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Sonos's “recycle mode” intentionally bricks devices so they can't be reused (twitter.com)
1236 points by gyger 23 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 461 comments



What a total waste.

Apparel companies are starting to participate in the secondary market for their used gear, why can't Sonos do something similar?

Examples: - Patagonia Worn Wear (https://wornwear.patagonia.com) - REI Used Gear (https://www.rei.com/used/shop/gear) - Arc'teryx Rock Solid (https://rocksolid.arcteryx.com)

As it stands, Sonos is effectively buying their old speakers and then throwing them away. Could they not recoup their costs and avoid e-waste by simply selling the used Sonos devices into a market that can't afford the brand new ones? I thought this is how most phone trade-in programs worked, which seems like a mature process now.


Then they would have to continue supporting those devices, which isn’t part of the planned obsolescence business model. It would also dilute the luxury brand halo that Sonos has tried to cultivate.

It’s more like Louis Vuitton getting into the secondhand market. They too would (and do) destroy merchandise rather than let it get sold at a discount and dilute the brand value.


They’ve actually done a pretty good job of being backwards-compatible and even enabling features on older speakers if they’re grouped with newer ones. For example, having an AirPlay 2 speaker in a group means that all speakers in the group will receive sound through AirPlay 2, even if they didn’t support AirPlay in the first place.

That makes this even more puzzling.


Didn't they face huge backlash a few years back when they EOLed still functional kit people owned and used?

* It was the CR100 Controller they updated to no longer be able to control devices it previously could.


Sonos EOLed their hardware controllers, since they'd moved over to their phone-based controllers almost exclusively several years before (it had been a while since you could buy the hardware controllers).

AFAIK they've never EOLed any speakers. Older speakers sometimes don't get newer features (like AirPlay 2), but they still work and can even play back AirPlay 2 audio if grouped with a newer speaker.


Not really, if older hardware doesn't support newer features, you'll think about switching ecosystems when you need more speakers. This approach justifies more Sonos gear.


You can already buy louis vuitton at the nordstrom rack.

The model for highly disposable luxury technology is Apple. Apple is also the model for refurbished goods. These things aren't mutually exclusive. You can tuck away a refurbished part of the site just out of the eyes of the majority just like Apple does.


"highly disposable"? I think if you consider the average useable lifetime of an Apple product they aren't as expensive as they may seem.

Of course there are people who want a new model phone every year but that is their choice, certainly not something forced by the nature of the product.


but yes, bad Sonos. (to bring it back on topic)


How does that viewpoint square with 1) Deliberately slowed-down hardware (claimed concern about "older device batteries" don't wash with reality either...)

2) Planned obsolescence in the forms of A) Removing/altering physical ports, preferring proprietary "standards" to actual standards B) Irreversible OS upgrades, Internet Recovery Mode notwithstanding, and the deliberately hobbled functionality "older" hardware endures, see leaked employee info on deliberate unnecessary version flags purpose built into software, etc.


What do you mean the older batteries concern is fake? Batteries literally lose capacity and capable amperage over their life. Yes, they way they handled it initially could’ve been better, but to say it’s not reality is to literally ignore reality.


It's worth noting that other than the physical controller devices (which were discontinued in favor of mobile apps but still given a generous lifetime), Sonos still supports all of their hardware from the very first speakers / amps that they released.

Not that this makes their current actions ok, but at least they had been trying until now. I think they are now realizing that having a product that doesn't have built-in planned obsolescence may be hurting their profits


For a physical device (ie featured-locked upon shipping), “support” amounts to paying the server bill, which is likely negligible.


That's the problem right there, for a hardware manufacturer post shipping there shouldn't be a server.


They run a routing/cross-auth system so you can stream from other IP-based audio services directly to your speakers. They aren’t entirely a hardware company and those integrations are a value-add for a lot of consumers. I think you should be able to run them in some kind of offline mode, though.


Or it could be smart enough to communicate with my computer directly, and have my credentials onboard, the way my NAS or router does.

Devices that used to be smart way before all this "dumb home" stuff appeared.


Logitech Squeeze players also had Squeeze network, which cost nothing, and is still in service today.

You can put a DAC on a RPi, install squeezeplayer, and attach to the squeeze network for free today. I have done that exact thing in the last six months.


Even that does not require a server for the speakers to connect to owned by Sonos.


That’s true, but running and maintaining one is outside the expertise of most people.


They at least need an update server so they can receive security patches. Once you need that, it's a slippery slope to depending on lots of things in the cloud.


Synology gets that right.


Why are these devices so complex as to need security updates?


Because they're connected to the internet. Because IoT.


To expand on that: security. Without security updates, your devices could be hacked.


Horrible stuff.


Not true, Sonos works in a mesh, so all Sonos devices need to talk to each other, and to the controller app on phone or PC.


Absolutely doable over local network only.


Local only doesn't allow Sonos to record everything you do and disable your device when they decide it's time for you to buy a new one.


Would be great if you could use your own server, and that the server code was open.


That's why I stick with the squeezebox ecosystem.

Open source server which runs locally. The hardware is long since discontinued (but plentiful and easily available on craigslist etc) and it can never be obsoleted as everything runs locally.


Plus Squeeze Network (still free, still working) for Pandora, Spotify, or other network services.

Have you tried squeezeplayer on a RPi with a DAC? It works great. I have one alongside my original Squuezebox. They sync perfectly for multiroom audio.

With a DAC, it runs fine on a Zero. Cheap.


It would be great if they gave the hardware away for free too. But alas, the evil company wanted to make money. Those pirates.


And that's how it should have been.


Let’s make an open source Sonos clone and call it Fauxnos. It can be powered by a raspberry pi integrated into a speaker running mpd.

Who wants to join my git repo?


I've been running that system for a few years (with control via MALP or ncmpc mostly). Works pretty well.


do you have a keybase.io ID? I’m going to kick this off as my first 2020 project


I’ve been doing it with ROAP, RTSP & MPD on a rPI for the past ≈5 years, I call it Cantus.


But still, why not say so directly? Why lie about sustainability? It seems extremely dishonest.


Because they’re an “old” Silicon Valley company still sticking to the rhetoric of “technology always makes the world a better place!!!”


Wonder how long these apparel companies will keep it up. I remember reading not so long ago that some well-known clothes companies realized that people are interested in buying used high-quality clothes, and so they started manufacturing new clothes using worse materials and process but to the same design as quality ones, and then sell these fake-used clothes as "worn".


Stone-washed jeans have been a thing since at least 1980's, from around the same time that "worn in" look became fashionable.


Isn't that basically the "Outlet Store" model? New clothes made to lower standards but ostensibly sold under the illusion of being "last season's overstock" of the high quality normal version?


Sonos could immediately cure the worst of these image problems by setting up something so you could re-license a recycled device for the $120 value (or whatever the amount is) someone got for hitting recycle.


It's not clear to me from the information here that Sonos themselves can't refurbish a device that's been put into recycle mode. This seems to be a technique to block third party refurbishers only.


It appears they can, but choose not to. This way they can ensure that less used units are available on the market, forcing people to buy a new unit instead.


In the thread it was explained how support agents would refuse to do it remotely for a customer's device, but what I'm saying is that Sonos probably retains the ability for themselves to refurbish and resell the units when they are physically returned to Sonos.


They encourage you to recycle it yourself rather than send it back to them. From their support page: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3573

“Once your Sonos product has been deactivated, you can safely recycle it by bringing it to your local e-waste recycling center. You can also send your deactivated Sonos product back to us and we’ll handle the recycling.”


Patagonia are famously environmental and not really run on a capitalist basis...


Patagonia was started by a rock climber who sold his hand-made climbing gear into the free market. He was well rewarded for doing so and from that was able to grow into the Patagonia many of us know and love today (indeed my favorite clothing company).

The company is not only run on a capitalist basis, it's the reason it exists in the first place.

But yeah, it's true they're more conscious and environmentally friendly than most. And I think they play an important role in pushing back against fast fashion, which is incredibly polluting and wasteful.


