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Title: Sonos  
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Subject: Deezer, Computer memory, Magnetoresistive random-access memory, MOG (online music), Paula Toller
Collection: American Brands, Home Automation, Internet Audio Players, Linux-Based Devices
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Type Private
Founded 2002 (2002)
Headquarters Santa Barbara, California
No. of locations 4 offices (2014)
Founder(s) John MacFarlane
Craig Shelburne
Tom Cullen
Trung Mai
CEO John MacFarlane
Industry Audio equipment
Products Sonos Wireless HiFi Music System
Employees 1,275
Website .com.sonoswww
Native client(s) on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

Sonos is an American consumer electronics company founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai. The company makes a variety of wireless audio products.


  • History 1
  • Products 2
    • Multi-Room Music System 2.1
      • Wireless mesh network 2.1.1
      • Sonos elements and controllers 2.1.2
        • ZonePlayers
        • Controllers
      • Music sources 2.1.3
    • Third-party development 2.2
  • Corporate operations 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Sonos was founded in 2002.[1]

As of December 2013, the company is estimated to have raised $118 million in venture funding, including a $25 million round in December 2013.[2] Its investors include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Redpoint Ventures and Elevation Partners.[2]


Multi-Room Music System

The Sonos Wireless HiFi System creates a dedicated local Sonos network through wireless and/or ethernet connections which allows for the streaming of digital audio to any Sonos device on the network. Audio can be sourced from both the internet and files stored on the local network. Additionally, audio from analog sources can be input to the system using the RCA stereo analog line input terminals which the Connect:AMP and Connect units have while the Play:5 unit has an auto-detecting 3.5mm line-in jack socket connection which can also be used to input audio from external sources. Analog audio is digitised by the Sonos unit and made available for streaming to any other units on the local Sonos network. Originally the system required one device to have a permanent hard wired connection to the local network - this device acted as a bridge between the propriatory SonosNet and the local network, allowing access to local and internet audio sources. This restriction was removed in version 5.1 of the software,[3] however in certain circumstances it is still recommended or required.[4] Expansion can be achieved through the addition of additional Sonos devices up to a maximum of 32 devices. Sonos has developed apps for Android and iOS and desktop software for Windows and Mac OS X to control the system. Third party software is also available for control using BlackBerry 10 devices and GNU/Linux.

There are two main types of players in the Sonos Music System: all in one 'boomboxes' and components that convert existing audio equipment into a Sonos Zone. The Play 1, Play 3 and Play 5 are all-in-one self-contained units. The CONNECT:AMP connects to unpowered speakers, creating a Sonos Zone and the CONNECT connects to an existing audio amplifier or receiver, turning the audio system into a Sonos Zone. There is also a Subwoofer and a Playbar, which is a Sonos enabled Sound Bar for use with a television.

Wireless mesh network

Multiple Sonos devices in a single household can connect to each other on a proprietary peer-to-peer synchronous mesh network using AES encryption. This network, known as SonosNet, allows audio to be played simultaneously in separate zones. A single ZonePlayer or ZoneBridge must be wired to a network for access to LAN and Internet audio sources when using this feature, or when creating a 3.1/5.1 surround setup.[4] SonosNet 2.0 integrates MIMO on 802.11n hardware, providing a more robust connection. Sonos does not implement wake-on-wireless technology, instead requiring that every Sonos player or bridge constantly maintains a wireless connection, even when in standby mode or connected by cable. Sonos devices do not have power buttons. The company claims that each speaker consumes between 4 and 8 Watts in idle or standby mode.[5]

Sonos elements and controllers

The Sonos Bridge is an element which connects the SonosNet network to the local network/internet. As it doesn't feature any audio functions it allows the connection to be made relatively cheaply in a location where a more expensive ZonePlayer is not required for audio output.


