Re(al)view: Life With Sonos Bundle 150 with Loudspeakers

Re(al)view: Life With Sonos Bundle 150 with Loudspeakers

Sep 26, 2008

We got a little alone time with the Sonos Bundle 150 with Loudspeakers recently. This system does all things; from playing music wirelessly all over the house to straightening out your childrens' bullies to playing audio from your tv in another room to EVERYTHING. It's like when you were a kid and playing superheroes with your friends and no matter what someone did to you, you always had an immunity to that attack that even you didn't previously know about- "I have the ability to turn the laser beams that you are shooting at me into a nourishing breakfast!"- no matter what you want to do, Sonos will suddenly surprise you with the ability to do it.

When we first got this package (actually- packages) in the mail, it all looked a little daunting. Speakers, amps, transmitters, controllers, proton torpedoes, receivers… really a lot of parts to look at. It all seemed like a little much. However, once we actually cracked it all open and followed the simple directions to put it together, it became obvious that this is not a complicated system at all- not really that many parts, either. Actually, you don't need all of this stuff right away- you can get it to function with just a few basic parts and add new gizmos as you see fit- In fact, it is really a very simple system and you will find that instead of struggling with complication you will be constantly discovering new functionality. Sonos sent us almost everything they offer to show how all of it can be integrated together.

How many times have you plugged your computer into a set of speakers and had to suffer through the normal computing sounds superimposed over the music? Its all: " I can feel it coming in the air tonight *you've got mail!* hold on…" -almost any other software that plays music pipes it through the same channel as all the other audio that pops up while you work on a computer. Sonos doesn't do this and they should receive a congressional medal of honor replete with 21 cannon salute for that fact alone.

Now let's just talk a bit about how this works. Firstly, it can work a ton of different ways. We don't have enough server power at to go into it all. Secondly, it comes with software for your desktop which connects all the different parts of the system together and its quite easy to use. It has access to your music on your computer, stations on the web, and auxiliary inputs.

Next you have what they call a "Zonebridge" (above- surrounded by a wicked radial blur and below- sans blur) which is kind of like the glue that holds it all together if you have an extensively accessorized system. This hooks up to your wireless router NOT via your computer. You get that? It just plugs into your router without touching your computer.

The "Zoneplayer 90" receiver needs to be hooked up to an amplifier...

...and the "Zoneplayer 120" has its own 55x2 amp in it to power your or their speakers. There really is much more that we are not mentioning here like the "subwoofer out" port and ethernet hookups for wired play and "optical out" and "coax out" and *wheez* "RCA in". Essentially, these two items receive the music wirelessly from the Zonebridge (if you have one) and pump it mercilessly into either speakers or amps.

The Sonos Loudspeaker SP100 also came with the package so we were able to test these out. We hooked them up directly to the Zoneplayer 120 for some high powered… power. These are great speakers and dovetail nicely with the 120. It can prolly be assumed they were engineered for each other so no wonder. Oh- and they're magnetically shielded if you still have an old tube type TV, dinosaur.

Finally, the Sonos Controller: As if all of this flexibility weren't enough, you are also able to navigate the entire network wirelessly! You can go out in the backyard and BBQ while having control over the level and content of the speakers outside (and inside if that makes you feel more powerful). Pretty much everything that you see in your desktop software package is accessible from the controller. It is a good size to carry around the house with you and is just about ipod-easy to use.

Then, depending on how many speaker systems you have hooked up, you can have up to 16 different inputs and 32 outputs. Yoou can even hook up another pc/mac to it to use its wirelessness for the internet. That is just sick. Shame on Sonos. They should have waited years to introduce such flexibility, and only after thousands of irritated [torchbearing] customers demanded it.

A negative: It doesn't play large/dense music files really well wirelessly. We recorded a number of LP's into WAV files- the entire side of an album at once. We then tried to transmit this over the air and chugga chugga, not too easy. Now- we are talking about 250MB files so maybe that just isn't fair, but we were looking for limitations, and we found them. Depending on what is going on atmospherically, there can sometimes be hiccups in the playback even with small files but very not very often.

You get the feeling that a company with the R&D resources (thankfully not the organizational prowess) of Microsoft put the Sonos Bundle 150 with Loudspeakers together. You just can't imagine how many surprises this thing has for you. You should probably go out and get one of these systems going because you can seriously do everything with it and it will completely integrate almost everything you own. This is really what you have been waiting for.

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