I believe that Patagonia cares about the environment and wishes there was more they could do, but I think they are absolutely driven by the forces of capitalism, whether they like it or not, and it’s visible in their current practices. They run holiday ads and promotions, they open new stores, they release a new line each year. Yes they sprinkle in campaigns and messaging to not buy new unless you really need it and they facilitate recycling/reuse of their past products, but capitalism still forces them to seek growth, relevance, and sales to survive, which they do. Not faulting them for it, just wishing it wasn’t that way.


>They run holiday ads and promotions, they open new stores, they release a new line each year.

These are all things a regular entrepreneur would do whether they were capitalist or not.

Or any of _other peoples' money_ was involved.

Even when the only environment to operate in is recognized as overwhelmingly capitalist, a non-capitalist entrepreneur can still have some unfair advantages.

When you're selling all you can make for a profit long enough, you're supposed to be doing well depending only on business structure after that. Yes, you might have a disadvantage being surely influenced by the forces of capitalism, but it can often be done.

Also without growth as an articulated goal, the pressure of exponential demands can be appropriately moderated and more sustainable growth with better returns can still result compared to alternative leadership approaches which focus on growth most aggressively but still end up wishing they could do as well.

>If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, _This sucks. I'm going to do my own thing._

__Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia


I think you may be misusing the term “capitalist”. I always understood that it had more to do with the production side of a business than sales or long-term goals: the capitalist (a founder or investor) provides capital so that a business can acquire production facilities, and is entitled in return to a portion of the proceeds from the enterprise that he or she enabled. The business strategy and long-term vision can be anything the parties agree upon.

The closest thing I can think of to a private non-capitalist business would be one that relies on other companies to do the actual work and haven’t invested in their own production facilities. There are plenty of these around today, but that doesn’t appear to be what you’re referring to.


Good to get your message.

Just using terminology more precisely as it applies to a natural environment over a lifetime.

The one constant is the structure which enables other people's money to be used for pure financial leverage.

No requirement for free enterprise which I truly care for as well.

Heck, before they were united, some States of America were founded by royal capitalist corporations, about the furthest thing from free enterprise.

So capital as other people's money is a resource, but not every resource is capital unless it actually belongs to somebody else with their conditions attached as agreed.

Not so much means of production, or hard assets, but whenever an investor provides capital to a founder so that

>The business strategy and long-term vision can be anything the parties agree upon.

Regardless of whether you build or acquire any facilities they are

>entitled in return to a portion of the proceeds from the enterprise that he or she enabled.

So I think we can agree that type of thing is it for sure.

But I do think it's actually some of the uber-capitalist corporations which have done the most damaging outsourcing.

And I don't see how I could rightfully be a capitalist without any capital.

Well, it might just be best to be able to change at any time, if you really do know how to perform for shareholders.

A founder without any of other people's money, and without enough prosperity to enable their investment in other people's ventures, just doesn't seem to be actually handling capital, yet, even if the cash flow gets fairly large.

Even if they are very agressive entrepreneurs this does not put them in the catagory of funded ventures, and opportunity to well exploit a capitalist market might remain out of reach even while it still must be operated within.

When the economic system is structured so that capital alone can yield more than many labor approaches, terms become more critical than ever for outfits seeking leverage so they can become capitalist in difficult or uncertain conditions.

Without extraordinary terms an operation might be better off which could take place whether there was other people's money or not.

Capitalism can enable wonderful things and not-so-wonderful things but the foundation is basically the other people's money aspect of it.


What definition of "capitalism" are you using?

Patagonia certainly seems to exist in a world of private ownership, private investment decisions, and voluntary exchanges in a free market.


They are literally doing exactly that. You can take your old speaker into a Sonos store or ship it (on Sonos dime) back to them. They then refurbish and resell, and you get a discount.

This story is at best lazy reporting with many facts left out or unresearched.

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/certified-refurbished

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/tradeup


I already replied to your other comment but in the interest of correcting this misinformation, you can neither ship your bricked device to Sonos nor bring it into a Sonos store.

https://twitter.com/sonossupport/status/1179459927624036357?...

https://twitter.com/sonossupport/status/1198204183335309313?...

https://twitter.com/sonossupport/status/1196142002406133761?...


In Belgium, any electronics vendor has 'aanvaardingsplicht', the duty to accept your old device when selling you a new one. So sonos shops here have to accept them. In fact, you can bring in your old 20kg tube radio and claim your new sonos is replacing it.


From the FAQ on https://www.sonos.com/en-us/tradeup -

> Do you resell recycled devices?

> No.These devices are permanently deactivated and cannot be resold.


What’s intensely frustrating about this is that audio equipment is one of the few areas where old high end kit is still absolutely fantastic for current users. I have an NAD 3020 from the 1980s which works perfectly with the same pair of speakers that it was bought with. I can’t say the same about other tech, but audio just doesn’t age at the same speed.


I can’t say the same about other tech, but audio just doesn’t age at the same speed.

People's ears have not changed, and the ability to reproduce sound has been nearly perfected. If you're not too picky/audiophillic, like most people, the requirements are even lower.


Literally the only "improvements" that are ever going to happen to audio in your lifetime will be a) internetifying it and b) adding more restrictions to how you use it.

We've hit peak audio (best reproduction, no restrictions on usage) and it's only downhill from here.

I look forward to my 2025 speakers that only work for an hour a day unless I pay for extra time credits.

"Do you wish to play a) music b) music and local radio c) music, local radio and podcasts [BEST VALUE]?"


We had indeed excellent analog audio for many decades. But there are still very exciting things happening which are improving the audio quality a lot - expecially in the middle and lower range of the spectrum. There are great pure analog setups, but they require a lot of very expensive and bulky technology, none the least, large speakers and a carefully set up room with good accustics.

Modern digital technology makes this so much easier and more. There are excellent digital power amps, where you have power amplification on one chip integrated with the DAC. Just looking at some of the features of a simple Homepod, there are exciting technologies involved, which could improve also higher end audio. First is driving the bass speaker in a feedback loop. In classical audio technology, you would have a power signal and have to rely on the speaker to transfer this into motion with as little as possible of distortion. Which required the speaker to behave like a perfect spring for different frequencies. So this is a very difficult task, making the speaker expensive and often imperfect. Homepods drive their bass speakers in a feedback loop, the desired position of the membrane is calculated and an electric circuit drives it into that position. It does no longer depend on the mechanical properties of the membrane, also allowing for much higher motion range than in a classical speaker. Also, the active monitoring of the room acoustics with several directional microphones is an improvement vs. classical set up amplifiers, even if they had a microphone input for set up.

So I don't see us hitting peak audio at all yet, that makes for exciting times for music lovers.


I don't disagree that there are exciting things coming to consumer audio, but we have had excellent digital audio for decades in audiophile systems. My speakers are twenty years old and they each have a DSP, two DACs and three amplifiers. I paid $900 for a pair and they are the best speakers I've ever heard.


In terms of storing/transmitting/digitizing, yes.

Distortion levels from speakers are still far from negligible-- by negligible I mean so low as to be extremely likely to be inaudible.

High power amplifiers are just now reaching a point where there are efficient amplifiers with negligible distortion; though they've been pretty good for a fairly long time.

There is a lot that can be done in terms of immersive spatial audio, unfortunately the trouble and cost of installing an array of speakers ... limits deployment. :)

There is also a lot that can be done to use DSP to ameliorate poor room acoustics, this stuff exists, but it isn't super widely deployed.


> peak audio

Nah, there are plenty of other things, like positional audio. I remember (through a pleasant haze of nostalgia) my old A3D-based sound card in the 90s as being even better than modern EAX stuff.

Potential improvement in that area can be both through simply adding speakers, and through tuning per-speaker output to forge better audio-cues. (To wit, Head Related Transfer Functions applied to headphones, possibly even with custom parameters for different peoples' heads.)


Monster Sound A300 and 3dfx Voodoo 3000 FTW! That was peak hardware for my teens!


What about things like Dolby atmos that use 3D noise wave cancellation/amplification technology to effectively do to surround sound what 3D glasses did for the TV


> do to surround sound what 3D glasses did for the TV reply

So, nothing, at the end of the day?


Perhaps not the best analogy, but the ability to make an explosion happen over your head instead of from the front left and center is a marked improvement


You could just put speakers in your ceiling. But given how people have trouble telling whether sounds are coming from above or below them anyways, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.


doesn't do a thing for music.


