Sonos or Airplay for music in every room?

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  • Sonos or Airplay for music in every room?
  • thx1138
    Member

    I am looking to get a music system that will run off a central server type thing, with multiple speakers dotted around the house. Controllable via a smart phone or small tablet. Main system will be in the living room with the TV etc, but for the other rooms, I’d like smallish portable speakers, or something unobtrusive.

    I notice that Sonos systems are quite popular, but limited in terms of speakers (and a bit compromised on sound quality). I recently hears some Bose and B+W Airplay speakers, and they sounded like they’d be great in the kitchen/bathroom etc. So ‘normal’ powered speakers and Apple Airport Express units? Airplay speakers? Sonos? Oh and radio is essential too.

    What do you use and/or what would you recommend?

    mrchrispy
    Member

    sonos fan here. play3 and a play5 with anther couple of play3 in the pipeline.
    really nice kit, I likes.

    does the airplay do different channels on different speakers?

    gribble
    Member

    Sonos look like the Bo Didley’s. I use an Apple TV to stream stuff to a Yamaha soundbar. Quality to me seems fine, but Sonos does look very neat. I already have apple stuff and a spare stereo, so next purchase for me will be an apple airport express, much like an Apple TV, but with music only.

    mossimus
    Member

    With the Sonos amp I would presume you can use any speakers?

    oliverd1981
    Member

    Airplay express and and old stereo amp and speakers.

    thx1138
    Member

    Is the Sonos amp any good, or would I be better off with a basic amp and Airport Express? Just that the Sonos stuff I listened to sounded a bit crap really. Nowhere near as good as the Airplay speakers.

    crankman
    Member

    Just bought another Play 3 yesterday (£239 Richer Sounds), it’s becoming an addiction 🙁

    Excellent stuff.

    thx1138
    Member

    Airplay express and and old stereo amp and speakers.

    Yes that looks like the best option for the living room, just add an Airport Express. I want a decent sound in there, not so bothered about ‘hi-fi quality sound’ in the other rooms, but still want something that doesn’t sound too tinny. Got an old HK Soundsticks set somewhere, they could be pressed into service in the Kitchen or one of the bedrooms.

    They do a wireless version now:

    http://store.apple.com/uk/product/H9442ZM/A/harman-kardon-soundsticks-wireless-speaker-system?fnode=4f

    Albeit only Bluetooth. Would prefer Wi-Fi.

    Just wondering if the Sonos system offered any significant advantages, in terms of controllability/software.

    oliverd1981
    Member

    Just wondering if the Sonos system offered any significant advantages, in terms of controllability/software.

    Just wallet lightening.

    Argos clearance on Ebay had airport express units for £29,99

    thx1138
    Member

    Just wallet lightening.

    Thought so. Was wondering quite why the kit is so expensive.

    Argos clearance on Ebay had airport express units for £29,99

    And you tell me this now?

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    I would investigate the control software more than anything.
    It’s what makes the most difference to the listening experience.

    Sonos built it’s reputation on the ease of connection and the controllers.
    Now that iPads and phones have taken over the control, others have caught up.

    torsoinalake
    Member

    If you have an old Android phone lying about, you can install Airbubble or similar and use that as an Airplay receiver.

    bamboo
    Member

    I have just had a play with a sonos system in my local hifi shop this afternoon… I was very impressed with how slick it is, and when you create a stereo pair with 2 play 5’s, it really is pretty good sound. The sub was v good too, it shook the whole shop! Great interface tho, especially with spotify too.

    vorlich
    Member

    I have a ZP90 aka Connect, which is hooked into my Hi-Fi via an Arcam DAC. Quality is decent.

    The Play series stuff is ok quality, a bit muddy.

    sharkbait
    Member

    If you went down the Airport Express route they also give you the ability to extend your wireless network and make any USB printer wireless – so not only cheaper but more practical also.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Airplay makes a lot of sense if you’ve got your stuff in iTunes and have iPhones/iPads for controlling it all.

    I’ve noticed a lot of mini/micro systems, home cinema, etc which have airplay built in – not all of it super-expensive kit either.

    Sonos you seem to need one of their (expensive) Connect things for streaming to things that aren’t their own speakers.

    thx1138
    Member

    when you create a stereo pair with 2 play 5’s, it really is pretty good sound.

    That’s £700 for a pair of not particularly great speakers. For that I could get a pair of really nice active speakers, and an Airport Express. And still have change.

    Maddeningly, Apple seem to have the best solution with Airplay. I’d forgotten about video, but they have that covered too. So, an iPad, couple of AE units, an Apple TV and a NAS HD thing and I’m set. No real need for a PC at all.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    Don’t forget that you can just use the sonos connect thingies if you don’t want their amps or speakers. It’s expensive, but it depends how much you like the interface/features/etc.

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    is it time for me to rant about logitech killing off squeezebox yet?

    *wander off muttering*

    beanieripper
    Member

    excuse my ignorance but, if ive got a laptop running windows 8 and an external hifi can I connect these with just an airport express or do I need anything else??

    Premier Icon somouk
    Subscriber

    You can connect them with an airport express so long as the laptop has iTunes on it.

