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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've just gutted the interior of my house, and redesigned it with 3 music "zones" with a set of four speakers in each zone (i.e. The dining room/living room is one zone, and has one L and one R). All of the speakers are in-ceiling (my wife's choice), and the ends terminate at one of three designated locations where there is also a power supply and an ethernet jack (cat6 of course ;-)) running to the main router for the house.


All of this was designed around the plan to install a Sonos system to make the main media server (win XP MCE, 200 gigs of MP3s at 256k, paired with its own amp and speakers) to the rest of the house.


I was literally going online to finally order the system yesterday (we move in next week), when I noticed the agressive participation of SlimDevice's online community outreach person here, and so, did some research on Logitech. Now I am conflicted, and for that reason would like to invite the supporters and detractors of each platform to participate in a brief, cordial, caged-deathmatch to win my consumer dollar.
Or, in the alternative, you can just aswer me these questions, and tell me what else I should consider:


To slimdevices, I say:


1. If I buy two Duets (so I have remotes for up and downstairs) can I use both remotes for both boxes?

2. If I can buy a Duet now, why the $#%^@ can't I buy the third box transmitter alone, where I do not need a remote?

3. If I can buy this directly from Slim, why can't I buy it from Amazon? We (Amazon and I) are having a love affair, and if I don't buy it from them, they feel cheated on. Plus, I get free expedited shipment because I buy all my other junk from them. You want to ship it *ground* or charge me extra (OMG join the modern era!)

4. If I buy a Duet, will the remote control work with a plain ol' squeezebox. Will a plain ol' Squeezebox synch with a Duet?

5. Is this thing firmware updatable, or are you going to release a version 1a which fixes all the bugs just as soon as I buy it?


To sonos and its supporters, I say:


1. Dudes, have you looked at your prices, seriously? Why would anyone buy your product when compared to slimdevices? OK - well, I may be that rare consumer that is not that price sensitive and I do salivate over your remote control, but man your current price concession is a joke. It is over. You are commoditized. Deal with it, and give me a deal. Yeah, I should BUY NOW! because you are knocking $199 off the price until April 30th. After that, I bet you make it $299 off... grrrrr. I can't buy your product in good faith now just because I know what it's gonna cost by the summer.


2. Yes, I admit I need to buy three 2 channel amps (est $99 ea) to run SlimDevices. But even if I run with the ZP100, won't I need some kind of signal augmentation to power that second set of speakers from your device? (Aperion 632-IC's, BTW. Rated 8Ohm)? Can the ZP-100 handle that and still sound good? Can I use both the speaker and line out on the ZP100 at the same time?


3. OK, I'm somewhat of an audio snob. I do believe on a subconscious level that because you cost more you must be better. But can you prove it? I mean, will your legions come forth and testify to your sound prowess? Has anyone done an A/B listen on these two devices?


4. OK, your equipment is white. Slimdevices is black. White=forces of good. Black=forces of evil. I'll just give you that one, no questions asked.



So that's it. I've been getting ready to buy Sonos for over a year worth of construction. I designed the whole house around three zp100s. But now the (forces of evil?) are luring me into temptation.


So, let's get reeeaadddyy toooooo rummmmbbbllleeeee!!! What would you do?


And please, no use of chairs.


DGR
 

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I am in your boat: Duet v. Sonos, 3-5 zones, all but 2 require amp+receiver (or ZP100 equivalent), Duet looks slick, Sonos looked slick 2 years ago, but now seems way overpriced. My difference is that I have a about 400 gigs of FLAC files instead of MP3 and only 1 set of extra speakers ready to go.


This should be interesting, if the owners participate. . .


At the risk of spreading massive misinformation from my own research (please feel free to correct), I believe your answers are:

To Duet:

1. Yes, 2 remotes work

2. You will be able to "soon", they just haven't unbundled the "Duet" set yet. And yes you can just use a SB3 if you want, instead of a Duet receiver.

3. Talk to Mike about that one.

4. Yes, Duet works with SB3 (see answer 2).

5. The Duet devices are firmware upgradeable.


To Sonos:

1. Yeah, the prices are high (and keeping me on the fence). They "will" adjust . . . someday.

2. Check out the Sonos forum - the ZP100 does ok with small to mid-sized speakers, but it does not appear to be a high-performance amp for hungrier, larger or 4-speaker applications. Reports vary. I think you can use the line out and the speakers at the same time.