Zoneplayer is the Sonos name for an element connected to SonosNet which outputs audio either via digital and/or analog connections or via integrated internal amplifiers to speaker connections or integrated internal speakers. Digital audio inputs on the Play:BAR allow for connection to external audio sources including TV, CD Players, DVD players, VCRs, and radios. The players with multiple Ethernet ports can be used as virtual Ethernet connections for normal network traffic: network traffic is bridged silently between all the players in a single system. This means external stream sources can be streamed all over the house.

The CONNECT (formerly the ZP90, successor to the ZP80) is an amp-less ZonePlayer that includes digital optical and coaxial digital outputs (as well as analog RCA inputs and outputs) to allow audio sourced through the Sonos network to be played through a traditional amplifier or AV Receiver. It has a built-in two-port Ethernet switch.

The CONNECT:AMP (formerly the ZP120, successor to ZP100) has a reduced footprint compared to its predecessors, a 2x55 watt RMS amplifier (now Class D rather than analog), analog (RCA) audio in ports, 2 instead of 4 Ethernet switch ports, as well as the upgrade to SonosNet 2.0. The CONNECT:AMP has speaker posts for direct hookups to speakers and a sub-woofer out.

The Sonos PlayBar is a soundbar for Home Theatre that contains one digital optical input port and two ethernet ports. It has nine speakers each with its own Class D amplifier. The PlayBar supports Dolby Digital input but has no support for DTS. Through a controller it can be associated with either a Sonos SUB or two Play:3 / Play:1s or both to form a surround sound home theater unit.

The Sonos Play:5, a new version of the original Sonos Play:5, introduced in September 2015.

The original Sonos Play:5 (not available anymore, since the introduction of a new Sonos Play:5 in September 2015), formerly known as the S5, is a Zoneplayer with integrated five driver speaker system. It features a built-in two-port Ethernet switch. Also includes 3.5 mm headphone connection and a 3.5 mm line in. Through a controller two Play:5s can be set as a stereo pair.

The Sonos Play:3[6] is a Zoneplayer with three integrated speakers and three dedicated digital amplifiers. It features a built-in Ethernet port. Like the Play:5, two Play:3s can be set as a stereo pair, one playing left channel sound and the other the right.

The Sonos Play:1 introduced in October 2013, is a Zoneplayer with two integrated speakers / amplifiers and performs a similar function to the Play:3 but is smaller. In addition to the wireless connection it has a single ethernet port. Two Play:1s can be configured as a stereo pair.

The Sonos SUB is a subwoofer which integrates itself wirelessly in the rest of the Sonos ecosystem and works with PlayBar, Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 and CONNECT:AMP. It features two force-cancelling speakers positioned face-to-face to each other and the system automatically adjusts audio settings when it is associated with other Sonos speakers.

Software controllers

The system comes with the Desktop Controller software that runs on Mac OS X and Windows. There is no supported or actively developed controller for Linux, and the latest versions of the Desktop Controller are not supported under Wine.[7]

The Controller for iOS is a free app that allows an iOS device to become a controller for Sonos via an existing home wireless network. The app does not support IOS 5

The Controller for Android is a free app that allows an Android device to become a controller for Sonos via an existing home wireless network or optionally via direct access to the SonosNet network. The app supports Android v2.1 and up.

Hardware controllers

Sonos has discontinued offering dedicated hardware controllers such as the CR100 and CR200.

Music sources

The system can stream music from most SMB share (such as a Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X file share or a NAS drive that supports CIFS/SMB protocol) to a stereo. NAS support also includes Apple Inc. Time Capsule. A NAS solution provides a computer-free solution to accessing music. It can also stream multi-room audio in many formats including MP3, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC up to 16 bit / 44.1 kHz,[8] Apple Lossless, WAV, AIFF and WMA. While Sonos was able to stream Plays For Sure protected WMA files up to version 3.6 of the Sonos firmware,[9] it does not support DRM FairPlay protected AAC files from Apple (however, Apple's gradual shift to DRM-free music makes new iTunes music playable in most markets), see iTunes Music Store. WMA lossless and RealPlayer Audio are also not supported. As of April 7, 2014, Sonos updated their system to allow for native streaming via Google Play Music All Access.[10]

For a period, Sonos offered the WD100 Music Dock which acted as a charging stand for an Apple iPod and connected it wirelessly to the Sonos network so that the iPod could be used as an audio source remotely controllable through Sonos controllers. However, the dock was discontinued and is no longer offered.

