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Sonos vs B&W A7
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Only about a month ago did I find out about wireless speakers, airplay, bluetooth etc. Most of my music I listened to via headphones. I never bought a hi-fi system because the cost was prohibitive and too inconvenient for me. I found out about the Zeppelin Air though and it completely changed my mind. I love the idea of having a totally wireless speaker that I can stream music to from my iphone or ipad (of which I have both). After much research I came upon the B&W A7 (review on this site and others) and the Sonos system (particularly the s5 and sub) I am having a problem deciding which would suit my lifestyle and music choices the best... here is the breakdown:

 

Price:

Right off the bat the Sonos system with the sub is a lot more money than a B&W A7 (which is very pricey in it's own right), right now I only really want to set up in one room, but the possibility of expanding in the future is tempting and the sonos seems better prepared for that.

Sound:

I know the B&W has a superb sound quality, and if it were based solely on sound quality I'd already have made my choice. I listen to music with a fair amount of bass and having a dedicated sub like the sonos would be great. I'm not sure if the B&W would have that depth of bass I'm after.

Design:

This is a factor for me... the Sonos to me is not very attractive visually... B&W on the other hand is fantastic looking. This isn't a deal breaker, but it certainly colors my opinion a bit.

I've not seen any comparisons in sound between Sonos and the new A7 yet, indeed not much in the way of in-depth reviews for the A7 at all to this point (other than this site and 1 other)

 

Thoughts? opinions?

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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

glenn22 wrote:
This is a factor for me... the Sonos to me is not very attractive visually... B&W on the other hand is fantastic looking. This isn't a deal breaker, but it certainly colors my opinion a bit.

Get it in black it won't look that much different to the A7 then. The Sub is only available in black, that's quite nice looking.

The other alternative to the Play 5 is get a Connect:Amp and some proper speakers, the Connect:Amp wouldn't need to be on show and you can still use the Sub with it. It'll sound better than the Play:5 by itself.

Or you go for the Play:5 and Sub and then later add another Play:5 and create a stereo pair (one 5 does the left channel, the other the right channel), that, apparently, brings a marked improvement to the sound, you're not going to get much of a stereo effect from a single play:5 or an A7.

Obviously there are cost implications in both those choices.

Anonymous
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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

The_Lhc wrote:

glenn22 wrote:
This is a factor for me... the Sonos to me is not very attractive visually... B&W on the other hand is fantastic looking. This isn't a deal breaker, but it certainly colors my opinion a bit.

Get it in black it won't look that much different to the A7 then. The Sub is only available in black, that's quite nice looking.

The other alternative to the Play 5 is get a Connect:Amp and some proper speakers, the Connect:Amp wouldn't need to be on show and you can still use the Sub with it. It'll sound better than the Play:5 by itself.

Or you go for the Play:5 and Sub and then later add another Play:5 and create a stereo pair (one 5 does the left channel, the other the right channel), that, apparently, brings a marked improvement to the sound, you're not going to get much of a stereo effect from a single play:5 or an A7.

Obviously there are cost implications in both those choices.

I did consider the Connect:Amp + speakers option, but I think both with price and space requirements it doesn't really work for me.

Two Play:5s and a sub is another option I'd consider, but again... is the price justified? It's more than twice the cost of an A7... I know the A7 doesn't have the pairing option to create stereo though, and that is a concern for future upgrading.

Have you listened to both an A7 and the Sonos 5? what's the difference in sound quality like? I've not seen anyone compare these directly yet.

Up until I found Sonos, I was convinced the B&W A7 was perfect for me, I very nearly purchased one. I guess my main concerns are the amount of bass, the upgradeability factor (no pairing for stereo option), and the fact that the A7 only has airplay (in case in future i switch to android or something).

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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

Sonos is a lot more flexible than B&W A7 & virtually future proof. A7 only has AirPlay (no Bluetooth or DLNA), so if you decide to change your phone or tablet to Android / Windows, you can only use it with a wired connection. For this feature alone, I would avoid any product without anything more than AirPlay support.

Anonymous
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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

Airplay has limited capcity and quality. It uses your existing wifi so depends upon how good your wifi router is. For example, drop outs on a BT homehub are likley.

 

If you plan on growing your needs, Airplay won't work. Its nice convenience and cheap because its low tech. Sonos creates its own wifi and has higher music quality. You can also use Sonos to play Napster and Spotify to any device from one account. You can't easily do that with Airplay.

Anonymous
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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

To add - sonos Play systems sound amazing.

Anonymous
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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

Thought I'd post a follow up to this since I was the OP and I've finally made my decision. My decision was the B&W A7. I feel like I should explain why since most here recommended the Sonos system. Here we're my main reasons:

 

1) my whole family uses apple products ( we have 3 iPads and 2 iPhones in our house) so airplay is something we really wanted and were already used to streaming from our iPads to the Apple TV. 

 

2) Sonos didn't have built in Airplay streaming.. I know you can set up airplay by purchasing an airport express, but it's an added expense to an already pricey system. Without that I'd have to stream from a computer or NAS device.... Don't like that very much.

 

3) Probably the biggest factor is the price. Sonos play5 is around 500 dollars, sub 800 dollars, bridge $50..... That's if you don't want a stereo setup... Could go with play 3s but honestly it's just really expensive. 

 

4) sonos sounded good, but honestly straight up vs the b&w a7 I think B&W easily wins.

 

5) finally, it just looks a lot better.

 

I'm very happy with my decision, it does everything I want it to with no problems at all. Sonos system may still be on the radar if I decide to go multi room in the future Smile

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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

Just to clarify some of your points. I know that you've already made your purchase.

1) After last month's update, you can directly stream music from your iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch without the need for AirPort Express. So Sonos works exactly like an AirPlay speaker without the issue of audio dropouts that AirPlay products seem to be more prone to.

2) If Apple decides to implement AirPlay direct in a different way, current AirPlay products can suddenly become redundant. Same as what happened with lightning port. Sonos' policy is keeping its products future proof.

3) Play:5 has a very good bass response in itself, so a sub may not have been needed at all. You could've always added a sub later when funds allowed.

4) If you want stereo mode & a sub, 2 Play:3s are cheaper than 2 Play:5s.

Anonymous
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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

Let us know how you get on with one family sharing the airplay.

Anonymous
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RE: Sonos vs B&W A7

Incorrect. The sonos streaming function doesn't pause the music when your iphone rings, so it doesn't work the same way.  First, full disclosure: I have all of the products mentioned above but mainly use my sonos connect to play music through my main system. Oh, and I listen to my music loud. If I'm streaming music from my iphone to my sonos, and the phone rings, the music keeps right on playing. That usually means getting up and turning the volume down on my main system with the remote or if I can't find the remote, running in to the music room to turn the volume down so I can answer the phone. If I'm streaming music to my airport express, usually at earth shaking volumes while working at my home office, and my iphone rings, the music pauses. Once I hang up, the music automatically resumes. Big, BIG BIG difference.

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