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SONOS Speakers - OMG...WOW!!!!!

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JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
TL;DR: If you are on the fence, yes...get these.



I posted in the "What did you get today" forum yesterday that I just received 4 Sonos One speakers.

I figured I would start a post here for fellow Sonos owners...to share our WOW factor, and share ideas!

Yes - the Sonos speakers are as good as the hype!

In fact, I like them so much that I took my time to type this LONG post as a pseudo review! :thup:


- The sound quality - WOW - more on that later
- Setup - stupid easy - see below


Ease of Use: 100%
Ease of Setup: 100%
WiFi Performance: 100% (but I have a strong WiFi signal everywhere thanks to UniFi Access Points)
Sound Quality: 95%
Sonos App: 90%
AirPlay 2 Functionality: 100%
Amazon Echo (Alexa) Integration: 80%


I did not activate the Alexa skill on the speakers. I activated the Sonos skill on my Echos, so I can't give any feedback on how well the microphone works in the Sonos One speakers.


INITIAL SETUP
The initial setup was stupid simple:

- I downloaded the Sonos app on my iPhone.
- Created a Sonos account.

- I plugged in my first speaker. After the speaker booted, the Sonos app found it automatically.
- The Sonos app on my iPhone automatically connected the Sonos speaker into the same WiFi the phone was on.
--- Usually with WiFi devices, you have to connect to an SSID broadcast by the WiFi device, pick the WiFi network, and enter the credentials.
--- When the Sonos speaker was detected by the Sonos app, it activated some Apple thingy (Air...something...happed so fast don't remember the name) and set the speaker to join the WiFi network.
--- The Sonos app automatically updated the speaker firmware.
--- Then the Sonos app automatically registered the speaker to the account (no need to go to a separate website and type in a hard-to-find serial number)

- Through the app, you "assign" the speaker to a room.
--- The app immediately asks you if you want to create a stereo pair (i.e. add a second speaker into the same room).
--- I was only setting up one speaker, so I said no.
--- The app then asks you if you want to "tune" the speaker to the room (evidently only available on iOS devices.)
--- The app then sends some crazy Sci-Fi sounds through the speaker, and uses the microphone on the iPhone (as you walk around the room) to adjust the speaker sound for sound reflections and such.

- The setup of speaker #1 was complete.
--- For a quick test, I put some Black Sabbath "Iron Man" through the speaker...WOW.
--- I was totally dumbfounded at the sound quality...especially the bass for such a small speaker.
--- I loaded up some Eagles "Hotel California" and the bass at the beginning of the song was rich.
--- More on sound quality later.

- I setup speaker #2 outside on my lanai & pool.
--- Just powered on the speaker, and the Sonos app detected it
--- The Sonos app automatically added the speaker into my WiFi network, updated the firmware, and registered the speaker
--- I did the speaker "tune" for the lanai & pool, not expecting much as the area is quite large (60 ft wide, 80 ft long to the end of the pool cage).
--- I fired up my "Iron Man" and "Hotel California" test songs...WOW.
--- More on sound quality later.

- I setup speaker #3 in the family room / kitchen area, and speaker #4 in the master bedroom.
--- I originally bought 4 speakers as I figured I would need 2 for the lanai & pool area (and Amazon had a nice bundle for buying pairs of speakers).
--- I only needed one for the outside, so #4 went in the master bedroom.


Enabling the Alexa Skill for Amazon Echo:
Go into your Amazon Alexa app, search on the Sonos skill, and enable it.
- You will have to enter your Sonos login and password.
- After that, the Amazon Alexa app will search for Sonos speakers, and add them into the "Smart Home" section of the app (bottom right button).
--- There was quirk with the Amazon Alexa app where it showed the Sonos speakers and all of the existing smart home devices, but appeared to have lost all of my existing groups.
--- I restarted the app, and the groups where back.

