View Full Version : SB vs Sonos

2006-04-22, 09:46
I was just about to buy a Sonos and I came across this website.
Can anyone provide a comparison?

I was going to use the Sonos to basically store all music digitally and to be able to access it from all around the house. In the main room I was hoping to hook it up to a Meridian G68 and Meridian speakers (which have built in amps).

Can I use the SB to access music around the house? And will it hook up well with a Meridian sound processor and speakers?
Any advice would be very appreciated.

Patrick Dixon
2006-04-22, 10:31
Can I use the SB to access music around the house? Yes.

And will it hook up well with a Meridian sound processor and speakers?
Should do. Certainly as well as the Sonos I would think.

The main differences IMO are:

Sonos requires no server side software; SB requires Slimserver (free download)

Sonos can only be controlled using the (very nice, but quite pricy) remote; SB can be controlled using the IR remote/display, and via various web skins.

Sonos is a closed (but well thought-out) device; SB is open, flexible, but can be more complicated to set up.

Mark Lanctot
2006-04-22, 10:45
Yes, of course you can use the SB, or multiple SBs, to listen to music around the house. Add a Nokia 770 and you have a remote at least as good as Sonos', and it can be used to browse the web too.

The SB can very easily connect to your Meridian processor or directly to powered speakers. If you connect directly to your speakers, you don't need a processor and you'll be using the SB's excellent DAC.

I don't want to run down Sonos. Roku are easy targets but Sonos isn't - it's very sophisticated, capable equipment. But on a personal level, here's why I didn't choose Sonos:

- cost. Sonos is extremely expensive!

- the ZP100 was the only ZonePlayer available at the time. It does not have digital outputs for use with a processor/receiver. You are either forced to use the ZP100's internal amps and separate speakers or the analog outputs, which may not be as good as digital if you're using a processor/receiver. If you're using the ZP100 amp, you'll need new speakers - you can't use your existing ones connected to your processor unless you get a speaker switch. Also the ZP100 amp at 50W/ch is probably not as good as what you already have. Note the new ZP80 negates most of these points - it has digital out and no internal amplifier.

- closed-source. You're stuck with what Sonos sells to you. If you want to change something or with bug resolution...best of luck. This is not to say they have poor customer service - never having experienced it, they could be excellent, but you can't change anything yourself. With the SB, you have everybody on this forum and many times there are changes which you can make yourself. If a problem does require company support, Slim Devices can be incredibly responsive - a problem I once had which required a code change was resolved in 5 minutes flat! Plus since it is open-source, you have all sorts of users doing all sorts of different things with it who have developed all their own plugins.

- cost

- Sonos has an excellent remote but that's the display as well. The player has no display. You'd always have to have your remote with you just to see what's playing.

- there's an odd requirement for wireless networking:
NOTE:The first ZonePlayer you install must connect to your home network using a standard Ethernet cable. This is true of both the ZP80 and the ZP100. I suppose this is because the first one acts as a radio base station. The SB instead uses your 802.11g wireless network which you probably already have.

- oh and did I mention cost? :-)

2006-04-22, 11:41
Mark and Patrick gave an excellent and unbiased comparision of the two systems. What hold me back from getting a sonos was mainly cost and the title limit (40.000 tracks at the moment).