It doesn't do anything for "music that happened to be mastered in 2-4 channels".

It does plenty for music.


Produced, mixed and mastered.

So that's not really plenty of music.


Music isn’t the only form of audio


The improvements are all in headphones. Wireless and noise canceling are legitimate needs and they are getting better.


People's taste has changed though. Your speakers from the 80's generally can't be driven as loud with current music, as modern music tends to be a lot more bass heavy (obviously a lot more pronounced with techno and other electronic music, but also with pop music).

The response curve from speakers has also reflected that, a lot of them are bass boosted in the amplifier or are designed with a bass boost in them.

I have some fairly nice speakers from the 70's (a couple of different sets, one homebuilt), and Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane sound a lot better from them than Katy Perry or Tiesto.


Sure, but new Sonos speakers are not that. They are a moderately okay speaker with wireless networking and control software that consumes an app-mediated digital byte stream, and then in the speaker decodes it to audio to perform playback.

If you want good speakers, you don't buy a device that's 50% streaming audio circuitry, you buy a same-priced speaker that's actually a good speaker.


I wrote the Twitter thread and I use a Marantz 2230, for what it's worth. All my own audio equipment was recycled at some point.


I think one of the interesting aspects is that performance plateaued in a lot of ways.

If you look at the S/N and distortion specs on a new affordably priced receiver, they won't be meaningfully better than a mid-range unit from the late 70s/early 80s. All the new HDMI and 20.7 Dolby Surround does nothing for two-channel MP3s or CDs.

Because the performance is equal, it's allowed build quality to shine. 15kg of heatsinks, capacitors the size of Coke cans, and big old TO-3 transistors are probably going to outlast propriatery digital doodads and amp-on-a-module designs built to minimize costs.

I'm more of a JVC fanboy myself, but I've been working on a Kenwood KR-6200 recently. 45 years old and one dead bulb. Unacceptable!


Ehh, S/N has improved so much since the 80's that the noise floor of today's low-end receivers are significantly better than basically all high-end equipment from back then, especially if you include the DAC.


My Carver amp and Dahlquist speakers I run all day every day. Bought them in 1980.

I retired many computers in the 80's and 90's in perfect working order. None of them will power up today.


Concur that the 80s era Carver amps are outstanding.


Absolutely! I have a 1999 Sony amp and some older (1980s) Wharfedale speakers.

Nothing I've bought in the last 25 years sounds remotely as good as them.

And plugging in a Chromecast audio has given it immortality.


What's the current best alternative to a Chromecast Audio, now that they're discontinued and no longer as readily available?

My current living room setup is a Chromecast Audio connected to an AVR via the optical out connection, which powers my speakers, but I'm curious if there's any alternatives. The eBay sellers are really starting to price-gouge, and I'm not naive enough to believe that my Chromecast Audio will last forever.


I have replaced my Chromecast Audio with Raspberry Pi with a Snapcast client. On the Snapcast server side I run a DLNA renderer ("gmrender resurrect"). This allows me to cast audio synchronously to multiple speakers using the Android app Bubble UPNP. Basically, instead of clicking the cast button in an app, I select share, then Bubble UPNP. One advantage to this is that I can "cast" Youtube and get the audio, which Chromecast audio does not support.

Btw, Snapcast works great.


The latency of your suggestion is making me cringe. Mpd if you desire a sonos-like synchronized low-lag experience. Streaming direct to pulseaudio is also an option, but requires bandwidth (uncompressed audio)


What latency are you referring to? Latency between the source and the sound from the speaker? For me is this only a problem for the audio that goes with video. For pure music I don't mind. But in the video case I switch to pulseaudio directly but obviously lose the multispeaker setup.


Your setup streamed to two different rooms will have two distinct delays of the source audio. Probably fine for most use cases, but drives me nuts and why consumers head to sonos.

Pulseaudio can stream to multiple speakers and audio devices simultaneously. Switching to JACKd instead of gstreamer for the pulseaudio backend allows for a much more powerful audio processing subsystem (at the expense of resources since jackd likes a real-time kernel). Using mpd allows for a lightweight low latency server/client to stream audio to remote destinations. It’s not quite plug and play (DLNA doesn’t care about synchronization) but dropping mpd onto a raspberry pi is the simple fix (and simulates the hardware inside of a sonos speaker)

I’m sorry I’m on mobile or i would make a diagram showing this in detail. I’ve been thinking of what an open source Sonos clone would look like for a long time. Maybe it’s time to open up that git repo to the public


The setup is: the dlna renderer sends it's output to the snapcast server pipe. The snapcast server streams the audio to snapcast clients via a time synced protocol.

The latency you think I have is not there.


You can use a small computer and remote control it somehow.

Or use a Chromecast Ultra and connect to the hi-fi with a hdmi to audio (spdif, 3.5", ...) or hdmi to vga+audio (and don't bother connect the vga to anything)


I have a Google Home mini connected via Bluetooth to my amp, with 25 year old Gale speakers. That works for casting, and of course directly controlling by voice. I previously tried connecting an old Echo Dot via the wired connection, but the quality was a bit rubbish. I'm guessing a crappy DAC in the Echo or something. The sound via Bluetooth is great though.


...until Google kills Chromecast


I'm kind of glad I went with Squeezebox (formerly slim devices) 10 or so years ago. The entire server and client system is OSS, written in Perl on Linux (OK, that bit's annoying now, but was nice when I still used perl). The audio hardware is (still) great, and the software is hackable and I can SSH in to my speaker and change things if I need/want to. Most annoying thing is the constant cat-and-mouse game with hacked-on suppport for streaming services.


If you are into this, I can suggest you take a look at this gear: https://mobile.twitter.com/amiteque

A boutique outfit from Shenzhen makes that.


My speakers are twenty years old, but I got them last year. I am probably their fifth owner, as there is an entire community passing these things down the chain. In a similar vein, I've gone back to my TAG watch as my Apple Watch 1 just popped its screen off.


> audio equipment is one of the few areas where old high end kit is still absolutely fantastic

Yep. I picked up a massive old high-end Denon receiver with pre-amp inputs and use a cheap newer receiver to decode surround digital audio and pump it through that 40 pound beast. Sounds incredible.


I inherited a pair of speakers my dad bought in the early 80s. They still work well, though the amp died last year and I wasn't able to repair it.


You can get a number of small amps these days that will plug into the speakers and sound great.

Many will also support Bluetooth so you can stream to your stereo.


Bluetooth is the biggest joke foisted on audio. Even at its best there is mandated compression, which means the highest quality signal will be mashed into a lowest common denominator piece of garbage.


Not to mention all the basement "remixers" who use audacity or whatever to "improve" the sound before they stream it, or max the volume to the point of constant red-lining, nevermind downgrading it to mp3 instead of using a lossless format.


The damage you do to your music is on you. I'm talking about damage inflicted automatically that you may not even be aware of.


That's why I said, "not to mention". That means not specifically to what you were saying, but in addition to it. I think I was also clear about the fact that it's not what I was doing, but what other people were doing. This is simple stuff.


Sorry if I wasn't clear, what I meant is that messing with your sound files should make it obvious that you're changing the sound - there's no surprise. BT is different because the expectation is that it works just like a wire.


By the same logic that there's mandated compression when you are forced to encode your stream as PCM. Bluetooth mandates compression, sure, but it's been repeatedly proven to be transparent at the bitrates used by even crappy hardware...

Just Google for 'SBC codec transparent' if curious.

Bluetooth's A2DP only real problem is the unspecified latency requirements.


As I said in my post, the bluetooth is optional. It's just a stereo amp so it has inputs for line level and phono. Buletooth is convenient for ad-hoc playlists.


Do you have a link to these small in-speaker housing amps?


I was referring to amps that don't house speakers but instead connect to speakers with traditional speaker wire. If you search for "stereo amplifier" on Amazon there are a bunch of them.

Several companies make all-in-one bluetooth speakers that have amps built in, but they tend to be lower quality in my experience.