- With the Alexa skill enabled and the Sonos speakers found, I can now say "Alexa play #music_choice# to #room_choice."
--- BAM - Alexa is streaming music to the Sonos speaker

I only gave the Alexa integration 80% because:
--- I can't say "Alexa play #music_choice# to #room_1# and #room_2#"...she cannot do that.
--- You can create Alexa groups with the speakers, but when you ask Alexa to play music to that group, she cannot do that.
--- The way to get Amazon Music streaming to multiple Sonos speakers:
------ Tell Alexa to play to one room.
------ Go into the Sonos app, and add additional speakers to the play group.
------ It's a two step process, when really I should be able to tell Alexa to play to multiple rooms.


WiFi PERFORMANCE
I read many an online horror story about how Sonos speakers skip and cut out. I also read many a story about how these speakers just work.

I ran music through the speakers for over 4 hours last night. Not a single skip or anything other than crystal clear, fantastic sound.

For the record, my home network equipment is all UniFi (USG router, PoE switches, Access Points.) Prior to installing the speakers, I followed the UniFi Sonos guide I found online with my Google-fu skills.


My backup plan was to connect a speaker into an Ethernet jack (Sonos gives you an Ethernet cable with each speaker) in case I had problems. I did not have to go that route, but here it is for reference:

- You only need to plug one speaker into Ethernet.
- This speaker become the "server" for the Sonos wireless network.
- With the "main" speaker, the Sonos speakers then create a WiFi mesh that only Sonos can see and use

In the event that you cannot get a speaker near a wired Ethernet jack, Sonos also sells a device called a Sonos Boost. This device plugs into your network via Ethernet cable, and creates the separate Sonos wireless mesh network.

Again, I did not have to do anything special...just let the Sonos app connect the speakers into my WiFi.



Sound Quality
Why did I save this to the end? Because the sound quality is superb!!!! Especially for a $200 speaker.

I was expecting good sound, but I was not expecting the sound to be this good:

Superb SPL (Sound Pressure Level):
Sonos does not give you a spec for speaker sensitivity and maximum power.
- I was initially concerned that one speaker might not be enough for the larger spaces I was looking for:
--- Living Room (20 ft x 40 ft): At 50% volume, this area is completely filled with sound. At 70% volume, it starts to get "loud"
--- Family Room/Kitch (40 ft x 40 ft): At 50% volume, this area is completely filled with sound. At 70% volume, it starts to get "loud"
--- Lanai/Pool (60 ft x 80 ft): My hot tub sits about 60 ft (diagonal run) from the speaker placement.
------ With the hot tub on and the speaker at 50%, I can hear music, but will "miss" lower volume portions of a song.
------ With the hot tub on and the speaker at 70%, this OUTDOOR area is completely filled with sound.
------ At 90% volume, the sound is solid...but not approaching "loud" (I haven't talked to my neighbors yet - hehe).

If I had to "guess" at the SPL of this speaker, I would "guess" that the speaker is at least 90 dB (1w/1m), and being able to carry at least 30 W of RMS power. Of course, I didn't measure this...but the sound volume produced is "sort of" in-line with 90 dB sensitivity speakers I have purchased driving at 75% with a 40 W amplifier. At a later date, I will do some "unscientific measurements" and attempt to measure the SPL using an app on my iPhone.

If you do not know, the best "place" to position a speaker to get maximum SPL (i.e. sound level) into a room is in a corner. You get extra gain with the sound being reflected off the walls. All of the speaker placements for this system are in corners.

Rich and strong bass:
- The speaker is a cylinder measuring about 6.5 inches tall, with a 4.75 inch diameter.
- The bass for such a small speaker is astonishing!!!
- It's not a subwoofer, but Sonos did an excellent job of bringing strong bass through the speaker.

Excellent Mid and High Frequency:
- You can't really notice any dips between the bass, mid, and high frequency

"Full Spectrum" Sound Performance:
- In my opinion, the best way to "test" an audio system (both speaker and amplifier) is to determine the performance of the system at High and Low RMS sound.
--- Peak sound is great, but a poorly designed amplifier or speaker will push through peaks, but sound "muffled" or have distortion for sustained high RMS volumes.
--- A poorly designed amplifier will not be able to push a strong & continuous bass, mid, and high signals without distortion.
--- A poorly designed speaker will not be able to push a strong & continuous bass, mid, and high signals without the speaker "floating" and causing either distortion or loss of sound quality

- My "test" is less than scientific, but I have used this over the years to get audio that sounds "good" to me.
--- Folks might have a different definition of "good".

