Mobile Tech Minutes: SONOS Multi-Room Music System


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I think I was supposed to have the SONOS system on loan for 30-days. I’m a little overdue with it mainly because it’s so easy to use and works well. Today I’m offering you a quick video look at the parts of the system and how it works. There’s a ZoneBridge that connects to my router and that sends music over WiFi to the ZonePlayer through my home stereo. The music comes from your Windows or Mac computer or you can use the integration with Pandora, Rhapsody, Last.FM, SIRIUS or Napster.

SONOS also has a rechargeable system controller, but I find the free iPhone application to work extremely well since I’m already carrying it around. The system isn’t what I’d call inexpensive: the ZoneBridge is $99 and the unamplified ZonePlayer is $349. If you need to amplify the sound for speakers, that unit is a whopping $499. I’m shooting the unit back to the nice folks at SONOS today, but I’m tempted to pull the trigger and buy my own. It’s that good. One thing I’d like to see in the future? A way to remotely access these tunes when out and about.



@Boca: There was a lengthy exchange on Lifehacker about Sonos a few months back where I pointed out those Apple options. I broke it down the same basic way as you have, with price going to Apple and options going to Sonos.

Another factor, however, is electricity use. I didn’t run the specs, but once hard drives get involved, power consumption goes up, giving an edge to Sonos.

Dave Zatz

Sonos is so much better now that iTunes are DRM free. I’m waiting for them to make a boombox-esque or nightstand speaker system before biting the bullet.


If you are willing to give up the Pandora integration, then Apple’s own ‘Remote’ app coupled with an airport express device is excellent.

I have a $99 Airport Express with air tunes plugged into a Bose portable speaker system and using the Remote app I can browse, stream and play all the music in iTunes.

Bonus feature if you own an Apple TV, is that when the computer is switched off, you can choose to use the Apple TV’s hard drive as source for music to stream wirelessly to the Airport express.

Adding another zone means buying another Airport Express, but with the Apple TV in one room, my computer in another and the Airport Express in a third, all connected to speakers, it means that I can control three zones using my iPod Touch.

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