3. This Q will open up a whole can of worms. People seem to get very defensive on the whole sound quality question. Two issues I've discovered. First, if you use the Sonos controller to control volume, you are impacting the digital signal quality and, according to some "golden ears" audiophiles, degrading the audio. These people keep the Sonos zone players at 100% volume and run only digital outs to a separate DAC (Benchmark DAC1 seems to be popular in eliminating jitter/clocking issues) to control volume externally. Some people swear by the audio quality, others swear against it. Second, if you want a really high-end (read: $$$$) wireless audio device, the Slim Transport(er) for $2k seems to be the "cha-ching" king, but I have no idea if its performance warrants the bling. Frankly I really only have 1 room that I do critical listening in, and I'll likely not use the Sonos/Slim system in that room anyway, since the content is there already and I have several DACs to make things work. In the kitchen, Den, Bedroom and outside, either Sonos or Slim will get the job done, it seems, but I don't expect accoustical nirvana.

4. I like black better, personally.


Welcoming other input. . .
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGR69 /forum/post/13361403


1. If I buy two Duets (so I have remotes for up and downstairs) can I use both remotes for both boxes?

2. If I can buy a Duet now, why the $#%^@ can't I buy the third box transmitter alone, where I do not need a remote?

3. If I can buy this directly from Slim, why can't I buy it from Amazon? We (Amazon and I) are having a love affair, and if I don't buy it from them, they feel cheated on. Plus, I get free expedited shipment because I buy all my other junk from them. You want to ship it *ground* or charge me extra (OMG join the modern era!)

4. If I buy a Duet, will the remote control work with a plain ol' squeezebox. Will a plain ol' Squeezebox synch with a Duet?

5. Is this thing firmware updatable, or are you going to release a version 1a which fixes all the bugs just as soon as I buy it?

1. yes

2. "soon"

3. They should be hitting Amazon any day now. We released the worldwide ship hold as of last Tuesday. It can take a couple of weeks to get to everyone in the channel. As we are a distribution center for our slimdevices.com online store (same building) we were able to ship right away.

4. Works with all our old products as long as they can run SqueezeCenter 7 or SqueezeNetwork.

5. The Squeezebox Controller will prompt you when you need to upgrade. The Squeezebox Receiver will do it on it's own. As long as you have a connection to the internet, SqueezeCenter or SqueezeNetwork will keep the hardware up to date.

Quote:
To sonos and its supporters, I say:

1. No comment

2. No comment

3. For me it's a wash between the Duet/Squeezebox, and the Sonos. The Logitech Transporter is the 800 pound gorilla of sound quality.

Squeezebox (SB3) http://www.stereophile.com/mediaserv...lim/index.html

Sonos
http://www.stereophile.com/budgetcom...nos/index.html

4. Luke... Luke.... come to the dark side.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGR69 /forum/post/13361403


3. OK, I'm somewhat of an audio snob. I do believe on a subconscious level that because you cost more you must be better. But can you prove it? I mean, will your legions come forth and testify to your sound prowess? Has anyone done an A/B listen on these two devices?

I'll put my .02 in here, since this was my biggest issue. IMO, the ZP100 is a complete waste of money for anyone serious about sound quality. I am, so I would never consider driving any speaker of mine with a Sonos-derived amp (to be fair, I wouldn't use a device that had a Slim Devices amp either. These companies have NO experience at building any kind of amplication device, so why not leave it to the experts?). No offense to anyone who has one, but to me a unit like that is along the same lines as HTIB; it's for people who value convenience over sound.


So then you start to compare the ZP80 vs. a Duet Receiver unit. Of course there's the cost difference, $349 vs. $149 (I believe...yes, when you can buy it separately), and the cost of the Controller, $399 vs. $299 (see above). But also consider this: I use my units with an external dac, but I imagine most (and for the OP) do not, so then you need to think about the quality of the internal dac.


Now anyone who knows anything about dacs knows they can be had very inexpensively, and the difference between these cheap, mass-market chips and a quality dac makes a world of difference in sound quality (or as I like to say, bits is not bits). The SB3 uses a well-known, and high quality Burr-Brown dac; the Duet unit takes perhaps a small step down with a Wolfson dac, but this is still a name-brand dac. And of course the Transporter uses the ultra hi-end AK (Asahi Kasei) 4396. For this reason, Slim Devices, to me, has established itself in the audiophile community as a maker who values quality parts and sound. Trust me I have searched, and I can find no mention of the dac used in the Sonos' units, which leads me to believe we may be talking about the cheap, 100-to-a-bag, mass-produced variety. I don't know for sure, but again, if Sonos were "proud" of its dacs, why not include them in their marketing materials like Slim Devices?


