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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

andyjm wrote:
Now that Squeeze has gone the way of the dodo, Sonos have the mid range multi room field to themselves and can charge whatever the market will bear. 

I don't think they've changed the price of the ZP90 or 120 since they were released some years ago, so I don't think they're pursuing a particularly aggressive charging policy (they certainly haven't gone up in price to my knowledge) and let's not forget that at that point they were the ONLY players Sonos offered, so the ZP90 was the "cheap" option, it's only now that there is an all-in-one player that costs less than the Connect that people think it's expensive, when in actual fact the Connect is far more versatile than the Play:3 (which doesn't even have a line-in...).

Oddly you don't hear too many people complaining about the price of the Connect:Amp compared to the Play:5 (the 5 is 40 quid less) even though a lot of people would think that the Amp is just a 5 without the speakers and so should be cheaper...

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

The_Lhc wrote:

andyjm wrote:
Now that Squeeze has gone the way of the dodo, Sonos have the mid range multi room field to themselves and can charge whatever the market will bear. 

I don't think they've changed the price of the ZP90 or 120 since they were released some years ago, so I don't think they're pursuing a particularly aggressive charging policy (they certainly haven't gone up in price to my knowledge) and let's not forget that at that point they were the ONLY players Sonos offered, so the ZP90 was the "cheap" option, it's only now that there is an all-in-one player that costs less than the Connect that people think it's expensive, when in actual fact the Connect is far more versatile than the Play:3 (which doesn't even have a line-in...).

I think the issue is that prices of electronic goods have generally declined over the same period.  I agree that in HiFi terms the Connect isn't expensive, but when it costs more than a new laptop and it is little more than a wireless access point and a DAC you do have to wonder.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

andyjm wrote:
I think the issue is that prices of electronic goods have generally declined over the same period.

I'd probably argue that that only applies to TVs, I don't see the price of amps and speakers coming down much (which is why I still haven't updated my system...). The Project Debut turntable that I bought ten years ago for £150 is now £250 to £300 depending on which model you want (although you might argue the Essential is the equivalent model now, it isn't, as the Debut I bought had speed controller, phono stage and sub platter, none of which the Essential has).

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I agree that in HiFi terms the Connect isn't expensive, but when it costs more than a new laptop

You want a laptop for less than £269? You're braver than I thought...

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

I approached round-the-house audio-distribution in my usual D-I-Y twisted little way. I have attached a slightly-modified USB-powered FM stereo transmitter to the tape-outputs on my amp. Any FM radio within about 50 feet can receive whatever my HiFi is playing, be that records, CDs, or more often than not, something streaming from my Mac Mini like Spotify or iTunes controlled from my iPhone. I can have The Cars in my garage, Red Hot Chili Peppers in my Kitchen, The Beatles' She Came in Through The Bathroom Window in my shower, then at night I can have Katy Perry in my bedroom (God, I wish), using nothing but radios that are already there. Obviously the only down-side is they can't play different things at once, but that's a compromise I can easily live with when I consider how cheap it's been (<£10) to put in place such an effective home audio network.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

andyjm wrote:

The unknown is of course the volumes Sonos ship and the development costs that need to be amortised.  A £30 device that costs £1M to develop and only sells 1000 units still costs £1000 to break even.

A point often forgotten by people when they quote margins on products and use this as unqualified proof that a company is raking it in and making a fortune out of its poor customers.

Other things to remember of course are all the other costs that go into running a company and selling a product before a profit can be made - wages, tax, building costs, distribution, packaging, legal costs (patents, copyrights etc. etc.) and goodness knows what else (given I've never run my own company, I'm sure there's a lot I've not thought about!).

 

The owls are not what they seem...

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

professorhat wrote:

A point often forgotten by people when they quote margins on products and use this as unqualified proof that a company is raking it in and making a fortune out of its poor customers.

Other things to remember of course are all the other costs that go into running a company and selling a product before a profit can be made - wages, tax, building costs, distribution, packaging, legal costs (patents, copyrights etc. etc.) and goodness knows what else (given I've never run my own company, I'm sure there's a lot I've not thought about!).

This is what I was hinting at in my post.

I am involved in running a company, and things like fluctuations in raw material prices (huge in my case) and exchange rates (buying raw materials from different countries and also selling in them). The cost of things like power (oil / lecky) and insurance has rocketed, and that's not including the cost of complying with the ever expanding / demanding  Heath and Safety legislation and all the other rules and regs that Brussels seems to produce, with ever expanding regularity.

Now you've got me started   |( .......better stop, before I do myself a mischief!   Smile

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

professorhat wrote:

andyjm wrote:

The unknown is of course the volumes Sonos ship and the development costs that need to be amortised.  A £30 device that costs £1M to develop and only sells 1000 units still costs £1000 to break even.

A point often forgotten by people when they quote margins on products and use this as unqualified proof that a company is raking it in and making a fortune out of its poor customers.

Other things to remember of course are all the other costs that go into running a company and selling a product before a profit can be made - wages, tax, building costs, distribution, packaging, legal costs (patents, copyrights etc. etc.) and goodness knows what else (given I've never run my own company, I'm sure there's a lot I've not thought about!).

I expect Sonos' support arrangements suck up no small amount of cash, as good as they are (apparently, I've never had need to use them).

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

The great thing for Sonos (as with Apple for example), is that they start from scratch and have no legacy infrastruture. They keep their products simple, and few of them, and control the distribution. What this has meant, is that support costs and all other functions you will think of are centralised. For example, there is no call centre or huge product varience to support.

 

The thing I would like to ask them is please create a flagship streamer (not DAC) or maybe a better All in one Amp solution; basically like a Uniti from Naim, to give customers who love the functionality better quality. 

