Do you long for a house full of music? If youíre the kind of person who hates moving from room to room because you canít hear your tunes everywhere you go, donít panic. Help is at hand, in the shape of the powerful and flexible multi-room music system from innovative audio solutions company Sonos. Keep reading as we take a closer look.
The system is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing hi-fi equipment, standalone audio devices, domestic Wi-Fi computer networks and online services to provide centralized access to an entire music library throughout a building. It is also designed to be simple to install and configure, and easily extendable through the use of modular units which can keep being added almost indefinitely to fill even the largest house with sound.
At the heart of the system lies the ZonePlayer. This little device connects to either a set of speakers or an existing audio system, and handles the playback of any selected audio source. There are two key differences between a ZonePlayer and any standard media player. First, it is equipped with a twin-port Ethernet switch, allowing it to be connected not only to an existing network, but simultaneously to an external device such as a game console or Slingbox.
Second, it is able to connect wirelessly to other local ZonePlayers through Sonos's own peer-to-peer mesh network, dubbed SonosNet. This is where the power of the system starts to become apparent. Up to 32 ZonePlayers can be connected in this way, each one capable of streaming audio from any other to create an extraordinarily powerful local audio network.
The Sonos ZP120 ZonePlayer - the heart of the system>
ZonePlayers are available in both amplified and non-amplified versions, both of which are fully compatible with each other but offer slightly different connectivity options. The ZP120 amplified version is equipped with a 55W per channel digital amp, offering the kind of power found in a typical high-end hi-fi amplifier. Analog audio inputs allow the unit to be connected directly to any music source, and standard speaker outputs are also provided for connecting it to a pair of standard hi-fi speakers.
The less expensive ZP90 non-amplified version lacks the speaker connectors, but it has analog and digital audio outputs instead, making it more suitable for connection to an existing hi-fi or home-theater system. Both versions have identical Ethernet and SonosNet capabilities and can be mixed freely within a single system.
One further wireless device is also available: the BR100 ZoneBridge has no musical capabilities of its own, but instead serves as a wireless router which, when connected directly to a broadband router, eliminates the need for Ethernet wiring. In effect, the ZoneBridge creates an instant SonosNet wireless network which can also connect other standard wireless devices to the Internet.
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