By Patrick Tuttle
on 1.26.10

sonos_s5

At the last Gear Patrol management meeting, my dirty little secret was exposed. I don’t own an audio system. No stereo, no home theater system, just a clock radio. After Ben and Eric picked their respective jaws up from the floor, they handed me the Sonos ZonePlayer S5 and sent me home to expand my inner audiophile.

For those unfamiliar with the product, the ZonePLayer S5 is designed to be a wireless system that connects to your Ethernet and creates a mesh network called SonoNet. From there, you can stream music from a variety of compatible sources and control the ZonePLayer S5 from anywhere within your house via your computer, your iPhone or the Sonos Controller (not included with this product).

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Spec wise, the Sonos ZonePLayer S5 crams an amazing amount of audio components into its relatively small frame including: 5 speakers powered by 5 dedicated digital amplifiers, with 2 tweeters, 2 mid-range drivers and 1 subwoofer. These components combined to produce a crystal clear sound that filled our conference room when I first came across it and reminded me of a much larger system (err or at least what I’ve heard out of Eric and Ben’s setups). More importantly though, the S5 produced brilliant sound even in every corner of my abode, which although it may not be big, tends to trap sound in pockets due to it’s odd shape.

The Sonos interface is also comprehensive. Installed on both my Mac (PC also available) via a CD and my iPone via a free app, the Sonos controller software allows users to access music on their computer, a host of radio stations and even internet music sources like Pandora. Set-up took mere minutes and I had a virtual endless stream of music at my disposal. The ZonePlayer S5 also has an audio in option for your TV or other music devices and needless to say, several hours into my testing I was definitely hooked.

Though I don’t have all the audio speak that my colleagues may posses, even I could tell how impressive the sound quality was. It’s also important to note that those unfamiliar with audio equipment shouldn’t be intimidated by Sonos. Installation only took 4 steps. The ZonePlayer S5 has only two wires and the software took care of the rest. From there, adding in additional ZonePlayer S5 units as desired or install the ZoneBridge to cover every room in your domicile.

Price wise, at first glance the ZonePlayer S5 may seem like a substantial investment, especially considering its size. But consider this, Sonos has built a wireless audio solution that can be expanded piece meal to accommodate your budget or space requirements. A Sonos Controller allows you to place ZonePlayer S5 units throughout the house and control them as a unified system or stand along speakers. Meaning you can listen to one song throughout the entire home or have individual speakers playing separate tracks.

Other Gear Patrol Sonos Articles: Sonos Digital Music System | Sonos S5 ZonePlayer Music System (First Look)

Cost: $400

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