 

I don't know why, but the streaming from Naim devices is better sounding than my Sonos, and the same QBD is doing the conversion work. SO if i want to upgrade quality, I'll have to leave sonos. Would be good for WHF to do one of their interview sessions with Sonos CEO who by all accounts is very approachable. Claire - is this something you guys have tried?

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

woollyjoe wrote:
The great thing for Sonos (as with Apple for example), is that they start from scratch and have no legacy infrastruture.

Well they do now, it's one of Sonos' stated aims that they won't leave old hardware behind. It's speculated that that's one of the reasons why a 24-bit streamer would be so difficult for them to implement, the desire to allow any music to play on any Zone would be knackered if you suddenly had one zone that could play 24-bit whilst the rest choked on it.

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For example, there is no call centre or huge product varience to support.

They definitely have a call centre.

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The thing I would like to ask them is please create a flagship streamer (not DAC) or maybe a better All in one Amp solution; basically like a Uniti from Naim, to give customers who love the functionality better quality. I don't know why, but the streaming from Naim devices is better sounding than my Sonos, and the same QBD is doing the conversion work.

What Sonos devices do you have? I'd be interested to see what difference there is between the digital out from a Connect going into a Naim (assuming they accept digital inputs) compared to the Naim playing the same track natively.

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SO if i want to upgrade quality, I'll have to leave sonos. Would be good for WHF to do one of their interview sessions with Sonos CEO who by all accounts is very approachable. Claire - is this something you guys have tried?

Pay attention 007, it's "Clare" and she hasn't worked for WHF for some time now! As for the rest of them they're probably a bit busy at CES right now, besides, the last time they talked to him at CES it was under a strict NDA, so they wouldn't be able to tell scum like us anyway...

EDIT: Incidentally Joni Hoadley, the Sonos Product Manager is NOT at CES and the official Sonos twitter account has made no mention of the show at all, so I'm not entirely sure they're actually present (apparently @SonosJobs is at the show though).

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Sonos here at CES, but not formally exhibiting; just having lots of dealer meets etc. Some exciting products coming later in 2013... Smile

Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.

Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS

TWITTER: @ClareNewsome

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Clare Newsome wrote:

Sonos here at CES, but not formally exhibiting; just having lots of dealer meets etc. Some exciting products coming later in 2013... Smile

The FCC Playbar leak was a bit of a hint...

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

professorhat wrote:
Depends really. Many of my friends raise their eyebrows when I say how much the two ZP90s I have cost, but then for music playback, they're by far the most used bits of kit I have so easily worth the price.

Thanks for that (and the other comments regarding price) but whilst I can see how you can get your money's worth out of it, in direct comparison to other devices it doesn't stack up for me at the mo.

An Apple TV is about £80 now, a PS3 can be had for £150, both of these offer streaming of music and video, plus loads of other features. Admittedly Sonos is far more user-friendly and creates it's own Mesh, etc, but £200 more than an ATV seems excessive. 

The upcoming Pure Jongo 'hi-fi adaptor' is going to be £99 with 24-bit DAC, and I'm sure there will soon be a load of sub-£100 kit capable of bit-perfect output. There's meant to be a load of new Google/Android ones which are meant to be coming out later in the year as well. But that teaser from Clare about new Sonos kit is also interesting!

Aargh!

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

See, this makes me wonder what to do. I was thinking of picking up a Play 3 and bridge while they are cheaper (still seem to be in the shops at the reduced price) but if they are releasing a newer model this year I wouldn't want it to be defunct... Sounds as though they do not make things obsolete though?

I can deal with the lack of 'full fat' support, although it would be really nice to know it supported any bit rate..

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Pikman wrote:
See, this makes me wonder what to do. I was thinking of picking up a Play 3 and bridge while they are cheaper (still seem to be in the shops at the reduced price) but if they are releasing a newer model this year I wouldn't want it to be defunct... Sounds as though they do not make things obsolete though?

It won't be an "newer" model, in the sense that it's completely different to the existing hardware, rather an additional one. Sonos have never made ANY previous device obsolete, every device they've stopped making (ZP80, ZP100, CR100/200) all still work seamlessly with newer models. The rumoured device, the Playbar, appears, from the name at least, to be some kind of soundbar, perhaps heralding the possibility of creating a fully wireless home theatre setup (Playbar for front, Play:3/5 for rears and the SUB). This is entirely guesswork based on the name and the fact that some while ago Sonos were advertising for developers with Home Cinema experience. The only concrete fact that can be gleaned from the FCC filing is that the new unit apparently supports 5gHz wireless, which the current ones don't. It is inconceivable that devices like the Play:3 will be made unusable, whatever the Playbar turns out to be though.

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I can deal with the lack of 'full fat' support, although it would be really nice to know it supported any bit rate..

It only supports 16bit up to 48kHz at this time.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Thanks Clare - would be good to have a Ken Ishiwata / Marrantz style interview with them when they have time. I think their company is one to watch I know is already doing well, and definitely a leader, hence my desire to see better quality streaming capability.

With regards saying Sonos DO have a call centre, they have offices you can call but they don't call them a call centre and are cetrally located around the world - so for all of Europe, you'll speak to someone at Sonos Europe HQ and the people answering phones do a whole host of other tasks online.

With regards buying a Play3 - they won't stop selling this; from what I can see they tend to keep what they make and expand (i.e. the sub woofer). 

With regards upgrading, I'm sure they will follow similar lines to Apple with the iOS working on all older devices, bu there will come a point it needs to move on. 

With regards the Naim Vs Sonos, I only tested the streaming part - I used a seperate DAC. The Sonos sounded more artificial in sound and drums lack scale for example. There must be ways to improve the streaming / transport quality.

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