Any alternate product just like SONOS? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 43 Old 12-23-2011, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by kgveteran View Post

Airport Express, 65.00 a zone. Apad , laptop , itouch , iphone, anything can control it. I am using two zones now. My laptop is the hub to the whole thing

yup, got an old laptop that is pretty much dead but stays on all the time holding my Library and always available, it goes to sleep all day while im at work, I simply press the wake button and tunes comes right up and im bumpin in less than a minute... I would entertain a better way to hold my itunes library that the network could see at all times...other than my phone

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post #32 of 43 Old 12-23-2011, 02:09 PM
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I think eventually we will see products come out that support "iTunes in the Cloud" and "iTunes Match" so that computers wont have to be on in order to access the library in whole house audio solutions. I suppose it all depends on if Apple will license an API for the Cloud/Match services and/or if there will be enough interest for it to be reverse engineered.
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post #33 of 43 Old 01-02-2012, 06:58 PM
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Great Thread. I'm looking for the same thing, but it appears that nothing equal or better than Sonos is available yet. The mesh network it runs on appears to be much more reliable than a wifi based system, but the price is less impressive than the product. What really gets me is the "Connect" and that's the first piece I'd need. I've waiting for an alternative, perhaps Windows 8 may offer a solution, but it looks like I may have to bit the bullet and go with Sonos.
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post #34 of 43 Old 01-02-2012, 10:01 PM
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The mesh network [Sonos] runs on appears to be much more reliable than a wifi based system

The mesh topography network that Sonos uses is nice for certain installation scenarios, but it doesn't necessarily make it any more reliable than a good Wi-Fi network. In fact, if setup correctly a standard 802.11 Wi-Fi network can be just as reliable as a Sonos network and have the added benefit of actually providing network connectivity for all devices other than just the Sonos hardware.

Here is why:

A Sonos mesh network is just a hidden 802.11n wireless network that utilizes IEEE 802.1D Spanning Tree (STP) for its mesh bridging properties. The reason you can't see the network is because it doesn't broadcast an SSID and its encrypted so non-Sonos devices can't connect to it. It runs over the 2.4Ghz and 5GHZ bands just like normal modern MIMO routers do. And because it runs on the 2.4 and 5Ghz bands, its just as susceptible to interference from other Wi-Fi networks and bandwidth limits. So using a Sonos system in a crowded apartment complex with many other networks isn't going to guarantee a more reliable connection. Read about Shannon's Law for a technical explanation as to why.

There are several ways that one can setup a robust wireless network just as reliable as the Sonos mesh network but that is not limited to providing coverage to just Sonos devices:
1. Setup a wireless network with multiple access points. Instead of having the router the only device distributing a wireless network, access points can be plugged into the network that extend the network's wireless range.
2. Setup a Wireless Distribution System (WDS) network. This is where multiple wireless routers or devices interconnect wirelessly with each other to extend the range of the network. Using an Apple Airport Extreme in combination with Airport Expresses makes setting up a WDS network very easy (plus each Airport Express is also an Airplay device!).
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post #35 of 43 Old 01-06-2012, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by übermusik View Post

...There are several ways that one can setup a robust wireless network just as reliable as the Sonos mesh network but that is not limited to providing coverage to just Sonos devices:
1. Setup a wireless network with multiple access points. Instead of having the router the only device distributing a wireless network, access points can be plugged into the network that extend the network's wireless range.
2. Setup a Wireless Distribution System (WDS) network. This is where multiple wireless routers or devices interconnect wirelessly with each other to extend the range of the network. Using an Apple Airport Extreme in combination with Airport Expresses makes setting up a WDS network very easy (plus each Airport Express is also an Airplay device!).

Very nice writeup on the technical aspects of the wireless.

But this illustrates one nice feature of Sono...simplicity of setup...for most consumers, hands down it beats having to set up and support a network as described above.

Also, I understand that one can connect to Sonos through its ethernet port to take advantage of its wireless functionality. Perhaps one can add an access point (Airport Express?) to that same port for internet wireless access.

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Originally Posted by übermusik View Post

I think eventually we will see products come out that support "iTunes in the Cloud" and "iTunes Match" so that computers wont have to be on in order to access the library in whole house audio solutions. I suppose it all depends on if Apple will license an API for the Cloud/Match services and/or if there will be enough interest for it to be reverse engineered.

Agree. Disappointingly, Apple does not do this today (maybe someday as you mention - fingers crossed). As I understand it, multi-zone for Apple products requires multiple instances of iTunes running, or a third party application running on one or more computers...not simple.

I wish there was real competition that has what Sonos has, as they do charge a premium. Sonos is the only "close-to-reasonably-priced" solution that is simple, allowing for simultaneous, unique streams to muliple zones.
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post #36 of 43 Old 01-06-2012, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Transplanted99 View Post

Yes...that is a very workable solution and there are many folks who like the Squeezebox.

For about the same price ($400-$500) per zone (or less with Sonos Play 3), the Sonos system has the added benefit of using it's own wireless network. Don't underestimate this, as it is the primary area where folks have had serious trouble with the setup and performance of alternative products to Sonos. Sonos is as close to plug and play as you can get on this. Read reviews at Amazon before you buy alternatives.

Throw in another Wireless N Multipath for $60, give it a unique SSID and put it on it's own channel (if you get a lot of collisions with the other AP, but doubtful). Back haul an Ethernet cable to the switch and put all your wireless streamers on it.

Heck if you wanted to get fancy you could put it on it's own subnet tied into a second NIC on the main computer.

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A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #37 of 43 Old 01-07-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transplanted99 View Post

Also, I understand that one can connect to Sonos through its ethernet port to take advantage of its wireless functionality. Perhaps one can add an access point (Airport Express?) to that same port for internet wireless access.

