G’day folks, I wanted to share with you a fantastic new music system I’ve recently installed at home. The background to this is that over the years my CD collection’s been gathering dust, as I’ve transferred most of it into iTunes/MP3 on my PCs at home. I’ve been using an iPod to enjoy this music, but that’s usually via headphones. Occasionally I’d plug the iPod into the stereo which is a workable solution but I wanted to enjoy the music in other rooms from time to time, such as outside on warm nights whilst inside others could still enjoy their music/movies/TV etc. In short, I needed to set up a multi-room audio system. Of course most multi-channel amplifiers have multi-zone capabilities these days, allowing you to play multiple sound sources to multiple speaker set-ups. This is all hard-wired usually and requires forethought and often an intricate set up in terms of time and cost. My current multi-channel (surround sound) amplifier still only has one zone, and I’ve added a simple A/B switch (speaker splitter) to let me play sound to a 2nd set of speakers outdoors. There had to be a better way. With the recent addition of a new PC at home, combined with my home wireless network, it got me thinking about how to merge that technology with my dual indoor/outdoor speaker set up. I simply wanted to unleash all that music stored on computers at home by making that music available to play indoors or outdoors, and not on an iPod or from the PC speakers.
I’ve known Nick & Tony at Audio Solutions in Mascot for many years and they are good honest guys prepared to give the right advice. They have a new showroom – it is worth a visit just to see the Sanyo Blu-Ray/HD projector which retails for AUD$5K (3 years ago it was many times that price to get that quality of video) Anyway Nick and Tony have been promoting the Sonos Digital Music System for some time . I have been aware of Sonos for a few years but they were AUD$3K+ then so hard to justify. Well, it turns out they have a bundled package now, out of the box comes an amp and two zones of music with the remote. I took the plunge and bought the Sonos. The Sonos BU130 bundle (this links to a CNET video review – Editor’s Choice) . It took about 30 minutes to set up (including indexing the songs on my PC) and I was then playing music in 2 zones, living room and backyard. Iwas impressed, and excited. We just enjoyed dinner out the back tonight, and it was sweet relief to finally be able to pick and choose music to listen to with the family while we enjoyed dinner “al fresco”, without having to fiddle with iPods or leave the dinner table.
It’s so simply executed it is hard to believe that:
– my PC has about 1000’s of songs, taking up many GB’s of hard disc space (space is not an issue now, the costs continue to fall)
– my PC only has a wireless connection (via a USB dongle/wireless USB adaptor) to my wireless router which plugs into my cable modem
– the PC is the source of the music which I can now listen to on my existing stereo system (zone 1 – living room) and outdoor speakers (zone 2 – backyard)
– remember, the PC has no physical connection to my stereo – it is only connected via a wireless Internet connection!
– the remote which looks like an iPod Video lets me control everything
– I can play music inside and/or outside, either the same or different music in each zone simultaneously.
This is just the beginning. Expansion options include:
– buying a NAS (network attached storage) device (basically a hard drive which plugs into your wireless router) to store all my music and just play off that.
– I can add another 30 zones! 32 zones in total.
– Rhapsody online music service is available (music on demand, unlimited, any music)
– Napster online music service is available (as above)
– Internet radio channels available
I read some Amazon reviews and I have to agree with them. I haven’t been this excited about a home appliance since TiVO. It’s basically an audio TiVo.
How it works at: http://www.sonos.com/howitworks/default.aspx
If you have high-speed Internet at home (ADSL or Cable), and plenty of /iTunes/Windows Media Player/MP3 files, you should check this system out.