With a broadband connection, the system includes access to a variety of audio content completely independent of a computer. The system ships with thousands of radio stations and shows from the Internet via TuneIn. In some regions the system also features 30-day trials for Napster, Rhapsody and Pandora as well as a 14-day trial of MOG (online music). The Pandora, SIRIUS, MOG (online music) and Rhapsody services are restricted primarily to customers based in the United States. Napster and Last.FM are also available in Germany and the United Kingdom. Napster is no longer available to Canadian customers.[11] Stitcher Radio is also available on the system. Last.FM scrobbling is available worldwide. On September 29, 2010 the Spotify music service announced support for Sonos in all countries supported by Spotify.[12] On June 28, 2015, Apple Music senior director Ian Rogers announced that Apple Music would be coming to Sonos; however, not at launch.[13]

Third-party development

  • SmartThings integration
  • Power consumption testing For ZP80 [14]
  • Web-based Controller [15]
  • ZoneMaster application for iPhone [16]
  • Phonos, an unofficial app to control Sonos with a Windows Phone

Corporate operations

As of December 2013, Sonos is the largest private-sector tenant in downtown Santa Barbara, leasing more than 100,000 square feet of commercial space between four different buildings.[17] The company has about 270 corporate employees in Santa Barbara, making it one of the city's largest private-sector employers.

See also


  1. ^ "Company Overview of Sonos, Inc.". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Nellis, Stephen (3 January 2014). "Top 10 Software/E-Commerce Growth Companies in the Tri-Counties". Pacific Coast Business Times. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sonos guide to setup over WiFi". Sonos. 
  4. ^ a b "Sonos guide to setup options". Sonos. 
  5. ^ "Sonos Components Consume Power When Idle". Sonos. 2005-03-16. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  6. ^ "PLAY:3". Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Sonos Support. "Thread: Sonos Update to 3.7 and Linux". Sonos Forums. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Supported Audio Formats - FLAC Details". Sonos. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "3.6 Sonos will no longer support the Windows Media DRM format". Sonos. 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  10. ^ "Error". 
  11. ^ "Important Information For Canadian Napster Subscribers". Sonos. November 21, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2012. ...Napster has made the decision to cease offering their service in Canada. As of December 16th, the Napster service will no longer be functional. This includes using the Napster service on Sonos. 
  12. ^ Sehr, Andres (2010-09-29). "is now available on your Sonos wireless music system". Spotify. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  13. ^ Mayo, Benjamin (June 28, 2015). "Apple Music coming to Sonos speakers ‘ASAP’, says Ian Rogers". 9 to 5 Mac. 
  14. ^ "Jaffa's Juicy Bits". 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  15. ^ "Sonos Web Controller". Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  16. ^ "ZoneMaster Sonos Controller". Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  17. ^ van Romburgh, Marlize (3 January 2014). "Sonos snags 100K square feet in Santa Barbara’s downtown". Pacific Coast Business Times. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Graham, Alan (2008-10-28). "Exclusive first look at Sonos' new iPhone-based controller".  
  • Costa, Dan (2008-10-30). "Lose Your Remote Control?". 
  • Manjoo, Farhad (2008-08-11). "The Death of Planned Obsolescence". 
  • Dudley, Brier (2007-12-17). "Music Lovers Take Note".  
  • Wildstrom, Stephen (2007-11-15). "The Connected Home—Disconnected".  
  • Boehret, Katherine (2009-12-15). "Easy Digital Listening: Sonos ZonePlayer S5".  
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