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What is Sonos up to?


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John MacFarlane posted a blog entry about Sonos' future today.

 

First, they are laying off people, which is incredibly sad. No loyalty to the people that made them what they are today.

 

Second, they seem to be fascinated with the voice control in some of the new products, namely Amazon Echo. Of course, we all know the new Play:5 speakers have two microphones in them that are currently deactivated...

 

And third, they are drooling over paid steaming.

 

"Now that music fans can finally play anything anywhere, we’re going to focus on building incredibly rich experiences that were all but unimaginable when we started the company, and will be at the vanguard of what it means to listen to music at home. This is a significant long-term development effort against which we’re committing significant resources."[/Quote]

 

I agree that all things must change to thrive, but this seems out of the ordinary, and such a drastic change in the company's goals and efforts that, well - I just don't know. Could they be ready to switch to being "Roon Ready?" Or are they going to compete with Roon? Or something else entirely?

 

Link to the full blog post included below.

 

-Paul

 

 

Navigating an Industry In Transition, Investing in the Future of Music | SONOS

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Just a recognition that for (the average consumer) owned and locally stored music is less important than good access to Spotify / Tidal / Apple Music.

 

Despite that I'm still of the belief that despite to doomsayers who claim otherwise, most consumers have audio better than they every have...

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I have Sonos through out the house, a mixture of their amp/speaker units, and the amped units to overhead speakers. My wife loves the Sonos system, streams a mixture of Spotify and Sirius through them most of the time. The app is perfect for her casual, yet steady use.

 

I am kind of disappointed with the lack of progress with the Sonos system though. I understand they have a near bulletproof synchronous streaming whole house, or separate zone system, but they are losing out to new technology.

 

Bluetooth/Airplay connectivity, and at least the ability to downsample hi-res stuff to make music with. If you try and play anything above 16/44, it is silent. While I don't expect it to use Roon as a controller, the Sonos app could learn a lot about making music fun and interesting from the Roon app.

 

I never expected Sonos to end up as a critical listening source though, and it works perfectly for the house music. I really want them to survive. I still don't want or need a Sonos endpoint in my system.

[Home Digital] Bricasti M12 > Atma-Sphere "Class D" Monoblocks > Daedalus Audio Muse Studio Speakers

[Home Analog] Technics SL-1200G > Boulder 508 (Zu DL-103/Hana ML/Denon DL-301 II)

[Office] Laptop > Kitsune R2R lvl3 > Violectric V281 > Meze Liric 

[beach/Travel] Laptop > iFi Go Bar > Ether Headphones

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I have Sonos through out the house, a mixture of their amp/speaker units, and the amped units to overhead speakers. My wife loves the Sonos system, streams a mixture of Spotify and Sirius through them most of the time. The app is perfect for her casual, yet steady use.

 

I am kind of disappointed with the lack of progress with the Sonos system though. I understand they have a near bulletproof synchronous streaming whole house, or separate zone system, but they are losing out to new technology.

 

 

.

 

Sounds like its working perfect for you and your family. Having wives, kids, friends, all jump in and easily control, choose, and play music from SO many different sources including Apple, .flac files, streaming services, to most people, feels like magic and although there is definately those that are more savvy with computers and how to make them play music, the large majority of people are NOT savvy and absolutely love the ease with which Sonos is able to bring so many different sources, computers, streaming services into a coherent and easily used interface.

 

I'm not disappointed in Sonos at all and that "bullet proof synchronous streaming" is fiat out amazing to many of us that have lived with far inferior options over the past 5-10 years.

 

Bluetooth? Seriously?

David

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John MacFarlane posted a blog entry about Sonos' future today.

 

First, they are laying off people, which is incredibly sad. No loyalty to the people that made them what they are today.

 

Second, they seem to be fascinated with the voice control in some of the new products, namely Amazon Echo. Of course, we all know the new Play:5 speakers have two microphones in them that are currently deactivated...

 

And third, they are drooling over paid steaming.

 

 

I agree that all things must change to thrive, but this seems out of the ordinary, and such a drastic change in the company's goals and efforts that, well - I just don't know. Could they be ready to switch to being "Roon Ready?" Or are they going to compete with Roon? Or something else entirely?

 

Link to the full blog post included below.