Indeed, and it won't lose any value as you use it either. In fact, a lot of vintage equipment only gains value. My speakers are older than me by more than a decade (1972) and cost me £10 plus about £15 to repair the foams that perished a few years ago.


[flagged]


I don't think it's the reason.

A pair of good speakers is the most useful equipment in audio. If I'm a millennial audiophool and want 192 kHz / 32-bit PCM, I'll simply put a new DAC in front of the original Hi-Fi amplifier. I won't throw the perfectly usable system away.


I think this was a sarcastic comment. Obviously "reproducing the ultrasonics" don't actually matter for music reproduction....


Of course it's a sarcastic comment, and I know it when I was comment. It seems that it was you, who are unfamiliar with its background and implication.

"Reproducing the ultrasonics" here is a sarcastic reference to any sampling rate higher than 24 kHz (it actually backs back well before digital music). Audiophiles often prefer it because it's claimed that it has a wider frequency response, a lower quantization noise by oversampling, increased transparency after recording and remixing, while critics believe it's a point of diminishing return, and increases the odds of unwanted distortion that actually decreases the fidelity.


When recording audio, it is necessary to filter our frequencies above Nyquist frequency to prevent aliasing. It is easier to make a good filter when you have Nyquist freq. at 48 kHz rather than try to implement a filter that can silence everything above 24 kHz and doesn't touch anything below 20 kHz. Or am I wrong here?


Read the full article of Monty's criticisms of 192 kHz, it answers this question. https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

His point is that once oversampling and filtering is done in hardware, the final output only needs to be encoded in a low sampling rate for its benefits, and all high-quality DAC and ADC already oversample the signal under the hood. Using 192 kHz for its output or music distribution is unnecessary, and only introduces drawbacks like additional IMD and wasted space.


It seems that it was you, who are unfamiliar with its background and implication.

What makes you think I am unfamiliar with the background?

Was it the polite way I pointed out that you had clearly missed the sarcasm?

Either way, the hostility is unnecessary.


Calling out the sarcasm for being misaimed is not the same as missing the sarcasm.

> the polite way I pointed out that you had clearly missed the sarcasm?

That wording makes your comment just as hostile as theirs. If that's the intent you had in your first comment, well, you went first. Not much room to complain about low-level tit-for-tat hostility at that point.


I think saying "I think" softens it and additionally it isn't accusational unlike "It seems that it was you, who are unfamiliar with its background and implication." (emphasis mine)

But I think tone on the internet is difficult to read.

And I had no negative intent in noting the sarcasm. I didn't think the replier realised it, and I'm still not convinced they do.


In all honesty, I'd like a system that could play and record ultrasound.


> Inaudible ultrasonics contribute to intermodulation distortion in the audible range. Systems not designed to reproduce ultrasonics typically have much higher levels of distortion above 20 kHz, further contributing to intermodulation. Widening a design's frequency range to account for ultrasonics requires compromises that decrease noise and distortion performance within the audible spectrum. Either way, unneccessary reproduction of ultrasonic content diminishes performance.

- Christopher "Monty" Montgomery, the original author of the Ogg codec, founder of the Xiph.org Foundation, a real audio engineer.

https://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html


I don't need it for music. I want to record ultrasound from the environment, and possibly play signals of my own.


I actually did this, sort of.

It was to scare away the stone marter family that had made themselves a home under my parents' roof tiles. They are a protected animal where I live, so you can't just do anything to get rid of them. But they also tend to chew on cables in your car (they really do), making them dangerous. Also make a LOT of noise when they go hunting at night.

Looking up various ways to get rid of these animals (apparently they also really dislike the smell of toilet fresheners, which you can place under your car hood or something), I found an ultrasound device but it was kinda expensive for single use.

So I generated a bunch of high frequency tones, to make it extra annoying I had it do random(10,20) seconds of beep, then random(10,20) seconds of silence.

I burned this to a CD, made three tracks at 15kHz, 17kHz and 19kHz. I didn't go higher because I had no way to find out if the speakers would be able to reproduce that tone :) I could clearly hear 15k, and my parents a little. I could nearly hear 17k, and my parents swore they heard nothing. Neither of us could hear the 19k, even at the loudest volume.

Since I don't live there, we decided to put the 17k track on repeat, at max volume, because at least we knew it made a sound (that I could barely hear). The CD player was placed next to an open window close to the nest.

That very night, the stone marter family got up and left. We assumed they probably just moved a few houses over, or something. However ...

Just to be sure they wouldn't return, my parents left the CD player on repeat for an entire week. After that week when my dad turned off the CD, five minutes later, he walked into the garden ...

"Hey, the birds are back!"

(... and to think there's a popular route close to their house for people walking their dogs ...)

So yeah, that definitely worked. It's just not very specific :-P


Horns are better for higher end frequencies than a regular conical tweeter but they are often too large to play woofer roles.


And annoy pets? I had some failing electrical gear that produced extremely high frequencies.

Drove the dogs a little crazy until I found it.


Not annoy, but learn more about them. The original idea of investigating ultrasound environment came to me when I was taking care of some rats for a few weeks for a friend; I read a short book on them, from which I've learned that they communicate with ultrasound, which made me want to "listen in" on that communication, and perhaps replay some of it.

FWIW, I have a cat myself, and I'm not the kind of person to annoy animals on purpose.


I'm not very good with electronics, but someone who is showed me this cool device they built themselves. It was something like a "frequency-lowerer" (NO idea how that works, I know DSP but not the analog stuff) and the intended use was to be able to hear the screeches of bats. One way to test it was to jingle a bunch of keys in front of its mic, the metal clanging has a lot of ultrasound.

I dunno how hard they are to build (that guy was pretty skilled), but I think you can also just buy these devices ready made. Probably called "bat detectors" or something.


Grandpa's sound system was analog, not digital (as are all sound systems at some point before the speakers because sound is analog)

In fact I actually have a 192khz, 32 bit dac connecting my PC to a Technics stereo amp from the 80s.

Pithy snark only really works when you actually understand what you're talking about.


Spot-on.

I have an Apple USB-C to Headphone jack (named the AppleDAC by some of the people I know online) at the core of my setup- it goes from an HTPC (with a type-A to C adapter) to an older Akai amp. Works great for what I need it to, and for $8.99 + adapter, the thingies are lovely- if you have a TRRS headset, the AppleDAC will enumerate as a headset and it just works, too.

Melding new and old tech is where it's at, IMO.


You really do need a high quality DAC for a modern system. Older systems won't have a DAC at all, much less a good one.

That is a big deal unless it's a system 100% dedicated to vinyl.


Good thing those can be added after the fact.


That rather defeats the purpose of buying old kit on the cheap though, since you can get a good modern integrated amp for not much more than a standalone DAC.


The same millenials who are buying Bluetooth speakers at unprecedented rates?


It's almost like the word "millennial" is completely void of meaning...

Who ever would have thought labeling three decades worth of people across the whole globe with a single label AND THEN trying to draw generalisations from it was a fools errand?


The word "millennial used in a comment is a pretty easy signal that there's probably dumbassery ahead.


As if the average Millenial can afford expensive audio equipment.


The oldest millennials are now 38 years old.


Maybe instead of down voting my comment people should look up income data. It's not like I'm making shit up:

"The average Millennial annual salary is $35,592. Pew Research found that more millennial households are in poverty than any other generation and that millennials accounted for most of the nation’s renters."

https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-the-average-millennial-in...


Even 256kHz 48-bit can't even get close to what I need when it comes to pitch-shifting an audio sample up even one single octave. It produces audible 'warbling' like a poorly-encoded MP3, or a badly-fatigued guitar string.

We aren't close to peak audio, yet.


Assuming you're talking about pitch shifting without changing speed, that warbling doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the source sample. It's just how the pitch shifting algorithm works.


Nah, this happens even in my hardware guitar pitch-shifting pedal. That one is pure analog. Guitar doesn't warble, but throw FLAC through it and you will get the warbling.


Exactly an octave is easy... just discard every other sample and smash the remaining ones together.


Except it's not... You need to filter down to below the new Nyquist frequency first or you will add tons of aliasing.


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Why, specially, are audiophiles worthy of scorn on HN?

Show some damn respect for others interest.