On a personal note, I seriously considered the Sonos when it was making its big noise a few years back. I know the Controller is almost universally praised, but it's not for me. It's too big and horizontally-oriented; we all know remotes go North and South...lol.


CD
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This awesome! Now, if only you people were wearing tights! ;-)


Three excellent responses. Gracias.


On my critical Sonos point 4, may I say that for years I have secretly imagined my audio console as my evil-overlord control panel into the next dimension (c'mon you do it too, you just don't admit it in public). But these components are going in all the Zen happy places in the house.


And, yes, I do all my serious listening in the evil-overlord room, so I don't need to go crazy here. But I did spend 3 full days researching the in-ceiling speakers, so I guess I can't just let it go either.


Round 2? Will Sonos fight back? Are they even aware of the importance of online communities in determining the buying decisions of technologies leaders, and, hence, of the masses who follow them/us? Do they have a community manager? Enquiring minds want to know!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGR69 /forum/post/13365874


Round 2? Will Sonos fight back? Are they even aware of the importance of online communities in determining the buying decisions of technologies leaders, and, hence, of the masses who follow them/us? Do they have a community manager? Enquiring minds want to know!

Sonos are fully aware of online communities and their importance. That being said, you'll rarely see Sonos staff comment on anything outside of their own online community. There is already a thread on this topic on the Sonos forums so I doubt you'll see many Sonos owners contribute outside of that.


For the record I don't work for Sonos, but I do have an extensive background with the product having owned it (by import) since before it's UK launch. It's fair to say I'm strongly in the Sonos camp.


It's very easy to pick negatives of either product and draw attention to them. Likewise it's very easy to bring out the positives in either product that will make it look like it outshines the other. Whilst this can create what some might call a biased review, it's critical to the buyer to know the strengths/weaknesses of each product and how they compare.


I'm not as knowledgable on the Slimdevices side of things as the Sonos side so, where possible, I will raise questions instead of making assumption. If relevant, I recommend that you find answers to these questions before purchase.


There are some fundamental differences to the products and how they work. Both are wireless, but do it in a slightly different way.


Slimdevices use standard wireless for the devices. They connect directly into your wifi router in the same way as your laptop would. If you're familiar with WEP/WPA etc. you can secure it with encryption in just the same way as you can your laptop. The Slim players are aware of each other but don't really establish a direct link and talk to each other directly.


Sonos is slightly different. Whilst it uses a standard wifi adapter within the hardware, they use a proprietary protocol. This means that the only device that can talk to Sonos wirelessly is a Sonos. Security is native with a highly encrypted mesh being setup between the players with no technical knowledge or complex setup required. Ultimately they can both be setup in a very similar way and the end result will be almost the same, but not quite.


(Questions: How many zones do you need right now? How many might you need in the future? Can both products support this number of zones? Can you sync them all together in perfect time?)


The Sonos mesh is secure and internal to the Sonos devices and cannot be eavesdropped. This lends itself well to zone linking, especially in DRM applications. Sonos are proud of their ZonePlayers and the way they can be linked together with a perfect sync between the zones...up to 32 zones.


(Question: What is the max number of zones that can be linked on the Slimdevices kit?)


This means, for example, I can start playing an album in my living room and then link that to my kitchen zone. As both areas are adjacent, it would be extremely annoying if playback was out of sync as there would be an audible echo between the rooms. With Sonos, I can continue to add additional zones to this group up to the max player limit of 32. Incidentally I can also have 32 different zones playing different music at the same time, or any number of groups within...e.g. 16 groups of 2 or 4 groups of 8 zones.


(Question: How many separate zone groups do Slimdevices allow?)


Sonos does this, and I simplify, by making one player the primary in the group. This will take the music source, decode it if necessary, and stream it to all the other zones in perfect sync. This means that if all the players were placed in line, with say a 30metre gap in-between each player, you would still find that zone #1 and zone #32 were playing in perfect time - despite being well out of range of each other to allow a direct signal. Zone #1 is reading the music file from your source, passing it on to #2, which passes it on to zone #3, to zone #4 etc. Each ZonePlayer may only be able to see just 1 or 2 others but it will still play in perfect time with the others and sufficient buffering is included to ensure this will never breakup even when using high bandwidth lossless codecs like FLAC.


To exemplify the strength of the mesh further, Zone #32 could even be playing different music is required, despite being located over half a mile from the music source with no wires.


Slimdevices do this a slightly different way. When you join players together it effectively sends an instruction to each player to play the same audio stream at the same time. They then each read from the music source at the same time and the sound comes out at the same time, they are all playing different streams though. It's kinda like having a person in each room pressing play at exactly the same moment. Think of a conductor waiving his baton to an orchestra so they all start playing at the same time.