 

-Paul

 

 

Navigating an Industry In Transition, Investing in the Future of Music | SONOS

 

Rereading this after thinking about Sonos and their latest (highly public) blog posting that really only hints at their direction. My bet? Voice recognition across all services that they currently have enabled on all their products and possibly their own streaming service? By looking at their sister site and their efforts at making music more of a social conversation via the site Sonos Studio | Amplifying art, music and creativity worldwide, I would say a glance in that direction might be in order. The biggest complaint that users of Apple Music have made so far on the Apple sites has been the very thing that Sonos is looking towards and that would be more social interaction amongst users in exchanging playlists, reviews, etc. To me that would make sense as far as looking to the future and where they can expand their reach into other markets, mainly the younger audience for music which is fractured and all over the map as to where they seek out music. How about a subscription service which includes any service you'd like add? Or a subscription to a few at a time ala Sling TV?

One charge for access to Apple Music, Bandcamp, Pandora, etc, etc. Oh, and easy access across all these services via.....voice control of course.

 

As far as Roon....I would venture a guess that if you asked Joe Blow on the street "what do you think about Roon?" They'd look at you quizzically and ask "who?". Here is an important quote from one review of Roon...."You can install Roon on as many remote computers as you like, but you can’t stream the same music to more than one endpoint at the same time (I'll describe some notable exceptions later). While that limitation renders Roon inferior as a multi-room system compared to, say, a Sonos system, Roon is far superior in terms of supporting high-resolution audio formats and codecs."

 

High-resolution audio formats. There it is again. The subject that keeps popping up that 90 some percent of people that listen to music could care less about. Of course that's not the only thing Roon brings to the table but that piece of the puzzle really is a moot point for the LARGE majority of the music listening public.

David

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David - Good post. Fact is I have many friends who love their Sonos systems for all the reasons you mentioned. They have no interest in stringing together a bunch of computers, configuring music playback software or an interest in different file formats/high resolution formats. They just want the ability to play music in their homes, in a simple, easy to use fashion.

 

To each their own, as they say.

Silver Circle Audio | Roon | Devialet | Synology | Vivid Audio | Stillpoint Aperture | Auralic | DH Labs

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Rereading this after thinking about Sonos and their latest (highly public) blog posting that really only hints at their direction. My bet? Voice recognition across all services that they currently have enabled on all their products and possibly their own streaming service? By looking at their sister site and their efforts at making music more of a social conversation via the site Sonos Studio | Amplifying art, music and creativity worldwide, I would say a glance in that direction might be in order. The biggest complaint that users of Apple Music have made so far on the Apple sites has been the very thing that Sonos is looking towards and that would be more social interaction amongst users in exchanging playlists, reviews, etc. To me that would make sense as far as looking to the future and where they can expand their reach into other markets, mainly the younger audience for music which is fractured and all over the map as to where they seek out music. How about a subscription service which includes any service you'd like add? Or a subscription to a few at a time ala Sling TV?

One charge for access to Apple Music, Bandcamp, Pandora, etc, etc. Oh, and easy access across all these services via.....voice control of course.

 

As far as Roon....I would venture a guess that if you asked Joe Blow on the street "what do you think about Roon?" They'd look at you quizzically and ask "who?". Here is an important quote from one review of Roon...."You can install Roon on as many remote computers as you like, but you can’t stream the same music to more than one endpoint at the same time (I'll describe some notable exceptions later). While that limitation renders Roon inferior as a multi-room system compared to, say, a Sonos system, Roon is far superior in terms of supporting high-resolution audio formats and codecs."

 

High-resolution audio formats. There it is again. The subject that keeps popping up that 90 some percent of people that listen to music could care less about. Of course that's not the only thing Roon brings to the table but that piece of the puzzle really is a moot point for the LARGE majority of the music listening public.

 

Great post David - much to think about there.

 

A Sonos version of a Roon like player... maybe so...

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Great post David - much to think about there.

 

A Sonos version of a Roon like player... maybe so...

Perhaps, but to drive what hardware? Still specifically Sonos speakers & the Connect streamer? Isn't an issue for Sonos the current competition of very cheap, decent quality, multi-room/synchronised, network music file streaming and online service streaming devices (& yes hi-res supporting), notably Google Chromecast Audio?

We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.

-- Jo Cox

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Perhaps, but to drive what hardware? Still specifically Sonos speakers & the Connect streamer? Isn't an issue for Sonos the current competition of very cheap, decent quality, multi-room/synchronised, network music file streaming and online service streaming devices (& yes hi-res supporting), notably Google Chromecast Audio?

 

I am not sure there is as much competition out there for Sonos as one might think. Sure, in the audiophile world there are competing products that are very popular. Not so sure in the non-audiophile world, where Sonos is considered "top of the line" by many people. It is in fact, "the" standard to most people in say, Best Buy.

