Does Anyone use Sonos?

Discussion about anything that might be of interest to MediaMonkey users.

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Kaone
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:31 am
Location: England

Does Anyone use Sonos?

Post by Kaone » Mon Feb 11, 2008 1:05 pm

I've now got most of my music collection onto MM, which is so good that I've bought a lifetime gold licence.

However the problem now is to listen to the music elsewhere in the house.

The system that looks the best is Sonos (although rather expensive). Has anyone used this system with MM and if so, does it work well?

Any feedback would be really useful to me before spending all that money!!

thanks

cmx
Posts: 367
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 11:56 am

Post by cmx » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:22 pm

There are interesting alternatives that can use your existing sound systems if you have wireless network capability with your system.

You can spend a modest amount to set up a wireless network on your computer...then you have the full benefits of wireless connectivity for laptops, game consoles, etc...AND output from MM to any sound system.

I have not used the Sonos in my home, but investigated it when I was searching for music solutions in my home....these type of units are interesting but they did not have the capability to playback from MM itself....you use their player...and things are kinda expensive.

I use a simple wireless router and network for my desktop and laptop. I have an Apple Airport Express attatched to my sound system input that receives the output from MediaMonkey via the wireless router.

wireless router 100.00
apple airport express 100.00 (this acts like the Zonebridge in the Sonos system)
remote speaker software 25.00

With this, you can then use your current or any sound system. You could even connect the output of the Airport Express to one of Sonos' zone amps/players and speakers...

Sonos fills a niche in that it supplies the connection to your computer AND wireless amps/speakers that can be placed around your home....sort of a "complete package"...and some people really like the remote thing, but that bypasses MM.


Here is a link to the Remote Speakers software that works with MedaiMonkey:
http://emilles.dyndns.org/software/out_apx.html

What you DO NOT have that the Sonos provides is an easy "zone" control from the software...there IS capability using Remote Speakers software to send to multiple Airport express base stations.

karimleo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:35 am

Post by karimleo » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:52 pm

I have the Sonos Sound System in my place. It consists of a Western Digital MyBook World Edition NAS drive plugged into a router, one of the Sonos ZP 100 receivers is plugged into the router to communicate with the NAS and the others are linked either via cable or via wireless (if it is not too far away).

I have to say it is very very good, sound quality is excellent, usability is very comfortable and the units look very nice. I use MediaMonkey to organize the music on the NAS and the Sonos software to index all the files so the ZP 100 receivers keep update to date with my library. But that is about the only role that MM has to do with it unfortunately.

Still no big loss, MM keeps everything tidy and Sonos gets it through the house. If you want any advice about it just PM me.

Karim

Kaone
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:31 am
Location: England

Post by Kaone » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:17 pm

Thanks for those replies.

cmx,
Your alternative is interesting, particularly as it would be much cheaper. However I also want my wife to use the system in the kitchen (I'm fed-up with writing CDs!) and so it needs to be simple to operate. Being part of the older generation we don't have any games consoles to worry about - not even a laptop! I'll certainly look into your suggestion though.

Karim,
It's good to hear that you can use Sonos & MM together - the chap in the shop had suggested that I move to Itunes, which I don't really want to do. I don't quite understand the interaction - If I operated the system without a NAS drive and Sonos used the MM database on my pc, how does it do its own indexing?

Thanks. I tried to email you but the system wouldn't give me access as this is my first post.

karimleo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:35 am

Post by karimleo » Tue Feb 12, 2008 2:10 am

Kaone wrote: Karim,
It's good to hear that you can use Sonos & MM together - the chap in the shop had suggested that I move to Itunes, which I don't really want to do. I don't quite understand the interaction - If I operated the system without a NAS drive and Sonos used the MM database on my pc, how does it do its own indexing?

