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back to article It's big, it's expensive and it's an audiophile's dream: The Sonos Sub

The big dog in the streaming Wi-Fi speaker business has barked and delivered a sub-woofer - called the Sub. In fact it launched it a year and a half ago, but we can only now write about this heavy boom-box, so to speak, because the damn thing costs the best part of six hundred quid and we've had to save up our pennies. It's the …

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Dream? Nightmare more like.

Proper speakers on proper wire please. Less is more.

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Re: Dream? Nightmare more like.

"proper wire"

Ah, made from de-oxygenated copper, right? Or is it oxygenated, I can never remember.

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Re: de-oxygenated copper

No, any reasonably chunky cable will do. Mains cable is good. Much better at keeping signals in phase than wifi.

Audiophile and Sonos mentioned in the same article? Really? If I could afford to be an audiophile, I'd have me some Volti Vittoras. Admittedly they're $17,000 a pair but I can dream...

If I only had enough money for a Sonos system, I'd buy a proper amp and speakers, not some Fisher Price wifi lashup

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dream? Nightmare more like.

> Ah, made from de-oxygenated copper, right? Or is it oxygenated, I can never remember.

Don't forget to spring for the TOSLINK cable with the gold plated connectors.

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Audiophile and Sonos mentioned in the same article?

Making a fashion statement is the most important part of being an audiophile. It's like having a letter on the side of your headphones.

Sure you could buy something that sounds better for half the price, but it would not look like a big black doughnut and be sort of wireless.

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Re: de-oxygenated copper

Yes,decent amp + Speakers is the way to go, but I do love the idea of whole house audio using the LAN for control, there is no reason lossless audio can't be shifted over a modern wifi and decoded in whatever box is being used to do the sound, which is pretty much what UPNP/DLNA does I think, the trick is synchronising playback and what is played back on each device, which last I checked UPNP/DLNA can't do.

Ive been looking at Bose's new system that uses WIFI, looks promising, if more expensive than Sonos.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Dream? Nightmare more like.

Glow in the dark audio as in '50s Mullard 5/20 (Maplin Millenium with E34L / E83CC and E86F) + a pair Roth Oli RA3 + bog standard B&Q 15A mains cable blows Sonos Sub away... seems to work fine with Virgin V+ box and Samsung TV. And it costs less than this Sonos 5h1te.

The Maplin Millenium valve amp schematics are still out there...

True hifi has as little 'processing' between source and speakers preferably using vacuum state audio :)

Paris as she was always fond of a 7' hot tube.

LC

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Re: de-oxygenated copper

Chunky cable, indeed, very important. Decent speakers, not this plastic junk.

For that kind of money, I can at least afford a valve/solid state hybrid amp,a nd add an airport express to strearn digital music to it. Or a bluetooth audio adapter, if you don't mind losing a few bits.

You end up with a halfways decent audio system, and standardized interfaces, rather proprietary junk in a plastic enclosure. Junk with good D/A, but still <shudder>

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Re: Audiophile and Sonos mentioned in the same article?

"Making a fashion statement is the most important part of being an audiophile."

Is it? I'd be very surprised if the average joe on the street has even heard of the companies that made my hifi equipment.

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Trollface

Re: Dream? Nightmare more like.

Oxygen-free Litz wire, of course, drawn from virgin copper (although you can get "audio annealed" recycled copper, in a pinch). Wound widdershins along the signal path for best signal propagation.

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Mushroom

Re: de-oxygenated copper

>I've been looking at Bose's new system that uses WIFI, looks promising,

Wow you are probably going to get downvoted on that statement. I am far from an audiophile and even I know (and can hear) Bose with their paper cones are garbage. They are only priced like they are legitimate. The one exception I have ever seen was a few years back they had a decent looking and sounding sub $100 desktop computer speaker set but even then there was still better quality to be found for cheaper.

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Re: de-oxygenated copper

Indeed, I was going to mention items like the Goldmund Reference turntable, and the Infinity Reference System loudspeaker... then there are Krell amplifiers. Six hundred quid being "audiophile"? Well, yes, not all high-end audio equipment has stratospheric price tags, but the speaker in question is not particularly expensive audiophile equipment.

