Should I buy a Sonos?

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by wilfy, May 30, 2008.

  1. wilfy

    wilfy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,069
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Gloucester
    Ratings:
    +60
    I am currently using a SB3 and Qnap Nas combination and have been very pleased with it. However , I have an opportunity to buy a Sonos BU130 bundle at a very good price , would this be an upgrade or not?
    My main concern is sound quality , my library is all FLAC ripped using EAC , would I see a sound improvement , no difference , or is the Sonos just a more stylish solution?
    Any help would be appreciated.:lease:
     
  2. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    1,805
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +166
    My first feeling would be "no", but a little more about your setup might be helpful. Which Qnap do you have? I have a TS101, and frankly it was far too slow, particularly for large numbers of flacs. The bigger Qnaps with more RAM are supposed to be better though. The fact that you're happy with your current setup suggests this isn't a problem, or perhaps you're just used to it ;). How about the rest of your system? Amp/speakers? What are we looking at? As per another thread, and from my own experience, money spent on a decent DAC can do wonders for sound quality in a system like this.
     
  3. wilfy

    wilfy
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,069
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Gloucester
    Ratings:
    +60
    I have a TS-109 Qnap 750gb, I find this works fine with FLAC , the amp is a Sony 5200es and the speakers are Monitor Audio Bronze. I am considering a DAC perhaps as an alternative.
    The other thing is that the Sonos is very expensive to expand , whereas the SB3 is still relatively cheap. Unless there is a definate improvement in sound I will probably just buy another SB.
     
  4. Shockabuku

    Shockabuku
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    1,805
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Ratings:
    +166
    Here's where I say I don't have any experience of the Sonos, but as you're just talking about sound quality, I'd be amazed if a Sonos sounds significantly better than a SB3 with a good DAC attached. In fact, I'd expect the SB3 to sound better, unless the Sonos is a very fancy bit of kit indeed, sonically (which I don't think it is).
     
  5. ro53ben

    ro53ben
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,209
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Surrey
    Ratings:
    +142
    I own both systems, although I actually own an SB Receiver not an SB3.

    Firstly it depends on connectivity, are you using phono/line-out or are you using the digital connections. If you're on the digital link, I doubt you'll see a major difference.

    On the phono out there is a marked difference. On paper, the Sonos has a higher quality DAC than the SBR...I like to think I can hear it too.

    The SB3 is much higher quality than the SBR but still (on paper) falls short of the Sonos.

    Here's a quick summary of available data from both manufacturers.
    Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4
    0 System DAC THD+N Dynamic Range
    1
    2 Slimdevices SB3 TI PCM1748 -90.5dB 100dB
    3 Slimdevices SBR WM8522 -85dB 102dB
    4 Slimdevices Transporter AK4396 -100dB 120dB
    5 Sonos ZP80/100 CS42416 -100dB 110dB

    Obviously theory and practice are 2 different things and some people prefer one sound to another.

    One major difference I notice between the SB and Sonos on line-out is with the volume control. Using power speakers, the SB seems very sudden and it's hard to adjust volume gently - it feels very non-linear. Sonos seems more graduated all the way up and just feels a little more refined to control.

    One major change if you switch to Sonos is that you'll get a nice new fully functional controller with a display. You can use the new SB Controller with your SB3 devices, but that really requires an upgrade to SC7 and all the complications it brings. SC7 is going to really show up the lack of CPU power in your QNAP. Sonos doesn't require any server software so it's a non-issue.

    The Sonos bundle is also going to give you an amplified unit in the box which is very convenient. One power supply, one volume control...just connect any speakers. No messing around choosing the right input on your amplifier etc.

    So, it all depends on your requirement really. If you just want an extra player on your existing system, stick with SlimServer 6.5 and get a new SB3...it's better quality than an SBR and the wireless reception is reportedly better.

    If you really want a display then consider you options carefully. SC7 is going to slow that QNAP down and you might not like the result as much as your existing setup, the SB controller is also not ideal at controlling multiple zones from one controller.

    Sonos was designed from the ground up as a multi-room music system. As a result, it's synchronisation is better and you'll get perfect sync between zone players. The SonosNet mesh improves wireless coverage and controller response is better as a result. Scrolling through large music libraries is easier on the Sonos with it's powerscroll function, but it is a 2-handed device as a result.

    Both systems offer their advantages, the key one for Squeezebox being the price, you just need to carefully details your requirements and work out which one would suit you best. If you do stick with the SB though, leave the SBR alone and stick with the SB3.
     
  6. Autopilot

    Autopilot
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Messages:
    7,295
    Products Owned:
    1
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Region 2
    Ratings:
    +1,338
    Moving from your current setup to a Sono's is more of a sideways step than an upgrade/downgrade.

    Both are excellent multiroom home music streaming solutions, but the companies that produce them have a very different ethos and way of doing things. The SB is much more open, flexible, upgradable and has a whole host of extra functionality and Plugin's and integrates well with your existing setup. It's an open source based server and gets very frequent updates. SB's are Thin Clients, and require a server to drive them.
    Sono's are quite the opposite - a closed system and pretty much does what it does out of the box and nothing else and does not get updated very often. But this gives you a slightly easier setup, ease of use (but not by a great deal) as the system is quite mature and has less to go wrong - aimed at much less technically competent people (although i know plenty of very IT- illiterates that use and love their SB's all the time).

    Both have thier pro's and con's, but it would seem to me like you are better sticking to what you have. Ben is right that you might need a better NAS/server if you upgrade to SS7, but that could be done for about the same amount it would to move to a Sono's system.

    As for sound quality, well the fact that people need to quote DAC spec's and there has been many a forum thread about this with people swaying both ways just shows you that there is not really much in it. It a bit of a Paradox - most people will be using a mid range AMP and speaker and wont really hear much difference or prefer on of the other. If you used a high end audiophile AMP/Speaker set up the difference will probably hear more of a difference. but then who does that? Anyone with Audiophile AMP's and Speakers will have the own DAC (and power suppliers etc). So basically the sound quality issue should not concern you here that much, at least it certainly should not be a reason for dropping you SB and moving to Sono's - you would probably be very disappointed.

    As for style, each to there own. If you thing something that looks like a childs toilet training seat is the pinnacle of design to a Sono's is the way forward in that respect. But i think most people, some Sono's owners included, think the SB3 is a very nice design.
     
  7. lazymatt

    lazymatt
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,999
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Location:
    Croydon
    Ratings:
    +188
    I'm a big Sonos fan (and have had one for a couple of years), but if you've already got a SB system, I'm not sure the Sonos would be a wise investment. I would really only echo what has already been said on here.

    The only way you'll be able to tell if the Sonos is an 'upgrade' is to get one hooked up and do a side by side comparison with your SB.

    As for the 'style' of the Sonos; well the less said about that the better, frankly.

    Interestingly I was in my local Richer Sounds the other day and the Logitech rep was in there trying to get them to stock the SB range (I suggested that they should). They already stock Sonos, and if they get the SB range in there as well, it would make it much easier to listen side-by-side.
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice