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kingnothing83's picture
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New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?
English

Might be best to start with my current setup:

Virgin cable modem connected to a decent belkin wireless router

Marantz SR5007 with built in airplay connected to a powerline Ethernet plug

B&w 685's 

Music is streamed via airplay direct from iPhone or iPad

I'm currently moderately happy with the setup, streaming works perfectly most of the time but I do get the occasional drop out. I share wifi with 2 others but am soon hoping to buy a flat and will then have full control over the wifi. I'd like to add music to the bedroom, kitchen and maybe even bathroom via a ceiling speaker.

Having the same music in multiple zones at once is a nice feature but not 100% essential. What is essential is perfect reliability. I can achieve this via sonos I think but could need:

Play 3 or 5 for bedroom

Play 3 or 5 for kitchen

Connect for living room - to plug in to existing amp

Connect amp and ceiling speakers - for bathroom

Bridge

This is all looking very expensive! Plus I don't personally think the play range is very stylish. I like b&w sound and styling so if I stick with airplay I'd only need:

A5 for bedroom

A5 for kitchen

Airport express and ceiling speakers for bathroom - surely there is some solution here as sound quality isn't amazingly important for bathroom

I also assume that airplay will support multiroom from an iPhone/iPad before too long. But can I achieve extremely good reliability from an airplay solution? 

If I have some sort of fibre optic broadband to a modem...:

Which router is best to use for airpay reliability?

Am I best off using airplay from the amp or will Apple TV or an airport express be more reliable?

Is the b&w A5/A7 more or less reliable than competitors?

Any help or advice will be most appreciated!

Cheers

Simon

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

AirPlay uses the wi-fi network to stream music and is prone to dropouts you are experiencing. Sonos uses its own mesh network & so free from wi-fi interference. I would go for Sonos as the better option.

I'm not sure how will connecting AirPort Express to ceiling speakers work. Where's the amplifier (unless you're looking at active in-ceiling speakers)? My AirPort Express keeps crashing the internet connection at home, so I've never used it.

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

bigboss wrote:
AirPlay uses the wi-fi network to stream music and is prone to dropouts you are experiencing. Sonos uses its own mesh network & so free from wi-fi interference.

Sorry BB but that isn't the case, Sonos uses the same frequency channels as wi-fi (the 2.4gHz range), so it's entirely possible for it to be interfered with, particularly if you're living in a flat surrounded by neighbouring wireless networks. In that situation it's no more reliable than any other system. Have a look at the Sonos forums, there's any number of people being interfered with...

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

Thanks guys,

Interesting to get 2 completely different views - this seems quite common!

Often I'm told that Sonos network is more reliable but the way I would use Sonos is streaming music from my iPhone (i have 40GB of music on my iPhone so dont store any music on a PC or NAS) and streaming music from Spotify. In both cases it's either connecting to my network to access the iPhone, or connecting to the internet (via my network) to connect to Spotify.

So in my case, might the Airplay route actually be more reliable?

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

I have a positive experience using Apple TV[3] for music streaming from my iPad Mini and iPod.  No dropouts, I think my wife has set it all up to work on 5.2 Ghz which is better, apparently.

Apple lossless - Netgear Nighthawk - ATV3 - AVI ADM 40.  

AVI ADM 9T used in my wife's system

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

That makes sense - the marantz will be connected via powerline ethernet,  if I set up the iPhone and iPad to wireless 5ghz then that will mean no interference (at the moment, none of my neighbours operate at 5ghz, only 2.4ghz)

However - the A5 only operates at 2.4ghz. Might be more reliable if I plug that into the mains via a powerline ethernet plug

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

kingnothing83 wrote:
Thanks guys,

Interesting to get 2 completely different views - this seems quite common!

Often I'm told that Sonos network is more reliable

And in many cases it is but not when swamped with other interfering wireless networks (there are limits to everything) but...

Quote:
but the way I would use Sonos is streaming music from my iPhone

...in this case you aren't using the Sonos wi-fi anyway, you're still relying on your own wireless network, with all the issues that entails. It may be fine, until you get to your new flat and find out how polluted your wireless environment is there's no way of knowing.

Quote:
(i have 40GB of music on my iPhone so dont store any music on a PC or NAS)

You should try it, it's by far the best way of doing things.

Quote:
and streaming music from Spotify. In both cases it's either connecting to my network to access the iPhone, or connecting to the internet (via my network) to connect to Spotify.

So in my case, might the Airplay route actually be more reliable?

I doubt there'll be much in it in a very busy environment, if your flat is very bad you might find the only option is to wire everything back to your router, in which case playing directly from the iPhone might not even be possible.

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

kingnothing83 wrote:

That makes sense - the marantz will be connected via powerline ethernet,  if I set up the iPhone and iPad to wireless 5ghz then that will mean no interference (at the moment, none of my neighbours operate at 5ghz, only 2.4ghz)

However - the A5 only operates at 2.4ghz. Might be more reliable if I plug that into the mains via a powerline ethernet plug

Exactly the same would apply to Sonos btw...

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

Thanks for your input!

I live in London so wifi interference is sadly very much a problem. I improved my performance a lot by getting a new router and using a tool to find other wifi in the area and moving to a different band. I won’t know what I’ll find in my new area but 5ghz’s lack of adoption vs. 2.4ghz vs the fact that 5ghz has a shorter range anyway – leads me to think that for my circumstances, setting my apple devices up to 5ghz and wiring everything else might give the most reliable option. I did have music on a NAS but since I became a spotify subscriber I find downloading spotify songs to my iphone to be the most convenient way of trying new music, and their radio features are pretty excellent also.

I’ve never used Airplay to more than 1 zone before. I know I can’t send 1 music source to more than one zone without using a pc, but could I use 1 iPhone to send music from my iPhone to the living room and spotify to my kitchen? Or would I have to use an iPhone and an iPad to do that?

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

The Sonos network implements a mesh transmission system. Each component receives but also then re transmits its own wireless signal meaning each component does not have be in range of the router or indeed at its outer limit. It only has to be in range of another component with signal. This also means multiple paths of transmission.

In practice my experience is it is extremely reliable. Not 100% just almost.

I think the bigger thing to consider is the Sonos system is not a fashion item. It is stable, scaleable and upgradeable.

When I bought mine some 5ish years ago I could not stream direct from my iphone, no Spotify, or indeed no all in one units like the Play 5 I can now at no extra cost (Apart from buying a Play 5) I believe my investment in Sonos will carry on being supported and developed, that’s what Sonos do. I could have bought the Logitech system just launched at the Sound and Vision show at the time. Now out of production.

It is expensive but I wasted £600 on a Phillips WAC600 wireless system before buying the Sonos just because it was £200 cheaper.

Its up to you but i dont think you will regret getting a Sonos.

 

Sonos ZP80 - Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 v2 - Sugden A21SE PMC DB1i

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

 

 

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

Thanks Boggit

I'm very confident in Sonos reliability, but the issue I have is the way I'd use the system. Because I'd always be using my iPhone or Spotify for music - then my network would be the limiting factor rather than the Sonos network. In which case I'm not getting any value from the Sonos network and I might be just as well off with Airplay

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

I use Spotify all the time it’s my only source of music. Yes you would have to rely on broadband to stream or download music but you would then benefit from the Sonos system to transmit around the house. If you use a computer you can use a cable to the router or indeed download your favourite tracks you can even download to your iphone if you don’t have a PC the no broadband is required. Flexibility it’s just built in, to do the Job!!

No Problem

Sonos ZP80 - Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 v2 - Sugden A21SE PMC DB1i

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

I agree 100% with your viewpoint...but still think weighing up the evidence Airplay may do just as good a job as Sonos.

My living room is the priority, and the amp is plugged into the homeplug ethernet, in my new place it may even be plugged directly into the router, so no reliability issues there. I'm happy to chance reliability in the kitchen or bedroom because it's not as essential, plus if it was giving me problems, I could just use another homeplug ethernet which should give reliability of at least equal to sonos, and potentially better

Happy for anyone to agree or disagree if you think i'm missing something!

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

Bear in mind that with AirPlay, you're stuck with Apple products. Your A5s will suddenly become obsolete if you switch to Android or Apple decides to "upgrade" AirPlay in a way that existing hardware won't be able to support it.

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RE: New Sonos setup or existing Airplay?

The_Lhc wrote:

bigboss wrote:
AirPlay uses the wi-fi network to stream music and is prone to dropouts you are experiencing. Sonos uses its own mesh network & so free from wi-fi interference.

Sorry BB but that isn't the case, Sonos uses the same frequency channels as wi-fi (the 2.4gHz range), so it's entirely possible for it to be interfered with, particularly if you're living in a flat surrounded by neighbouring wireless networks. In that situation it's no more reliable than any other system. Have a look at the Sonos forums, there's any number of people being interfered with...

What I meant was that AirPlay uses the same wifi network that the other components in the house are connected to. Can't Sonos use a different channel to avoid interference? I briefly bought an AirPlay speaker but sold it due to frequent dropouts. Never had a problem with Sonos.

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