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Your Perfect Home Audio System No Longer Needs Wires

Wireless speaker, TV surround-sound and lossless record-player setup all in one?

sonos system gear patrol lead full
Henry Phillips

For most audiophiles, having multiple speaker setups is a must. One for listening at the computer, one 5.1 stereo for the TV, a pair of analog bookshelf speakers for the turntable, a wireless Bluetooth speaker for the kitchen, etc. But the Sonos system changes all of that, and the best part is, everyone can enjoy it — not just audiophiles. Once you invest in the Sonos-sphere (comparable to relying solely on the Apple or Samsung ecosystems), which is well worth it, wireless-streaming, hi-fi nirvana is just a few touchscreen taps away.

The first thing to know about Sonos is that it isn’t just for the high-tech, audio super-nerd (though it will certainly appease the ears of one). It’s for literally any music enthusiast, and especially those that pay for streaming services. Through the Sonos app, you link your streaming accounts to the Sonos system, from which you will then access the music.

The one caveat here is that when streaming with Amazon Prime Music, you’re unable to search through the entire Prime Music library; songs must be added to your cloud library in order to be played through the app. But once they’re there, stream away. In addition to streaming services, the Sonos app also lets you listen to live radio stations through TuneIn Radio, which is great if you’re like me and like to listen to Seattle’s KEXP from the complete opposite end of the country.

The first thing to know about Sonos is that it isn’t just for the high-tech, audio super-nerd.

Setting up the speakers, whether you have a singular Play:1 (Sonos’s smallest and most affordable speaker) or a more extensive network of speakers, is a cinch. Once you plug in your speakers, follow the prompts on the mobile app to sync your setup on your wireless network. From there, you can group sets of speakers to play the same input, or split them to play different inputs. You can have your entire house boom Interstellar if you wanted, or keep the galactic sounds isolated to the living room while the den swoons with some Coltrane. You can control each speaker straight from the app.

For a time, Sonos lacked a decent solution for connecting to your TV and acting as a stereo system, but thanks to the Playbar, it’s possible to set up a 5.1 stereo system and use that same system for streaming music. It’s like having the ultimate Bluetooth speaker and TV stereo-surround system in one. If you still aren’t satisfied with that level of versatility, add the Connect:AMP to the mix. With the Connect:AMP, it’s possible to add a set of analog bookshelf speakers, a traditional subwoofer, a record player or other analog audio input. The result is lossless vinyl streaming throughout your entire house or apartment. Try that with your Bluetooth speaker.

As a one-stop shop for all of your home audio needs, the Sonos system is tough to beat. You might find a handful of speakers that offer better sound quality, but the sheer versatility of Sonos makes investing in its closed, Apple-esque system well worth the sacrifice. Besides, with a bit of tinkering and a few workarounds, it’s possible to stream audio from any platform over your Sonos system, including YouTube. In the coming months, Sonos will also add compatibility with Amazon Echo, which will allow you to make your Sonos system voice activated. If you’re in the market for a new sound system, or are simply looking for a better option than your existing system, Sonos is your best bet.

The Ultimate Sonos Setup

Connect:AMP by Sonos $499

Play:5 by Sonos $499

Playbar by Sonos $699

Sub by Sonos $698

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