13/06/2007

Sonos BU130 bundle

I should have written about this a long time ago, but now is the time for the Sonos kit to go.

The bundle consists of two ZP80 players and a controller, Sonos also threw in a controller cradle. The kit is very well built and feels very solid. Power supplies are built into the units, but are not auto-sensing, so ensure they're set to the right voltage or smoke will follow.

The Sonos software is relatively easy to install (it's a shame they don't support other streaming software like iTunes or Slimdevices Slimserver as they were already installed), however the software will pick-up iTunes playlists that have been created under iTunes.

The players work well, though they're not as good as the Slimdevices Transporter (but then they cost a lot less), however saying that, the Sonos controller is fantastic with a lovely display (that displays cover art) and "feels" like using an iPod.

The ZP80's need to be connected to amplifiers (they have analogue and digital outs - both optical and co-ax), there's also an analogue in that converts to digital formats (compressed and uncompressed).

Sonos also sent a ZP100 which has a built-in amplifier, it's very heavy!!! Again it feels like a quality unit and has four solid speaker posts to connect to speakers (Sonos supplied their SP100's which are very solid bookshelf type speakers). They are a bit on the high end and could do with a sub-woofer if heavy bass is required (the ZP100 has a sub-woofer output).

Various music services are directly supported by the controller (Rhapsody, Emusic and others) and it can also mount music stored on a NAS (network attached storage) using Microsoft file sharing (CIFS). Again it's a shame it doesn't directly support other streaming formats such as Slimserver, iTunes, UPaP etc as the NAS could directly output these and as the NAS was in a MS domain, mounting shares wasn't as easy as it could have been.

Altogether though the Sonos kit is recommended (though I still prefer the Slimdevices kit), though the controller beats the pants off the Slimdevices stuff. The BU130 bundle now retails for £699 (or $999 in the US) and would make a nice edition to any home.
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