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Re: Dream? Nightmare more like.

Thanks for mentioning the Maplin Millenium - you've led me to a whole new trove of audio nerd articles to read over the weekend. And, maybe my first valve DIY build... (and maybe last of course, given the perils of working with toobs)

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Re: de-oxygenated copper

When D&B were exhibiting their speakers at conventions they'd often challenge a speaker cable manufacturer to a listening contest between the premium product and any old mains cable that was kicking about.

Funnily enough, there were no takers.

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Re: de-oxygenated copper

And any decent shop should tell you that too!

When I got my CM9 speakers and Cyrus amplifiers I asked what type of cable I should use. They showed me some chunky, but not expensive, cable (around 2.50 a meter IIRC). As that was the type of thing I was already using I didn't replace it.

I asked what the hideously expensive cable was for and they said they had to stock it for some people to take them seriously even if they never recommended it. Some people just didn't believe that you could spend less than 1000 on speaker cable and so didn't.

I loved that shop, they saved me huge amounts of money by focussing on sound and not price when I bought stuff (I saw some lovely speakers - looked lovely, and had a price tag to match, but they said they were a waste of money and that the CM9s at half the cost sounded so much better. And they did!). It's a shame the owner decided to retire when the shops rent came up for renewal...

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Re: Audiophile and Sonos mentioned in the same article?

Isn't that the point?

How much cachet would your absurdly over-priced equipment have if ordinary people had heard of it?

Audiophile = snake oil consumer.

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asbo

Hope your neighbours are deaf

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Re: asbo

Wouldn't help them much, as these frequencies are felt as a vibration by the whole body, not only heard by the ear...

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WTF?

Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

You need to have ears of purest cloth not to hear the difference between even a low end HiFi rig and Sonos speakers.

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Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

Arguably, it is actually quite hard to buy audiophile grade amplifier for this sort of money - unless it is entry level and for headphones only. Add reference grade headphones on top of it, and you have exceeded your budget.

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Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

Did you miss the words "low end HiFi"? Spend only £150 on a Cambridge AM1 amp, a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 9's and a Harmon Kardon Bluetooth Audio adaptor and I guarantee you'll be able to tell the difference between this and a £250 Sonos Play 3

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@Steve Todd Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

In which case you can plug a CM100 (or is it 120) unamped unit in to your stereo and take advantage of streaming over your decent HiFi system. Leave the play 1/3/5s to other rooms.

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Re: @Steve Todd Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

Erm, the point was that you can put a cheap HiFi into each of your other rooms for less than the cost of a Sonos system, and get better sound to boot.

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Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

Bluetooth? For Audio. Is this a joke?

Are you in a car?

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Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

Again the words "low end HiFi". For less money you can build a low end system that sounds better than the Sonos. If you're prepared to throw money at your system then the results will be MUCH better (and not run over Bluetooth)

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Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

"low end Hi(gh) Fi(delity)" - is it an oxymoron?

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Re: Sorry, Audiophile and Sonos in the same sentence?

""low end Hi(gh) Fi(delity)" - is it an oxymoron?"

Not really. As with anything, you can have low and high end of the range where each individual example will still be high fidelity compared with the mass market.

But you can use the term "budget end" instead...

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Not bad for...

...£50 worth of parts.

I meant getting people to pay that much for it. Genius.

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Re: Not bad for...

Oh, it's far less than 50quid in parts. Probably more like £16 if they're running them off in quantity in a Chinese factory. It's all marketing, baby, just ask Bose. They used to be a technology company, now they're just a very good marketing firm with a herd of lawyers to patent and prosecute. Kinda sad, really. Dr. Amar Bose must have died an unhappy camper at what happened to his company.

Sound is air in motion. The lower the frequency, the more air you have to move for the same sound pressure level. Basic physics. It is possible to "cheat" the listener by having a very peaked response down around the kick drum range. Claiming that it's flat to 25Hz is absurd. I see that the article didn't claim that, but proper specifications would list the -3db point as the lowest useable frequency. Little bitty units like this will need a sensitive detector to pick up their signal at 25Hz. A unit this small isn't going to have the umph to piss off the neighbors either.

