastly more responsive. I haven’t had a single signal drop issue, at all, ever. I had drops, disconnects, and stutters constantly using AirPlay, to the point the continuous drops and total disconnects were maddeningly annoying. Get it together Apple!
  • Phone calls to my cell phone now don’t interrupt the house audio system the way they did with AirPlay.
  • You can even setup the Sonos to automatically mute when the door bell rings!

I could go on and on about the Sonos wireless system. No wonder they have been a huge global success in such a short period of time. While they only sell a handful of products, those products totally work!

Tim likes! Tim highly recommends!