(Question: Do all Slimdevices players need a direct wired/wireless connection to your music source? What if, for example, one of the players is out of range of your router)


(Question: How easy is it to link zones? Can this be done easily from any controller? How many button pushes are required to link one room with another and then break it again)



This creates some weakness on the part of the Slimdevices product. When the band start playing the first piece, the conductor tells them what it's going to be and they start playing. But whilst they are playing, he can't tell them what's coming next. The moment they finish that piece he tells them what's next and waves his baton again to get them in time. It works fine, there's just a small delay. Ordinarily this won't be a problem, but on a gapless piece this can be problematic.


If you like to listen to Classical Concerts, stage show music like Phantom of the Opera or even Pink Floyd; you're going to find those gaps more than slightly annoying.


Note: Slimdevices can happily do gapless playback in a single room, but not when joined. This is the same for both wired and wireless players. I've yet to see a published review of Duet that shows 2 players being used in sync. When Sonos send kit out for review, they send a bundle to allow the reviewer to see the beauty of linked zones. Duet I've only seen reviewed stand alone.


These weakness rear their ugly head when playing on-line music services like Rhapsody or internet radio.


With Sonos you have just one player connected to the online source. It decodes the stream, unlocks any DRM and then broadcasts it to all other ZonePlayers. One Rhapsody connection for up to 32 different zones all linked. One internet connection for all the zones too.


With SlimDevices, each player has to connect directly to the online source. In the case of internet radio, the stream connections are very unreliable and not in sync. For an example, try playing your favourite internet radio station on 2 different PCs at the same time. Are they in sync? SlimDevices won't be either. So, playing internet radio in just 2 rooms may be a problem if you want to avoid an out of time situation. Add in a third room and the problem may be even worse with 3 players playing the same music all at completely different times. For this you will also have 3 different streams consuming bandwidth on your broadband connection.


As internet radio is just a continuous stream with no time-markers, it's pretty impossible to get 2 players to play 2 different streams in time. Sonos use one and distribute that one stream around it's mesh. Slimdevices don't have a mesh.


This limitation shows with Rhapsody too. Each linked Slimdevices player will have a direct connection to Rhapsody and play the same track at the same time. But a Rhapsody subscription only allows playback on 3 devices concurrently due to licensing restrictions. So, quite simply, Slimdevices can't link a 4th player for Rhapsody. Sonos can play Rhapsody music in up to 32 different zones, all in sync. In a 3-storey townhouse, you could play different Rhapsody music on each floor with 10 players on each floor all in sync. This is true scalability that Slimdevices just can't offer.


Now onto your specific questions:

Quote:
1. Dudes, have you looked at your prices, seriously? Why would anyone buy your product when compared to slimdevices?

I believe it's fair to say that the single player/controller bundle that Sonos are current selling shows that they have reviewed the market at the time of launch of the Duet. They are now offerering a product at clearly what they feel is a fair price to pay given the strength/weaknesses I have highlighted above. You get what you pay for, if you don't need it...don't pay for it.

Quote:
OK - well, I may be that rare consumer that is not that price sensitive and I do salivate over your remote control, but man your current price concession is a joke. It is over. You are commoditized. Deal with it, and give me a deal. Yeah, I should BUY NOW! because you are knocking $199 off the price until April 30th. After that, I bet you make it $299 off... grrrrr. I can't buy your product in good faith now just because I know what it's gonna cost by the summer.

Unless I'm very mistaken, since launch, Sonos have never adjusted their list prices. From time to time they offer different discount bundles though which often include things like free speakers, free cradles and free shipping.


You don't know what it's going to cost in summer, neither do I. Based on past history though, I wouldn't expect a change in unit prices, just maybe another bundle offering. Sonos have maintained their prices since launch with no adjustment for currency variation or inflation.

Quote:
2. Yes, I admit I need to buy three 2 channel amps (est $99 ea) to run SlimDevices. But even if I run with the ZP100, won't I need some kind of signal augmentation to power that second set of speakers from your device? (Aperion 632-IC's, BTW. Rated 8Ohm)?

Sonos offer 2 players. The ZP100 with an amp the ZP80 without. You can mix and match to meet your requirement. Based on the current published prices, you're paying $150 more for the model with an amplifier. If you'd prefer to do with the Slimdevices equivalent, with a digital out and no amp, you can.


Powering 2 sets of speakers from a ZP100 is fully supported, see the Sonos FAQ. Sorry, I'm not allowed to post a link on this forum but it's not hard to find.