 

Naturally, a Naim MuSo will sound better than Sonos, but - can the average Joe hook it up to his TV? (Grin) I know,mby audiophile standards that is silly, but not by the standards of someone with a grand or there about to spend. The Sonos Playbar and Sub may make a much more comfortable choice. And by golly, it handles Apple Music too, which a lot of people already have on their phones. It also sounds astonishly good playing music, if a wee bit lacking in the soundstage department.

 

I am trying to roll all that around and come up with what the company is trying to do,mwhen it is evident they are in some trouble. Most companies do not have significant layoffs without some kind of financial trouble being behind the action.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I am trying to roll all that around and come up with what the company is trying to do,mwhen it is evident they are in some trouble. Most companies do not have significant layoffs without some kind of financial trouble being behind the action.

 

 

Guess you should check with all your sources before declaring a company is in trouble.

R&D costs money. Changing directions costs too. Maybe you should know exactly who and from what department is getting let go.

 

Sometimes companies slim down before an acquisition or buyout also......

David

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Guess you should check with all your sources before declaring a company is in trouble.

R&D costs money. Changing directions costs too. Maybe you should know exactly who and from what department is getting let go.

 

Sometimes companies slim down before an acquisition or buyout also......

 

(grin) I am not opposed or in opposition to Sonos, I am just really curious - and cautious - about what they are up to.

 

in regards to Sonos, I only have public sources. Sonos is a private company so getting hard information is - difficult - and/or expensive. I suppose I could drop $30 on Hoovers, but all in all, the question revolves around did Sonos meet or even come close to the projected $1B in sales for 2015?

 

Given the layoff and the "new focus" I would guess (only a guess) that means they did not, and that whomever is capitalizing them is probably getting tighter with the money. (Banks, VC, Private Investors, who knows?)

 

Yes, layoffs can sometimes signify restructuring, but... to what? Usually it is a response to some form of trouble.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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(grin) I am not opposed or in opposition to Sonos, I am just really curious - and cautious - about what they are up to.

 

in regards to Sonos, I only have public sources. Sonos is a private company so getting hard information is - difficult - and/or expensive. I suppose I could drop $30 on Hoovers, but all in all, the question revolves around did Sonos meet or even come close to the projected $1B in sales for 2015?

 

Given the layoff and the "new focus" I would guess (only a guess) that means they did not, and that whomever is capitalizing them is probably getting tighter with the money. (Banks, VC, Private Investors, who knows?)

 

Yes, layoffs can sometimes signify restructuring, but... to what? Usually it is a response to some form of trouble.

 

-Paul

 

Curiousity is a bit different than your statement "I am trying to roll all that around and come up with what the company is trying to do,mwhen it is evident they are in some trouble."

 

You may want to read an interview with him here: Sonos CEO John MacFarlane on Voice Recognition, Layoffs and Streaming | Billboard

 

In which he is quoted.

 

Why did you have layoffs, are you operating at a deficit?

 

No, we run profitable, but we would run at a loss if we doubled down where we were doubling down and didn't let people go. Yes, at the beginning of the fiscal year we weren't planing to go hard after voice or doubling down on paid music services, so those are changes, but we decided we needed a bunch more people in those areas so it's a zero sum game. We did have to pick some places where we let staff go and that sucks, frankly. The only time we've ever done that before was in 2008 when the world got tougher. We did grow last year, we are growing now, literally we're just aiming a little differently. We will exit the year with more people than we had by a pretty big number.

David

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Curiousity is a bit different than your statement "I am trying to roll all that around and come up with what the company is trying to do,mwhen it is evident they are in some trouble."

 

You may want to read an interview with him here: Sonos CEO John MacFarlane on Voice Recognition, Layoffs and Streaming | Billboard

 

In which he is quoted.

 

Why did you have layoffs, are you operating at a deficit?

 

No, we run profitable, but we would run at a loss if we doubled down where we were doubling down and didn't let people go. Yes, at the beginning of the fiscal year we weren't planing to go hard after voice or doubling down on paid music services, so those are changes, but we decided we needed a bunch more people in those areas so it's a zero sum game. We did have to pick some places where we let staff go and that sucks, frankly. The only time we've ever done that before was in 2008 when the world got tougher. We did grow last year, we are growing now, literally we're just aiming a little differently. We will exit the year with more people than we had by a pretty big number.

 

I think it is a syntax thing - would you say that it is hidden and suppressed or evident that they have a problem? In the above interview, it seems that they said they could not afford to keep the people they had already hired that had worked for the company with loyalty, and instead decided to take the company in a new direction.

 

It is possible that MacFarlane just wants to do something different, but most companies make those kinds of changes for financial reasons.