Hmm... I'm going to have to try this. That would be an interesting concept to be able use Sonos hardware to create/extend a useable network.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transplanted99 View Post

As I understand it, multi-zone for Apple products requires multiple instances of iTunes running

Yeah Apple does not have a truly useable multi-zone setup. There is no UI for managing multiple simultaneous streams throughout the house and there will certainly never be an Apple supported way of playing from 3rd party sources like Pandora, Spotify, etc. all from the same interface. That would detract from their own music store and new iTunes Match service. Nor will Apple create software that works on Linux, Android, Zune, WP7 etc. Thats why I think we'll never see anything truly useable in this regard from Apple.

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Originally Posted by Transplanted99 View Post

or a third party application running on one or more computers...not simple

I'm going to have to disagree here. I think that some small app that's easy to install, is cross-platform, runs quietly in the background w/o hogging resources, automatically accesses online and local music sources, and doesn't require any configuration or interaction from the user, would be the ideal way of accessing multi-zone music on a home network.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transplanted99 View Post

I wish there was real competition that has what Sonos has, as they do charge a premium. Sonos is the only "close-to-reasonably-priced" solution that is simple, allowing for simultaneous, unique streams to muliple zones.

Yeah I agree. That's why I'm really excited to see how the audio|acacia software turns out!
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post #38 of 43 Old 01-21-2012, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Throw in another Wireless N Multipath for $60, give it a unique SSID and put it on it's own channel (if you get a lot of collisions with the other AP, but doubtful). Back haul an Ethernet cable to the switch and put all your wireless streamers on it.

Heck if you wanted to get fancy you could put it on it's own subnet tied into a second NIC on the main computer.

True, and can be done by your average techno geek, but the average joe will either not have the knowledge or not have the time to get up to speed enough to set up and support this. The premium Sonos is charging is for the simplicity and convenience...kind of like Apple's strategy.
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post #39 of 43 Old 02-01-2013, 10:26 PM
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"There are several ways that one can setup a robust wireless network just as reliable as the Sonos mesh network but that is not limited to providing coverage to just Sonos devices:
1. Setup a wireless network with multiple access points. Instead of having the router the only device distributing a wireless network, access points can be plugged into the network that extend the network's wireless range.
2. Setup a Wireless Distribution System (WDS) network. This is where multiple wireless routers or devices interconnect wirelessly with each other to extend the range of the network. Using an Apple Airport Extreme in combination with Airport Expresses makes setting up a WDS network very easy (plus each Airport Express is also an Airplay device!)."




Wow. What a hassle..I'm sorry but who has time for all this? Certainly not me. So after reading this thread and others I purchased two Sono's Play 5's. They took 5-10 minutes to set up. The music quality is superb. The console is simple/easy to use from a computer or I-Phone. You can play any a music file from anywhere on the internet on the speakers. The music and radio options on Sono's are unlimited. I thought about purchasing the Apple Airport device so I could have more/larger speakers. However I was told by the Apple Store the device does not accept any music files not in the I-Tunes format and requires an I-Tunes account.

My only quip about Sono's is that it's not 100% wireless. It has a power cord. The speakers are not large so there is no reason they could not have installed a large lithium battery extension in the back. This would allow you to place the speakers in areas with no power cords.
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post #40 of 43 Old 03-07-2013, 05:28 AM
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Try here...good details on how do it.


http://homenetworkedaudio.com/the-alternative-to-sonos-and-squeezbox-players/
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post #41 of 43 Old 03-08-2013, 01:03 AM
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I'm an Apple and Sonos free home. It gets expensive when considering alternatives, and requires a good bit of nerdiness but the effort allows for a lot of flexibility (and better audio quality). I currently have 3 zones, will be setting up a 4th this weekend if speakers arrive despite a snowstorm. I use logitech squeezebox connected to each networked receiver, which allows simultaneous play in each zone. Everything is controlled from my Android phone and tablets.

I love my system, but it's not for everyone. I recommend Sonos much more frequently than I like.

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post #42 of 43 Old 05-31-2013, 04:22 PM
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Here's the problems with Sonos vs Squeezebox

1) There is a limit on the size of the music library of, they claim, 65,000 tracks. However using tags can reduce that significantly, and Sonos has far more trouble with tags in general than Squeexebox.

2) Abysmal tech support. For Squeezebox the time to get a live support person is 3-4 minutes. For Sonos, it's closer to an hour, and then good luck getting a real answer. Even their email support takes days and you'll probably get a wrong answer. They seem far better at marketing than support

3) There is no provision to turn the device off. Typically these draw 5-10 watts so 50-100 kilowatts per year each. It's not a lot of money but it's hardly green, considering how many Sonos devices there are out there.

4) The android app for control is far better than Sonos'.



Here's' some advantages.

1) No server software on your computer, which is where Squeezebox has had most of its issues.

2) No reliance on mysqueezebox.com for internet based services.

3) You can still buy a new one.


Both have dropped the ball on building apps to use internet services like Spotify or MOG. Even when they have them they suck.

It also looks like Sonos is not interested in developing better technology, relying on just pushing what they've has for 5 years. Of course Logitech has abandoned Squeezebox or so it seems. Their are rumors of a new device from them other than the UE Smart Radio.
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post #43 of 43 Old 05-31-2013, 06:58 PM
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Nice list. One additional, and IMO huge advantage that Squeezebox has is third-party plugin development. I'm still using a third-party Spotify plugin over the mainstream one. Most often if there is an SDK and an interest, the turn around time for Squeezebox support is minimal. Off topic, but I'm hoping Google gets their act together and publishes something for Google Music so we see it in Squeezebox soon.

I do hope Logitech comes out with an alternative. I'm not a big fan of Logitech but the Squeezebox is/was a great product, it's extended my music listening significantly.

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