Quote:
Can the ZP-100 handle that and still sound good?

Yes, it can. Many owners have deployed in this configuration without any complaints at all. For a ceiling speaker deployment I'd say it was perfectly sufficient.

Quote:
Can I use both the speaker and line out on the ZP100 at the same time?

Yes, you can. They will both play the same music source at the same volume. e.g. if the amp is at 50%, the line-out with be scaled accordingly. The line-out was provided on the ZP100 as an option for external amplifiers if you didn't want to use the internal amp, it wasn't designed to allow supply to 2 different areas from one player. The line-out is pretty much redundant since the launch of the ZP80 a couple of years ago which is smaller and cheaper and also offer digital out.

Quote:
3. OK, I'm somewhat of an audio snob. I do believe on a subconscious level that because you cost more you must be better. But can you prove it? I mean, will your legions come forth and testify to your sound prowess? Has anyone done an A/B listen on these two devices?

The products offer much more than simple audio quality. The majority of Sonos owners I know bought it for convenience and simplicity and overall ease of use. It's common for audiophiles to have a ZP80 with digital out in their main listening room and then ZP100 units scattered throughout the house. I know of one household that has a Slimdevices transporter in his listening room to go with his $$$$$ amp and speaker combos, but uses Sonos in every other room in the home. It's a case of making your purchase meet your requirement and budget.

Quote:
4. OK, your equipment is white. Slimdevices is black. White=forces of good. Black=forces of evil. I'll just give you that one, no questions asked.

Some people believe music should be heard and not seen. Many owners hide players in cupboards and closets as, once installed, you never need to physically touch them again. I know of a lot of households who have put Sonos in their loftspace adjacent to their ceiling speakers...it saves on wiring and in the UK it's illegal to have mains powered devices in the bathroom.


Which leads me to my closing note. I have a Sonos controller in my en-suite area. It's a steamy, humid area with a high pressure shower. I take the controller in the shower with me and have been known to change tracks whilst washing my hair. It's a water resistant unit and the rubber base grips well on the bath side without failling in. I trust it to the extent that I rinsed it off under the tap when my wife had an 'accident' with her shave gel, lol.


And thus ends my Sonos biased review. I'd be interested if the Slimdevices guys could chip in and answer some of the questions I've raised.


But don't just take our input, try it for yourself. Order yourself a Sonos and, if for whatever reason you don't like it, return it within 30-days for a full refund.


This isn't marketing speak, it's a genuine offer and I recommend it to everybody who asks. I wouldn't expect anybody to make such an investment without a proper hands on trial. If Slimdevices can't offer a risk free money back trial, then ask them why not? You don't like Sonos, you don't pay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ooooh - and Sonos jumps in with a Piledriver followed by a Neckbreaker! This match is heating up ladies and gentlemen! ;-)


More seriously, thanks! You raise several good points. Just as I was about to press the "Buy It Now" button on the Duet, too. :-(


But as I think abouyt it, my setup is three fairly distinct zones (first floor front, first floor back, and second floor - with a hallway with two swinging doors separating first floor front and back). Also my musical tastes are more classic rock, bluegrass, and singer/songwriter, so although the synching on full albums with no breaks between tracks would drive me nuts, it will only happen on my Pink Floyd, and maybe some of my Jazz. I am sorely tempted by the Sonos remote. It looks soooo nice. I may need to go out and see if I can just touch one of each at some local store.


All in all, I'm thinking that in my case, it may make sense to go with a double duet on floor one (where it goes in a closet) and a full squeezebox on floor two (where it goes on a shelf).


I also have to add that I work in the high tech/venture space, and am a HUGE open source/open community supporter. I really had not focussed in on the community developing around the squeeze[umm I forget the name] software platform. I really like the idea that there are people out doing custom dev against a free API. It makes for a longer lasting, more powerful platform.


So, I'll probably see if I can get a look at the two remotes this weekend (are the Duets in stores?) and then, absent raw seduction by the Sonos remote, go with the Duet and spend the extra $$ getting better amps. But, I think the arguments are compelling both ways, and thank you all for taking the time to provide such articulate and thoughtful responses. I invite folks to continue this thread, as I doubt I will be the last person in this position - and I know I'll check in at least one more time before placing my final purchase.


DGR


P.S. I should probably start a new thread for this, but does anyone have a recommendation for an amp (x3) to drive this set up? I'm liking the AudioSource Amp 100 2-Channel Power Amplifier, as it is cost efficient, has the A/B ability to kill one of the rooms, and gets reasonably good reviews for what it is. - actually DONT answer that here. I'm going to do the right thing and start a new thread in the amps section. If you have thoughts, please go there. :) And Here it is: My Amp Question Thread
 

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You really should find a Sonos dealer near you to try it out, but I'll mention again the free 30-day home trial. You can try it, and the controller, along with Rhapsody, Pandora and Napster. I'm totally loving Napster myself.