I think the kind of audiophiles who buy gold-plated HDMI cables because they sound better give the others a bad name.


Yeah...not that anyone should take a dump on the whole crowd, but spend much time in an 'audiophile' forum means wading through toxic levels of Flat-Earther calibre psuedo-science screamed as unassailable 'fact'.


It seems like a lot of commenters here (as well as the tweets) are totally missing the purpose of the recycle mode.

If you want to sell, give away, or otherwise let someone else reuse your Sonos, then DON'T PUT IT IN RECYCLE MODE. Easy peasy.

Recycle mode exists for when you intentionally want to get a Sonos trade-in credit for recycling your speakers for materials. But because you don't send the speakers directly to Sonos (instead to a local recycler), they have to trust you're actually recycling it instead of keeping it or selling it. So the recycle lock is a clever mechanism to ensure that. Otherwise you could "cheat" by getting the credit AND still using/selling your speakers.

So if you want your speakers to be reused... don't take the credit!! Donate or sell them instead! It's your choice.

It seems to me like overall it's a good set of incentives. The credit helps encourage people to recycle them at all instead of just throwing them in the trash, right? But doesn't prevent people from otherwise selling or donating them. Since it gives the consumer all the choice, this seems like a win for all sides, no?


People understand the purpose of it quite well. They just completely disagree with your analysis.

First, the most environmental form of recycling is for an object to be reused as is. So, if any item is given to a recycling center, if the recycling center can just sell it directly to someone else, then it's much more environmentally friendly.

Second, the credit doesn't encourage people to recycle them at all instead of throwing it in the trash, there's no verification that they've given it to a recycling center. The only thing is that after the recycling mode is enable, the device becomes a useless paperweight.

So it's an extremely environmentally unfriendly policy from a company who pretends they care about the environment.


> So, if any item is given to a recycling center, if the recycling center can just sell it directly to someone else, then it's much more environmentally friendly.

I think OP's analysis did cover that. You don't have to put it in the recycle mode. You can sell it yourself or choose not to get the credit so someone else can "Recycle" it by reusing it.

I do agree with you that people could still put in the trash, but I also think that's where good recycling programs matter. It shouldn't be hard to recycle an electronic. It should be as simple as recycling paper or glass, especially in an age where almost everything is electronic.


If they really want to encourage reuse of their devices, why would they incentivize the users to turn their devices into unusable trash by giving them credits for doing that?

> but I also think that's where good recycling programs matter.

However good your recycling program is, it is still going to be _strictly more_ wasteful than simply reusing the device.


> If they really want to encourage reuse of their devices, why would they incentivize the users to turn their devices into unusable trash by giving them credits for doing that?

It's another alternative. Some people just won't bother trying to resell it.


This is covered in the Twitter thread. Individual consumers might not go through the hassle, but a recycling center totally will: they tend to have market connections to refurbish used equipment, and prefer that option because they know it's more sustainable than scrapping perfectly good hardware for raw materials.

If the device works, and someone else wants it, then it has been recycled very efficiently. Sonos policy here is backwards.


Recycling electronics is extremely difficult and non-trivial. See the Netflix series “broken” -> plastics for a deep-dive. If the company claims it’s super environmentally friendly, it should incentivize reuse of existing products. Instead it’s saying, “want a discount to spend more money with us? Great. Let’s get you a discount by creating an extremely difficult and mostly unrecyclable paperweight out of what you have, first.” They could have said “refer a friend and we’ll give you a discount” etc


There's a very nice graphic in the Twitter thread showing "reduce > re-use > recycle > trash". They are different things, so let's not make things extra confusing by saying "recycle by reusing".

Anyway, what Sonos is incentivizing through their credit is to make people choose the option "recycle or trash". They have no incentive to make people choose one over the other. And as already mentioned elsewhere in the thread, many recycling centres won't take a completely bricked device, so I think it's pretty fair to say that in practice what Sonos is incentivizing is for people to first brick, then TRASH the device in exchange for these credits.

Either way, Sonos is actively dis-incentivizing the "re-use" option, which is the most environmentally friendly one.

And the only reason they do this is their profit.


The end result of all this is to say Sonos doesn’t give a whit about the environment though. If that was the case they would allow someone at the recycle center to buy their old equipment, and the original owner to buy a new one with a discount (for being a loyal customer, and presumably still making a profit).


Why would a recycling center want to buy anything? It's a recycling center, not a pawn/thrift shop. How does Sonos not care about the environment unless they do something completely and utterly nonsense?


No, I meant one person drops their working stuff off at the recycling center to get rid of it, and if the recycling center finds that it’s still functional and worth something, they can sell it to cover their costs.

This was what was described in the grandparent comment.

In the case of Sonos the only thing the recycling center receives are bricks.


My understanding was that a lot of times, say you go to a PC recycling center, they will take working, reusable parts and build machines out of them to sell/donate to others. They only recycle raw materials as a last resort.

What you and a few others are saying is that a recycling center shouldn't be able to resell parts wholesale if they find a buyer or a good use that the original owner did not. Seems legit to me and perfectly within their rights and my expectations of what they do. I think there is an argument here about the definition of a recycling center.


I think the whole point is that Sonos misleadingly calls the operation of permanent deactivation of a device as "recycling", when the true meaning of recycling is the exact opposite: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recycle

Sonos uses the word "recycling" as a marketing tool to increase their sales by giving naive customers discounts, who fall for this marketing stunt or don't care at all but like being associated with a (false) "environment-friendly" company. Yet another case of greenwashing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing


> the most environmental form of recycling is for an object to be reused as is

Just a nit: it’s useful to think of reusing as distinct from recycling. Recycling breaks the object into its raw material.


No, you are totally missing the point of the recycle mode: the recycle mode is there to gain control of the devices after they have been initially sold to ensure that they will not be resold or given away when someone upgrades resulting in countless instances of good gear ending in the landfill or having to be recycled at substantial cost to society by dangling a small advantage in front of the original buyer.

Recycling effectively is the same as throwing them in the trash in this case. There is no need for this. Sonos could just as easily offer an upgrade discount to people who bought their gear originally but they are scared that this would affect their ability to sell to other people so they create what is called artificial scarcity.

And that should not happen with things that are still serviceable, especially not for a company that claims to have sustainability as their motto.


From the thread in that tweet:

"To add insult to injury, there are complaints on Sonos' support forums from people who've managed to accidentally put their devices into recycling mode, and been told by Sonos support that there's no way to stop the countdown, forcing them to buy new devices after 21 days."

and

"From what our eBay guy can tell, the bricking isn't even in hardware; you can't recover it if you're good with JTAG, because it's blacklisted as "recycled" on their servers. There's nothing stopping these things from working except Sonos says they can't."

Madness.


> been told by Sonos support that there's no way to stop the countdown, forcing them to buy new devices after 21 days

> you can't recover it if you're good with JTAG, because it's blacklisted as "recycled" on their servers. There's nothing stopping these things from working except Sonos says they can't.

These two points are not compatible with each other. If the only effect of recycle mode is that the device gets blacklisted on a Sonos server, then Sonos is trivially able to undo the effects.


They're perfectly compatible with each other. Sonos can stop the countdown, but won't.

You should of course be cautious about assuming a cursory look from a 3rd party is enough to know for certain how the device is bricked, but it's not abnormal or weird for a business like Sonos to use a half-baked technical strategy to brick their devices, and then to just stonewall anyone who calls into support.

Half of the time that a company says, "there's no way for us to do X", what they really mean is, "please go away now."


"told by Sonos support that there's no way to stop the countdown" really means "can't", though.

It's purely our own cynicism on the respectability of companies that we assume it probably really means "won't".

We can accept that when customer support says "can't", it means "won't". But we can also hold them to some, any kind of standard.


How can it be that this is the top voted comment, with such a glaring logic flaw?

There is literally no way for them to verify that you didn't just throw your device in the landfill after enabling recycling mode and pocketing the cash. So this "functionality" does no good at all, other than to recruit the customer into their planned obsolescence program while praising the company for their "green" policy.

And it worked like a charm. Just look at how many people upvoted this comment, signifying their praise of the company for this terrible program!


