Sonos 3.2 update and S5 stereo pairing put to the test

It's not a major update by any stretch. But Sonos owners are accustomed to regular software updates that extend or enhance the functionality of their distributed wireless audio system... for free. A good thing since a four room system can easily set you back a few thousand dollars -- a hefty price compared to some brute force solutions but relatively cheap compared to custom solutions offering similar functionality but with the additional burden of extensive in-wall wiring. Today's Sonos 3.2 update delivers crossfading to smooth the transition between songs and more sophisticated alarm settings allowing you to wake to any of Sonos' vast music delivery options at any time and in any room of the house. The gang from Santa Barbara also added Japanese and Simplified Chinese language support and tossed in access to the streaming iheartradio music service giving US owners access to exclusive content and some 750 national radio stations. But the flagship feature is probably the ability to join any two S5 speaker systems to create a stereo pair -- one S5 serving the left channel and the other serving the right. A union meant to achieve a balance indistinguishable from that of heaven and hell, yin and yang, or Nilay and Paul. Read our impressions after the break where you'll also find a spectacular press release using plain, bold, and italicized text!

The first requirement for testing the new Sonos "Stereo Pair" feature is pretty obvious: you have to have two of the $399 S5 speakers for it to work. And chances are, if you've already sunk money into Sonos then you've likely added at least one S5 to your home since the all-in-one speaker with integrated wireless ZonePlayer (a ZonePlayer is required for each room or "zone" in Sonos parlance) was launched back in October. It's the easiest and cheapest way to fill a room with Sonos audio where good (but not amazing) sound is desired -- think kitchen, garage, kid's room, master bath... anywhere with a power source, really, where you won't be doing critical listening.

The hardest part (and it's not that hard) about creating a "stereo pair" is finding the option deep within the settings menu. Once you locate it under the ZonePlayer settings of your S5, the on-screen instructions make things pretty simple. In fact, the whole operation can be measured in seconds. Regardless, it's not something you'll be doing all that often: maybe when hosting a party at the house or trying to fill a large room / garden with audio. Or maybe you're just in the mood to throw up some devil horns and rock out like Ronald James Padavona -- that too is a perfectly valid excuse. Whatever it is, like everything Sonos, it just works. Sure, you could just blast both S5s in monophonic unison if you're just going for sheer volume, but you won't get the stereo separation we've been digging on since the beginning of the 20th century. We were definitely impressed to hear all 10 drivers (five in each S5: two tweeters, two mids, and a built-in 3.5-inch sub) pumping away in perfect synchronization. While this feature alone won't convince anyone to buy an S5, it certainly adds another tick to the benefits column when thinking about buying an S5 to expand your Sonos network.

So no, today's update won't give you streaming Spotify, but it does give you a few more reasons to love your Sonos. Version 3.2 or the PC, Mac, and dedicated Sonos controllers should be ready to update now -- expect to see the free controller app on iTunes updated whenever Apple's damn good and ready to approve it.

Show full PR text

Show full PR text
Sonos Releases Free Software Update for
Award-Winning Wireless Music System

New Features Include Crossfading and S5 Stereo Pair

London, UK – May 18, 2010: Sonos, the leading developer of wireless
multi-room music systems for the home, today released Sonos System
Software 3.2, a one-button free software update for Sonos customers that
brings a variety of new audio features.

Key features of Sonos 3.2 include:

* Crossfading: Customers can create smooth transitions between songs just like the DJs do. You can select the crossfading playback mode from the Now Playing screen for any tracks in your music library, plus select music services including Napster, and Deezer.

* S5 Stereo Pair setting: This innovative audio feature allows customers to use two Sonos S5s in the same room with one S5 serving as the left channel and the other as the right channel.

* Japanese and Simplified Chinese language support: Customers using the Sonos Controller for iPhone, the Sonos Controller 200 and the Sonos Controller for Mac or PC can now control Sonos in nine languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, and Swedish.

* New alarm settings: Sonos customers can now customise alarms for different days of the week. Wake up to your favourite radio station on one day and a Pandora station or playlist on another. Set the room, the time and the music for any or every day of the week.

"Sonos 3.2 continues the Sonos tradition of improving your Sonos experience long after you purchase it," said Phil Abram, President, Sonos, Inc. "The additions of crossfading and Stereo Pair demonstrate how we're using software to redefine and reshape the home audio experience."