The open source, open API community of Squeezebox does have it's appeal. It's why some of the Sonos owners I know have a squeezebox in their office to tinker around with. But whilst they're tinkering around with their SB system, it's Sonos music playing in the background. I'm an IT guy myself and have helped developed a couple of open source applications, but I just love my music far too much to have it affected by untested applications and stuff...besides my wife would kill me if she couldn't just pick up her controller and press play.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DGR69 /forum/post/13368478


it will only happen on my Pink Floyd, and maybe some of my Jazz.

OK, I'll admit, at that point I had to go out for a breath of fresh air. One word...sacrilege


Edit to add: I'd still love some answers to the questions I raised.
 

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As a long time Sonos owner of 5 rooms, a big fan of Slim all the way back to our original Slimp3, and someone who has turned at least 10 people on to a Sonos, I can tell you 3 basic differences:


1) Fiddle Factor. Just read the Logitech forums and you will see that the common solution given to fix problems is "upgrade to the newest software if yours is more than a few weeks old" If you are into tinkering you will get great benefits like streaming weather and stock quotes. If it is important to you that anyone can play music and don't come calling you for help, then get a Sonos.


2) Enjoying Music. It comes down to how important multi-room is. For example, if you are having a Mardi Gras party and want to play a New Orleans Radio station or Rhapsody's huge collection of Mardi Gras music in multiple zones, a Sonos does this perfectly using a minimum of bandwidth. A Duet simply can't do this in 4 rooms. They can only play the same Rhapsody song in 3. And unless you run a server whenever you want to play music Logitech cannot play an Internet radio station in more than one room period. If you are running a server, that 128Kbps radio station would use half a megabit of an internet connection due to their "slim" client architecture. The same station on a Sonos for 4 or 24 rooms would use 128Kbps.


Likewise if you wanted to play other sources like an iPod or broadcast the TV audio in multiple rooms for a big game, the Sonos has line-in which can be synched in up to 32 rooms.


3) Multi-room Control. This is where the reality will come home to roost.


Look at 2 buttons on the Sonos that say it all: Zones and Volume. When you press Zones on a Sonos you can control any or every room instantly from that Controller. You can group all zones with a press of a "party mode" button and they will be in perfect synch. Same for ungroup. You can pause all zones as you go out the door. To pause 3 zones on a Duet you would first stop the first room. Then you would need to go into "settings" pick the other room, then hit the stop button. Repeat. The same goes for changing what is playing.


On a Sonos to change the volume on a group of zones, hit the volume button and you can change the volume on the whole group or scroll to an individual room and raise or lower. On a Duet to change the volume in a different room you must first go into settings to change the room the Duet is controlling, then change it's volume. If you forget and leave it that way, the next person who comes in the room will find that when they put music on it seems to be coming from upstairs. Hopefully they know to look in settings.


Conclusion:


There are dozens of seemingly small differences between the Logitech and Sonos. Taken individually they look minor. But when viewed collectively, they demonstrate the difference between a fine multi-room system and a single room system that tried to add multi-room. Sonos costs more because multi-room digital systems require horsepower at the edge to deliver a great experience. Duet comes from SliMP3 and the "slim" part makes it cheap by putting the work on the server. Sonos was multi-room by design and there's nothing slim about it.


Why go to all that expense to remodel your house and then go cheap on the multi-room music?
 

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DGR - you must be reading my mind. I, too, am either going the Sonos 130 package (+ an extra 2 ZP100s) or getting a Duet + 3 SB3s (since I like the readouts).


Wow - the Sonos team does come back swinging! This is great information. I'm (finally) beginning to see why the Sonos mesh net architecture has some serious advantages in multi-rooom playback (less wireless net impact and tinkering, can do multiroom gapless playback, can do internet radio synched playback w/o bandwidth or streaming constraints).


However, I do think some of this may underestimate the new SC7 server software and its abilities, since few people have used it extensively enough to fully explore its capabilities and limitations in letting multiple Duets (receivers) and/or SB3s or other slim devices play synched music. I think a couple more days/weeks on the forums will bear that out, leaving the open-source and upgradeability positives for another day.


