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All Sonos products will continue to work past May (sonos.com)
219 points by wlj on Jan 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 262 comments



During a home renovation last year I added in-ceiling speakers throughout the first floor.

I bought 8 Polk Audio speakers for $45 each plus a couple hundred feet of speaker cable from Monoprice and an 8 channel amplifier off Amazon which takes audio in from my receiver, which supports Chromecast and AirPlay.

I had the opportunity to do this because the ceilings were already ripped down to redo lighting.

The installers asked why I wasn’t going with Sonos and I said why would I replace a device which is literally impossible to become obsolete, requires zero configuration, and is almost impossible to break with a device which will maybe last 5 years if I’m lucky and requires configuration, software updates, and license agreements?

I get it if you have absolutely no way to run the wires then a WiFi system maybe almost makes sense. Otherwise how can you beat hard-wired speakers and a dumb 8-channel amp?


I am just finishing up building a new house, and so many people suggested the same thing (use sonos). Since it was new construction I put in 38 dedicated room speakers all wired to a central distribution system with good old speaker wire. I also ran extra Cat6A to each room for a control pad in the case I want to do system that needs that..and for starting out I'm using an AMP and dist controller from HTD. As Zeroth mentioned above this gives me a great deal of potential future redesigns as things change. Of course I also ran wire and fiber to every room for APs as the future will likely have more LOS wifi in it.

I really like some of the features of Sonos, but when doing 38 speakers and 20+ zones the cost is pretty high.

(Build thread here for reference: https://www.garagejournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=409988)


I am curious to know what it’s the point to have this kind of system?

I can imagine you would want to play the same music through the house when you have a big party. Other than that I don’t see much of need. You can simply have a sound system in each room so each family member can its own music , or carry a movable device with you.


If you've designed the wiring correctly this can be done at the central junction, isolating the that room (or rooms). then, when you setup that sound system in the room you already have the speakers built in. just plug into the port on the wall :D I've seen this kind of setup several times, though it was the early 2000's, before the massive proliferation of wifi audio.

note: one of the reasons i saw a lot of this was the company i worked for acquired a structured wiring company (system in a box) that did lots of home/office AV work


For the wiring path, I did exactly that. In each room the speakers in the wall/ceiling route first to a junction box in the wall, then from there to a central location. That allows central control, or if needed local to room control and use.

The only additional cost was the slight increase in wire length due to the minor path diversion.


I guess it depends on whether you really like music. I find it very nice to just open up the Sonos app and I can play whatever I want wherever I want- and can even play different things in different rooms.

Its not just a holiday thing, its a friday/saturday night thing, or a Saturday/Sunday day thing, or a work from home thing, if I want some instrumental stuff, and its also going outside.

I had a receiver in my old place in my living room, and we were gifted a sonos:1, and the sheer convenience of sonos made us not use our expensive home theater set up in lieu of the $199 bookshelf speaker- and it sounded pretty darn good as well. It integrates with my music library, Pandora, sonos, and a bunch of other stuff I don't use.

I now have Sonos amps that connect to speakers in the ceiling. I am not quite as F'ed as others, but those amps are $600 a piece to upgrade, and I have 6 in the house. I really enjoy it, and its better and cheaper than a receiver in each room, and sounds great. Another benefit to Sonos is that its hidden away- the speakers are in the walls, the amps run down to a central cabinet, and in a townhouse that is not small, but still every sq ft counts, this is a big win.

It may not be for you, but I really enjoy it. This was not a pleasant email to read- especially because I don't really want anything more out of the system, particularly the amps- they need to accept a stream and play it, that's it. I bet this has to do with alexa/google assistant/siri integration that is being forced down our throats in all new devices.


Indeed I thought a lot about that while working on the zoning. The HTD system by default can do 12 zones (with as many speakers as you want). I suspect it would be rare to have more than 2 or 3 different sources across all of those zones, but it would be common to only want a few specific rooms have sound playing.

The idea of a movable source device makes sense, and I suspect a very common use pattern will be playing something over airplay/airplay2 from a iphone. The zone splitting just makes it possible to have more granular control over where that sounds is going.

I debated a lot about rather to install speakers at all, but I do want to be able to have some housewide paging/notification, and I would rather have each room have stereo speakers in the ceiling ( with a corresponding sub for some locations) then rely on a desk or table held speaker.

Also, the cost of doing in wall is pretty cheap now if you are building new.

Keep in mind it is possible in 3 years I figure out I did it all wrong, but that is the fun of home building. ;)


My home is very much smaller, but I have synchronised playback throughout (through the Apple ecosystem). Living in a condominium, I can listen to my music, audiobook, or podcast everywhere without having to play anything loud anywhere.


Congratulations on finishing your new home. And judging by the timestamps on your first forum post pretty much on/ahead of schedule!

To those who might gloss over the link to the build thread - it’s not to be missed. I’m only part of the way through but will read more after the kids are in bed.

Calling it a “house” doesn’t seen quite sufficient. This is a detailed look at the whole process from plans to excavation to build-out of a veritable fortress.

Here’s just a taste;

> Due to the design of his house, he had to install bedrock pillars. There are 55 pillars in total, and each pillar is a bit over 3 feet in diameter and goes into the ground a bit over 50 feet.

Later on, talking about low voltage design for Cat6 and fiber drops;

> I expect to have a couple of hundred drops in total including for things like cameras, sensors, and the like. I expect there is be somewhere around 10km of wire to pull give or take a few km.

EDIT: Great drone footage of it all as it goes up too. How do you like the DJI Mavic? I was thinking of getting the Mini.


Ha.. Thanks Zaroth. Funny enough it actually ended up being about 21 miles of cable and fiber.

I suspect we are about 8 weeks away from completion.. and I need to update that thread as I am a month behind!


So in this case do you need 1 receiver for every service you want to stream simultaneously? I assume your controller can do on-the-fly zone designations, but how do you control it all from other locations (or is that what you meant about control panels)


Yea, the HTD 'receiver' is seperate from the amps, and it can route one of I think 12 sources to any of the channels (and any mix of them).

For control, there are two options - You can use the app/web page/iphone/table over wireless, and/or you can also use their wall control pads that use a single Cat5 drop back to the central location. For every speaker pair in the house I ran a Cat6A to a wall box in a good place to mount that control pad. That means in every room you have a control pad for that room, but also any control pad can put any source in any zone.

I'm curious to see what I use more.. I suspect I'll end up using the app control more than anything else.. but we will see.


You make a good point, but I have a counterpoint...

My Father-in-law had a house built a couple years ago. The guy that did the A/V used the same setup you are talking about (Denon A/V receiver, multi-zone audio for whole house music, IR blaster for A/V system in a cabinet in the next room, 5+1 surround).

They struggle with that system. It required a dedicated smart remote to turn on and control all the gear. But instead of a Logitech Harmony, he used some other brand that "is easier for installers to program". I had to make YouTube videos to remind myself and my FIL how to operate the system, particularly for less used configurations like playing a DVD or playing music on the deck...

I was pretty shocked, because this was basically the A/V setup I had 20 years ago...

My current setup is: Everything goes to the TV (PS4, Chromecast, soundbar), Soundbar is controlled by the TV remote using CEC (Consumer Electronics Control). Most things are controllable by the TV remote.

CEC allows the TV to tell the soundbar to adjust the volume, the Chromecast to pause or play, though that doesn't seem to work when playing DVDs on the PS4, where we use the PS4 remote. CEC can also tell the TV to change inputs, so all I have to do is start casting to the Chromecast and the TV turns on and switches to the right input, turn the PS4 on and ditto, etc...

Music in the bathroom? That's a Google Home. Music in the garage or back patio? That's a Bluetooth Jambox. Though that comes with it's own issues.

Yes, simple is good. But these days I'd call this sort of CEC setup the simpler option. I appreciate the Receiver option, but I'm reluctant to switch away from this setup. I've been wanting to build some kick ass speakers using my woodworking and electronics skills, but I can't bring myself to introduce an amp/receiver to the mix.

Aside: Does anyone know of a CEC controller for embedding into DIY soundbars? They make some that do amp+bluetooth+aux in, but I haven't found one that does HDMI in with CEC.


My wife complained that my MythTV DVR was too loud in the living room (I have mild hearing loss, so I believe her, but I can't hear the fans myself). So I moved the box into a utility room and replaced it with a Raspberry Pi 3B+ (the newest model at the time) running Kodi as a frontend.

Kodi compiled for the RPi can be buggy, and I wouldn't recommend this setup for a novice, but it works well enough.

Anyways, I was surprised to find that Kodi on the RPi supports CEC. I was controlling it with a wireless keyboard for a month before, one day after I switched the input and absent-mindedly pressed a button on the D-pad, the RPi responded to my input. It works really well (until Kodi crashes).


If you haven't tried it, try https://libreelec.tv/, I got a new Pi 4 to replace my old Pi 3B+ that I had been running Kodi directly (or whatever the original form of it is called) on and it came with an SD card with NOOBS on it so I decided to install LibreELEC and give it a shot since that was one of the easy-install options. The UI still isn't great and feels like no one has thought through anything, but it's way better than Kodi was (I have yet to have it pop up full screen in the middle of watching a movie to ask if it can update itself) and I haven't had nearly as many crashes (or any, in fact).


Just thought I should point out that Libreelec is Kodi. It’s just a stripped down OS with just enough on it to run Kodi so it can be fast and stable.


The key piece of equipment in this is what sits in front of the amplifier. If you could "AirPlay" or "ChromeCast" to a room of your choice, it would be significantly better than a whole house Sonos. If only the protocols was open, so you could use an off the shelf computer with enough audio out, then it would be nice.


> "ChromeCast" to a room of your choice

This is actually what "Chromecast Audio" was, sadly now discontinued

I bought a bunch before they stopped selling and have them all over my house, attached to cheap dumb speakers

They still work for now, hopefully they will for a while


I use a mix of Chromecast Audio, Chromecast video, and Google Home devices of varying vintage. The Chromecasts are the audio source to a TV and a handful of stereos in different rooms, some with really old gear. The Google things can be grouped across types.

They used to be unreliable, but before I could get annoyed enough to get Sonos gear, Google seems to have fixed the problems. I have whole house audio with relatively little at risk of being EOL'ed, and individually pretty cheap to upgrade if eventually needed.

The key thing is: Audio is not a moving target. My Klipsch speakers are over 40 years old. They are connected to a McIntosh receiver I found literally on the scrap metal pile at the town dump.

This seems to be a more resilient approach than either going 1970's analog with wiring in the walls, or buying a suite of proprietary speakers with audio distribution built in. The expensive bits have an indefinite lifespan. Sonos decided to combine that with microprocessors, NICs and software that, they discover, has to have the lifespan of a PBX or airplane control panel, not a mobile phone.