 

Evident in this case is not judgmental, just means that it seems the reasons are out in the open, if not baldly stated.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Interesting article and speculation about the future of Sonos. I'm happy to hear that they're innovating rather than sitting on their butts as others play catch-up. Personally, I love my Sonos for convenient whole-apartment listening and I leave the serious stuff for my headphone rigs. That way I get the best of both worlds. I'm not convinced I need higher resolution for background listening, nor would I be able to convince my neighbours that "serious" speaker listening is something they'd like to share with me. So for the living room and bedroom it's usually Sonos with Tidal or Deezer Elite at moderate volumes. Perhaps the new Sonos plan will present an intriguing streaming alternative (maybe necessary given what many believe is the precarious state of Tidal).

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I think it is a syntax thing - would you say that it is hidden and suppressed or evident that they have a problem? In the above interview, it seems that they said they could not afford to keep the people they had already hired that had worked for the company with loyalty, and instead decided to take the company in a new direction.

 

It is possible that MacFarlane just wants to do something different, but most companies make those kinds of changes for financial reasons.

 

Evident in this case is not judgmental, just means that it seems the reasons are out in the open, if not baldly stated.

 

-Paul

 

So that's it? It's a "syntax" thing? Ok.

So you must be a dyed in the wool democrat ticked off at companies that just cast their employees aside just to do something different in the relentless search for the almighty dollar. Should have retrained them eh?

David

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So that's it? It's a "syntax" thing? Ok.

So you must be a dyed in the wool democrat ticked off at companies that just cast their employees aside just to do something different in the relentless search for the almighty dollar. Should have retrained them eh?

 

Actually I am not even a Democrat. ;)

 

In ome case, what blame there is lies squarely at the feet of management there. Reckless or feckless hiring, strongly encouraging loyalty, and casting the workers aside when it is convienent - that sir, is nothing less than piss poor management.

 

If forced by financials, that is another story. Rather obviously, I suspect that the root cause is financial. At least I hope and believe it is.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Actually I am not even a Democrat. ;)

 

In ome case, what blame there is lies squarely at the feet of management there. Reckless or feckless hiring, strongly encouraging loyalty, and casting the workers aside when it is convienent - that sir, is nothing less than piss poor management.

 

If forced by financials, that is another story. Rather obviously, I suspect that the root cause is financial. At least I hope and believe it is.

 

Did not think you were a democrat, was totally tongue in cheek. ?

Not sure where the term "blame" even enters the conversation. I thought it was pretty clear in his interview that looking forward (through a financial lens) that the company needed to make a move. I'm sure though that navigating a tech company with a near billion dollar annual revenue in today's fast changing climate is tricky business and I for one (not having done that) am in no position to question their moves at this time.

David

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Did not think you were a democrat, was totally tongue in cheek. 

Not sure where the term "blame" even enters the conversation. I thought it was pretty clear in his interview that looking forward (through a financial lens) that the company needed to make a move. I'm sure though that navigating a tech company with a near billion dollar annual revenue in today's fast changing climate is tricky business and I for one (not having done that) am in no position to question their moves at this time.

 

Aw- sorry. There seems to be a lot of heated feelings going on about the political scene in the U.S. these days. Just wanted to make sure I was not accidentally hurting your feelings or stirring a political sauce. ;)

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Aw- sorry. There seems to be a lot of heated feelings going on about the political scene in the U.S. these days. Just wanted to make sure I was not accidentally hurting your feelings or stirring a political sauce. ;)

 

It takes an awful lot hurt my feelings! Lol! There does seem to be bit of turmoil in this election season.

David

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Very interesting! I was one of the first Sonos customers when they first launched their ZP-100 and CR-100 controller (I still have both!). It will be interesting to see where Sonos is headed.

12TB NAS >> i7-6700 Server/Control PC >> i3-5015u NAA >> Singxer SU-1 DDC (modded) >> Holo Spring L3 DAC >> Accustic Arts Power 1 int amp >> Sonus Faber Guaneri Evolution speakers + REL T/5i sub (x2)

 

Other components:

UpTone Audio LPS1.2/IsoRegen, Fiber Switch and FMC, Windows Server 2016 OS, Audiophile Optimizer 3.0, Fidelizer Pro 6, HQ Player, Roonserver, PS Audio P3 AC regenerator, HDPlex 400W ATX & 200W Linear PSU, Light Harmonic Lightspeed Split USB cable, Synergistic Research Tungsten AC power cords, Tara Labs The One speaker cables, Tara Labs The Two Extended with HFX Station IC, Oyaide R1 outlets, Stillpoints Ultra Mini footers, Hi-Fi Tuning fuses, Vicoustic/RealTraps/GIK room treatments

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