Thanks. I tried to email you but the system wouldn't give me access as this is my first post.
First of all, there is NO need to move to ITunes, you can use MM easily or even Winamp if you wanted. Sorry but those are the only 2 I tried. Once I've explained how the indexing works it will probably sound familiar to you:

If you connect the Sonos players you MUST install their own Sonos Desktop control software so the players know where to look for music. You then add multiple "Watch Folders" and the Sonos software will then add those directories to the library (like MM). You can of course have it share the same folders as your MM library without fear of it altering anything since it is not an editor.

From there the Sonos system is ready to go and the players will all be up to date. However if you add new songs to your library you MUST start up the Sonos software so that it can do a scan and add the latest songs to it's own library, otherwise the Sonos players will not detect the new songs.

I use a NAS because I leave it running all night and it uses very little electricity (I like to wake up to classical music like "Morning Mood" :lol:) but you could just as easily have a PC running with it since I had one up until 3 months ago and it worked fine. The only advantage of the NAS is if there is a power cut it auto starts again.

Hope this has been some help.

Karim

Kaone
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:31 am
Location: England

Post by Kaone » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:35 am

Thanks, yes - that's very helpful.

So, to test my understanding, Sonos & MM share the same database of music files and each constructs its own index?

Have you found any incompatibilities between the two? ie are there any features of MM that give the Sonos s/w problems? One of the features of MM that I'd thought of using was the filtering option - so that my wife would just see her CDs which would make it quicker and easier for her. It sounds as though this wouldn't be available with the Sonos s/w.

Using the NAS drive, how do you keep it up-to-date? Do you just keep it synched with a "master" version on your pc? Presumably then the Sonos index is stored on the NAS drive?

Thanks

karimleo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:35 am

Post by karimleo » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:14 am

Kaone wrote:So, to test my understanding, Sonos & MM share the same database of music files and each constructs its own index?
That is correct, however Sonos does NOT edit the files in any way. So ratings, tags, album art, location & classification are all left to MM. If you change any part of a file, when Sonos starts up again it just indexes the music collection accordingly.

Kaone wrote:Have you found any incompatibilities between the two? ie are there any features of MM that give the Sonos s/w problems? One of the features of MM that I'd thought of using was the filtering option - so that my wife would just see her CDs which would make it quicker and easier for her. It sounds as though this wouldn't be available with the Sonos s/w.
As far as I know there have been no problems between the two so far. Sonos unfortunately has no filtering system so your wife would have to make an AutoPlaylist with the same criteria as the CD filter and then export that to the Sonos library. So if she would like to have access to just her CDs when using Sonos, she would simply just access the playlist "My CDs"
Kaone wrote:Using the NAS drive, how do you keep it up-to-date? Do you just keep it synched with a "master" version on your pc? Presumably then the Sonos index is stored on the NAS drive?
Since the NAS runs all day I now keep my master music collection on it and MM and Sonos both access it via a 1GB LAN. I keep a backup of everything on a spare Hard Drive just incase with a Sync programme.[/quote]

If you'd like to know anything specific just let me know and I'll give it a test run for you. I know what situation you are in right now because I had these sort of questions before buying it and nobody could give me an answer so I took the risk and bought it. Thank god it turned out good because it is quite expensive but well worth it in my opinion.

Karim

Kaone
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:31 am
Location: England

Post by Kaone » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:34 pm

Many thanks for the reassurance - I'm now the proud (but poorer) owner of a Sonos ZoneBridge, ZP80 and ZP100. Once the basic configuration is set up I'll look more closely into speakers, NAS etc.

I've got to the stage of linking Sonos to the MM database and it seems to work fine - even picks up the album art and displays it on the portable controller.

Once again, many thanks for the useful feedback.

cmx
Posts: 367
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 11:56 am

Post by cmx » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:40 pm

Kaone...

It sounds like you do not have a network setup so some concepts might be unfamiliar.

The Network Accessed Storage, or NAS is completely seperate device from your desktop computer. It is a self contained hard drive or set of hard drives including network hardware and software that connects it to a network. The NAS connects to the network independantly and any computer can access all of your data files on it through the network you setup. Sonus could access this NAS independently of your computer.