Not exactly the setup you’re talking about but I use a series of raspberry pi’s each with these great little hifiberry amps and running Volumio software to achieve whole house audio. There’s a plug-in called snapcast that allows for a server that streams audio to all the clients, keeping everything in sync. I control volumes of various rooms/zones through home assistant. Works really well for me.


You might like https://volumio.org/


a couple of years ago, i finally upgraded to a proper home theater system, with everything connected through a yamaha receiver, and i am pleasantly surprised at how well CEC works (given the many complaints i saw online).

since i'd vowed never to pay into the cable cartel, i watch most things via my apple tv. i just have to hit one button on the apple tv remote and the apple tv, receiver and tv come on automatically, and will switch to the right hdmi input (and tv input) if not already set. even if the apple tv is not being used, i can still use the volume buttons on it (easier, since it's radio and not infrared like the receiver remote). it's great!


Wait, what? I thought the volume buttons on the Apple TV remote were infrared... (while every other button works via Bluetooth)

Try covering the little black area at the front of the remote and you’ll see what I mean. At least in my case the volume buttons stop working.


Depends on your TV. The IR is a fallback but it can also do volume over CEC:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.howtogeek.com/263008/how-to...


yah, the volume buttons still work through the apple tv to the receiver via radio (for me).


The remote can be configured for either CEC or IR, see also: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205225#siriappletv. The only problem happens when not playing from the AppleTV and you use the volume buttons. It’ll switch inputs on the TV/receiver to the AppleTV. So it’s no longer an universal volume control, which can confuse family members as they have to remember which input the whole setup is in.


Got pretty much the same setup. Works very well.


Isn't this just switching out the Sonos ecosystem for the Apple ecosystem?


If I am understanding the poster correctly, Apple TV is just the input. The speaker system itself is agnostic to what the input is. There is no ecosystem for the audio, as they're all 'dumb' speakers connected to a receiver.


Yes, except (presumably) they are using Airplay to the AppleTV for music (which locks out non-Apple products).

The Sonos equivalent is something like the Sonos beam connected to the TV via CEC. AppleTV v2 is now obsolete and I think was sold until 2015, so that's pretty much the same as the Sonos policy.

But it's a fair point - for simple setups this can work fine.


Recent Yamahas are integrated into googles ecosystem too. To me the point is that the speakers are separable from whatever client you want to use. If it’s 5 years from now and you need new support for driving the speakers, you replace that component. You don’t have to throw the speakers away to stay current.


My Onkyo has Spotify streaming support built into the amp. It's dreadful though - just about unusable because the UX and setup is so bad.

Is the Yamaha experience better?

(Also, the Yamaha MusicCast speakers are exactly the same as Sonos in that they are software dependant, and pre-2015 ones don't get the update to AirPlay2[1]. Not clear if you are talking about this or the amps though)

[1] https://au.yamaha.com/en/news_events/2019/musiccast-update.h...


Ack yeah this landscape is too complicated, i was speaking about the amps. I picked up a 2019 model Yamaha receiver and it works really well for AirPlay, I’ve only used it a little bit for Spotify Connect and it seemed to work fine but I just didn’t use it enough to recommend up or down. The receiver doesn’t have to be in an “on” state, if it’s off then AirPlay/Spotify will turn on components and start playing. It’s been really low-fussiness, which I was kinda surprised by.


musiccast speakers are reputed to work well, but they're a little pricey. currently, only the apple tv has an internet connection (via ethernet cable into a router, not wifi). i may eventually extend speaker wire into the kitchen to have two independent audio zones off the receiver.

and to confirm the other responders, i have a set of "dumb" polk speakers connected to the receiver. for audio, i'll often just stream to the receiver over bluetooth from my mbp, iphone or ipad (so yes, i'm apple-dependent, but not in the way you meant =)

airplay works well to stream video via apple tv to the receiver (and then to the tv screen).


While non-Apple products are locked-out (or, require the user to flip inputs on the receiver), at least user isn't forced to spend hundreds (or thousands) on speakers that eventually become obsolete. An Apple TV is relatively inexpensive (in the overall scheme of home theater).


Apple Airport Express is obsolete as well but Apple actually bothered to update them to AirPlay 2. I even tried to buy one used so I could have an AirPlay setup for the entire apartment without Sonos or other proprietary speakers.


Replace AppleTV with a Kodi player and you have the same setup without the Apple ecosystem.


Yeah but then you lose all the Apple TV content and the apps...


Or just sideload Kodi and have the best of everything


Or install MrMC if you've got an appstore capable apple tv and forget about sideloading too.


I have my system centered around a Denon A/V receiver, with a Sony tv (with a single HDMI cable from the Denon being the only cable to it). Everything works more or less perfect, with the ocassional glitch where the a/v and tv no longer talk to each other (I need to reboot the whole system when this happens).

- The tv and cable remote are both able to turn off the off the tv, which will tell the a/v receiver to turn off

- Pressing home on the fire stick causes the tv and a/v to turn on

- The volume on the tv, cable remote, and denon remote all trigger the volume of the denon to change. The tv and cable remotes do not trigger the denon's volume's "speed up how fast it changes" on the volume (I don't like that feature, so it works out well)

Just pressing the button you would expect to work results in the expected action. I imagine adding sound multi-channel would add complexity (it, picking a channel), but that should be orthogonal to the rest of the setup, and be the same level of complexity between wired and not.

What kinds of issues did you run into?

Edit: To be clear, I'm an a/v newbie, I doubt I'd be able to offer any advice. I was just curious what issues you saw.


I too have a Denon A/V receiver, although probably older than the rest of you (an AVR-1913 bought in 2013). I don't know if the later Denons still have this, but try finding out its IP address on your network (assuming you have put it on your LAN), and then go to that address, port 80, in your browser.

Mine has a built-in web server running there that serves up a status and settings site that lets you do most or all of the things you'd normally do via the remote and on-screen menus, which sometimes gets tedious.

The web server is very slow, so it is still tedious, but a "twiddle your thumbs" tediousness as opposed to "way to much remote button pressing to navigate" tediousness.

They also have some kind of much faster network access, probably still through the web server but without all the GUI stuff which is apparently where the slowness is. They've got an app on the iOS [1] and Google stores that uses this.

Did any of you have trouble getting ARC to work? It simply would not work for me, until I finally noticed that the Denon manual very specifically says you have to use a “Standard HDMI cable with Ethernet” or “High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet” for HDMI. I was using a regular HDMI cable. Switching to one "with Ethernet" made ARC work.

This puzzles me. Everything I've been able to find says that for the version of ARC available in 2013 it should not require a special cable. It should work with any HDMI 1.4 cable. A "with Ethernet" cable should only be required for eARC. I don't think eARC was even in the pipeline in 2013, and didn't start showing up on receivers until 2019.

I've checked some Denon manual for later models, and they also have the explicit "with Ethernet" requirement. What is going on?

[1] https://apps.apple.com/us/app/denon-remote-app/id388608880


ARC (and CEC) is famously temperamental. Even if you have used the correct HDMI port on your TV and receiver, and enabled the functionality both places (keeping in mind that different brands use different terms for these technologies), it may still not work.

I use it between my LG OLED and Denon AVX4300, and it is still a wonder to me why it takes 10-15 seconds upon start-up for sound to make it from TV to receiver.


Network remote control is through port 23 (telnet); I hacked up a little remote app with the functions I need most (input select, volume &c.).


Oh, that's neat. For those who want to play with this, Denon documents it in the manuals and downloads section of their site. Go here [1], find the page for your receiver, and look for the document with "protocol" in its name.

If they don't have it listed for your receiver, a couple I know have them are AVR-1913 (Rev 8.5.0 of the protocol document) and AVR-X4000 (Rev 10.0.3).

I tried it and it worked.

  echo -ne MVUP\\r | nc denon 23
increased the volume by one notch.

The remote app on my phone is able to get a listing showing my favorite stations in the internet radio app of the receiver, and I didn't see offhand how that is done via the telnet interface, so I watched via tcpdump while the app did it, after some difficulty [2].

It turns out that the remote app for my AVR-1913 is not using the telnet interface. It's doing HTTP POST to the receiver's web server. All the ones I saw were to /goform/AppCommand.xml. What it posts is some XML with one or more commands. For example, it posts this periodically to get information:

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <tx>
   <cmd id="1">GetAllZonePowerStatus</cmd>
   <cmd id="1">GetVolumeLevel</cmd>
   <cmd id="1">GetMuteStatus</cmd>
   <cmd id="1">GetSourceStatus</cmd>
  </tx>
The response is XML with the root element being <rx>, then one or more <cmd> elements. The number of <cmd> elements in the response seems to be the same as the number in the request, and they contain the response for the corresponding command.

Here's what is coming back for the <tx> shown above (formatted a bit nicer):

  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
  <rx>
   <cmd>
    <zone1>ON</zone1>
    <zone2>OFF</zone2>
   </cmd>
   <cmd>
    <volume>-40.0</volume>
    <disptype>RELATIVE</disptype>
    <dispvalue>-40.0dB</dispvalue>
   </cmd>
  <cmd>
   <mute>off</mute>
  </cmd>
  <cmd>
   <source>SAT/CBL</source>
  </cmd>
  </rx>
I've only searched briefly, but so far not found any documentation for this.

[1] https://usa.denon.com/us/downloads/manuals-and-downloads

[2] I set my switch [3] to mirror the port the receiver is on to my Mac, but was not seeing anything with tcpdump on the Mac. Took me an embarrassingly long time to remember that if you don't explicitly specify the interface to monitor, it monitors them all but not in promiscuous mode, so you only see traffic to/from yourself.

[3] TP-Link SG-108E. I highly recommend this or the SG-105E or others in the family. They are unmanaged switches, but they do support port mirroring, some VLAN features, and some QOS features that you normally have to go to an expensive managed switch for. My 108E (8 port) was only $30. The only thing I don't like about it is that the status lights for the ports are in the back, above the connectors, rather than on the front.


Arc "just worked" for me, but I was probably using such a cable by default.

As far as it's IP address, I don't have it connected to the internet.


I don’t have really any remotes at all for this setup.

The amp I bought [1] has a volume dial for each channel, one speaker is wired per channel.

I walked around the house one day to normalize the perceived volumes from each speaker. I’ve never touched the volume dial since. I don’t see the point of wiring volume controls in the walls of each room. I can control the AirPlay source volume on my phone.

The A/V receiver in my living room is a 2-zone system with a Zone 2 Preout. So there’s a 25’ RCA cable ($10 - do not waste money on fancy cables) going from the receiver to the amp.

The amp has two “main” inputs which go to all channels, and then each channel can also take its own dedicated RCA input — but I don’t currently use them. Since all the speakers are on the same floor, there’s no point in driving different sources to different speakers at this point.

If my Receiver had pre-outs for each channel of Zone 1 then in theory I could drive two of the living room ceiling speakers as rear/surrounds when watching movies by just wiring up the RCA jacks.

When I AirPlay from any phone in the house to the receiver it just defaults to playing on Zone-2. There’s an app which lets me change the zone that a source plays on, but I never use it.