As for audio quality - in either system, if you really wanted superior/audiophile sound quality, you'd have to go with an external DAC and amp, as neither system (excluding the Slim Transporter) was designed as, or fitted with components for, a truly high-end digital source or amp. And that makes sense to me, as not many people do critical listening in the kitchen, bedroom, shower, etc. etc... and where critical listening is done, a good DAC and amp are probably already being used anyway. IMO, these systems just provide a pipeline for content, offering convenience and useability. Whichever provides the cleanest, most functional and capable pipeline, with the least caveats or limitations, wins in my book.


At this point, I think the only way to really know is to try both. . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaffacake /forum/post/13368994


One word...sacrilege

While I do take it as rather a matter of pride to be heretical at least once daily, your conscience will be assuaged to know that I plan to only listen to my Floyd in my listening room. If you like, I will sign an oath to that effect. Or perhaps you could engineer an add-on to the SB system that prevented it from ever playing any Floyd, lest I accidentally offend myself or someone else with innapropriate song breaks? :)



Damn you Sonos people, why must you temp me sooo. Isn't this always the way, just when you think the forces of darkness have triumphed, the forces of light show up and save the day?


I am so conflicted.
 

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AFAIK, Sonos could not support cue sheet+one flac/wav/ape type of album structure. All of my music is organized this way.



Second, correct me if I am wrong. Sonos remote would never be able to support Chinese characters and I was told slimdevice remote could via firmware upgrade.



Therefore, I have no choice but to go with slimdevice.


Last, the clock slave function really make the transporter a high-end piece which could pair with a EMMLabs DAC or a word clock.
 

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Just wanted to to add another dimension to the debate.


The Squeeze Controller is a Logitech device that will (speculating here), have a future of it's own. I can easily a world in which the remote will replace my Harmony 780 remote that controls a complex 8 HD video source entertainment setup and my Insteon light switches.


There is something to be said for a product that not only is competitively prices, but has open sources elements.
 

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Funny some see Logitech's support as an advantage. I see it more as a detriment knowing how great Harmony support was prior to Logitech's acquisition! Certainly there is more capital with Logitech but good luck if you have problems with the equipment. I had a 659 die when it was owned by Harmony and was replaced immediatly no questions asked. I know for a fact that would not happen now!
 

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When one is starting new, it may well be the Sonos is better, because it includes amplifiers.


If one already has a good sound system, then the Squeezebox hooks into that very naturally.


There is a 30-day return policy for the Squeezebox, but of course one does need to have the music system installed to try it fully.


You can get a sort of idea of the Squeezebox for free. Download the free software. This includes SoftSqueeze, which is a software emulator. Of course it doesn't say anything about the sound quality, and doesn't synchronise, but you can get a feeling for the user interface of a basic remote (not of A Duet controller), investigate some of the third-party plugins, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I ordered 2 Duets and Squeezebox along with three AudioSource Amp 100s this morning. Just got the "shipped" notice. My three zones are distinct enough that I'm not worried about perfect Synch, and the cost differential can't be justified.


I went and saw the Sonos remote. Thing is damn honking big (bigger than the ZP80, which surprised me). Probably would have been pretty nice - but not a must have.


In the end, cost overruns in other parts of my construction weighed heavily, and I thought I'd keep some $$$ for future products.


I'll let you know what happens.


DGR
 

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It's interesting reading page long "unaffiliated" posts, just remember one thing... we will never say a single negative thing about a Sonos. They make a great product.


Moving on, I think you will be very happy with your Squeezeboxen. I look forward to hearing your feedback. Also I think you will find that many, if not most of our "problems" are greatly overstated by some on this forum and others. Most of them are actually just a product of different philosophies in design and implementation for our hardware and software.


We do things differently from Sonos, but we both get to basically the same place. We don't believe the way we do things are necessarily better or worse, just different. Again, take a look at my first point in this post.



Mike
 

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Ok – the head-to-head match has commenced. I’ve got a Duet (controller & receiver) + 1 x SB3 versus a Sonos 130 setup. I figured it was the only way I could be sure of which system was going to work best for me. Please note that I’m going to level criticisms at both systems from my brief and ongoing experience, so let’s not go flaming away.


Setup:

8000 FLAC files, stored on PC. Currently trying two zones. First zone is “basic” setup of TV room with 2 floor standing speakers, optional 2-channel Yamaha receiver. Second zone is “critical listening” setup with Monitor Audio GS 60s and Velodyne sub, Denon 3805 pre and Parasound 5250 amp.


