I was very excited last week when I opened the package sent to me containing the Sonos Play:3 HiFi System and Bridge for review. The last time I was this excited about a speaker was when I opened the box to the original Bose Sound Dock for my iPod (I never purchased any more after that). The time before then was right after I graduated high school and purchased a Kenwood receiver and a set of JBL speakers with money I received in gifts.
Initially, I wasn't on the Sonos bandwagon. Firstly, when Sonos made it's debut I don't think I totally understood what being able to stream music wirelessly even meant. I was an apartment dweller and had forgotten the audio needs that come with being an audiophile and living in a house. Secondly, I didn't trust the sound when I listened to it at stores like Target and Best Buy because, well, everything sounds loud there if you turn it up loud enough.
But eventually I began to come around after an in depth review by tech evangelist, BrothaTech. And by the time of his review not only did I have a full understanding of streaming music wirelessly, I once again became a home dweller and entered a state of reluctant acceptance of the flat and inadequate sounds coming stylish sound docks.
For the purposes of my review I'm not going to go super-tech on you, but rather I'm going to speak to the experience of living with a Sonos Play:3 HiFi System.
It's a Speaker
The Sonos Play:3 isn't a sound dock designed to look nice (or not so nice) in conjunction with the rest of the visible stuff in your living space. No, it's a speaker. Weighty, solid, clearly packed with magnets with the emphasis on style being placed on it's minimalist wedge shape. To me it seems as if it was designed to hide in plain sight or not be seen at all either in a corner or under a chair. There is nothing like a solid state piece of equipment. It doesn't do anything more than what it's intended to do, but it does well what it has been designed to do. The manufacturer describes it as "compact, all-in-one Sonos player with 3 integrated speakers and 3 digital amps for big HiFi sound. Horizontal or vertical. Black or white." A tie isn't capable of accomplishing any of this.
Fill Your House With Music
Once I went through the simple process of setting up the device, especially simple if you're one of the initiated: a sad soul who had to set up a wireless router before your cable provider began doing it for you. I downloaded the Sonos app for my iPhone and loaded it on my desktop so I could stream music from either device. The beauty of the Sonos software is that it although it suggests you set up playlists on Sonos, it gives you the option to connect with all the music sources you normally interact with daily. So if you're on Pandora all you have to do is simply select it from the Music menu, log on inside the Sonos app and boom! You can play all your favorites and play it with all the appropriate bass, midrange sounds and highs. You'll be able to hear how wonderful the sounds you normally pack into earbuds and headphones sound when free to bounce off your walls, floors and ceilings. A tie can't fill your house with music.
With two kids, the televisions are on a lot. My daughter with her pre-teen shows and my son with all his sports. A curious thing has begun to take place since my test Sonos system moved in. The more the music is on, the more the television is off. We're spending more time communally in the living room, singing along or moving with the beats, while talking, eating together, reading and just lazing around (a la white noise). It reminds that home is a place meant to be enjoyed and lounged in, not simply force-fed information from led screens.
The Sonos App is the merely the end of the functionality of the Sonos system. In my opinion, the strength of this wireless speaker system lies in a little product called the Sonos Bridge, a little white box that again, can hide easily enough in plain sight beside your wireless router (see the two Vines above). And again the Bridge does exactly what it's name suggests. First, it allows you to set your Play:3 in any room (where there's an outlet) without it being connected directly to your router (this will need to happen without the Bridge) and wait for it: it acts a router for multiple Sonos components. If you want you can have a speaker in every room, eliminating the need to take your speaker from room to room. You can even put two speakers together to create left and right stereo channels. You can also set each speaker's equalization settings to work in the rooms where they are situated and you can play different music in each room or have them all play the same thing --- which is great for entertaining a houseful of people. A tie can't entertain a houseful of people.
Want to Buy A Sonos Wireless HiFi System?
Disclosure: I received a Sonos Play:3 unit and Bridge to test out in my home for a short-term trial period. I was not compensated for this post in any way. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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