In theory I could play a movie on the “house” speakers but then it wouldn’t be 7.1 surround; my receiver anyway can’t do 7.1 on the Zone 1 speakers while also doing a basic Stereo downmix over Zone 2. But I have never missed this.

Basically the use case for the ceiling speakers is listening to music during breakfast or dinner. The kids love choosing songs and having little dance parties morning and afternoon. Anyone can start whatever song they want from their phone. Of course sometimes that results in the children trying to override each other, but usually all in good fun.

IMO it’s definitely worth the ~$600 for dumb speakers, dumb amp, and dumb wiring to have absolutely future proof ceiling speakers throughout the house. The same exact system could easily be pumping tunes 30 years from now.

The AirPlay receiver that drives the amp doesn’t count toward the cost because it’s the same home theater receiver you’re going to buy anyway. It’s also the only piece of the puzzle that runs software and hardware (WiFi) that will become obsolete in a relatively short time frame. It does support CEC and it is also the source selector but honestly the only source right now is the AppleTV. All that is really kind of “besides the point” you could say when it comes to the house speakers. Anything could sit in front of it, as long as you can get an analog stereo output from it. It could be a Raspberry Pi even. The only requirement is being able to AirPlay/Chromecast to whatever is providing the RCA source.

It can be a huge mood boost and a great way to start the day before rushing the kids off to school to blast some tunes while cooking pancakes, and with eight 8” woofers the sound is a lot more immersive than a single “smart” speaker could muster.

[1] - Pyle 8-Channel Home Theater... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002UL0XIQ


Even combined with a Logitech harmony remote the Denon user experience remains terrible, the need to turn on devices in a specific order otherwise the a/v gets confused is serious disregard of ux. I wonder if they ever tested their products outside the lab in the wild.


The Raspberry Pis support CEC (other SBC probably do too).


Does it support HDMI input though?


I just went through this as well. I found a used HTD Lync 12 (12-zone multi-channel amp) on craigslist for a steal from a person who never had the time to set it up. I was notified of it about a year after I created the search notification and jumped at it.

This past fall I spent a week crawling around in my attic wiring up every room on the 2nd floor with some JBL 6" speakers, that were also somewhere around $50 per pair. I figured if they weren't good I could very easily upgrade them in the future, but they sound great. I ran the wires to a DIY network cabinet in my basement.

We have two Chromecast Audios hooked into it, so my wife an I can stream simultaneously. We use it daily: Podcasts in the shower, white noise in whatever room the baby is sleeping in, music in whatever room we want, whenever, and the guest room TV is hooked up as an input so we can put the news on and listen anywhere. There are never sync issues, and the quality is absolutely excellent.

Wiring it all was not fun, since this was all done in finished rooms - which meant a lot of drywall patching and a fairly concerned wife. But it was so absolutely worth the time and effort for the system as-is. Also, I'm getting pretty decent at patching drywall.

Obviously, I get the draw for a wireless system. It's significantly easier to set up, and the features are lovely. But I'm glad to know my whole-house-audio will continue to work for many years regardless of what happens to any entity outside of my home. I can upgrade the speakers as needed. I can replace the receiver as needed. In a similar vein, it's mind-blowing how much better wired ethernet performs over wireless, especially in the realm of video streaming.

As for overall cost - I'm just under $1k, but that's because I found the amp for a great price on craigslist, which is pretty rare. If it weren't for that, I probably would have gone with the Monoprice Amp and still fit into that budget. Full price would be significantly more, but not much more than a Sonos system.


I did literally the exact same thing recently.

However, my chromecast audio stopped working (possibly related to the product sun-setting?), and I was surprised to learn that Apple no longer manufactures the AirPorts. What kind of audio receiver did you use? I ended up purchasing a "new" AirPort Express on Ebay, but how else does one use AirPlay these days with off the shelf audio equipment? I couldn't find anything helpful via googling.


While you can't easily buy chromecast audio anymore, mine are working just fine (so hopefully not sun-setting!) I have dongles and speakers that support chromecast. Playing right now


My home theater receiver (Denon) supports ChromeCast and AirPlay.

It has an RCA output for “Zone 2” which goes to the whole-house 8 channel amp.

I already had the receiver in my living room for my 7.1 audio setup for watching shows/movies. So it didn’t cost anything to hook up the Zone 2 other than a $10 cable.

I vouched for Cecja’s comment below. If you don’t have a WiFi device which can output analog audio and receive AirPlay, you can actually rig something up using a Raspberry Pi and open source software. Since there’s nothing to configure ever after the initial setup your family shouldn’t have any issues using it - it should “just work”.

If you want to be able to play different streams to different rooms, I think you could even do it with several RPi’s each as their own AirPlay target, and then each wired to different channels of the amp.


It's a more expensive answer, but I run my Apple TV through the HDMI passthrough of my receiver so I can have audio play without the TV actually being on. It's the closest I have come to the Express days. More commonly I just go bluetooth to the receiver as I live in a small apt


Raspberry Pi with Volumio -- it does Airplay and Spotify Connect, DLNA, and so on.


Yamaha (as well as others) have wireless functionality and, most importantly, sync capability.


I am using raspberry pis with shairport (https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync) works like a charm and at 15$ bucks impossible to beat price wise.


You could still do what you did, AND go sonos. They sell an amp without a speaker in it. https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/amp.html

If you had walls and ceiling torn down, it makes waay more sense to run wire.


I would need 4 of these things to power 8 speakers...

Why pay $649 for 2 channels versus $250 for 8 channels? My amp is in a rack in the basement.

What’s the benefit of having the AirPlay software integrated into the amp? I already have an AirPlay endpoint in my AV receiver. I just run a $10 RCA cable from there to the dumb amp.

I guess I just don’t get the Sonos value proposition.


What’s the benefit of having the AirPlay software integrated into the amp?

Much lower latency so it can sync with video. Much higher audio quality because analog rca and crappy dac is not involved. You can power up to six Sonos in ceiling, in wall or outdoor speakers on one amp


There's a middle-ground here using the Sonos Connect/Port connected to a traditional system. This would work well for your use case.

Some people genuinely like the Sonos software.


I really considered that approach.. using a port for each zone or speaker set. The only downside is cost if you have a lot of speakers or zones. I did 38 speakers, so if I did 19 ports that would be $8500, and take up a lot of room.

I do like a lot of things about the Sonos software.


We hardwired our Sonoses to speakers when we installed them in 2006 — the whole wireless thing was irrelevant. We got them purely for the convenience of the wireless controller for playing music from the file server in the basement and the occasional internet stream. There wasn’t anything else like that at the time at a reasonable price.

This is an opportunity to revisit that decision. In 2020, what should I replace them with that’s equally convenient (including for visitors), letting you control all the rooms from anywhere on your phone, can handle all the random streaming services, and can still play my library from the basement?


There really isn’t anything in the market that does everything you listed well except Sonos.


Once you can AirPlay to your amp, you can do everything wrs wants.

Any streaming service on your phone (or guests phone) will just AirPlay to the amp.

To play music off the file server, I’ve heard Roon app is pretty good.

If you want different music per zone, you can just setup multiple Raspberry Pis connected to different inputs on the amp and give them different AirPlay names.


That’s an awful experience. With Sonos it doesn’t matter what kind of connection my phone has to the network, and music won’t stutter or stop depending on where the phone is. I say again, there is nothing that offers the same experience. Good luck supporting a non-techie with an RPi setup


I’m ashamed to admit that not all of my visitors have iPhones.


Secret sauce is source control. You can get a matrix switcher and come up with your own controls but smart remotes like URC and Control4 are way more expensive and IMO are less reliable.

Surround speakers need a priority switch if you want matching amp profiles in the home theatre.

I have in ceiling speakers each pair connecting to a sonos amp. Outdoors, in garage, etc. It’s great - for me. I have Play:1s in bathrooms without mics and it can all sync.

Guests can also control it via phone.

What pisses me off:

- Lack of auto firmware updates at night

- Latency with external sources unless you use a sound bar, maybe fixed with port? The connect sucked

- Spotify premium required

- Cost


The other great thing about your set up is you can add a $15 Alibaba Bluetooth adapter and you can integrate with any audio client. Rather that using the sonos client to control which room something plays in, you can have different bluetooth devices connected to different amps and you select which audio device you want your client to output to. Personally I think this more convenient and easier to use that proprietary end to end systems


I use Sonos with a traditional hi-fi system via their connect box (now replaced by the way too high priced port). The only reason is that Sonos is the only system in the world that lets me play different Spotify songs in different rooms from 1 spotify account.


I am with you on this 100%. Did the same thing in my home remodel.

Investing in any proprietary hardware universe has proven to be a fools errand. As the standards change, I can still listen to music via any system, service or format.

And better: I get the same functionality as Sonos with a few Yamaha receivers and Spotify and/or Apple Music. Oh and my system offers much much, much better fidelity and infinite upgrade options which is far more important to me as a music junkie and musician.


I have been mentally planning our kitchen extension and adding traditional speakers in to walls/ceilings is by far the better and most sane option. Even if you want to use Sonos, you can buy their amp which allows you turn "dumb" speakers into wireless speakers.


I have the same setup, but I have to nitpick on the life expectancy of a dumb wired system. Rubber parts in speakers are prone to deterioration. They stiffen up and crumble. It's 10-20 years, granted, but there's still a lifetime cap.


Are you able to turn on/off speakers without having to go to the amp/receiver?


Speakers are unpowered in that setup. Occasionally you'll see active speakers (which have built in amps), but most "hi-fi" setups don't use them.


Whats the alternative if you want a multi room system that can stream Apple Music?


This is why its better with open source and open standards. With open source less chance of bricked hardware. Ie with climate change i agree its better with simple long lasting devices.


Can’t you bluetooth to that amp anyway? It’s just an additional aux?


Just to clarify terminology, my 8-channel amp is a dumb device which takes analog RCA inputs and connects to 8 speakers via banana jacks and speaker wire. This thing weighs like 60 pounds and sits in a rack in the basement out of sight.

The Denon receiver is the HDMI switcher + 7 channel amp + Dolby/DTS decoder + AirPlay endpoint which has Ethernet and WiFi etc. It’s in the living room connected to the TV and all the peripherals. But it has a “Zone 2” output which sends analog 2 channel line out audio to the amp in the basement. There are hard-switches on the amp where I have switched 4 of the speakers to be “Left” and 4 to be “Right” from the line-in.

So I can AirPlay to the receiver (most any new receiver will support this) and it will send that 2-channel audio to Zone 2 out to the basement amp.

IMO the best system is a dumb amp which is not on Ethernet or WiFi or Bluetooth or anything. That makes it totally future-proof. It’s also stupid cheap. $45 per speaker, $30 per channel of amplification.

The receiver in my living room I would assume is going to have to get upgraded every few years because it runs software that I have to touch and needs to support the latest HDMI standards, etc. That’s the device which you can connect to via AirPlay or Chromecast or even Bluetooth.


