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More Sonos

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Sonos, you might recall, is an app-controlled, multi-room, wireless speaker system. I got my first speaker, a Play 5, for Christmas, and installed in the kitchen.

I was happy enough with  it overall to expand the system as my birthday present this year. We got a single Play 1 speaker for the bedroom, and a Sonos Connect for the living room stereo system. So now I could finally try the multi-room feature.

Generally, it’s pretty easy to set up and use. Whenever you want to play the same music in more than one room, you “group” the speakers. This doesn’t work only with the native queues, but with whatever you’re choosing to play through Sonos: a radio station or a line-in application. It took a little while to figure how differing queues behaved with the grouping and ungrouping, but I think I get that now.

So the only big gap in that functionality—for us, anyway—is that you can’t set Sonos alarms as a group. So even though we set both bedroom and kitchen to start CBC Radio at the same time each morning, they’re never completely in sync. So in parts of the house where you can hear both, you get these weird echoes. Can be fixed by manually grouping the speakers, but it’s a bother having to do that daily.

Jean had also discovered, at some point, that with a paid Google Play Music account, you can send music right from that Google Play Music app to Sonos, without having to go through the Sonos app. This is a feature I’ve become quite fond of—it’s just faster to do that (for anything I don’t already have queued), plus the MusixMatch lyrics then works in automated mode!


That definitely gave Google Play another edge Spotify as the music service I’m willing to pay a monthly fee for—that, and its free cloud storage of my own music (even though that doesn’t work perfectly). Now, Spotify does have more and better playlists, nicer social functionality, and sometimes gets new music just a little faster than Google does. But I still wasn’t quite convinced to pay monthly for both, especially as you can do quite a bit with free Spotify (though playing it through Sonos isn’t one of those things).

As for the fact that Sonos doesn’t give access to play counts and dates—that’s bothering me less than I thought it would. The geeky solutions I looked up were a little too geeky for me, so I just do a little manual kludging to get an approximation of my previously automated “smart” playlists. But with the streaming, I also simply have a lot more ways to listen to new music than I used to.

I recently filled in a Sonos survey rating their current features and noting what else I’d like. At the end was the more demographic stuff—age, gender, education, the usual—then a series of questions I wasn’t expecting. How much do the following statements describe me?

  • I like to travel to learn about new cultures
  • I enjoy trying different types of foods and cuisines
  • Healthy and nutritious eating is important
  • Music is a major part of my life

So, OK,, that describes me a lot.

But would you have guessed that being an adventurous / nutritious eater who likes travel makes you more likely to want an app-controlled wireless speaker for your house? Like, how are those things connected?


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