Ultimate Music Streaming Experience, Sonos S5 Review

I’ve spent the past two months with my Sonos S5 and have concluded it provides the best music streaming experience to date. I’m no newbie to the marvels of wireless music but my audio ecosystem was split up between what iTunes could handle and what my PS3 could stream. The Sonos S5 brings everything from my personal music library to external sources like Pandora, SIRIUS, and internet radio into one neat high fidelity package.

I won’t muddle over details about what you get and how you set it up. Quite frankly, it’s simple. Take it out of the box, plug the power cable in, plug the ethernet cable into your wireless router, and turn it on. The syncing process only has to be done once and from then on, you never really have to touch it again. The system can be totally controlled thru your iPhone or the newly launched iPad app which is beautiful and easy to use.

I keep using the word system instead of speaker because each speaker can operate independently or in tandem with other units each called a Zone. In theory you could have up to 32 of these bad boys, one in each room and closet of your home. Talk about surround sound! Of course we were only sent one so I can’t vouch for the multi-unit auditory, orgasmic bliss but from what I’ve read, there is no lag between each Zone so you won’t hear a strange echoing effect.

The real fun is in the iOS apps. Sonos have done an amazing job organizing what could be a mess with intuitive controls that work for every streaming situation. All your basic functions like pausing, playing, selecting and navigating playlists are there. The real power is in creating playlists on the fly, searching your library and even enabling other iPhone/iPad users to join in and become guest DJ’s. One particular function I love is the sleep mode. I love to set mine to 30 minutes and let the music lull me to sleep.

If you step back and think about what Sonos are trying to do, you realize this is the future of music. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. It only matters that you pick up one device, something as ubiquitous as a phone and your entire music library, be it on a hard drive or somewhere in a cloud, is instantly accessible. All the boundaries have disappeared once you “cut the cord.”

What we love:

  • High quality audio in a medium size package
  • Choice of black or white
  • Only $399, a bargain considering what it can do
  • iOS apps are free to download
  • Easy setup

What could be improved:

  • Make a wood version, it will sell

Designer: Sonos (Buy it here $399)