I stayed at a Cottage that had Sonos installed in the whole house. Don't know why people would do that, felt so counterintuitive


With luck. I've never been able to make the Bluetooth to my Denon work. I just plug in an old iPhone instead.


The Logitech one I have from 4 years ago felt that way. Bluetooth is getting pretty rock solid now though. Even a cheap MPow Bluetooth audio jack for the Car works pretty well.


Yeah, it's probably worth my buying an external Bluetooth receiver to plug into my stereo at this point. My current setup works but it would be easier if I could just broadcast from any of my devices.


Nice. But I can’t help but think there’ll be people who will think to themselves in response to your question, “because wires aren’t modern”.


> Otherwise how can you beat hard-wired speakers and a dumb 8-channel amp?

Because it saves you running wires around the house and getting an 8-channel amp accessible from one place rather than every phone. I can run wires, but... what's the point?

Even if I did want to run the wires, either the time to do that + required tools/materials, or getting an electrician costs me more than a set of sonos speakers.


You're able to use Chromecast and AirPlay without license agreements?


The receiver manufacturer has the license agreement. The point is that you can swap out said receiver for whatever supports whatever future protocol obsoletes Chromecast/AirPlay.


It's funny how sonos became big with "multi-room" speakers.. But now they're mainly used as a wireless speaker with spotify.

Not many people actually use it as multiroom speakers


> Not many people actually use it as multiroom speakers

Source? This is still my primary use of Sonos, I have 4 of the original Play 1s and I love them as much as I did when I got the first because of the multiroom functionality.


I'm surprised they're issuing a statement admitting they made a "misstep". Surely they knew in advance the original update (removing support for their earliest adopters) would be received extremely negatively. I would have thought their comms strategy would have been to hold the line and wait for it to die down rather than revising their status so quickly.

Either way the damage is done. It's become clear through the "recycling" program, the revision of the Sonos ONE after only 16 months and now the lobotomizing of the original Play 5 that they are not going to stand behind their products like they used to. I'm not buying more $400 speakers from a company that's aim is to force upgrades by deprecating support to bring up their quarterly sales figures.

Time to buy some Chromecast or Airplay 2 devices and sign up for an ecosystem from a company that has a different revenue stream and doesn't need to force rapid hardware refreshes.


The idea that $400 speakers should only continue to function under the continued charity of the company that sold them is farcical in any event.


Decent used equipment from the 1970s might well have more useful life ahead of it than a brand-new Sonos setup purchased today.


What I like about the '70s stuff is almost everything uses standard parts you can get from any reasonable factor, and the few unique components are usually still simple enough that some hobbyist or small machine shop will be turning them out and selling them. Providing it hasn't been abused it's possible to refurbish something using only simple tools and a bit of testing, and some of the equipment is seriously good even by modern standards. (One of the main reasons I ended up with a '70s turntable is I couldn't find anything new under £1000 with the same sound quality, or that didn't require directly fiddling with belts and pulleys to change the speed.)

By comparison, whenever any of my modern kit breaks down I find the offending part will be unique to that unit, the spare parts supply is nonexistent, and there will be no published specs allowing one to cobble something together.


It seems to be like that for cars too --- you can still easily get parts for a complete "classic 60s-70s" American car powertrain (carbureted V8 with points ignition, 4-speed manual/3-speed automatic, RWD live axle), with lots of aftermarket support and performance enhancement, but later models when computers were introduced are far more difficult and expensive to find parts for.


It's the same with tractors from the 70s and 80s.


Not always the case, we sold our '81 Ford specifically because parts were getting harder to come by and no one made them any more.


My Sonos system is bridged to the perfectly fine 1980's hi-fi setup in the lounge but that bridge is now out of support from Sonos. Feeling a bit ripped off here as I only bought the bridge four years ago.


How much more complex is streaming sound going to get that a play5 gen1 won't be able to do it anymore? Lossless already audio works fine. It was maybe even Sonos themselves that solved that problem in the first place


I mean $400 dumb speakers can be expected to last for decades with minor repairs now and then. Sonos just wants to turn speaker ownership into a subscription like with phones.


"continue to function" != "receive new features"

They'll all continue to work exactly as they already do.


That is the new news today. The previous news was they would eventually no longer continue to function, todays announcement reaffirms no new features but now says they are working on a plan to make sure they continue to function with other legacy hardware as they do today.


I don’t believe that’s correct?

At least from the screenshots of emails I read, it stated that old devices won’t get software updates, but will continue to work. Additionally, any newer devices will not get software updates _while they’re on the same Sonos network as the old one_, because they all have to run the same version.

Edit: here’s what I read https://mobile.twitter.com/seanbonner/status/121976046002876.... It very plainly states the devices will continue operating but none of your connected devices will be updated while you’re using old ones.


It also states "Over time, this is likely to disrupt access to services and overall functionality".

That's pretty much the exact opposite of "will continue to work".


Buts that’s “continue to work as is” but if the whole world moves on, then features will stop working. E.g. they’re not gonna get updates to deal with breaking API changes from music providers.

I’m not sure what more you could expect.


I don’t think so. Without updates it could lose compatibility with the services it integrates with, if the service is changed.


Which presumably means when you buy a very new device and hook it up to your network with a very old device, there will be no software version that runs on both...


The fact that they have to "work on a plan" to make sure things still function is especially alarming.


Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and having to wonder whether it will one day stop functioning for reasons other than manufacturing defects or normal wear and tear! The fact that it is even possible for a manufacturer to decide to remotely disable or degrade the function of a product after the sale was unthinkable 25 years ago but is now a risk consumers have to seriously consider.


People do that every day. Ever bought a mobile phone? You only get software updates for a few years at most, and I don’t think any phones from 25 years ago are usable today due to old networks being shut down. Some of the devices being deprecated pre-date the iPhone!


> They'll all continue to work exactly as they already do.

Yeah, that's false.


You seriously misunderstand what’s happened here. Sonos didn’t change anything at all, they just explained it again because (clearly you) didn’t get it.

All you people suggesting chrome cast as an audio solution are hilarious. It’s literally already in the unsupported state without updates that Sonos is going to do with products ten times as old. Wtf are you thinking? What is the difference in your mind between Sonos issuing bug fixes but not new features, and relying on chromecast audio which already stopped supports years ago? It’s absurd


They’re admitting a misstep, but they’re not actually changing much.

At best, there’s a vague pledge to update legacy players a bit longer, but they’re still breaking your current whole home audio system, because legacy and modern players will need to be split into two separate systems.


No the article says the opposite. It says they’ll continue working together:

“First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work just as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away.”


They'll continue working together if and only if you never update the software on the newer devices in your system ever again.


"We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks."


Yes, thats two sets, only working within each set, not across both sets.

“Half house audio” is the new hotness.


That was the original stance, it's unclear to me if it still is. The post they made seems to be intentionally vague...


I just found this [0] in their forums from Sonos employee:

“In May, you’ll be able to decide if you want to keep your legacy devices operating with your modern devices, and you’ll be able to put them all into a non-updating legacy system”

So they are actually reversing course to a certain extent.

If there’s one thing Sonos has shown throughout this mess, it’s that they’re really quite poor at communicating things clearly.

[0] https://en.community.sonos.com/ask-a-question-228987/questio...


> I'm surprised they're issuing a statement admitting they made a "misstep".

Here's the original Email Sonos sent on Jan. 21 (Tuesday). It's pretty bad and implies that your legacy products might stop working in the future and almost definitely won't work with new products.

> End of software updates

> In May the following products in your system will be classified as legacy and no longer receive software updates and new features. This will affect your listening experience.

[My products]

> Legacy products were introduced between 2005 and 2011 and, given the age of the technology, do not have enough memory or processing power to sustain future innovation.

> Please note that because Sonos is a system, all products operate on the same software. If modern products remain connected to legacy products after May, they also will not receive software updates and new features.

> You have options

> Continue using legacy products

> You can continue using legacy products after May, but your system will no longer receive software updates and new features. Over time this is likely to disrupt access to services and overall functionality.

> Trade up legacy products

> Save 30% on a new product when you upgrade through the Sonos Trade Up program.


The damage was done a long time ago when they announced they would brick your device unless you signed up to an online account.


Well, this blog post seems to suggest the blowback from their "we're killing off legacy hardware" was too much that they had to make this blog post.

I hope the blowback doesn't cease and people stop buying Sonos, but maybe I'm just being vindicative. If they stop their greedy policies, that would also make the world a better place.


>revision of the Sonos ONE after only 16 months

The original ONE is still supported

>lobotomizing of the original Play 5

discontinued 4 years ago - that's a pretty long tail and in line with Apple

>Time to buy some Chromecast or Airplay 2 devices

Airplay support depends on mfg of your device. Apple has a similar policy to sonos (5 years for phones, i believe) - but they state it on their site!

I think Sonos' biggest mistake was not having a transparent policy like Apple does. The real issue here, to me, is that they broke an unstated and unwritten promise: consumers inferred that devices had lifetime support - an inference that i think is completely reasonable!


> discontinued 4 years ago - that's a pretty long tail and in line with Apple

My stereo system was built in 1999. It still works fine and will continue to do so no matter what Sony does with their web servers.


My stereo system is from 2003. There is something deeply warped about accepting this idea each electronic product we buy should have a 2-4 year life expectancy.


Can it connect to Spotify? Or do you need another device to do that?


That's the point. Separate the "smart" components, which are short-lived and at the whims of the manufacturer, from the "dumb" components that are not at the mercy of constant updates, online accounts and sunsetting. You can connect to Shopify from a chromecast, airplay, bluetooth from a phone or anything else yet to be devised.


I've been saying this exact same thing about "Smart TVs" for so long. There really aren't options these days, if you want a good current-gen TV, you're getting a "smart" TV.

The smart components in these will get outdated quickly (perhaps slower now than 5 years ago, but still quite quickly), but I'm gonna be fine with my current TV panel for far longer than I will the OS that's on it.

I'm very concerned about what will happen to all of these TVs when consumers feel that they are too slow or can't install the apps they want to use. I fear they will just replace the TV with another smart TV that will last 3-4 years.


Sure, for a complex device like a TV. But for a small, self contained speaker? That's messy and complex, and frankly, people buy Sonos units to avoid that very situation.

It's not a bug, it's a feature.


My stereo is from 1973 and the Raspberry Pi I have connected to its inputs can play Spotify just fine and will get updates for much longer. Or I could plug my phone up. Or a more consumer friendly device like a Roku. Or a bluetooth module that pairs wirelessly with my phone. If and when I do decide to update the Pi is a single device that costs $40 or so instead of having to do that much per speaker. Sonos devices just aren't worth it, they're insanely overpriced and provide little to no real benefit over any number of other options that separate out the stereo from the thing that plays music.


