Go Back   Sonos Forums > Speakers and More...

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old Nov 30th, 2012, 02:23 PM
Bernerfolk Bernerfolk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Default Connect vs Airport vs Apple TV

I'd like to connect my (20 year) old hi-fi system to my new Sonos set up so I can run net sourced music through my warm and well loved Vandersteen speakers. My old Nakamichi amp still does the job and allows for occasional use of vinyl so I can't see ditching it in favor of a Connect Amp.

What I can't get my hands around are the pros and cons of using a Connect unit vs an Airport Express vs Apple TV. I'm all Apple but would have to buy any of the three so it's between a $99 expense or a $349 one. (Not a whole lot of money on one hand, but the better part of a hard week's work on a farm so cost is one part of the equation).

Thoughts?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old Nov 30th, 2012, 05:10 PM
buzz buzz is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: US
Posts: 14,578
Default

Bernerfolk,

First post! Welcome to the forums.

If you simply want to play online music in one room through your NAKAMICHI, the Express is the way to go. It is inexpensive and you don't need to leave your comfortable Apple world.

If you are thinking that you'd like to have music in multiple rooms, skip the Express and go SONOS. SONOS is designed to handle multiple rooms, up to 32. Express is not so much fun as more rooms arrive.

There is a fundamental difference in the way that the systems operate. One must use a computer to push music to an Express. SONOS pulls music from the source. In the SONOS scheme, while one needs at least one controller, a computer is optional. SONOS will accept any combination (up to 32 simultaneously) of PC, Mac, iPhone/iTouch, or Android controller apps. Controllers are simply controllers, they don't store music and once the music starts, the controllers can go to sleep or be turned OFF.

One negative for some APPLE users is that the user interface is different for SONOS. "Different" can be better or worse. If you think that iTunes is the only user interface, you can't take advantage of the SONOS technology. I'm on the other side of that coin. If iTunes was the only game in town, I would skip digital music because I have never liked the user interface. It's amusing to watch me struggle, getting angrier by the minute, trying to use an iPod or iPhone to play music.

One consideration for using an Express or the SONOS CONNECT is that there will be two volume controls and other operational considerations. You'll need to turn ON the NAK, select the Express or CONNECT input on the NAK, preset the NAK's volume control to a convenient point, then use the digital music controller (Apple or SONOS) to make your selections. Probably, you'll want to use the digital music system's controller for routine volume adjustments.

Neither system will deal with turning the NAK ON or OFF.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Nov 30th, 2012, 05:31 PM
Kumar Kumar is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: India
Posts: 1,889
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzz View Post

One must use a computer to push music to an Express. SONOS pulls music from the source. In the SONOS scheme, while one needs at least one controller, a computer is optional.
Just one correction to an excellent reply. You can also push music to an Express from an Ipod touch or I Phone via Airplay, with the computer off. One disadvantage is that since the device is in continuous streaming mode, this drains the battery quickly, but this can be negated by parking the device in a charging docking station, or keeping it connected to the mains.

PS: If you get a charging dock with analog outputs, you can wire it to the amp - you don't even need the express in that case.

Last edited by Kumar; Nov 30th, 2012 at 05:36 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Dec 1st, 2012, 06:57 AM
Bernerfolk Bernerfolk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Default

Thank you both for your input. I have to clarify, I've already committed to Sonos... I picked up a Play 5 and bridge a few days ago to see how I like it. As I type, the Play 5 is pouring out Mozart in the kitchen and a Play 3 is on a Fed Ex truck for delivery today. The latter comes with a $100 Amazon credit which I plan to use towards tying my hi-fi system to the Sonos system in some way.

My hardware is all Apple but I'm with Buzz, I never found anything "intuitive" about ITunes and haven't used it for music or videos at all. In fact, I'm your basic Luddite... Electronics don't mean much to me except for the world of audio they can bring to my home.

My controller is usually my iPad which I use off and on all day so I think the analog dock is out. If I understand correctly, the operation of the system would be similar using either the AirPort Express or Connect, except that AirPort would rely on my Mac or iPad to stream while Connect would be independent of the other hardware. Have I got that right?