Welcome to marketing in capitalism, in particular greenwashing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing

It's a common marketing stunt and techniques with similar harmful effects were applied to other things as well, e.g., nicotine or prescription drug marketing. Public good is only a secondary objective in the american-style capitalism.


> But because you don't send the speakers directly to Sonos (instead to a local recycler), they have to trust you're actually recycling it instead of keeping it or selling it.

And to be clear, either keeping it or reselling it would be better for the environment than recycling the device. It's completely backwards to design an environmental program around making sure that people don't secretly do the right thing behind your back.

The fact that there are multiple highly-rated comments on HN looking at resellers and saying, "well, obviously they shouldn't get Sonos credits" shows how poor of a job our society is doing educating people about how reduce-reuse-recycle actually works. You don't have to check for people abusing the system. The people abusing the system are the environmental success stories. If a bunch of people participate in the trade-up program and then secretly resell their devices, that is a good thing that should be celebrated.

If anything, Sonos should be offering more credit to those people, not less.


Please stop using word "recycling" in the wrong way. Sonos used this word purposefully to promote the deactivation of their devices, which has nothing to do with real recycling: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recycle


It's not clear to me from that link what my error is. Would you be willing to expand?

The commonly used definition of recycling I've heard is the first one listed on the linked page: "to process (something, such as liquid body waste, glass, or cans) in order to regain material for human use."

That's why the phrase is "reduce, reuse, recycle", right? Yes, technically you could say reuse is a form of recycling, but we distinguish between reusing something outright, and breaking it down into component parts that can be partially recovered -- because we want to point out that the first option is better than the second.


Indeed. Note that you wrote "either keeping it or reselling it would be better for the environment than recycling the device". My point is that recycling means exactly "keeping it or reselling it", while you keep on using this word the way Sonos started to use it. Sonos misused this word on purpose to make it sound as if its policy of giving discounts for deactivating its devices was a good thing for the environment, when in reality it isn't. At its core, this is a marketing lie (stunt), aka greenwashing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing


In other words "recycle" mode isn't recycling (you can just chuck them in the trash) and it isn't reusing.

A complete deception to sound green, with zero cost to Sonos with zero attempt to be green, and just causing a waste stream. Nice one Sonos.


Sonos will pay for you to ship your recycled speaker back to them to be recycled. Not only do they pay for this shipping and recycle the speaker, but they give you a 30% credit. Hardly zero cost to Sonos, and considering the thriving market for refurbished speakers from Sonos it seems pretty clear the old speakers are being reused. Overall, sounds like they're doing exactly what they say they are.


They don’t accept the old speakers (let alone pay for shipping), they ask you to bring them to a non-affiliated recycling center. They are never reactivated.


They do pay for shipping: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/tradeup

That said, permanently disabling good devices still seems like vandalism.


What is the point of recycling mode if you ship the speaker to them? Why wouldn't they just credit you upon receipt of the speaker?


> The credit helps encourage people to recycle them at all instead of just throwing them in the trash, right?

As others have commented, the most environmentally friendly way to ‘recycle’ is to reuse.

The purpose of this recycle mode is not to encourage recycling, but to kill the second hand market.


The recycle credit is 30% off a new Sonos product, which, as far as I can tell, is worth around $100.

The linked tweet says the recycled Sonos would have been worth $250 on the secondhand market if not recycled.

It's extremely doubtful that the recycle credit is intended to prevent a second-hand market, and far more likely accidental. It does seem like a trade-in credit would work better, but nothing prevents third parties from offering a trade-in credit above $100.


After your analysis, I actually think it is to prevent the 2nd hand market... There's no undo (despite it being a flag on their cloud), so no backsies in case the user gets a clue that this mode is actually stupid (they'd call the recycler to ask if they take Sonoses, get a reply of "is it bricked (did you activate recycle mode)? If no, you can get $200 (we'll resell for $250), if yes it's worth 0.").

And it's not even a setting they put in to care about the environment, because they don't give a shit if you actually give the device to a recycler or not. So, my conclusion, it's some fucking douchebag manager's idea.

If they actually cared about the environment they'd take the old devices and use the parts for warranty repairs, and even have a refurb store (but noo, we sell fancy rich people toys, we can't tarnish our store with selling environmentally friendly but other people's discarded gadgets).

I wish Greta Thunberg would tweet about this, their sales would nosedive.


There's no part of me that follows anything you said.

We absolutely understand what the intention of the button is.

I do not understand the actual sane incentive for anybody in this transaction.

How would Sonos be worse off if those machines weren't wasted? You get a sale either way; you reward a loyal customer for an upgrade either way. If it weren't a large company, I'd say they do it out of spite - but in reality, it's just the bizarre, surreal method large corporations end up with ridiculous policies through a set of seemingly logical steps.

>>they have to trust you're actually recycling it instead of keeping it or selling it

Why? What is the benefit to them (Sonos)? What is the harm if you DID keep it?

>>The credit helps encourage people to recycle them at all instead of just throwing them in the trash, right?

There's absolutely positively nothing about this mode / button that prevents people from throwing it in the trash. In fact, by any logic I can see, it does the opposite and encourages them to chuck it in the garbage - since it's now a worthless non-functioning brick.

>>the recycle lock is a clever mechanism to ensure that.

Let us please NOT call this travesty "Clever". At least not outside of SV tech-bro blinders culture :O. It does NOTHING to ensure recycling.

>>Otherwise you could "cheat" by getting the credit AND still using/selling your speakers.

Oh noes! Wait.. HOW would Sonos be at all worse off? How would ANYbody be impacted for the worse?

>>this seems like a win for all sides

Sonos didn't get anything out of it. Recycling company got less out of it. Earth got less out of it. And there's no reason I can understand why consumer has to go through that hoop to get an upgrade credit. Seems like a lose-lose for all sides.

----

I'm not going to downvote, because you made a lucid argument and downvotes are for those who do not contribute to conversation, not for disagreements. I'd say your post contributed a lot to conversation, seeing the number of comments:). But I fail to understand the argument you're trying to make and the framework / world outlook where it makes sense. I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise but need a lot more to even begin changing my mind :-/. Just because consumer "have choice", doesn't make one of the options automatically sane.


Of course Sonos wants to remove speakers from the second hand market. That doesn't make it remotely good for anyone else or for the environment.


You are not forced to take the incentive. You can always sell the device on a second hand market and get more money than that incentive.


There is literally no reason you can justify this being good for the environment. It may make business sense but it's still a crime against the planet.


Haven't you noticed that the word "recycle" is used here in the exactly opposite way than it should be? https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recycle

This is purposeful marketing misinformation. The goal here is to incentivize a naive customer, apparently including you, to make their devices non-reusable and to buy new devices. This has nothing to do with recycling, yet Sonos purposefully uses this word, because in this way they achieve their goal.

This isn't even a new technique. Unfortunately, it's widespread. Yet another example of greenwashing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing


> Haven't you noticed that the word "recycle" is used here in the exactly opposite way than it should be?

You've said this a few times, but I don't understand what you're trying to say.

In your dictionary definition I guess you're referring to item 3, but that's already given an alternative which is "re-use".

When talking about environmental waste the word "recycle" does not include "reuse", which is why the slogan is "reduce, reuse, recycle". When talking about waste the word reuse is distinct from recycle. https://www.buschsystems.com/resource-center/knowledgeBase/g...


This is the dumbest thing ever. Sonos never receives the materials so you don't get credit "for recycling your speakers for materials", they somehow give you credits for destroying a piece of hardware so that it cannot be reused.

They literally get nothing, except to make their devices more rare by having old ones bricked. Which is WRONG, in this world of increasing waste.

Your idea that this somehow overall is a good set of incentives seems to be based on two things: One, that people would otherwise just throw them in the trash, which isn't true. Two, that it's somehow a good thing to give customers the choice to brick it for no other reason than Sonos credit.


Disabling perfectly functional equipment for some business reason still seems to contradict the concept of sustainably.


There should not be any opt-out for recycling because everyone foots the cost of a shitty planet to save your $50 credit.