Sure, because one of my old laptops has been relegated to music-player duty. If I hadn't had a spare laptop it'd have been a spare phone. Or maybe I'd add a Bluetooth dongle to stream media to it from any other device.


The Yamaha TSR-6750WA I bought in 2013 (7 years ago) does. Still.


Your ability to find tapes, discs, or things to plugin to it (assuming it even supports that) are disappearing with increasing speed.


My family has a Sony receiver bought in 1966. It works great with sources from phonograph to smartphone. There is no feeling of anything disappearing, on the contrary it is a device which is extremely pleasant to use and otherwise unthought of. Tuning its radio using a heavily weighted and lightly damped knob is faster than digital, the power-on latency is a few milliseconds, and most sources can be selected with a single press instead of scrolling an endless, feelless knob like many modern models.

Who is making receivers now that people will enjoy in 2073?


I go to hamfests often; if I ever need old audio gear, I can get it there (recently picked up a home-built crystal set with the galena cat-whisker still hooked up - I have yet to try to see if I can get it to work, but it looks complete).

Not too long back I bought a bluetooth adapter for my old Realistic component stereo system (that I bought as a high-schooler in 1989) - my wife likes to use it to listen to music and audio books, both inside the house and outside on the back patio.

If I ever wanted to do some kind of "streaming music/speaker system" - there are plenty of open source options out there. Or I would run wiring for speakers like others here have done. But for now, our needs and simple, and we're fine with that.


Are you suggesting RCA jacks are getting phased out? That's the only way I need to worry.


When buying home theater equipment recently I’ve had to make sure it had RCA jacks. Plenty of TVs don’t have them, I think.


Yes, definitely not a given a new tv you buy will still have rca jacks.


RCA and XLR are still pretty much the standard. You just need to look for studio equipment from companies such as Genelec, Neumann, Pioneer et.al.


I went to a small record store just the other day and they were selling fancy brand new turn tables that I could have bought. They also had a bluetooth module, and even a very fancy device that had 2 RCA connectors on one end, and a 3.5mm jack on the other so you could plug up something called a "phone" without even spending all the money on wireless. It's amazing how audio, for the longest time, just worked and I didn't have to think about it. When you keep things simple and standardized it pays dividends for years.


> discontinued 4 years ago - that's a pretty long tail and in line with Apple

That may be in line with Apple, but it's not a long tail. It's short. I expect that any hardware I buy will function for decades.


I’m not sure that’s a fair comparison either. One primarily makes computers which change quite fast (though my 10ish year old Macs actually work better than when they were purchased) and one makes audio stuff, which really doesn’t change that much.


>The original ONE is still supported

After announcing the Sonos ONE with heaps of fanfare they introduced a 2nd Gen revision only 16 months later and said that in the future only the 2nd Gen ONE would receive new features. Considering past Sonos products had been sold with the same hardware for multiple years updating after such a short time signaled a move to planned hardware obsolescence and quicker upgrade cycles confirmed by their latest moves. As someone who rushed out and bought a 1st Gen ONE this had already soured me before they crippled all my Play 5s.


From the original blog post:

"We've now come to a point where some of the oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power,"

Since when does playing back music files stretch the limits of what these speakers were designed to do? I have invested pretty heavily in Sonos but now realize I would have been better off connecting an Airplay adapter to a traditional sound system...


"Since when does playing back music files stretch the limits of what these speakers were designed to do?"

Playing back music files is a use-case that is antagonistic to their current business model and something they would disable immediately if they could.

Playing back music files has no social component, does not require a mobile phone app, and can be done without generating metrics and personally identifiable information.

Playing back music files is the last thing Sonos wants you to do.


They’re literally in the speaker business, how do you get this argument?

I also have to be on my wifi to talk to my speakers. They don’t need to keep servers running on the internet for me to talk to my speakers.

They have one job.

If they’re requiring internet connectivity for everything control or local-stream powered, they’re absolutely doing it wrong.


They're in the making-money business and their brand is associated with sound. They will manipulate their product lines and revenue streams to maximize the value of their brand, to maximize profit.


Probably because at the start they wrote all their code in C on a microcontroller with a few kilobytes of RAM, and now they want to run Linux with NodeJS requiring a few gigabytes of RAM to achieve the same thing...


So true! It would be reasonable if they said that only the newer devices get the newest features.

Instead, they chose to upgrade all devices until they are maxed out and then turn around to their pioneering customers telling them they need to buy new hardware just so that they can keep development costs low.


The streaming services they use, e.g. Spotify are more resource intensive today than they were when Sonos first came out. They are not just playing a PCM/Wav file, you know.


I'll never in my life purchase a Sonos product because of this line - absolutely shameless!


People want streaming services and digital assistants on their Sonos. Support that either takes beefier hardware, more specialized hardware, or offloading the work somewhere. But in all the cases, more advanced features do take hardware designed for it.


I get it. It's hard to maintain hardware forever but the current trend of making hardware obsolete is just wasteful. These companies need to find a business model for old hardware. I'm open to paying a maintenance fee that would give me critical updates after a certain point in time. Maybe 5%/yr of the original cost after 5 years.

Sending working hardware to the dump is not a long term fix.


It'd be nice if more hardware had like a "logic board upgrade" capability, but the business incentive just isn't there. Obviously most of the value in high end audio is the audio components, and those are probably not obsolete. If you buy a smart TV, most of the value is in the display panel which is probably not obsolete.

But old processors, old software platforms, etc. tend to doom a lot of these types of hardware, and I'd love to just replace the "computer part" of them. But the only way I could see that making financial sense for these businesses who'd rather just sell you the whole thing again, is if there was some sort of financial penalty/tax for bricking hardware.

(I am currently lamenting that my 2016 TV, only around three years old, can't get the CBS All Access app, even though it got Disney+. Apparently CBS and LG thinks only people who bought TVs since 2018 want to watch Picard.)


This reminds me of how my bathroom fan was designed. I bought a new house recently, and the old bathroom fan was covered in gunk, loud, and had an older light bulb socket. Fortunately Broan [1] designed this thing well. I could take the fan and light portion out of the metal box fairly easily, and replace it with a newer, updated unit that fit the existing metal box perfectly.

This saved significant time installing the thing. I did not have to rewire it or reattach the exhaust. Sure, I did have to waste the old, defunct parts, but it's better than wasting the big metal box too.

I think there's a lot of long term value in making semi-modular appliances. What if you could take out the logic board of one of these speakers and replace it with something more current? That saves the speaker itself, the mesh on top, and the entire enclosing.

Trick is I don't know if most consumers would care / be savvy enough to do this. Laptops have been doing a semi-modular design for a while in 2005 - 2015, but no one really updated it - they just threw the entire laptop out and bought the latest and greatest. Makes me wonder why the same mentality doesn't apply to these Sonos speakers.

[1]: https://www.broan.com/Bath-Vent-Fan/Fans-with-Lights


It might even make for a good law: the "smart" parts shall be removable and replaceable


At least with the TV, you can likely just add an external device pretty easily. Though I would love a TV with a device bay that was designed to supply a third party module power and an HDMI port - fewer wires to route would be a selling feature for me..


If you open a modern TV it's just an lcd display with a small motherboard that has an Arm SoC with an integrated AV switcher and tuner built in. It's a crime that cant be replaced with something more useful.


Commercial TVs used in airports and museums often have device bays that can interact with at least power and HDMI, sometimes much more. The problem is they are quite expensive. Partly due to fewer being sold, but also engineering the modular bus, fancy connectors, etc. Some of the plug-in boards are as expensive as a whole consumer TV. Part of what we get now is simply the result of our desire to buy a massive 60 inch screen for under a grand, a 95% price reduction in less than 20 years.


I don't want a complex board interface, just DC power and an HDMI port... but yes, unless some mass volume set builds that in, you can only get the low-volume version of that.


NAD receivers are pretty good with a pluggable design.

For example

https://nadelectronics.com/nad-previews-t-778-reference-avr/

And example modules

https://nadelectronics.com/products/mdc-modules/


Anecdote to that:

I was involved in a project where we had to measure certain changes in the ground and the climate above.

The station which measures how much the ground has moved broke.

We didn't know what broke, so we called the company as we had already invested quite a bit in a new software from them as the old one had issues with the server.

Instead of replacing the whole station(without any sensors, just the base station) for around 2000€ we send in the "CPU Core" and got the newest version for around 600€ I believe and it works fine.

Keep in mind that the station was brought about ten years ago, and thanks to the new client side software still works fine with windows server 2016 and beyond.

Why can't we have that in things like this in other parts, where space and energy efficienty is also not that important?

I have the feeling more and more api,software and hardware change are just for the sake of changing and not for any benefits.

Edit: Wording/formulating


That would be the perfect solution, even if the upgrade boards came at some kind of premium for those of us who aren't into yearly TV upgrades.

For what it's worth regarding CBS All Access: If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can subscribe to the CBS All Access 'channel' in Prime Video, and use the Prime Video app to watch those shows.

I'm in the same exact TV situation, had to find this workaround to catch Star Trek Discovery, really lame.


I get it if I wanted new features.

I don’t get it if I just want to stream music, the very reason why I bought a Sonos speaker in the first page. Threatening to just discontinue this service for no reason is just not cool.

I see my mistake to have bought an all-in-one package instead of an external streaming device.


It might also be sufficient if manufacturers open-sourced devices (designs, firmware, software) at end of life.


Even if they left some of it as binary blobs and cut off the older systems from the Sonos ecosystem I'd be happy with this solution.

I need the speakers to talk to each other so I can play throughout the house over wifi but as I have a Sonos Bridge to my old hi-fi I don't need them to talk to the internet themselves.


Its just the next phase of capitalism. Once you have sold your product to the entire target market where do you expand from there? You have to remove the previous products so you can sell it again.


This comment makes me think you didn't read the linked article.

No hardware is being made obsolete, or getting sent to the dump.


>No hardware is being made obsolete, or getting sent to the dump.

I assume this is in response to Sonos' program where they brick perfectly-usable devices (which then get sent to the dump) to prevent re-use after you take part in a trade-in program.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20191231/07584043658/sonos...


I guess I went too broad with my comment about this blog. They are saying that they will maintain them as much as possible. This means that the updates will eventually end and they will stop working. I have dumb speakers that are 10 years old that work great and will continue to work but Sonos will stop working because of a lack of software but they are still in working order. My point is that we need a way to conserve resources rather than sending them to the trash.

It's not just Sonos. Hardware manufacturer's business model is to make their products obsolete so we replace them. And it's only going to get worse with the wave of IoT gadgets that are coming in the future. It can't work forever.


The link is dead for me but what I assumes it says is that they aren't instantly killing these products but they won't update them which means eventually the API on the other end will change and these devices won't work anymore. Speakers are a product that should in theory last an extremely long time. The surround sound system in my grandmas house is some bose system from at least 25 years ago and it still functions perfectly fine because it relies on no software updates or external APIs.

Do you think these sonos speakers will still be fully functional in 20 years?


