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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

woollyjoe wrote:
With regards saying Sonos DO have a call centre, they have offices you can call but they don't call them a call centre

Ok, they have a support network, that's still a lot of people that need to be paid for.

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and are cetrally located around the world

Huh?

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- 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.

They definitely have people that only work on support.

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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.

So both devices connected to the same DAC playing the same file? Ok.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

woollyjoe wrote:
I love my Sonos, but want higher resolution capability and the ability to upgrade the power supply. Sonos started with Audiophiles, but is now targeting mainstream. The all in one boxes and standard iPhone trend is fine, but it has so much more potential.

When will the relook at their core target market and innovate?

I've not followed this thread, and I don't have time to read through it (and its my day off) so I'd like to say that it'd be interesting to see Sonos try and grab the slightly more budget market that Logitech had with the Squeezebox. Now that they're no longer produced, there's a wide open market there, and its not exactly a small one.

As mentioned, other manufacturers like Naim and Cyrus have pretty much got the higher end of the market sewn up with an excellent range streamers, so I doubt Sonos will want to try and take them on. That said, there's a gap between Sonos and Naim that is waiting to be filled. That gap has many products by hi-fi manufacturers, but they're just not selling. If Sonos can go slightly up market, they already have a large database of customers that already use Sonos that they can target. That said, I'm guessing it will be a rather small percentage of that database that will be genuinely interested in anything better. I still use my ZP90, and would happily change for something that is essentially the same thing but without a DAC - effectively a digital transport with a decent power supply would be ideal. I suppose this can be added to the current range but would probably be a niche product.

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:
I still use my ZP90, and would happily change for something that is essentially the same thing but without a DAC - effectively a digital transport with a decent power supply would be ideal. I suppose this can be added to the current range but would probably be a niche product.

I sometimes get the impression that the ZP90 and 120 are already considered niche products in some quarters.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

I guess so, seeing as the majority of Sonos sales are now Play products...

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

bigblue235 wrote:

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. 

I have Airport Express units, an older 1st gen Apple TV, a PS3 and two Sonos ZP90s. The AEXs are in the cupboard - I used to think the AEX was a good device until I got the Sonos and realised just how unreliable and unflexible they were (a good comparison is my other half wouldn't have known where to start in order to get Radio 4 streamed to the Airport Express, whereas she does this with the Sonos pretty much every day). The old Apple TV I was intending to jailbreak and put on ebay (until they went and cracked the ATV3 meaning it probably won't be worth anything now) - so now it's just sitting gathering dust in the living room. The PS3 sits in the "games room" (or spare room as it is now really), again unused these days as I just don't get the time to play videogames any more. The two ZP90s on the other hand probably still get used at some point every day, either by myself or the other half.

Hey, I'm not trying to tell you that you must spend more than you want to on a Sonos system, but when you look at the above, it's pretty clear which devices I'm getting the most value for money out of and why there are so many fans of them in spite of their higher price bracket. I just wish I'd realised this before I spent all that money on all the other kit!

 

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

David has summed up the situation (probably because he didnt read the thread).

 

If I was Sonos, I wouldn't move cheaper and Logitech lost money on that whole operation due to the profit sitting in the touch screen devices that Apple does better. Hence Logitch shut it down (not long after buying it actually).

 

The concept of just a streamer with better power supply and connections like BNC for example is exactly the product I'm looking to buy. Naim and Cyrus streaming is not multiroom and spotify etc capable, but my point about moving into high end is that it builds on your reputation with trickle down technology. This is what I'm hoping for and may experiment with one of my connect boxes and do an A-B test.

 

Someone mentioned - telephone support - Sonos are one of the best for support and are like apple in that regard, and because products are few, its cheap and easy for them to support. A very large client of mine runs something similar with these people online (and on the phone in Sonos case), there is a lot less of them than you would realise, in fact by any comparison it is laughably small, but you wouldnt know.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

woollyjoe wrote:

If I was Sonos, I wouldn't move cheaper and Logitech lost money on that whole operation due to the profit sitting in the touch screen devices that Apple does better. Hence Logitch shut it down (not long after buying it actually).

 

The concept of just a streamer with better power supply and connections like BNC for example is exactly the product I'm looking to buy. Naim and Cyrus streaming is not multiroom and spotify etc capable, but my point about moving into high end is that it builds on your reputation with trickle down technology. This is what I'm hoping for and may experiment with one of my connect boxes and do an A-B test.

 

Logitech bought Slimdevices in 2006, the same year that Slimdevices launched the 'Transporter' - an audiophile streamer with (in your words) a better power supply and BNC connections.  The Transporter was 24/96 capable at launch, and its output jitter (at 15pS RMS) remains one of the lowest available even today. This is even more impressive when this was the era when most high end manufacturers couldn't even spell streamer.

Logitech's mishandling of what became their 'streaming media' division will probably become a business school case study one day.  It was the failure of the launch of Google Revue that put the nail in the streaming media coffin, not the iPod/Phone/Pad.  

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

professorhat wrote:
Hey, I'm not trying to tell you that you must spend more than you want to on a Sonos system, but when you look at the above, it's pretty clear which devices I'm getting the most value for money out of and why there are so many fans of them in spite of their higher price bracket. I just wish I'd realised this before I spent all that money on all the other kit!