Installation:

Both were relatively painless to install in terms of hardware. Simply plug in power and hookup to RCA or digital ports. Software – the Sonos was about as simple as could be in terms of putting it on your system, recognizing the zone players and the controller and importing the FLAC files. Slim had a few more steps, including creating a Squeeze Network account that recognizes the players, before then installing the Squeeze Center on the PC. The added Squeeze Network vs. Squeeze Center step in the Slim setup was a bit more involved, but ultimately successful. Overall, no problems with either setup in getting things running, though the Slim setup took longer.


Controllers:

The Sonos controller was very large and heavy but simple and efficient to use. Everything is 1-2 button presses away and very well laid out, though it generally works with two hands (it’s that big, kind like a PSP). Synching between zones works flawlessly and quickly. The screen is large and easy to read, though not as sharp as the LCD on the Duet. Sometimes the screen was a bit sluggish in responding scrolling, responding to commands and, especially, in pulling up album art, but overall it did as requested. Some album art refused to display for reasons I can’t understand, even though all the files were tagged the exact same way with the album art embedded via tag&rename.


The Duet controller is slick, but lighter, more “plasticy” and definitely “cheaper” feeling by comparison, but certainly not “cheap” feeling overall. I liked the way this controller felt and worked in the hand better than the much larger Sonos controller. Nice sharp and clear LCD and great GUI make this controller work really well. Album art looks good and always came up. The scroll wheel seemed to be the least favorite part of the control for me and the three people who tested along side me.


Players:

Appearance wise, the Sonos players are still something to “hide” rather than display. The Duet controller stand and SB3 look positively chic by comparison. The Duet receiver is so small it would appear hidden in plain view, most likely. Connections on each player are as advertised.


Performance:

So far (I repeat, so far) the Sonos is winning my heart. It just works. Independent zones work, synched zones work, volume adjustments, queuing, everything except album art has worked flawlessly out of the box. Sound quality is good out of the ZP100, but you can definitely hear a difference between the ZP100 driving mid-fi bookshelf speakers and a higher quality amp system driving the same speakers in terms of detail and soundstage. The ZP80 does as advertised in the critical listening room, though it, too, sounds “different” from using my direct coax connection from my media PC direct to the critical listening setup. Three of us did A/B testing (blind) and found the direct connection to have more depth, soundstage and detail, even though both were running via coax connections. The coax running from the PC was out of an m-audio board, which issues a pretty clean signal, so perhaps the ZP80’s digital out is not as “clean” or maybe we were hearing some jitter effects. Hard to tell, but more listening will reveal. I will say the MAJOR bonus of the Sonos system is the mesh architecture, which allows more flexibility in placement of the units (away from a wireless router or access point). It also allows you to input a source (via L/R RCA cables) into one Zone Player and broadcast it all over the entire network, thus making any source in your home part of the Sonos network to be played like everything else, not just digital files and internet radio. As far as I know, you can have as many input sources like this as you have Zone players. Not bad, indeed.


The Duet has had some problems, but was really nifty. Connection problems, mostly. Though I get clear wireless g network signal everywhere in my house (according to a laptop), and have virtually no competing wireless devices (and yes, the Sonos was disconnected while testing the Slim stuff) the Duet receiver had a really hard time keeping a signal in the critical listening room. The connection problems caused major synching problems between the two devices, making the synching tests pretty moot. Even when synched, by moving the devices closer to the router, there was always a delay between when commands were entered and when the unit responded. This was particularly true for volume (yes, latest software and firmware installed). I can only attribute the delays to connection problems, rather than some other hardware or software problems. Even when synched, changing volume is not as straightforward as I would have liked – it requires switching between players on the remote GUI, which requires several more button presses and steps than with the Sonos (1 button press, really). The settings for the SB3 and Duet receiver do have a setting for linking volume, but for some reason it seldom had the intended effect and/or it would cause playback to pause while the command ensured it hit both players simultaneously (again, likely connection problems). In terms of the layout of the GUI, it’s quite awesome. All my FLAC metadata displayed perfectly, especially album art, very quickly. I really liked the random playlist generator, though the same result can be done with the Sonos a lot more steps (1 versus 5-10, depending on how many tracks/albums/genres, etc. you add). The Duet had “extras”, which consisted of sound effects, natural sounds and some extra music, and were an enjoyable addition. Integration with internet radio was quite good – better than Sonos in terms of displaying more stations and data from internet radio more quickly. Again, sound quality was fine – largely indistinguishable between the experience with the Sonos and Slim devices.


Next steps:

I’ll be fiddling with this more over this week and trying out more setups and sound tests to give the internal DACs a try. I’ll also see if I can get the Slim devices connecting and synching better, though I’m not sure what the problem is if signal is 40% or better according to all devices (maybe WPA2 encryption?). Stay tuned.
 
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