> Do you think these sonos speakers will still be fully functional in 20 years?

I expect the ones with audio inputs ports will still be usable as speakers in 20 years.


How about enacting a law that you either need to keep your hardware running via software updates, or you need to open-source all the software for others to keep doing so the moment you cease support. Would prevent a lot of waste.


Most people don't want to manually update code and patch their speakers. They want to push a button, and get music. Not run a local IT department


Right, people don’t want to manually patch their speakers, but people probably don’t want to throw them out after a few years either.

In any case, presumably in this proposed scenario secondary service industries would pop up to do this for them/offer ongoing alternatives. Much like computer maintenance and repair.


Open source doesn't need to be more complicated. There are several open source projects with majority of users with only consumer mindset. VLC comes to mind.

The original producers of the software could be unhelpful even if they comply though. That's another story.


Or it could operate like every other speaker produced in the history of earth that doesn't receive over the air updates: just fine.


I know we're a long way off, but a device should not require constant software updates to keep working. I think that just highlights the relative immaturity of the software industry.


There is no easy way to do this because a lot of proprietary software uses components that are licensed from other companies. So they are not in a position to open-source their entire code base because they don't actually own all of it.


I think this is one example among many similar that needs to happen. Though there's tremendous inertia for ideas like this. The people who needs to understand or care probably doesn't.


I'd settle for support for X years.


This non-apology announces no changes, and does nothing for Sonos owners worrying which product get cut off next. They're even still selling the Connect on their site - with no warnings! https://www.sonos.com/en-gb/shop/connect.html

It seems completely incompetent, but makes sense if you believe they're going to be acquired this year.

Ben Einstein said last in July 18 (https://blog.bolt.io/sonos-one/) Sonos are "a traditional speaker manufacturer incrementally adding technology in an attempt to keep up with a fast-moving race". Sonos probably still have the best multi-room speaker solution, but 1) their lead on that is slipping, and 2) I don't think new buyers care about multiroom as much as they do streaming services & features - i.e. the bits Sonos must be being squeezed on.

Their proposed solution for customers with old devices is a software-managed network split between old & new - that will kills multiroom playback for holdouts! That's the worst of both worlds - Sonos paying programmers to prop up old devices, while owners still prepare to see a fundamental degradation in their system.

Then the tie-in with IKEA seems like an enormous dilution of their brand. Now you can buy Sonos components from IKEA, and the IKEA home app can also control all of your Sonos speakers (not just the IKEA ones).

So that's that I think they have a deal in the works (IKEA?) - and they're massaging a few quarters to show briefly increased profitability while the long-term vision can go to hell.

In that light, cutting off old products in the face of so many angry customers makes sense. They remove a legacy support liability instantly, allowing them to be bullish about future R&D costs. And the angry customers are the ones bought into Sonos' 15yo product vision - they just may not represent much future revenue.


"Non-apology..." "Completely incompetent..."

What are you talking about? This letter from the CEO of the company clearly apologies, takes 100% responsibility, makes zero excuses. And among other changes, it plainly promises the devices will be supported for the foreseeable future.

To quote: "[T]hey will continue to work as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away."

If you worked at this company in any role (CEO or something else - you choose), what specifically would you have done differently so far?


I know it's the CEO.

It doesn't say the devices will be supported for the foreseeable future! It restates the woolly probability that you'll have to partition your system, and lose multiroom at, without stating what features that is going to be traded against after May, or at what point that will happen. That is absolutely taking something away! It just doesn't say when.

It didn't acknowledge that only in November, Sonos reassured a customer on Twitter that No, the Recycle function absolutely didn't mean they were about to make products obsolete.

It seems incompetent because it doesn't acknowledge how the Sonos products have now changed from permanent, reliable, expensive hifi units to fly-by-night junk that will lose support after as little as 3 years, and thousands of customers on their own community boards feel duped by a huge change.

In answer to your question, if the CEO were planning that change to the brand, and it didn't matter to Sonos long term - maybe nothing different? They are competing against low-lifetime electronic junk rather than quality hifi, it's clear that's what Sonos now represents.


My components being end-of-lifed are the Bridge and Connect (and a Play5, but ignore that for now).

The Connect is what connects my Sonos devices to the internet. By forcing a partition of my network, the other devices not being end-of-lifed will not be connected to the internet. To fix this I would need to buy a new device, move a speaker into the closet where the internet is, or run a Cat5 from the bedroom closet to the living room -- this is non-trivial.

The other device is the Connect which allows my TV to play on the other speakers in my living house and living room. By partitioning my network, the speakers won't be able to play off the TV. I will have a living room setup with 2 sets of speakers that can't be synchronized.

So ... unless they come out with a solution to let me keep all my devices on the "old" network and have a partitioned "new" network, I'm F*ed. I end up with 3 speakers on one network (one of which I guess has to be in a closet and just act as a little broadcast node) and 2 speakers on another network. I have my Play5 and a Play1 in the same room, which wouldn't be able to play the same thing.

So, yeah, I'll never buy another Sonos product again. I'm effectively out a couple thousand dollars. Better to learn my lesson and move on.


I suspect a lot of this has to do with perception. Even though a phone or laptop may appear to be in fine condition after several years and may even work very well, we understand that the internals no longer support more advanced, current hardware and software capabilities.

But I don't think the same way about speakers. The part that really matters for a speaker is the construction of the cabinet and the quality of the actual speakers (woofers, mids, tweeters, etc.). Traditional speakers have very little electronics involved.

Too bad Sonos didn't design a more modular/swappable system. I can understand needing to replace a central receiver/hub on occasion to take advantage of new capabilities, and/or swap out a component of the speaker, such as a bluetooth receiver. But to make all speakers in a system no longer supported is hard to understand.


People seem to miss the point of Sonos.

Yes, you can build a good stereo system, connect some kind of streaming system and end up with something roughly the equivalent of Sonos.

But this is the whole Dropbox vs Git+Remote Backup+Your own server thing.

The ease of use and "it just works" simplicity is the feature, and every other setup compromises this to some extent.

I have a Onkyo & Dali hi-fi setup. It's a great system. And I've made attempts to make it as easy to use as Sonos.

Let's go through the things I've tried and the compromises they have:

- Harmony remote + CEC to control the TV and stereo. This is ok (the Harmony products are good) but has *exactly the same issues as Sonos: a propriety system that is subject to upgrades. I've had to throw away one system already.

- Bluetooth streaming. Tried Airplay, but there is no reliable Android support. Bluetooth is ok, but if the range is annoying if someone is walking around the house.

- Zones. My amp sort of has a concept of this, but I haven't even attempted to get it to work. The wiring of speakers is enough to put me off it.

Sonos solves all these problems. But obsoleting their speakers is horrible, and 4 years seems too short a time for this.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but some kind of maintenance fee is something I'd consider - especially for older hardware. It'd have to be substantially less than what I pay for Spotify though. Maybe after 5 years I'd pay $10/year?


What about something like this?

http://strobe.audio/

I mean - that's just the first hit I found searching for open-source multi-room audio streaming for the raspberry pi. There were others.

Seriously - once you got one node to work, at that point clone the sd card (just dd it), and pop the image onto new cards for each new node. I don't know what kind of configuration or fiddling you might have to do, and while it isn't a "plug-n-play" thing like Sonos, you (and everyone else here) probably have the smarts to figure it out.

And once you have it figured out for one - the copying it and duping it to the other nodes and setting them up is probably not much of a stretch.


It says on that site "the user interface is a work in progress".

There a lots of these projects. They all sorts, kinda work if you are prepared to do work and ignore the faults.

For one, it doesn't do HDMI CEC. For another, no form of surround sound. No Spotify support. Etc etc.

I just don't think that trade-off is worthwhile.

One you buy active speakers (which have to be wired to the raspberry pi, sigh..) it isn't even much cheaper.


Found this for further context -- January 21 blog post:

https://blog.sonos.com/en/end-of-software-updates-for-legacy...


You know what? I'm not going to let people gaslight me into believing that a stereo system needs to be integrated into the "cloud" and rely on some third party service to function.

I have HiFi equipment literally from the 1970's and 1980's that will continue to operate well beyond the lifespan of any cloud-connected web-app-configured third-party-controlled WiFi Sonos type bullshit.

It's not like there have been really ground breaking improves in speaker technology since the 80's anyway. Maybe some material improvements? I'm pretty sure my B&W speakers from the 80's can still hold their own against a decent stereo today...

So what are you paying for? WiFi connectivity? Is that even really any more convenient? How about when it stops working?

God, I'm triggered.


Yeah, there’s a good chance your B&W from the 80s sound better than any of Sonos’s speakers, and perhaps even better than modern B&W (since in modern B&W regressed to less neutral speakers to demo a more sparkly sound in showrooms, even though it limits their versatility of optimal music). I’m completely with you about disliking this modern trend of disposable and brick-able “internet required” speakers combined with modern software culture’s bizarre love for this “service” model where you are expected to perpetually accept OTA updates to keep using your product — mandatory OTA updates that are only good until the company behind them stops caring about old products they’re no longer making money off of, and decides to brick or cripple them.

But regarding speakers: There have definitely been advancements in modern speaker design. Probably the biggest advancement is the state-of-the-art science of psycho-acoustics, developed by the Canadian National Research Council, and later continued by the research division of Harman International. The results of this research has directly lead to better speakers by Harman Intl. companies (Revel, JBL, etc.) and throughout much (but not all) of the speaker industry.

Psycho-acoustics informs speaker engineers how to objectively measure flaws in a speaker in ways that go far beyond an old fashioned on-axis frequency response plot (which tells you nearly nothing): measuring FR and others in a densely sampled sphere surface around a speaker in an anechoic chamber has been shown to provide almost all the info you need to evaluate and design a speaker.

The end result of this is pretty amazing speakers for great prices. A $500 pair of JBL 308p Mk II will probably get you 80% of the way to audio perfection for most people, for example. A Neumann KH120A ($1300/pair) will get you maybe 90% to perfection[1], though at the expense of some bass extension which you may want to complement with a subwoofer.

And then we have some exotic speaker designs made affordable; for example, you can get speakers with a RAAL Ribbon Tweeter from Ascend Acoustics which will blow away any other modern speaker costing 2-3x as much. A $2k - $3k speaker and subwoofer system from Ascend+Rythmik[2] will probably get you to 99% of the best sound quality in the world.

For example, I’ve owned Bowers and Wilkins 702 S2 before discovering the science and innovations of some exotic components like the RAAL tweeter. This research later lead me to buy Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers, which while costing significantly less than the B&W 702 S2 sound many times better. (Bowers and Wilkins intentionally choose to ignore the science). The difference (to my ears) is truly astounding — the Ascends are truly in another league of quality and realism. And, the versatility improvement of neutral (flat frequency response, on and off axis) speakers over colored ones is amazing if you like listening to a wide range of music.