Haven't you noticed that the word "recycle" is used here in the exactly opposite way than it should be? https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recycle

This is purposeful marketing misinformation. The goal here is to incentivize a naive customer, apparently including you, to make their devices non-reusable and to buy new devices. This has nothing to do with recycling, yet Sonos purposefully uses this word, because in this way they achieve their goal.

This isn't even a new technique. Unfortunately, it's widespread. Yet another example of greenwashing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwashing


The problem is Sonos is making it easier for people to perform acts that are bad for the environment.

The second hand market is very good for the environment. By going after it, Sonos is actively hurting the environment.

That people have a choice doesn't exonerate Sonos. They are making it a lot easier for people to make the wrong choice.

Many things in this world is a win for both parties involved but still an awful thing to do (due to externalities).


> they have to trust you're actually recycling it instead of keeping it or selling it

Why?


Well, this is where the industry is going. The latest buzzword we hear in the industry is called "product as a service" — you buy a product, but still don't own it. You have to keep paying them for using your own property or else they remotely brick the device.

First gen Ipods were a prime example, but now everybody seem to want to do the same.

We recently had a prospective client who had an idea of very cheap internet connected Ipod clone, who of course had a "genius business model" of jacking the price n-fold after sale under a threat of remote bricking.

I'm very glad we refused.


> Well, this is where the industry is going. The latest buzzword we hear in the industry is called "product as a service" — you buy a product, but still don't own it, and have to keep your subscription going so the seller don't remotely brick your device.

This is exactly what Cisco has done in the small/medium sized business market with their acquisition of Meraki. Pay forever or your router and wifi stops working. It's abhorrent.


It's also the direction Microsoft has been slowly moving Windows. You think it'd be bad if your router stopped working when you stopped paying, imagine the same scenario for your operating system.


MS is very aggressive with this in their Windows 10 development VM images you can download. Theyre free, but they only last 3 months. There doesnt appear to be anyway to activate - even if you have a legit license key through my.visualstudio.com.

The VM prebuilt with VStudio, Visual Studio Code, WSL w/ Ubuntu and other goodies in a prebuilt image is attractive and a time saver. But, it's immediately on a kill switch timer of about 3 months, if you download while new. Current image expires in Feb 2020.

I was using this to connect to work in a VPN in an effort to keep work and personal separate, but I'll have to burn a Win10 license key from my subscription for a new VM.

Caveat: the expiration doesnt render the image entirely worthless, but it will only stay up for around 90 mins before shutting down without warning.


I just take a snapshot then revert after 90 days. Seems to work. I vaguely remember MS docs suggesting this.

You can also refresh them with a powershell command a limited number of times IIRC.


I think it was in the instructions for using the Internet Explorer/Edge VMs (see page 3): https://az792536.vo.msecnd.net/vms/release_notes_license_ter...


There is ways of keeping it up. The one I can explain here, is to do a snapshot as soon as you have your apps setup, then just roll back at the end. There is "other" ways that I can't explain here.


I'm not sure what you mean. Windows 10 is far less aggressive about activation than previous versions. It puts a little disapproving watermark on the desktop and nothing else.


It's certainly unappealing to me as an individual, but I am sure plenty of businesses wouldn't even blink at paying an ongoing charge like that (as long as the router in question was getting timely patches etc.)


Unfortunately, as of 6 years ago, no one else had a competing product that saved me as much time as Meraki did. It was well worth the extra thousands.


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Thing is, the price isn't crazy low compared to competitors. It's for people who are confused and don't have the technical knowledge to do something like install the unifi controller software on a debian server. If you're scared of command lines, meraki is the product for you.


6 years ago, Meraki access points were a few hundred each, and security appliances were a couple thousand, plus a hundred to a thousand per year in subscription fees. But I paid to, because ever since we did, we didn’t have to touch it, and install was a breeze. Well worth the time savings.


The traditional rental model — you borrow a physical device (a VHS recorder, say) and have to give it back if you stop paying — was, I think, one that was environmentally friendly, because the vendors make the most profit if the devices last a long time and never need replacing.

Unfortunately, you can also make a profit by following the environmentally destructive route of making the user buy themselves a brand new device and bricking it when they don't keep paying the separate subscription.

:(


> You buy a product, but still don't own it, and have to keep your subscription going so the seller don't remotely brick your device.

That’s absolutely not what’s happening here. I paid £169 for my Play:1 five years ago, and it’s still working as well as the day I bought it. I haven’t paid them a penny since.

This eco trade in may be a bit sketchy but absolutely no one’s device is being bricked without their consent.


Sure, today. But what happens when Sonos decides they "don't want to support your Play:1"? Maybe because it's a "security issue" and they place your Play:1 in "recycle" mode for you and give you so many months to replace it? Think about this from a longer term point of view - this is just an A/B test by Sonos. They can brick your device from remote, so there's no guarantee that at some point they won't.


yah, i had to stop updating the sonos app on my phone so i wouldn't be forced to create a sonos account to use my play:1. i mistakenly updated the app on my ipad, so my ipad can no longer control the play:1.

i won't ever buy another sonos device (even the ikea speakers, which i like otherwise) because of that.


Sonos has never EOL'ed or feature handicapped a speaker yet. It doesn't seem like something they're keen to do.


While your argument may be technically true with regard to speakers Sonos has EoL'd product [0]. It's only a matter of time. The problem with SaaS reliant hardware is very few vendors make the effort to support products long term (>7 years).

[0] https://www.techradar.com/news/sonos-finally-kills-off-cr100...


I wholy agree that it is a concern, especially from smaller/unprofitable companies/google (sonos thankfully is none of those). Just look at the Revolv hub and it's nest aquisition.

Based on the language used online from sonos, this whole recycle mode seems to be to pay users to give up old hardware so they can EOL'd it without leaving users with useless hardware.

If a company wants to EOL hardware, paying users to give it up seems to be an ethical way to do it (from a consumer perspective, if not a environmental one)


Worse. If Sonos can do it, eventually so can a hacker. Nothing is unhackable. Sooner or later a consumer(s) or Sonos will be taken hostage.


Did you read the twitter thread? Recycle mode bricks the device without communicating clearly to customer it's a kill switch for perfectly functioning hardware.


> First gen Ipods were a prime example

Eh what?


On early Ipods music was effectively "glued" to the individual player with a primitive DRM/scambling system.

So, you were dead in the water without Itunes that kept the fairplay key for that particular player


Yeah so you could lose music, but you could just restore the iPod and put new music on it. It didn't become a brick at any point unless it literally broke.


Only for music downloaded from the iTunes Store. Even then, the restrictions were functionally identical to what was applied to desktop computers.

FairPlay was never applied to MP3 (or, later, AAC) files you loaded onto the device yourself -- you could pull them back off the device with little difficulty.


When my friends and I first got ipods, we figured you'd be able to just plug into peoples laptops and copy songs like a thumb drive. Boy did we learn that day.


I had (still have in a drawer) a 1st gen ipod, but used some gnu audio software (I forget what) to encode (encrypt?) and transfer music I had ripped from CD's I own. I never used itunes.

I think it wasn't until later generations they made this more difficult.


because they were tied to itunes?


Maybe how they used FireWire when it was on its way out?


Yes. It is painful to realize that Apple has turned into that. My reference example is a Mac Mini and MacBook Pro which I bought around 2012. Both still work, and are upgraded with dual SSD and 16GB RAM. It is, however, not possible to upgrade or even reinstall the OS. Linux is now the only option, which without they would be useless.

With my latest MacBook Pro, I already know that there are no upgrades, the keyboard is almost broken, and that its lifetime is determined through policy. Question is; will it be the hardware or software which determines end of life?


What do you mean not possible to reinstall the OS?

They don't make it easy, but you can download older OSX images from apple's servers (Sierra, Yosemite, etc..) and install them with some effort.

Not impossible.


> It is, however, not possible to upgrade or even reinstall the OS.

I don’t feel it’s fair to expect a vendor to actively develop major feature upgrades for a seven-year-old computer.

What keeps you from downloading and installing macOS High Sierra or Mojave on your 2012 hardware? Both versions still receive security updates, don’t they?


Why not? I can install latest windows 10 or ubuntu on my laptop from 2005.


Not according to my experience. Regardless, it is a matter of philosophy behind the product. And it is now quite different from before. I will probably find a balanced combination of Apple products and open hardware + software that fits my needs.


