Set Yourself Up With Sonos

I’d heard of it a while back, but it was one of those topics that simply passed me by … until recently that is…

I love listening to music, but I’m a bit fussy about what I listen to it on. Yes I have portable MP3 players, Apple products, and hifi separates. I have CDs, minidiscs (believe it or not,) and my entire collection catalogued on my computer. But it is the latter vault I muse most, primarily because it is so convenient to find what I want to play, when I want to play it. And so, over recent months, I started to take an interest in what Sonos was all about.

Sonos is a brand, but more than that, it is an eco-system that allows you to mix and match their peripherals, depending on your listening needs. The Sonos range comprises three different sizes of speaker, a Playbar for your TV, a sub-woofer if you need it, the Connect which turns your existing hifi setup into a wireless streaming system, a ConnectAmp for those starting out, and a Boost to help with your network signal if required. It supports a whole raft of streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, and lets you stream your own music collection too. Using the Sonos Controller app on iOS, Android, Windows or Mac, you can add new peripherals as you buy them, designate a room for each device, and even have different rooms playing different things using your Sonos equipment. You see, Sonos speakers are not just any speakers. They are wireless, and give you the opportunity to be flexible in and around your home. And I haven’t even mentioned their sound quality yet!

So, as I became more and more interested in the Sonos phenomenon, I purchased a book over the Christmas holiday by Jonathan Mosen, himself totally blind and a Sonos addict. The book really helped me to understand what Sonos is, how to get the most from it, and what I needed to do if I purchased any of their units. You can buy Sonosthesia from
www.mosen.org/sonosthesia.
Sonosthesia costs $24.99, and is worth every penny if you are thinking of making a Sonos purchase, or you simply want to understand what it’s all about.

It was my birthday on 10th February, and I was overjoyed to receive a Sonos Play5 speaker from my husband. This is the top-of-the-range speaker in the Sonos line. Martin knew I had become fascinated with the brand, and figured I would enjoy listening to it once I had set it up. How right he was!

Setup was frankly a breeze. I read the chapter on how to configure my speaker in Jonathan’s superbly written book, downloaded the Sonos Controller app from the App Store, and had it up and running in no time. I decided to place my Play5 in my little office upstairs where I spend a lot of my day. Until that point, I had kept an open mind about what Sonos would sound like since it is a very subjective experience. But I wasn’t disappointed. I couldn’t get over how easy it was to work with the app, and being able to access my iTunes music library so quickly. But I also wanted to access my own collection, so installed the Sonos Controller application for Windows, together with Sonos scripts from
www.hartgen.org/sonosscripts.
Adding the scripts makes my JAWS screenreader read the various controls within the application so much better.

So, with apps installed and setup complete, I was ready to rock and roll. But why stop at one? So taken was I with my new birthday present that I decided I wanted a pair. While the Play5 is stereo, depending on which way you position it, I wanted the depth of separation I am used to enjoying on my hifi system. That meant having a serious conversation with my wallet. In case you didn’t know, Sonos gear is incredibly expensive, currently not helped by the weakening pound against the dollar. But I stretched my piggy-bank enough to purchase a second Play5 to make the pair. Again, setup was so easy, following a few simple prompts to pair them. That will have to do for a while, but what a way to be introduced to this awesome brand!

If you are interested in the potential Sonos undoubtedly has, you can visit plenty of outlets such as John Lewis, Currys PC World, Richer Sounds, or any good hifi retailer. If you know what you want, then of course you can shop online from the likes of Amazon, or even purchase from the Sonos website.

More than £800 is a lot of dosh in anyone’s language to pay for a pair of speakers, but the Play range really offers a lot of versatility. And, even more appealing for me is the fact that the apps are so accessible. Well done Sonos!

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