--- Bass performance I test with:
------ AC/DC "Back in Black"
------ Eagles "Hotel California"
------ Ozzy "Crazy Train"
------ Eminem "Slim Shady"

--- Mid/Upper performance I test with:
------ Pick your favorite Bach or Mozart music selection

--- Full range / RMS I test with:
------ Flo Rida "Whistle"
------ Guns N' Roses "Welcome to the Jungle"
------ Volbeat "Still Counting"
------ Sixx:A.M. "Life is Beautiful"


So why did I give the sound "only" a 95%? When I turn the volume down low on the speaker, the sound loses depth...and it is noticeable. Something I wasn't expecting. To get music depth that is "good" for me, I have to turn up the volume a bit. This is usually not a problem...unless my wife is sleeping and I want to listen to "full depth" music.

I have only tested this in my master bedroom...not in the other rooms (yet). It could be I have to mess around more with the speaker/room "tuning"...I will update if I figure this one out.


AirPlay 2
The AirPlay 2 functionality is spot-on...it just simply works:
- I can start up any sort of sound from my iPhone (or a YouTube video), hit the AirPlay button on my iPhone and tell it where I want the sound to go.
- I can send it to individual rooms, groups of rooms, or all 4 speakers.
- When sending to multiple speakers, the sound was in perfect synchronization.
- I play a YouTube video, send the sound to a speaker, and the video and audio are in synch.
- The "true test" of the AirPlay 2 functionality came with "training" my wife to use it. This took 5 minutes, and she was up an running.
- For the record, you do not need the Sonos app on your iPhone to use AirPlay 2 functionality.



This is pretty amazing technology, and I am sure I have only scratched the surface.



In summary: Bravo Sonos...these little $200 speakers are fantastic!!
:thup: :thup:
 
OP
JrClocker

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
We are coming up on about a month since I purchased and installed the 4 Sonos One speakers.

I am happy to report that I have not had any issues at all with these speakers...they just simply work. I have not had to reboot them at all, and they simply play the audio I want, when I want it.

I have had no issues with jitter or sound cutting out...and these speakers are getting used a lot every day.

It's kind of funny that I really didn't know that I liked to listen to music in my house until I got a good set of speakers that I could easily play my music to. It's nice listening to some smooth jazz each morning by simply saying "Alexa, play some smooth jazz to the Master Bedroom". Sitting in the hot tub is FAR more enjoyable when you have some nice tunes streaming. Playing some Civilization VI is much more relaxing conquering the world while listening to some Five Finger Death Punch.

I am loving these speakers, and still very happy with them. My wife and kids are using them a lot as well.

Bravo Sonos!
 
OP
JrClocker

JrClocker

AKA: JrMiyagi
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Taking advantage of some Black Friday deals, I purchased some Sonos One Christmas presents, and got myself a Sonos Play 5.

This is a larger and much heavier speaker than the Sonos One...but WOW!

The setup was just as easy as the Sonos One speakers. The sound out of this speaker is even more incredible compared to the Sonos One (also $300 more).

The bass is heavy and deep...the mids are crisp...and the highs are Fantastic! It’s a much richer sound when compared to the Sonos One.

I put this out on my Lanai. Outside it projects a very impressive sound stage.

I took the Sonos One I had outside on my Lanai and grouped it as a “stereo pair” with my existing living room Sonos One. One Sonos One sounds great, 2 paired in stereo sounds fantastic. While the bass is not as strong as the one Sonos Play 5, it is much better than just a single Sonos One. The sound stage projected is pretty darn good as well. Additionally, the sound does not lose depth with a stereo pair when you turn it down (like it does with a single Sonos One).

I am so darned impressed with these speakers!


 

Mandrake4565

Mr. Clean Senior Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2012
Thanks JrClocker! I just found this thread, I'm considering some wireless speakers as well. Glad you like them and I'm loving the playlist for testing! :D