Sonos – mixed review

i recently purchased the sonos wireless multi room music player with great excitement. my hope was that i could play my itunes music throughout many different rooms. while the concept is great, the product delivered the worst out of box experience i have ever had. the Mac software immediately requires registering with the company and downloading new software to work. needless to say this did not work either. as is the case with many bleeding edge products, you spend way more hours futzing to try to get it to work than the end result ever merits.

what is surprising however, is the lack of understanding this company has for how to deal with consumers. now, they are located in silicon valley, where most companies believe great technology can make up for bad marketing. but that is no excuse for doing things that are just plain stupid. when i asked the support rep why they would ship a product with incompatible software, he said it was too late and already ‘in the box’.

the senior tech rep did eventually fix my problems and i do love the concept of moving your music throughout a large living area (for me it’s 4 buildings on an old ranch). my advice would be that you wait for version 2.0 of this whole concept unless you’re very patient.

9 thoughts on “Sonos – mixed review

  1. Wow.
    That is a very different report then the glowing reviews you see from Walt Mossberg, CNET and the gadget blogs.
    I’ve been itching to pull the trigger on 4 zones for the past month.
    When a tech dude like you has trouble just setting it up, I’m feeling cautious.
    Was Sonos good for the money back guarantee with “no questions asked”?

  2. Bob,
    Don’t sweat this numbnut.. Take a look the SONOS forums and get a feel for what’s goin on. There are bad reviews out there, and this product isn’t for everyone (especially if you have a lot of DRM music), but they do offer a 100% refund (incl. shipping I believe) if u are not completely satisfied.. Also, the system was extra easy to setup, I couldn’t believe it.. up any running in ten mins. (already had my speakers in place). Hey, no product is perfect, but this does an excellent job, and u cant beat the refund policy.

  3. bob and TV (does that stand for transvestite?),
    just because a product was easy for you to set up doesnt mean that experience was shared universally. i was using a mac and their software was out of date. in order to update it, i had to register online which i couldnt do using my directway satellite.
    obviously, you numbnuts dont get that what’s really hard about marketing consumer products is the wide range of software, hardware and network platforms in use.
    glad to see you both lowering the average IQ of commenters on my blog. with the likes of fred wilson and brad feld it was getting too far above my own!

  4. Well, I really just wanted to know if they were good for their MBG.
    Were they?

  5. Mark,
    It’s funny, but this the only posting I have seen that speaks poorly of the Sonos out-of-the-box experience. Everyone I know (online and off) that owns one is not just pleased, but estatic. (and that include Mac user) So I will stick by my first comment. “You must be retarded”

  6. bob, i’m not even sure what that means? do you mean i must be really stupid and unable to configure a a complex technical device? even though i’ve managed to found four tech companies, one of which provides the tech support software that you probably use when you call your ISP?
    and you’re a real winner yourself. how about revealing your actual identity? it’s easy to throw potshots from a screen name. maybe you work for sonos.
    if my sonos were so easy to configure how is it that sonos has had to go up the ladder to engineers and it still isnt even working?
    it’s ignorant people like you that flame comments and call people names that slow the progress of this medium. despite your obvious lack of IQ or backbone, i will still allow you to comment on my blog. it’s just too bad that you abuse the priviledge.

  7. I never did get an answer to my question about the Money Back Guarantee. I now see that you kept your system based on the insults you are trading with Bob/Robert.
    I must say that my experience could not have been more different than yours. But, I also have a more typical home setup of basic cable broadband and an off the shelf Linksys router. Your satellite internet in the hills of Aspen is surely not typical.
    The out of the box experience amazed me as it was easier to use than my cell phone (and I mean to make calls from the address book, not the camera or all the rest of the crap I still don’t know how to use).
    I set up 7 zones myself of which only one was wired. The system did prompt an upgrade which took about 20 minutes for all 7 rooms and 3 controllers. But after that I got new features like a bunch of free internet radio stations that seemed worth having.
    The total setup time including connecting 7 pairs of speakers was about an hour and twenty minutes.
    My partner and I threw a dance party and everyone loved it!
    I laugh to myself as I put on some Mozart in 3 zones because I once worried about whether Sonos was good for the Money Back Guarantee. Now, you would have to pry it out of my house and I’d hold on like Fidel to a cigar.
    My experience suggests that you are not a typical user and your comments about product design are for the Silcon Valley crowd.
    I’m a salesman who spent a nice commission check on the system and it worked out of the box better than any technology product I’ve bought in a long time.
    So, if you love music and you are thinking about a Sonos system but got spooked like I did about the “mixed review” I suggest you go for it unless you have dial up or satellite internet like Mark.

  8. I’m suprised to see that an “internet genius” like Mark had so much trouble with the Sonos. I have to agree that getting calls on the cell phone from a marketing person is unacceptable and just wrong, won’t argue with that.
    I’ve been a Sonos customer for over a year now and have 4 zones connected to a 120GB music libary on my Mac. I absolutely love the system, it’s simplicity, and I actually have had 2-3 positive experiences with the support staff. I’ve run enterprise customer support departments more than once in my career, so I’m not all that easy to please.
    I actually blogged about the Sonos awhile ago, and really liked the fact that you can bypass level 1 support by taking a little quiz. That’s good thinking.
    Mark – I can appreciate the frustration that you had issues getting it working, but given your background you of all people know that NO product is perfect, and that not all use cases or environmental issues can be accounted for early in a products life cycle. If you are going to be an early adopter, you gotta take the good with the bad.
    I’ve had the following issues over the last year – none of which got me really upset or took more than an hour to fix:
    1. had to download/upgrade the desktop player out of the box – version on the CD didn’t work with the firmware on controller (wasn’t a big deal)
    2. Controller froze on me once (not bad to see this happen only once when browsing a 20,000 track library w/ 4 zones)
    3. Controller lost connection to all zones (turns out this was due to my DHCP server giving out the same address to another machine on the network – reboot of the router did the trick)

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