[1] https://en-de.neumann.com/kh-120-a-g

The Neumann KH120A is probably the most amazing sounding compact speaker I have ever heard. It is seriously mind blowing how amazing such a small speaker sounds, and how much quality bass it can put out. It also has some of the most impressively perfect scientific measurements I’ve ever seen (which you can review on the link above in the “data and diagrams” section).

The only thing better is Ascend’s speakers with RAAL tweeters, or Genelec pro monitors (which are quite overpriced).

[2] Example: Ascend Sierra Luna pair + Rythmik F12 will probably get you to 98% of audio perfection:

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/speakers/luna/... http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages/products/subs/f12se.htm...


Okay, I'm curious now. I'm looking into the Ascend Sierra RAAL Towers and it looks like they're reasonably priced at around $2900/pair, which is right around my budget for a pair of high quality speakers.

It seems like you've done a lot of research on this. Do you think these are some of the better speakers in that price range?

I was looking at some Martin Logan ESL, but IDK if the electrostatic thing is a gimmick.


Yes I’ve done a ton of research here and have spent a lot of money on speakers (both with good and bad results), so I am happy to answer all your questions.

In my opinion and from much research I believe Ascend speakers (with RAAL tweeters) and Rythmik servo subwoofers are very nearly the best in the world for probably the best price you’ll ever find. Others make comparable and perhaps even better options but they’re generally exponentially more expensive and harder to obtain (not always mass produced).

Even some of the best within 2-3x the price aren’t as good. For example, before I tried Rythmik, the best subwoofer I found was from JL Audio. A JL E112 costs twice as much as a Rythmik F12, yet the Rythmik F12’s sound quality is a league beyond (due to their servo feedback loop tech, the accuracy and precision of their bass is just amazing). And the Rythmik F18 combines massive power (for movies) and incredible precision (for music) in the same product still far below the price of even JL Audio’s entry level stuff.

And other than the Sierra RAAL Towers, my second favorite tower speakers are Revel F206. The Revel F206 are fantastic speakers, but despite costing much more, they still simply aren’t as good as the Sierra RAAL Towers!

I have several speakers from Ascend, Rythmik (subwoofers), Revel, and Neumann. All of these brands are mindblowingly good, but Revel and Neumann are twice the price to get maybe only 90% as good as Ascend. Brands I’ve owned but sold or returned (due to poor performance vs price) include Bowers and Wilkins, KEF, Paradigm, Axiom, and some misc others.

Martin Logan electrostats look very cool and also can sound very impressive but they have two huge limitations:

(1) They’re far from neutral, which means they’ll make some music genres sound great and others worse. With neutral speakers, you can equalize them to suit your preference. But with colored (non neutral) speakers, you often cannot equalize them to fix their flaws (I could explain more why this is, if you want), so neutral is almost always the best choice.

(2) They ONLY sound good if your head is perfectly on axis. If you are seated in precisely the right position and don’t move your head an inch, they can be quite nice, but it’s really annoying to have the sound degrade so horribly everywhere else in the room.

But there is a certain magic to electrostats (when you are in that listening sweet spot) you don’t get from most regular speakers, so it’s a shame they have these flaws. Wouldn’t it be great if a speaker existed that combined the magic of electrostats with none of its flaws?

As it turns out, the RAAL tweeter achieves just that! RAAL’s ribbon tweeter (used in Ascend’s high end speakers) achieves the best of all worlds: these are the only speakers I know that achieves that magical holographic treble precision (detail without being harsh) usually associated with electrostats, while ALSO achieving some of the widest and most consistent dispersion pattern of just about any speaker in the world. The RAAL tweeter is a planar diaphragm very much like an electrostat, so some of the same benefits are achieved but with exceptionally wide dispersion rather than exceptionally narrow.

This amazing dispersion pattern not only makes for the most consistent sound throughout the room I’ve ever heard, but also increases sound quality on axis (because actually the majority of sound heard at any listening position comes from wall reflections, not direct sound).

Note also that all ribbons are not created equal: most of them (e.g. Martin Logan’s lower end hybrid speakers) sound (and measure) worse than a high quality traditional “dome” tweeter. RAAL is fairly uniquely exceptional, and BTW this is reflected in their objective measurements (not just subjective descriptions of “magic”).


Do they know that this tentative move highlighted how the entire conneced device market is a bad deal for customers? Detractors of connected devices often tout how useless these are when the internet is temporarily down, but the biggest threat is not there (hopefully). The biggest threat comes from the entity providing the link. Those guys need to be up forever!

And that's not the only issue. There is no economic reasons for companies like Sonos to maintain devices for ever, for free. So either they stop doing so, or a new business models will arise, making connected devices yet another subscription-based play. Why not?

Connected devices exist because of our laziness at the cost of sustainability, privacy, security, control.

Apart from that they are a great deal!


I miss the days of standards. Having to buy into an ecosystem for this kind of thing is remarkably annoying. I want to be able to buy any "smart" speakers I like and have them work together through a common control system. Not be stuck at the mercy of individual company decisions.


I have a Sonos that came with my house. It's actually the least of my worries.

The house was built about 10 years ago with what (I presume) was a state-of-the-art system at the time - an "AudioAccess WHEN" system. It works fine - there are keypads and speakers in every room, and I can pipe audio from the Sonos (or an Airplay receiver) to anywhere.

It's a weird topology, however - the speakers in each room are wired to the keypads (which is where the amps live). Each keypad has a power connection, and some kind of (presumably proprietary) Cat-5 connection to a central hub. The hub in turn is connected via Cat-5 to a head unit with FM receiver, CD/AUX inputs, etc...

When we moved into the house, the head unit wasn't working - it refused to establish a connection to the hub. I managed to track down a working tech support phone number, only to hear that they don't make this system any more, and that the head units often fail in this way. I managed to find what may have been the last replacement head unit in existence on Ebay - bought it, and fortunately everything started working!

I am, however, dreading the day when it inevitably dies. Since the speaker wires go to the keypad amps, and not to the wiring closet (where the hubs live), I'm not sure what I could replace it with - beyond re-running new speaker wire to a completely new system in the wiring closet.


If there's cat5 at the keypads back to the central hub, and the speaker wires go to the keypads, then you can just hook the wires from the speakers to the cat5 - choose one or two pair (depending on the distance, you might want to "double up" to lower the impedance over the run), and hook 'em up. Then you just need to figure out a distribution system at the central hub location.

If you find you can run the speakers on a single pair per speaker - that will leave you with 2 other pairs on the cat5 - which you could use for control or communication.

But what I would do before all of that is try to reverse-engineer the protocols or whatnot that the whole system is currently using, so you can keep the keypads/amps and such, and create some kind of custom main "head unit" later.


To focus on one product: the original play:5 came out Nov 2009 (which is impacted here). The replacement came out in Sep 2015.

For a company that builds their brand loyalty on keeping existing customers happy with their purchases (via OTA updates and slow replacement frequency), 4.5 years isn't long enough in my opinion—hopefully there weren't a ton of play:5 buyers in that final year. Forever isn't reasonable either of course with how heavily cloud based they are. I think it should be closer to 10.

It's a little hard to imagine 2010 devices keeping up in 2020, but I'm sure that 2030 will be kinder to 2020 hardware. In the same way a 1995 laptop is far less capable than a 2005 compared to 2015. I think they could make that commitment.

I give Sonos a longer time I would others because they justify their price tag based on how unlikely you are to have to replace it. Rather—that's how I justified all of mine.

And they should be up front with what that duration will be when you buy it.


These are speakers that play music. There is nothing „to keep up“. The network is still the same, the codecs are, everything.

It’s ok if old products don’t have new features. It’s not ok if old products don’t work anymore just because the company feels like it.


This sums up my issue right here- its one thing if they said that they won't support holographic 8k audio or whatever future thing they come up with, but I can't understand what they would need more memory for in the end devices, when their job since the day I got them, and all I ask them to do until the day I decide to replace them, is take a stream of music, and play it. The "hard" stuff should all be in my sonos app, which is on my ever updating phone.


My dad’s JBL speakers from 1970 still sound great and he has options for streaming music if he was so inclined.

I wouldn’t be impressed with a decade of use out of a speaker.


You’re not in Sonos’s target market if you want it to last 50 years. That’s fine.

All the more reason they should be explicit so the consumer knows what they’re buying. I certainly don’t mind 10 year lifecycle even if that bothers you.


The problem is a little more complex, given that Sonos continued to sell the old Play:5 alongside the new one at a steep discount for a number of years. I purchased one in 2016, sold as new by the company, which gave me a good 3 years, but if you don't pay attention to such things as when it was originally released, would be infuriating news...


My squeezebox/logitech devices from the early 2000's are still working fine in 2020. Open source server software too.


I don’t understand your point. I’m trying to argue companies should be up front about minimum support length at purchase. Is it that 10 years isn’t long enough?


You said "It's a little hard to imagine 2010 devices keeping up in 2020, but I'm sure that 2030 will be kinder to 2020 hardware.". I'm saying (as are others), that at least the first clause of this sentence seems wrong. It's not hard to imagine that at all.


> but I'm sure that 2030 will be kinder to 2020 hardware. In the same way a 1995 laptop is far less capable than a 2005 compared to 2015. I think they could make that commitment.

I’m less optimistic. I live in Mac land. We had a sweet spot in about 2010 when computers were good, and lasted really well. I don’t think I’ll see 10+ years out of today’s Macs, or many of my other purchases, and I specifically buy things to last.

Another interest of mine is coffee, and looking to upgrade the espresso machine is depressing. Too much computerisation and plastic. My 20+ year old machine and older grinder are really hard to beat and are nice to work on, and even at significant cost I don’t think it would be an upgrade. Instead I’m looking backwards at 60’s and 70’s machines. How did it get like this?


You’re talking about durability which is different. I’m talking about performance.

Durability should not be a problem with these products. Frankly they feel super solid but more importantly they rarely even get touched (the interface is an app). They have a couple of touch sensitive buttons (volume and skip/prev only) but that’s it.


The problem IS durability, not the physics but the functionality just because the company decided to stop supporting the main function for the customer: playing music.


Hugged to death, I think.


They emailed out the same statement to Sonos subscribers:

We heard you. We did not get this right from the start. My apologies for that and I wanted to personally assure you of the path forward:

First, rest assured that come May, when we end new software updates for our legacy products, they will continue to work just as they do today. We are not bricking them, we are not forcing them into obsolescence, and we are not taking anything away. Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible. While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible. If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.

Secondly, we heard you on the issue of legacy products and modern products not being able to coexist in your home. We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state. We’re finalizing details on this plan and will share more in the coming weeks.

While we have a lot of great products and features in the pipeline, we want our customers to upgrade to our latest and greatest products when they’re excited by what the new products offer, not because they feel forced to do so. That’s the intent of the trade up program we launched for our loyal customers.

Thank you for being a Sonos customer. Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. I hope that you’ll forgive our misstep, and let us earn back your trust. Without you, Sonos wouldn't exist and we’ll work harder than ever to earn your loyalty every single day.