I have all my music data files on NAS. Nothing is really kept on any individual computer. This seems to be the way Karimelo operates too.



That said there in no real reason to use NAS unless you are going to use multiple computers that need access to the same data files independant of each other...OR (as seems the case with Karimelo)you use the Sonus system which could access the music files on the NAS even if your computer is turned off.

If you want backup you could simply get an external hard drive and save your music files there.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The softwares- whether iTunes, MM, or the Sonus Desktop serve the same purpose...they are the "player". Sonos' internal control and playback system uses its own player...it cannot use MM.

MM gives much more flexibility, tagging control etc....

The two softwares should in no way cause problems for the other.

Each time you add something or change something in your actual music files you must update the "database" in the other software. The database for each software IS the "index" and vice versa...the index or database is NOT the song files themselves...is is just a software file the individual programs use to keep track of where the songs are on your hard drive.

For example...lets say you have all your music on a NAS drive and are using Sonus equipment and MM.

1). You use MM on your computer to rip a new CD, download Album art and tag it the way you like things...MM is set-up to store the music files on the NAS drive...not on your computer's hard drive.

2). Because MM ripped the file it should automatically update your MM database/library/index.

3). You must now open the Sonus Desktop and have it update its database/library/index from the new files you added to the NAS. It will check the NAS and add the newly ripped CD to its database/library/index...I believe it has an automatic "monitor" system that checks for new stuff each time it is started.


Key points:

*NAS is just a hard drive storage that is completely seperate from your computer. Sonus can access it when your computer is turned off.

*You can use MM and the Sonus software together.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Sonus syetem seems very good...user friendly and bulletproof. I seriously considered it...the price was not as much of an issue as flexibility and usablilty.

BUT, I think you can accomplish the same thing with MM and a basic network....and end up with more flexibility... at a fraction of the cost...and if you still want to go Sonus later you can still use the wireless router ..and you can always use the Airports for printers etc....

For example...if I am understanding things correctly....

1). You could simply install a wireless router....very basic, very cheap, very usable for other applications....like wireless print server etc....(With Sonos you are actually buying and setting up a wireless network...but one that only Sonus can use)


2). Buy and set up an Apple Airport Express connected to your home stereo and and another connected to "the kitchen" sound system...all it requires is a line input.

3). Download and install the "Remote Speakers" software for MM.

4). Simply use your current computer and current MM setup to organize your music and playback to the house sound system AND the kitchen sound system. Your wife could simply use MM at your computer to playback playlists etc from MM...thats what we do here.

I don't think you could lose...setting up the network and the router and the Airports can be a pain....it would definitely be some work compared to the turnkey Sonus system....but it is really pretty basic stuff.

Did you see this?

http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewto ... 697#127697

LOL i just noticed your new post....sorry to be late....this discussion might help with some concepts anyway

karimleo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:35 am

Post by karimleo » Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:06 am

cmx is right,

The Sonos performance can be emulated at a lower cost and work just as well. The main reason I purchased the Sonos was:

1. The very very nice controller

2. Ease of use. (Yes I use MM alot but friends/visitors might be overwhelmed by it. Let's be honest, MM is great but looks a little complicated compared to something like iTunes

3. The Zonos Players are small, convenient to store and do not need to have alot of plug-in devices to operate (mouse, keyboard & monitor).

I also sell the Sonos system as part of my business. So far my customers love if for it's simplicity but I always mention to them that it is possible to get the same sort of thing cheaper.

Anyway just my input. In a perfect world the Sonos system would cost a fraction of the price, petrol fumes would not damage the envioroment and you could eat as much chocolate ice cream as you like without gaining a pound :D

Guest

Post by Guest » Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:41 pm

Kaone wrote:Many thanks for the reassurance - I'm now the proud (but poorer) owner of a Sonos ZoneBridge, ZP80 and ZP100. Once the basic configuration is set up I'll look more closely into speakers, NAS etc.