    I use Airplay for my multi room and it works well but does have its limitations when it comes to multi room audio playing different sources.

    dobo
    Member

    Airplay is good but its silly expensive for what it is and i simply would never consider it due to that.
    The cinema amp im eyeing up at the moment has airplay built in, its a good system but only supports audio not video, watch out for that.
    The door is wide open for somebody to come along and improve on airplay for a lot less money. i would rather buy an amp, speakers in every room and save some money, do i really need the same sound in every room, no never.

    thx1138
    Member

    This is it, dobo; we don’t need ‘hi-fi quality sound’ in every room, it’s more about convenience. A separate speaker, amp and AE set up is undoubtedly better value, but a lot more faff than a simple one box Airplay speaker. But yes, looking around, Airplay speakers are a bit of a rip off. £50-100 speakers with a couple of quids worth of Wi-Fi gubbins, and hey presto- £400 please.

    A visit to the Apple shop is imminent, I feel.

    Premier Icon somouk
    Subscriber

    The cinema amp im eyeing up at the moment has airplay built in, its a good system but only supports audio not video, watch out for that.

    Airplay supports video mirroring from airplay devices so from an Ipad to an apple TV. Just your device doesn’t support it.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Subscriber

    Philips airplay speaker sub £100: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Philips-Fidelio-AD7000W-SoundAvia-Wireless/dp/B005LB80F0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359747552&sr=8-2

    AppleTV actually works great as an audio streamer too, assuming your amp has an optical input. It even wakes up when you start sending it audio, no need to grab the remote or switch on the TV to work it.

    dobo
    Member

    Airplay supports video mirroring from airplay devices so from an Ipad to an apple TV. Just your device doesn’t support it.

    i know this, and i know i can get an apple tv to get round it but want it built into a receiver at a decent price point. but if they did that it would make their apple tv and speaker redundant i guess and your back to your amp and speaker in every room but with audio/video airplay.

    spooky_b329
    Member

    I set up my ‘multi-room’ on Tuesday, I suppose you could call it faff, or half a days work.

    Under my TV I have an old knackered laptop running Spotify premium, which is controlled through my tablet/phone with the Spotimote app. Its also plugged into the TV so I can use an old wireless keyboard with trackball if I want to browse Spotify for new music, but normally I use it with no display.

    The laptop is plugged into an old Hifi (soon to be replaced with an old NAD amp) which in turn is plugged into a 8 way speaker switch. For now the switch is wired to pairs of Hifi speakers in the living room and bedroom, and to some ceiling speakers in the Kitchen.

    Future expansion will be a stereo input speaker in the bathroom, and eventually ceiling speakers in the dining room.

    I’m amazed that turning on additional sets of speakers doesn’t affect the volume, I had assumed it would get quieter each time I turned on a set.

    Speaker switch: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003B4513S/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i01
    Ceiling speakers:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000IUTOZ4/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i02

    Love it, and as a bonus, I can use the the laptop for youtube on the TV but with the decent speakers 🙂

    Cost was under £100 as I only needed to buy the switch, one set of speakers and 100m of half decent speaker wire. (I think it is 16 or 18 gauge) Also my wiring wasn’t too difficult as I’m in a bungalow so loft can be used for all rooms.

    oliverd1981
    Member

    I’m amazed that turning on additional sets of speakers doesn’t affect the volume, I had assumed it would get quieter each time I turned on a set.

    You’ll be amazed how quiet it gets just after the loud bang.

    soon to be replaced with an old NAD amp

    Although in this instance you’ll be able to go quite a long way before that happens.

    Obviouslly controlling volume in different rooms is tricky with a wired setup.

    warton
    Member

    I’ve got three Sonos play 3’s.

    the selling point for me was that I needed something my wife could easily use, and Sonos ticked all the boxes. It’s so easy to use.

    Just that the Sonos stuff I listened to sounded a bit crap really

    I would disagree with this, it’s perfectly good for most people, I’ve never been let down by the sound.

    Also, whats good about Sonos is if you have people round, within 1 minute they’re set up and ready to add tracks to the queue, great for parties.

    thx1138
    Member

    I would disagree with this, it’s perfectly good for most people, I’ve never been let down by the sound.

    I didn’t feel it was all that good, especially when compared to other equipment.

    Thanks for the feedback. Looks like I’ll probably go for an Airplay set-up. Discovered this weekend that a relative makes his own hi-fi equipment (and apparently very good quality indeed), so I may have a chat with him about making something for us.

    IanW
    Member

    Just got a Sonos Play 5 , Bridge and a Spotify Premium account.

    More great music than I have time to listen to, very happy. 🙂

    craigxxl
    Member

    I like Airplay but it doesn’t sync very well between rooms if your playing in multi-room.

    nicko74
    Member

    alfabus – Member

    is it time for me to rant about logitech killing off squeezebox yet?

    *wander off muttering*
    YES! I’m pissed about this too, as I have 2 radios and a Duet in my house, running off my NAS. Nice system, a little buggy, but I work around the bugs.

    Can Sonos run off a NAS?

    Mintman
    Member

    Can Sonos run off a NAS?

    Yes, mine does quite happily (although since i’ve got Spotify Premium I don’t tend to use it).

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