Sonos! Is There Anything Better
Well Sonos products are still pretty good, they are simple to setup and work very well for the average user who’s happy visiting the local retailer for an off the shelf product. If your serious about your music and want something a bit more exclusive there are alternatives that we feel have overtaken Sonos in performance and sound quality.
In the early years Sonos was the market leader with next to no competitors they were the system that everyone wanted and they have done a lot of hard work to build their brand! Now that there are so many alternatives available they will have their work cut out for them in order to stay on top.
So what are the alternatives that we feel are worthy of your consideration.
- Cabasse Stream
- Denon Heos
When looking at Sonos alternatives, you should consider what is different about a product offers. Some systems stand out by their capabilities BlueSound offers a hard-drive vault that rips CDs this can be useful when storing your own music library, however adding a NAS drive will give you the same functionality however you can also store other files and data on it but you’ll need a PC to the ripping, by their wireless technologies and by their audio performance or perceived audio performance. Picking the system that’s right for you depends on matching your needs with the features of the product. Sonos may be the system that all these other products get compared too, there’s no one product or brand that’s right for every user, which again, is why we have competition.
In reality most of the systems on offer will sound pretty good and it’s only when you start playing true high quality music that a system will truly stand out and you should definitely take this into account when choosing your system. How your product will be installed these systems although touted as wireless speakers you should always try your best to get a cable to them after all no speaker is truly wireless unless it runs on batteries and just like your home networking equipment wired will always perform better! If it’s going to wireless and your serious about your music then in our opinion it has to be Bluesound. Out of all of the products we use Bluesound performs the best when dealing with Hi Res music over WiFi but you still need to have a very strong wireless network to ensure good performance with no audio dropouts. If you have a weak wireless network and can’t realistically run a cat 6 cable back to your router then fit a powerline kit you can then get power and network from the same socket.
Another big consideration is the music source you use, if your using a streaming music service you should definitely pay for it and if your storing your own music use a lossless format FLAC or ALAC; for me ALAC has the edge. In terms of streaming services Deezer is our choice it offers both good sound and Deezer flow is extremely good at playing the music you love. Any free music services will definitely be low quality and you won’t get the best from your system. All of the wireless music systems discussed here are controlled via an app and can be integrated into a smart control system like Control4 or Crestron.
Let’s check out these alternatives to Sonos wireless speakers and audio system.
- Node 2
- powernode 2
- vault 2
The original bluesound design while being unique were a bit bulky and odd shaped however the new design of the node 2, powernode 2 and vault 2 is sleek and modern; you certainly wouldn’t want hide them away. The node 2 is a stylish addition to any existing HiFi system dragging the old stereo you’ve grown to love out of past and putting it right up there with the digital products available today. The powernode 2 is like the node with builtin amplification just add speakers and enjoy. The vault 2 is a media server with storage and automatic ripping of cd’s when inserted or if you’ve preferred you can just map a folder on a NAS drive and add your music over the network. What makes Bluesound standout however is not it’s stylish design it’s the performance and audio quality. Bluesound effortlessly handles 24-bit/192khz High resolution audio Bluesound operates on your existing WiFi Network so you’ll have an idea if your WiFi is good enough before you invest. More about Bluesound Here
You may not have heard of Cabasse that’s because it’s a brand that’s always been a bit more exclusive, despite this the Cabasse Stream range comes with a price point that is within reach. It is still considered as up there at the higher end and offers both a stylish design and sound quality that definitely doesn’t disappoint in fact everything about the Cabasse range just screams quality.
Cabasse only has one standalone wireless speaker in the range which is the stream 1 it is a highly effective speaker that offers HIGH FIDELITY 360° SOUND.
Wall mounted or installed vertically or horizontally, Stream 1 offers homogeneous sound in any directions thanks for to its elliptical form factor.
As we look higher up the range to the stream 3 we move into a different realm that makes Cabasse stand out the stream three comes with a wireless sub-woofer and this really makes Cabasse stand head and shoulders above the others. Another unique selling point Cabasse has is comes in the form of the Cabasse amp; what makes the Cabasse amp so different? it has a similar design to a Sonos connect amp but is capable of powering 4 speakers and has a subwoofer output this means you can fill a large room with sound.
Cabasse effortlessly handles Hi-Res audio formats at 24-Bit/96KHZ less than the other
Read more about Cabasse here
The HEOS wireless music system was introduced in June 2014 and launched with three wireless multi-room speakers, a wireless extender, amplifier and pre-amplifier. The system connects to an existing Wi-Fi network to stream music to any or all rooms which can be controlled by the HEOS app available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices.
The complete HEOS system consists of four speakers – HEOS 1, HEOS 3, HEOS 5 and HEOS 7. It also includes the HEOS Amp, HEOS Link pre-amp, HEOS Extend Wi-Fi range extender, HEOS Drive multi-zone amplifier and HEOS HomeCinema soundbar with wireless subwoofer. HEOS by Denon audio system allows listening to different songs in each room, or listening to the same song in all rooms.
April 19, 2016, HEOS by Denon went through a major upgrade, making the HEOS family of speakers, pre-amp and amp Bluetooth compatible, adding versatility to the range with both Bluetooth and WiFi streaming options. The update also incorporates Hi Resolution audio support with the ability to play loss-less audio files.
Despite being the most competitively priced Denon HEOS boasts support of lossless audio formats at 24-Bit/192Khz
What do the numbers mean?
The sample rate refers to how many 24–bit samples are recorded every second. 96 kHz recording have 96,000 24-bit samples recorded each second. 192 kHz has 192,000. Keep in mind that a commercial CD has a resolution of 44.1, 16-bit. There are many, many, MANY arguments and papers over which is “better,” with one side arguing that capturing as many frequencies as possible with higher sample rates yields better recordings because is a more realistic simulation of reality, while others contend that 44.1 is more than adequate since you can’t hear anything above 20 kHz anyway.
realistically you cannot tell just by listening which is better 96 or 192 they both sound sweet and as good as a live performance.
note some manufactures who claim 192 sample rate are really using programming to tell a 96Khz chip to emulate a 192Khz recording. This can actually affect the quality of the recording and make a sample sound worse than if it was recorded at 96Khz
We can’t say that this is the case for any particular brand as that can only be confirmed by the manufacturers themselves.