I've got to the stage of linking Sonos to the MM database and it seems to work fine - even picks up the album art and displays it on the portable controller.

Once again, many thanks for the useful feedback.
How many tracks to you have. The Sonos has a database limitation (around 40,000 tracks I believe).

The Squeezebox Duet, http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_duet.html might have done the job for you, too.

karimleo
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:35 am

Post by karimleo » Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:37 am

Anonymous wrote:How many tracks to you have. The Sonos has a database limitation (around 40,000 tracks I believe).
I have not encountered this yet as my music collection is in it's infancy compared to some MM users on this forum :lol:

Anonymous wrote:The Squeezebox Duet, http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_duet.html might have done the job for you, too.
This is true, I looked into it as well before purchasing something but was seduced by the Sonos remote control

Kaone
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:31 am
Location: England

Post by Kaone » Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:25 am

Yes, some interesting views.

I don't think that I'll regret the Sonos purchase - for me it's worth the premium to have a system which is simple and stable, and so easy to use. Now I can come home after a hard day on the golf course, relax on the sofa with my feet up and have only one button to push to listen to my music! To think that I used to have to search through piles of LPs, get them out of the sleeve, wipe them (sometimes!), put them on the deck, line up the stylus... and then have to get up 15 mins later to turn them over!

Hi cmx, I'm sure you're right that a lot of it can be done cheaper, but I don't think the ease-of-use of the handheld controller can be emulated easily. My past IT experience makes me think that an off-the-shelf working solution has advantages over the do-it-yourself customised self-build option.

Returning to MM it's good that the same database (ie music files) can be accessed by both MM & Sonos with each maintaining its own index. My concern was that they may use the tag data differently but there seems to be good standardisation. In fact data fields can be changed by MM which are then immediately picked up by Sonos (album art for example)

I haven't heard of the 40,000 track limit on Sonos. I suppose it could only be a index-size problem which could be expanded by s/w.

Thanks again for the info. Actually if anyone could put together a "budget" Sonos-like system there could be a lot of potential customers out there!

cmx
Posts: 367
Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 11:56 am

Post by cmx » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:48 am

Yes, the controller for Sonos is VERY sexy...lol....and the setup is incredibly easy. The functionality of the unit covers just about every need..***MM devs take note***- having an output "matrix" and being able to select multiple outputs and direct to different destinations is a MAJOR plus. This is definitely a product that got it right.

I am still VERY MUCH thinking about getting the Sonus system.

I have a HUGE library and need MM for management, no choice. There are serious organizational and management issues that needed to be overcome...In addition to mp3's I have a huge library of m4a's so I have been waiting for quite a while for MM to become usable and stable. Actually things are about a year behind schedule from my point of view.

...so MM had to come first...and then I developed the wireless music system I have now to work with it, homebrew of the systems like Sonos. I also already had multi-room speaker control...that is a big part of the whole deal.

I will probably be getting a Sonus in the future to use in conjunction with MM. There are several systems out there ..as mentioned..but the Sonus with its very sexy controller is definitely the best of the breed.

In my opinion you Sonos guys definitely have the best of both worlds. I am jealous.

Guest

Post by Guest » Thu Feb 14, 2008 6:22 pm

cmx wrote:I will probably be getting a Sonus in the future to use in conjunction with MM. There are several systems out there ..as mentioned..but the Sonus with its very sexy controller is definitely the best of the breed.

In my opinion you Sonos guys definitely have the best of both worlds. I am jealous.
The new controller for the squeezebox (http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_controller.html) is the same size screen and the squeezebox has the same type of networking capabilities. Additional receivers can be added for zones at a much lower cost than Sonos (but they don't come with an amplifier, that would have to be added).

In addition the squeezebox has a huge community of talented plugin developers, which gives their controller way more upside with respect to controller enhanscements, while the Sonos is a closed system and Sonos seems very slow to react to feature requests from users.

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