The 2012 can even install catalina.


> The latest buzzword we hear in the industry is called "product as a service" — you buy a product, but still don't own it.

That's so 2019 :-P

Today it's "consumer as a product" -- you buy a product, they own YOU.


This is where the investor backed audio companies are going. There will always be independent companies that don't have huge financial pressures that will be willing to sell complete devices at a one time fee


This could go very bad for Sonos.

Imagine a virus that looks for Sonos devices on a network and bricks them all via "recycle mode"!

The API probably isn't even locked down. I think it's unauthenticated SOAP/UPnP.

An even dumber attack: guests with your wifi credentials can download the Sonos app and break your gear. It's entirely unauthenticated.


Im in the market for sound equipment. I just crossed these guys off my list.


Separate from this issue here, Sonos should be off your list. The UX becomes progressively worse and opaque, your time will be wasted owing to mandatory software updates, needless churn, etc.

I have been a user since 2014, and I emphatically will not continue to be their customer once my existing devices bite the dust.


This describes my experience exactly as well.


They will brick your older speakers or remove functionality. I have 7 Sonos speakers, spending $3-4k on them because quite frankly I love them and the technology was great. I bought a soundbar for my TV with sub and surround speakers and they sound fantastic, and being able to use them to play music was amazing.

But then they started removing functionality from their app, and the Play 1s don’t even work with the iPhone anymore unless you have a streaming service or you set up a music service. The ability to just play music and then play it on your speakers is gone. And they don’t give a fuck. They are completely unapologetic and they just forget about their older speakers like a bad habit and that’s why I will never buy another one again.

And their app is getting worse, they are forcing logging in to monitor your usage, etc. It’s infuriating. Their technology was amazing 5 years ago but now it’s annoying.


I bought two speakers they stopped supporting new features a few months later with no plans to support them. I would highly recommend against them. On their own the devices work “most of the time” but i have more trouble with them than I ever expected to have. I’ll never buy another Sonos product.


Same here. The only way to get these kinds of asinine behavior to stop is to hurt them in their pocket book; since it's apparently the only thing they care about.


I'm curious what you would recommend instead. Everyone is listing speakers they bought decades ago but what are the latest non-sonos speakers that people like?


Don't buy smart speakers. Just buy regular speakers. Then you can plug them into whatever you like, run whatever software you like (e.g. pi musicbox) etc. So you actually own them, and they should serve you well for many years, for whatever you may need.

Also don't buy soundbars. Speakers don't want to be long and skinny. You'll end up paying a lot more for a lot less sound.

Also consumer grade speakers are often more expensive for crappier sound. Look into professional models, like studio monitors. For example, JBL 305PMKII. You may be able to find a local store where you can listen to studio monitors before purchasing.


> Also don't buy soundbars. Speakers don't want to be long and skinny. You'll end up paying a lot more for a lot less sound.

From a practical perspective, my home simply doesn't have room for anything but a soundbar for my TV. My options are built-in TV speakers, or a soundbar.


I've found Guitar Center to be a good place to check out and buy monitor speakers and headphones.


I don't know if it still applies, but studio speakers used to be notorious for bad sound. I would also hope that you wouldn't be considering guitar amp-type speakers as well.


Depends on what you spend. Good studio monitors should have fairly flat response across the audio spectrum and most tend to be Near-field monitors which sound absolutely great when you are positioned in front of them as you would for mixing, but don’t sound quite as good when used as a general room speaker. Mind you they are often still better than many peoples setups just the same. The ones that are not Near field can work even better for a general audio situation but tend to cost even more.

Some studio monitors like the popular KRK series are not flat response and are a bit bass heavy.


This is why I said that studio speakers *used to be notorious for . . .". Recording studios were notorious for having bad sounding speakers.


Speakers (of any kind) can vary tremendously, which is why it's nice to be able to compare them. Guitar Center carries more than just guitar-specific items, which is why I thought it would be helpful to mention them; it's not something many people are aware of. I would never consider guitar speakers for general purpose use.


I never saw a section there for audio equipment, but I probably wasn't really paying enough attenton to that. I still think that for home sound that you're going to live with for a very long time, unless the manufacturer bricks them, it might be best to find a place that specializes in home sound systems.


There are fewer and fewer places that specialize in home sound systems, particularly the ones that let you compare numerous choices before you buy. The place that sold me most of my audio gear has been closed for 20 years.


Thing is some of those ancient speakers are still made and rated. As one example the BBC LS3/5a[1] was a published spec for a monitor speaker the Beeb put out in the seventies. Someone has been making a speaker that meets the spec ever since, and it's had a glowing reputation for a small monitor class speaker for decades.

Wharfdale Diamonds are much changed and developed, but still a well thought of small bookshelf speaker, though the range now includes floor standing and 7.1 multimedia systems.

In short, look to the budget hifi makes rather than smart or tech gimmicks. Many of the Japanese brands make speakers for the home market, but use Wharfdale, Tannoy or one of the other Western makes selling systems here. The Denon compact system I bought 30 years ago came with a pair of Wharfdale Diamonds, with a Denon badge. Technics used to ship badged Tannoy speakers -- not sure if they still do. When I had to replace it a year or two ago, the comparable modern Denon compact system had no option for included speakers. Mine now uses those 30 year old Denon badged Diamonds.

[1] https://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/ls3-5a-full-bbc-specificat...


Many of the classic Japanese Hi-Fi makers are still around and make good non-smart amplifiers and speakers. Take at look at the offerings of e.g. Onkyo, Yamaha, Denon, TEAC, Sony, Pioneer.

A few years ago I bought a TEAC amp[0] + speakers[1] , still very happy with both.

[0] https://www.teac-audio.eu/en/products/ai-301da-117088.html

[1] https://www.teac-audio.eu/en/products/ls-301-117096.html


JBL Pro 305's:

https://jblpro.com/en-US/products/305p-mkii

I had the 305's one generation before (mk 1, vs mk 2) and they're the best sounding speakers I've yet owned.

Only had two of them (stereo, front left and right), with an old logitech 5.1 system making up the rest of a 7.1 system. Over time I was intending on replacing those logitech speakers with further 305's. :)


I usually use a mini jack and and old stereo.

but “powered stereo speakers” are speakers with a built in amp. Most have analog inputs and Bluetooth (some even have turntable input). They can range in price up to almost 1000$.

I feel those analog inputs are important in making the device future proof.

Crutchfeild is a catalog seller but has good examples of this class of speaker:

Eg: https://www.crutchfield.com/S-wbA54LW1kow/g_463050/Powered-S...


Ah, Crutchfield. Glad to see they're still around. Pre-Google, their catalog was a great place to see and compare a ton of different audio kit in one place.


Google Play devices offer the same functionality at a fraction of the cost.


> This could go very bad for Sonos.

How could it? It's all server side. If such a virus existed, they'd just undo all the 'recycling' after the day it started circulating.


There's both a hardware and software bricking component.

Edit: I reread the thread and now I'm not so sure. It might be entirely software blacklisting.

But if that's the case, can't you ip blackhole Sonos' servers and still have it all work?


you think Sonos' equipment works without an internet connection?


I think so. The clients are all SOAP/UPnP, and there are lots of open source clients and API bindings. I could be wrong, though.


And spoof what ever they're sending from the speaker? Because the whole "recycle" mode is about getting that rebate.


Server is hardware, controlling OS and such is software. Both bricking components are present.


You probably don't need a virus or anything running in the end user's network.

If your Sonos can access the API to mark a device as recycled, so can you. So if you can predict serial numbers or just bruteforce them (depending on how complex they are) you might be able to brick every single Sonos out there...

I highly doubt they assign unique keypairs etc. to every single device...


> Imagine a virus that looks for Sonos devices on a network and bricks them all via "recycle mode"!

This would be an incredible public service. Unfortunately I don't have the skills to do it so I won't.


I mean it really wouldn't, because the virus would be dooming the devices to go into "recycle or trash" option, instead of the "reuse" option.

And otherwise it would just piss off Sonos owners?


If it's purely server-side it would force them to un-recycle everything, which would be a good thing.


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