We’re huge fans of the Sonos Digital Music system, but it’s not the sort of thing you can buy on a whim with your Saturday morning – you’re looking at an investment that goes well into four figures.
With cheaper solutions like Logitech’s Squeezebox 3 luring in more cautious spenders, Sonos has released a new £700 bundle called the BU130, which it’s calling an ‘introductory bundle’.
Spread the joy
The box contains one controller, one ZP100 player (which has a built-in amplifier) and one ZP80 (which doesn’t). This means you have the option of connecting some speakers to the ZP100, or connecting the ZP80 to an existing hi-fi via the analogue or digital outs.
Like the fully-fledged Digital Music System, this Sonos differs from its competitors by not having a hard-drive. Instead, it’s designed to hook up to your PC, Mac or even network storage boxes.
Your music files are sent either wirelessly or over an Ethernet connection direct to a ZonePlayer, which then pumps your tunes through your chosen hi-fi set up or speaker system.
You can keep adding ZonePlayers to your network until no corner of your abode knows the sound of silence but go easy, a ZP80 will set you back £270 while a ZP100 goes for £370.
Both flavours also serve as Wi-Fi-enabled bridges, allowing you to stream music from one to the other, allowing either independent or simultaneous listening.
What really sets the Sonos apart, though, is the sound it’s capable of producing. True, it can depend on the kit you team it with and the quality of the music files you feed it, but the results rival any decent micro hi-fi system.
And then there’s the clincher – a glorious, full-colour remote by the name of CR100. Looking not unlike an early iPod, this magic tablet is a joy to use thanks to its colour screen and thumbwheel.
If you don’t have many existing hi-fis or amps knocking around, the more expensive Digital Music System with two ZP100 players may be a better bet, but for everyone else the BU130 is perfect as a ‘my first Sonos’ and entrée to the agreeable world of multi-room music.