Sonos BU150 Multi-Room Bundle with iPhone Controls Review
The Sonos Multi-Room Music Digital Player system is for people who love music. Not just like music – LOVE music. It is meant to fill your home with it no matter where you go. In the living room, kitchen, bedroom, or den. Just about anywhere you might be at a given moment – you can have access to your entire media library. The Sonos gives you the freedom to stream not only your media files but internet radio or local radio channels.
When we first received the Sonos we almost passed out by how many boxes there where. Not that I’m put off by the quantity of boxes, but I certainly had in the back of mind that this was not going to be easy to setup. However I was wrong! The unpacking took me longer than actually setting the Sonos up. We got a chance to review the Sonos Speaker Bundle 150 as well as some extras which comprised of the Wireless Controller, Zoneplayer 120, Zoneplayer 90, 2 Sonos Loudspeakers, Sonos Zonebridge, and a cradle for the controller. Like I said – that is a lot of boxes. Once unpacked it may seem a bit overwhelming as to where you should put all these pieces. The first thing I did was decide where I would put the Zoneplayer 120 along with the speakers. Granted I don’t live in a huge luxurious home so it took some finagling to decide where I would put and keep the speakers since the Zoneplayer 120 does need to be connected to a router or modem via ethernet. So that was a bit tricky. Luckily, all the components of the system have a streamlined design that any Mac owner would appreciate. They blend into your home without looking like an eyesore. The ethernet cables also have a flat design to make it easy to blend on to walls for decent wire maintenance. Another nice feature is that both the Zoneplayer 90 and Sonos Zonebridge are both wireless so they can be placed anywhere in your home so that you can really complete that experience of having a fully amplified musical abode.
After placing the Zoneplayers were I wanted to them to be, the next logical step was to install the software. I have an iMac and the installation was done in 10 minutes. You follow the onscreen prompts and the devices are picked up around your home. You’ll have to repeat the steps to have the computer recognize the other Zoneplayers scattered about but with just the press of a button on each player the software picks it up and installs it. You can label each player for the area its in. Lets say the Zoneplayer 90 is in the living room – so you can label it living room etc… this will allow you to control that device when you are in the room or not by giving it a name associated with its location. Once the devices were picked up it was time to import my MP3s….that is where I hit a snag. Everything was going too perfectly! I repeatedly kept coming across the same error over and over about how my files couldn’t be imported followed by the file name. After spending some time on the Sonos Support forum I downloaded the newest version of the software and tried again….Still no luck. So again…I headed over to the forum and it seemed to be only a problem with those who have Mac computers and not so much with a PC. After additional digging, I found a suggestion to change my file sharing settings and modify my file name of the location of where my MP3’s were coming from….it was becoming a big hassle. Finally, finally after changing just one more permission under the Security Settings and then Firewall settings I was able to access my files. This was after three hours. I was a bit upset that this wasn’t something that was mentioned in the manual or easily accessible on the forums unless you dug through and found it.
However setting up the radio functionality was a lot easier. It took 2 seconds, it asked you where you reside and then a whole list of stations pops up for you to listen to. Of course there is the ability to preset the stations you love. I was finally ready to begin my Sonos experience.
The Sonos controller is just like it’s other components sleekly designed and easy to use. Everything is very visual and doesn’t require a graduate degree in engineering to figure it out. The right side of the device resembles a iPod scroll wheel to obviously scroll through the menu options or songs available on the system. Its big bright LCD screen makes it easy on the eyes as you scroll through your options.
The first place I wanted to play my music was in the kitchen. Nothing gets you in the mood to make a meal like a little Andre Boccelli. I selected kitchen and the Zoneplayer I set up in there started to play music through some desktop speakers I connected to it. Standing in that room I gave the controller over to my co-editor who was itching to listen to a little Alanis and she started her Zoneplayer in the living room. So at one moment we had different music playing in two different parts of the apartment. In a smaller space than an average home, music from one room can over power the other room. So be careful when you set it up, that you take into account sound absorption so that you don’t irritate another Sonos listener.
When the controller was given back to me I decided I wanted all the rooms to listen to my fave song that just came on and very easily I was able to make that happen by selecting all the Zoneplayers to play the same song. The controls were super easy to navigate and a nice new feature is that you can now control it from your iPhone or iPod Touch via a free Sonos app. So there is no need for me to keep passing the Controller around and around to operate the system. Once the app is downloaded onto your iPhone you can easily do all the same functions. So it’s like having another controller in the room without having to pay extra for it. Again the interface is sleek and extremely easy and with the ability to see all the music and FM stations available on your system to control.
The Sonos Multi-Room Music Digital Player is perfect for those who have large homes and want the ability to have music playing in random parts of your home that suits your own personal taste. No more telling mom or dad to shut off Frank Sinatra or vice a versa about your loud heavy metal. It’s also perfect for businesses like restaurants and spas that want to give customers a more personal experience as well as save money with unnecessary and costly wiring for other complex systems that do the same thing but on a different scale. I was extremely happy with my time with the Sonos and except for that little snafu with importing my MP3 library, it was overall a great experience. However I would have liked if the Zoneplayers did have a built in speaker so that you had the option to not attach external ones. This takes up space that sometimes you just don’t have, as well as creating more visible wires.
Of course such a luxury music experience doesn’t come cheap, the Sonos BU150 Multiroom Music System bundle typically starts at $999 and up. But sometimes the cost of music is priceless.
The Good: Very user-friendly. Excellent design concept and software interface. Perfect for large homes or businesses looking to add a personal touch. Liked the iPhone app a lot, saves money on having to buy additional controllers.
The Bad: Would have liked to have had a bigger troubleshooting section in the manual for possible Mac problems importing your MP3 library. You have to attach speakers to every Zoneplayer to hear music, would have liked built-in speakers. A bit pricey but you get what you pay for.