If you want to commit structural damage by Toccata and Fugue in D minor played on the big pipes, you are going to need more cone area, excursion and plenty more amplifier. (and a good sense of fun)

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Audiophile's? Audionuts is more like it

If your room is an audinightmare because of the (echo'ing) walls, objects, and other interfering stuff then you can buy yourself for half a million worth of speakers and it will still sound like shite ;)

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Re: Audiophile's? Audionuts is more like it

That is why music should only be listened to naked in the center of an anechoic chamber buried a hundred meters underground.

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have they fixed the horrible lag?

I had the Sonos 5 setup - wonderful sound, and loved the interface, but the 2~3s lag from source-to-play made it unusable in my view

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Re: have they fixed the horrible lag?

Never had that problem myself, however I know that issue is meant to exist with the Play Bar.

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*does best Crocodile Dundee impression*

"That's not a sub

That's a sub."

Wanna make your own? Sonosub.

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Re: Sonosub

A cylindrical subwoofer? What about standing waves?

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Re: Sonosub

Foam dampening.

Check out the build pictures of this guy's Sonosub.

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Re: Sonosub

Foam will maybe cut some HF - but that won't be present in a sub-woofer in the first place. Maybe a sturdy MDF baffle shaped to give some asymmetry to the interior volume might work. On the other hand, if you're after the one-note bass typical of 'impressive' subwoofers, the standing waves may actually help!

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Re: *does best Crocodile Dundee impression*

Thanks a bunch, now I'll get no work done again!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: *does best Crocodile Dundee impression*

At least use https://startpage.com/ you *tard, google is not secure!

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Stuff must be much cheaper now

I paid 750 for my sub sometime in the 90s - hardly use it now because I don't buy DVDs any more and haven't got any BluRay discs either.

It gets some exercise if I bother to stream music to the system but it never seems worth sending the TV sound to the system and the HDMI I have on this (Samsung) TV doesn't do Dolby Digital from my laptop.

Not that the stuff I have has DD, Netflix missing something there I guess - it's all about the HD now I think.

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16kg.

That's supposed to be heavy for a speaker? An active speaker?

Bah.

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Joke

Handy

Should you need some cheap earthquake simulation

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Re: Handy

I recall The A-Team did that once, attaching some speakers to foundations of a building and dropping flour into the ventilation shafts to simulate an earthquake to get people to leave the building.

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Re: Handy

No, it was MacGyver who did that, using only a penknife and a bag of flour.

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Re: Handy

Actually I think you'll find it was Chuck Norris, and all he did was belch

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Standard

I seem to recall seeing a standard for subs that said they should be able to deliver a constant 20 Hz tone at 120dB indefinitely.

Hardly audiophile, prices in that world start in the high 4 figures and go up rapidly from there. Some will spend $250,000 for a set of speakers.

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Re: Standard

That's not exactly a high bar to meet. You could probably overdrive and underclock a Rampant Rabbit to meet that spec

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Re: Standard

"Audiophile", especially the silly/expensive stuff, is relatively poor quality (sub hi-fi) kit sold to the domestic market, which p*ss-poor enthusiast magazines have been duping innocent (but usually non technical) music lovers into buying since around 1977. Monoblock amps, valves, etc .etc. have nothing to do with hi-fi.

Phew got that off my chest. Well the author says ...contemplative core... fabulous jolts as it climaxes... wonderful precision....It's like moving from a Trabant to a Mercedes." and so on and so on. That's great, but it sort of depends on what you were listening to before the sub woofer. I guess you were using rather small speakers ?

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Re: Standard

Pair iof Play:3s. Before that a cheap Sharp surround system. Progression is a wonderful thing.

Chris.

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"It's big, it's expensive and it's an audiophile's dream: The Sonos Sub"

The only thing I know about audiophilia is that you can't please any of them, any of the time.

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