If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. Sincerely, Patrick

Patrick Spence CEO, Sonos


Lennie Small CEO, Sonos


I'm honestly quite confused why they can't revert to a "dumb" speaker mode and then provide a proprietary Chromecast equivalent that only works with their speakers that can be trivially replaced

This would mean that if you want continued software updates you just plug in the expansion pack, like I did for my N64.


> While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible.

As long as possible is not a super clear commitment, but otherwise I’m happy with this. I don’t need new features, I just want my Sonos setup to keep working.

Glad they listened.


The "smart" appliances sound so dumb in retrospect.


They're smart all right. Just not for the customers.


Forgive me if I missed this in discussion, but I thought the bricking event, was if you attempted to surrender the old licence rights, to enable a discount code.

If the bricking happened irrespective, I think it maybe broke expectations across the consumer/supplier boundary. If you are 'turning in' a device to get a discount on a new device, I don't personally have a problem with them bricking it, because you are doing the virtual equivalent of giving it back to them, to get the new one.

e.g. Google say five devices. you want to add a sixth? you have to de-licence one. If you do, its local copy of Google IPR protected content could wipe. Switch google accounts? it can wipe. This is not "nice" but its not uncommon.

Did I mis-understand? (not a sonos customer btw, outside observer, un-involved)


This is a new user hostile move from them. They have announced they are removing support for ALL older model speakers not just "discount code redeemed" ones. Additionally they disabling updates for any new speakers that remain in the same audio system as any old products.


Oh, thats pretty bad. "either buy new or we won't meet statutory obligations regarding your old product" is really bad. This happened with some 2G handsets in the 2G->3G cutoff: traders in the UK were selling 2G handset packages to customers 2 days after the official cutoff date: the regulator made them refund/replace.


The page isn't working for me so I can't confirm this, but the headline is so innocuous that it needing to exist at all probably shows a huge underlying problem. Is there some name for that phenomenon? Is it some relative of Betteridge's law?

EDIT: I just realized this is the equivalent of the "asking questions already answered by my shirt" meme. The existence of this headline just causes people to ask the question why the headline needs to exist.

[1] - https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/a-lot-of-questions-already-an...


I’d say your intuition is correct.

The headline makes you think everything is back to normal, and that they’ve reversed course, but I can’t actually see that much has meaningfully changed.

It sounds like all your speakers will work after May, but if you have a mix of legacy and modern speakers, you’ll be forced to split them into two totally separate systems.


>> The page isn't working for me so I can't confirm this

I don't know how I feel abouy a company that sends mixed messages about the shelf life of their products and can't manage to consistently serve a blog post to its customers.


Solid response from a company that historically seemed deaf to customer feedback. This is a move in the right direction for Sonos - but I definitely will hold off on buying any new Sonos equipment until I see how they handle this.


I feel like all of this IoT hardware should be rented rather than bought. If your piece of crap can suddenly stop working, I don't want to own it. Rent it to me and take it back when it's useless.


If my piece of crap can suddenly stop working, then I don't want it even on a rental basis.

This is why the direction that the IoT market has decided to take things makes any of that stuff completely unacceptable to me. None of it can be trusted -- it is more likely than not spying on you, the way it works can change at any moment without notice, including ceasing to function.


Sadly, most hardware being rented and not bought is already close to the truth.


Yeah, this would be the consumer flipside of everything looking something like a subscriptions model. If the vendor wants to force obsolescence it should be on their own assets.


No way. I don't want to rent a device, it's a principle that's flawed. Maybe there are advantages to such but the disadvantages outweigh every time.

Take a car for example. You can now lease the latest and greatest car, but you don't own that car, it's not your asset. If your in dire straits; where if you need to sell, you cannot, you don't own it, it's not yours to sell.

Not forgetting that the vendor then decides the price you pay. "Cool, due to climate change tax, we are increasing your payment". All you can do is pay the demand or live without a car which if you need to commute, your screwed.

What you might own may be junk, it still has a value. When you lease, you get none of all that. It's a worrying trend.


All you people suggesting chromecast as an audio solution are hilarious. It’s literally already in the unsupported state without updates that Sonos is going to do with products ten times as old. Wtf are you thinking? What is the difference in your mind between Sonos issuing bug fixes but not new features, and relying on chromecast audio which already stopped supports years ago? It’s absurd to complain and then choose a product with even less support which was dropped after like a year on the market


I'm not going to try to change your mind, but the chromecast audio was a great device that did exactly what it was meant for and nothing more. It didn't try to be a voice assistant, or control your lights, or pump ads in your face. It was also $35, which is pretty easy to throw away if and when it does get kill-switched by Google. When that happens I won't have to scrap my speakers and amp to chase the next streaming fad. If your crystal ball will choose the Sonos product that will still be supported in 10 years, then by all means go for it.


You still don’t get it. It has ALREADY been “kill switched by google” and won’t get updates. It’s not even for sale! Why is chrome cast audio existing in that state (functional, no new features coming) acceptable, but the identical scenario is atrocious in your mind for Sonos?


Because it just works, and I'll continue to get every cent of that $35 out of it until I can no longer. But seriously, enjoy your Sonos.


Sonos just works too and I’ll get every cent out of it as well. You think it’s coincidence google sold a cutthroat priced knock off of stolen Sonos tech? It’s literally what Sonos complains about in their lawsuit. Enjoy your product as well


i Think what they misunderstood is really their customerbase. Mid level audiophiles who want comfortable music with good sound. I don’t care if I can talk with my speaker and order pizza or not. And my rough guess is, that just looking at the data their customers don’t change zones constantly but use a few very often. The strategy that they currently seem to follow is a strategy against service providers in the field of music, instead of working on what they actually sell: hardware. No matter how many blog posts will follow, as long as they don’t restart innovating in the interest of their core customers (mid audiophiles looking for comfort and usability to listen to music), they are losing me as a customer and i would bet they are also going to lose against the echo/HomePods and so on. Sad to see a once innovative company struggling because they try to win a box fight not realizing they are better at swimming.


Why is the advice to switch to Apple or Google ecosystems in lue of Sonos?

I use a 2004 era laptop to power my media experiences throughout my home, connected to regular ole amplifiers of variying vintages. 10-15yrs old off ebay seems to be a sweat spot, you pay ~10% the original 2-10k price tags because these units are purchased by wealthy consumer audiophiles.


I really hope I can continue to use my Sonos home theatre setup for years to come. For atleast playing music through the Sonos app and watching TV.

I have two play 3's, playbar and a sub and after having them for 4 years it still blows me away the sound and how convenient to is to use between watching TV and playing music.


Even without the Sonos app, you could feed your audio sources through an HDMI switch that sends a single optical output to the Playbar, and you could make one of those sources an Apple TV or a Bluetooth receiver or whatever.


The first story in Cory Doctorow's book "Radicalized" is about toasters that stop working because the company that sold them goes bankrupt, and how that ends up in refugees being evicted from their homes. We aren't there yet, but each of these devices is a small step in that direction.


This whole mess has got me thinking we'll start seeing more of this from other manufacturers of "smart home" technology in the future as they realise it's expensive to maintain legacy systems and force people to keep buying new stuff every few of years.


I am very satisfied with my Snapcast + Home Assistant setup. I needed to spend more time get my setup going than a Sonos user probably needs, that is not for everyone, I realize that. I think it does what Sonos does. But maybe Sonos is more advanced.


The title initially made me believe this was about the devices that they purposefully bricked in order to sell new ones (at some discount). But apparently it's actually about all Sonos products that they didn't purposefully turn into waste.


Sonos lets users choose to brick old devices in exchange for a discount. Ones that don't will no longer get updates past May.

The way this has played out in social media has been weird. I've seen more than one person turn this into "Sonos is going to brick all my devices!". It's either the world's worst communication strategy at work or people deliberately conflating two parts of one message.


Ones that don't will no longer get updates past May.

It goes beyond that, because they won't update any devices on the same network as old devices either. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/01/sonos... In May they plan to have a way to segregate old devices onto a separate network, but they still won't work together with new ones.


Having used and owned Sonos devices, this doesn't surprise me at all. The devices expect to work together in complex ways. Expecting new ones to correctly work together with old ones over the same network can be expected to entail pretty much all the work of supporting the old devices. New devices are now constrained by the networking hardware and protocols of the old ones... forever.

Which is the whole thing Sonos is clearly trying to get away from. Supporting legacy devices forever is clearly untenable.

With that said, I do see another angle they could have pursued. They could have led with the network segregation approach, making it clear that the legacy devices will still work perfectly with one another on their own network.

Sonos could also have said that legacy devices may stop working as expected without warning after any future update that applies to current devices only. This strikes me as likely to work great until it comes down and then it blows up catastrophically when the update lands.

Those are the best options I can see, but my vision is of course quite limited. Perhaps you have better ideas!


> Sonos lets users choose to brick old devices in exchange for a discount.

What I don't understand is why. Let's look at the two options.

Option one: User must brick device and trash it, Sonos sells new device at 30% off, basically losing out on their margin.

Option two: User can keep old device, maybe even sell it to a new Sonos customer who can't afford new devices. Sonos sells new device at 30% loyalty discount, losing out on their margin (but gaining a new customer who can't get that loyalty discount if they decide to upgrade in the future).

From a company perspective, Option 2 looks much more attractive: Same initial cost, but you look more environmental and you gain a potential new customer.


I'm going to put on my pessimism hat for a moment.

Option two: User buys a nice, expensive wireless speaker at a discount. After setting it up, they learn that it will literally never get an update and they can't get any support for it. Their experience sucks, and worse, it always will. Now they feel like they've been screwed by Sonos on top of however much money they paid for the thing. Their brand new-to-them device is forever hobbled.

That doesn't sound like a happy new customer. That sounds like an angry secondary-market consumer that will never be a customer and a tarnished brand. That seems sub-optimal for a company that highly prizes loyalty and the user experience.


>After setting it up, they learn that it will literally never get an update and they can't get any support for it.

>That seems sub-optimal for a company that highly prizes loyalty and the user experience.

It's not the customer's fault that their product is never getting updated and they can't get any support.


You're absolutely right. It's a consequence of the company's decision to not offer infinite support to hardware.

It's also a consequence of a user potentially failing to do their research before purchasing.

If a company is going to drop support for older devices, ensuring that poorly informed users don't get screwed by this seems like a reasonable decision. I understand that some may consider this completely unreasonable, particularly on the basis that halting support is in no way a business decision that should ever contemplated.

Again, you're right. This is a consequence of Sonos' decision to stop supporting some of their products. It's just perhaps considering that there may be some small amount of room for nuance.


They were saying that new devices would not get updates either if networking with an old device.

Really this is their fault for announcing that while the device bricking fiasco was still in play.


In my eyes, they're clearly part of the same move to drop support for older devices. They probably should have unified the message, though.


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