If so, am I looking at the likelihood of my stereo cutting in and out because of dropped AirPlay signals going the Express route? One reason I chose Sonos For my wireless system was my perception of far better stability than anything else on the market so I'd hate to give that up, not to mention cringing at the thought of my speakers getting hammered by sound cutting in and out. Am I on target or off base with these concerns?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Dec 1st, 2012, 10:36 AM
buzz buzz is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: US
Posts: 14,578
Default

Bernerfolk,

Luddite or not, you've got the concepts.

AirPlay uses WiFi and WiFi is not very good at streaming audio That's why SONOS developed their own wireless protocol. And, in terms of volume control "wars", there is no difference between AirPlay through an Express and a SONOS CONNECT.

SONOS wireless is more robust than WiFi, but both are governed by the same laws of physics, however if there is an issue, SONOS is much better because SONOS logs very extensive diagnostic data that will guide to a resolution. Network issues leave clear tracks in the diagnostics. Most of us don't have any trouble.

While listening to online music, computers are optional. Your locally stored music could be on a computer or NAS drive. I prefer the NAS, but in any case, one should avoid a WiFi link between music storage and the network. Playing music stored on a wireless computer is not recommended, but it sometimes works. I don't like my music stored on a computer because, ... er ... they can be distracted or crash and the music will hesitate or stop. My NAS keeps the music playing while I struggle with the computer.

---

More SONOS on the way? That's typical. It is somewhat like that old potato chip commercial -- "I bet that you can't eat just one ... ". Most users can't just have one SONOS player. Typically it is the significant other, the one who hates all electronic gadgets (because they are hard to use), who asks for more players.

Last edited by buzz; Dec 2nd, 2012 at 04:50 AM. Reason: minor typo
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 03:07 AM
Bernerfolk Bernerfolk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Default

Can you tell me more about volume control "wars"? I know I'll have to turn the Nak on and off directly, but can I then control the volume using the Sonos controller or is all adjustment direct to the amp?

Thanks again for helping me "get it".
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 04:50 AM
buzz buzz is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: US
Posts: 14,578
Default

Bernerfolk,

As far as the NAK is concerned, SONOS is just another input device.

In addition to turning the NAK ON and OFF, you'll need to select the correct input and then deal with the NAK's volume control. You'll need to preset the NAK's volume control to a level that allows convenient volume control using a SONOS controller. Another possibility is to set set the SONOS CONNECT to "fixed" output (disabling its volume control), then using the NAK's volume control for routine adjustments.

You may be able to deal with any of these modes, but others in the household may struggle with the operational details.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Dec 5th, 2012, 12:40 PM
Bernerfolk Bernerfolk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Default

Thanks again Buzz. I'm disappointed that the Connect set up isn't as elegant as the rest of the Sonos system, but it seems excessive to spend $500 for a limited use amp when I already have one that can handle a variety of sources.

Besides.... I can put that extra $150 towards putting sound in the bathroom. (I'm open to suggestions for that project)
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Dec 5th, 2012, 05:32 PM
Kumar Kumar is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: India
Posts: 1,889
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernerfolk View Post
Thanks again Buzz. I'm disappointed that the Connect set up isn't as elegant as the rest of the Sonos system, but it seems excessive to spend $500 for a limited use amp when I already have one that can handle a variety of sources.
Why isn't it elegant enough? My Connect with a Quad amp works fine, once some care is taken with setting the volume levels on the Quad, and the Connect in variable output mode. I hardly have to touch the Quad controls on a daily basis - all I need to do is to turn it on, and then use the Sonos controller for music selection and volume control.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Dec 6th, 2012, 06:23 AM
Bernerfolk Bernerfolk is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Default

Thanks for your input Kumar, my sense was that handling volume from the Sonos controller was more of a hassle than your experience indicates.

Sounds like what you have using the controller is whatever the amp volume is set at plus or minus some number of decibels giving you have a volume range to work with. If you want to deviate drastically from the amp volume setting you'd have to change the amp volume directly, other than muting completely through the controller. Am I understanding correctly?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:57 AM.