Sonos is a wireless multi-room speaker system that lets you stream music throughout your house.
A Sonos speaker can play music streamed from up to 16 sources, including your Mac, PC, network storage drive or smartphone.
Sonos makes a range of speakers, but you only need one to start. You can then buy more speakers to build up your multiroom system and even connect Sonos to your TV.
How does Sonos work?
Sonos systems are easy to use. Sonos speakers connect to your home network using wi-fi, which is more stable than Bluetooth, meaning fewer dropped connections and delays.
The app includes step-by-step advice on how to set up your speaker and start listening to music.
You can listen to your Sonos in one room, but what makes a Sonos system so versatile is that by adding more speakers you can listen to music throughout your house. Using the Sonos Controller app you can control what is being played and where, so you can listen to different tracks in different rooms or play the same song throughout your house.
The Sonos Controller app lets you access all your music, whether you play it via a cloud-hosted service like Spotify, or from audio files stored on your computer.
Sonos releases regular software updates which add new features to the app.
Does a Sonos system work with music streaming services?
Yes, it works with over 30 online services, including Spotify and Google Music, along with internet radio stations such as Radio by TuneIn, which you can access via the Sonos app.
If you’ve created playlists in other services, you can listen to them on your Sonos.
What speakers are in Sonos system?
There are a range of Sonos speakers at different sizes and price points. You only need one to begin you can then add new speakers to expand your system.
Sonos One: The newest member of the Sonos family comes with Amazon Alexa voice control built in, so you can just speak to control it without requiring any additional equipment. (£199, John Lewis)
Sonos Play 1: A mini home speaker that can be wall- or stand-mounted. Two paired give stereo sound. (£199, Amazon)
Sonos Play 3: A mid-size stereo speaker that can be wall- or stand-mounted. (£299. Amazon)
Sonos Play 5: The biggest home speaker in the range (top picture), designed to fill a large room. (£499, Amazon)
Sonos Playbar: This soundbar can be used to boost your TV’s sound, but also streams music (bottom picture). It includes six mid-range and three tweeters. (£699, Currys)
Sonos Sub: A subwoofer that can be paired with any Sonos speaker, adding bass. (£699, Amazon)
Sonos Playbase: This Sonos speaker takes its inspiration from the humble TV stand. It’s a thin, unobtrusive speaker in black or white (above) that sits under your TV. Use it to boost your TV sound, but also to stream music wirelessly. (£699, Sonos)
Sonos Connect: This device (above) turns your existing speakers into a streaming music system. Plug it into an amplified audio device, such as speakers, home cinema receiver or stereo speakers to stream and listen to music. (£349, John Lewis)
Sonos Connect:AMP: This also turns standard speakers into a streaming music system, but unlike the Sonos Connect it works with non-amplified speakers. (£499, Richer Sounds)
Which formats does a Sonos music system support?
A Sonos system supports compressed formats such as MP3, WMA, AAC and OGG, along with Lossless audio such as FLAC, AIFF, WAV and ALAC.
Does Sonos work with Amazon Echo and Amazon Alexa?
Yes. Though all devices apart from the Sonos One require an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot device in order to be voice controlled.
You can command Alexa (Amazon’s voice control system) to play, skip, pause and even adjust the volume of your Sonos devices. Hands-free control is very convenient, especially if you're cooking or doing something else with your hands.
The latest model, the Sonos One, comes with Alexa built in, which means you don't need an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot in order to control it using your voice. It also makes it simpler to control - you just have to say "Alexa, play The Rolling Stones", as opposed to "Alexa, play The Rolling Stones on Sonos" as you do with the other speakers. It's a small change, but it makes a big difference day-to-day.
Connecting a Sonos to a TV
The easiest way to use your Sonos with your TV is through the Sonos Playbar. It comes with an optical audio cable - connect this from the audio input on the Playbar to the optical out on your TV. Add the Sonos Sub and two Play:1 speakers and you’ve got a cable-free surround sound cinema system, ready to boost your TV's sound.