Sure, I appreciate your input, and I can see why it's the best solution for you. We use our Apple TVs for all that sort of stuff with no issues. To me an Apple TV seems more flexible, but again, different strokes for different folks. All depends what you use them for and how you use them  Smile If only the ATV could see a NAS...!

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Also, the point seems to be lost on the fact that adding a more expensive power supply and more expensive digital connection (that is also less common and therefore less useful) will not make for a better product, only a more expensive one.

The strengths of Sonos are in functionality and simplicity. The products work well and as described, without faff, much in the same way that Apple products work and this is where success is drawn. It is already a quality product.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

bigblue235 wrote:

 If only the ATV could see a NAS...!

'Jailbroken' ATVs can and the early ATVs can have the HDD upgrade too, which increases their usefulness. It's also the reason that ATV1 and 2 are more expensive than the ATV3

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Overdose wrote:

bigblue235 wrote:

 If only the ATV could see a NAS...!

'Jailbroken' ATVs can and the early ATVs can have the HDD upgrade too, which increases their usefulness. It's also the reason that ATV1 and 2 are more expensive than the ATV3

Not for very much longer, as long as it's not a load of bull.  http://www.techieinsider.com/news/15497/apple-tv-jailbreak-announcement/

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

Interesting if true (it's really only a matter of time anyway), but the ATV 1 will still hold its value, being the only one with internal storage. A pity this was removed from the ATVs, but then the iCloud would not have been such a success.

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:

woollyjoe wrote:
I love my Sonos, but want higher resolution capability and the ability to upgrade the power supply. Sonos started with Audiophiles, but is now targeting mainstream. The all in one boxes and standard iPhone trend is fine, but it has so much more potential.

When will the relook at their core target market and innovate?

I've not followed this thread, and I don't have time to read through it (and its my day off) so I'd like to say that it'd be interesting to see Sonos try and grab the slightly more budget market that Logitech had with the Squeezebox. Now that they're no longer produced, there's a wide open market there, and its not exactly a small one.

As mentioned, other manufacturers like Naim and Cyrus have pretty much got the higher end of the market sewn up with an excellent range streamers, so I doubt Sonos will want to try and take them on. That said, there's a gap between Sonos and Naim that is waiting to be filled. That gap has many products by hi-fi manufacturers, but they're just not selling. If Sonos can go slightly up market, they already have a large database of customers that already use Sonos that they can target. That said, I'm guessing it will be a rather small percentage of that database that will be genuinely interested in anything better. I still use my ZP90, and would happily change for something that is essentially the same thing but without a DAC - effectively a digital transport with a decent power supply would be ideal. I suppose this can be added to the current range but would probably be a niche product.

I don't understand you, essentially the current Connect can be used as a transport - it has digital outputs for an external DAC. And as a pure 'transport' it would cease to be a Sonos isn't it??

Anonymous
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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

One of The keys to sonos is the software. I use the current connect only as a streamer. The Logitech business had no margin as just a streamer which I believe also had a wolfson dac chip which sold for about £70. The handset was a lot more, and that's all it did. I'd still argue the iPhone / iPod touch did a better job (with the free logitech app) and was the biggest reason for Logitech's failure, hence the new devices have built in screens.

 

someone made reference to BNC being less common, but it is the only connector that matches the impedance characteristic of the cable. Rca doesn't and has a significant effect. So BNC is more useful. It's more common than you would realise too!

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RE: Will Sonos ever offer audiophile grade streamers?

woollyjoe wrote:

One of The keys to sonos is the software. I use the current connect only as a streamer. The Logitech business had no margin as just a streamer which I believe also had a wolfson dac chip which sold for about £70. The handset was a lot more, and that's all it did. I'd still argue the iPhone / iPod touch did a better job (with the free logitech app) and was the biggest reason for Logitech's failure, hence the new devices have built in screens.

 

someone made reference to BNC being less common, but it is the only connector that matches the impedance characteristic of the cable. Rca doesn't and has a significant effect. So BNC is more useful. It's more common than you would realise too!

Woolly,

I would suggest you do a little searching on wikipedia. Over its life since 2001, Squeeze had 9 products, Slimp3, Squeezebox 2, Squeezebox Classic, Transporter, Duet, Boom, Radio, Touch. Only one had a separate handset, the Duet, and that was discontinued sometime toward the start of 2011. All of the devices except the Duet had displays.

I have no way of knowing the margin on their devices, but there is no reason to believe that they were sold at a loss. A range of different DAC chips were used by Squeeze, while the Transporter ($1999 when new) may have used a £70 DAC, the other members of the range were using sub $20 components.  As the handset was only sold for a couple of years, and was never a key part of their range, I think your analysis about the effect of the iPod is incorrect. 

BNC is indeed a better connector for S/PDIF as it impedance matches 75ohm cable and 75ohm termination.  RCA does not.  One reason why the Transporter had BNC connections.  There is much argument about the impact of non impedance matched S/PDIF, but if your DAC is not sensitive to jitter then any distortion of the S/PDIF pulse shape won't doesn't make any difference.

S/PDIF is well past its sell by date, and if I were to be starting from stratch an asynchronous protocol such as async USB would be the way to go, rather than trying to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear that is S/PDIF.

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