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Multiroom audio / 'assistant' systems

Things like Sonos, or alternatively like the Amazon Echo stuff. Both are largely aimed at playing music, obviously the former more so.

But do they have options for playing your own music? Or do both rely on your willingness to subscribe to a service? I'm not sure why I'd want to pay a tenner a month to access music, when I already own most of the music I enjoy.

I think I'm already aware of a possible solution. Google Home allows you to access Google play music - and if you have Google Play installed on your computer it uploads your own music to allow you to access it on other devices.

But I don't think the Amazon offering has an equivalent, and I don't think Sonos (or any other multiroom system) does either.

Ironically, there were solutions that did do this years ago, such as the Roku Soundbridge which I used to own, and the Logitech Squeezebox which I own now. But both are obsolete now, so if I want to build a multiroom system they aren't an option.

I also wonder about connectivity. Can the assistant types connect to Audio equipment so you're getting genuinely good sound quality? I would bet they're not compatible to make them a source for the Sonos systems.

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Sonos allows you to access your entire digital music library* across the multi-room system, as well as most streaming services and internet radio etc.
....and the integration with spotify (from multiple devices) is very good and it (sonos) will soon work with amazon echo (not that I care).


*from a designated hard drive.

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We have B&O in our house and that make generally predates Sonos when a household system needed wires instead of Bluetooth. However despite the shop trying to sell me all this multi room stuff, I've never found the time to create a nasdrive by transferring all the old media onto a hardrive etc. Spotify makes it unnecessary so you just need an iPad and a good speaker or two. It's amazing what range you can get from an iPad with a Beolit15 speaker, which has a handle, or even some good Bluetooth headphones!
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Sonos creates its own wireless network for the audio - independent of your internet network (so stable and good quality).
It's very easy to connect a hard drive with all your music files. Although I use spotify to explore, there is an awful lot of stuff not available on spotify (including much of the content on my hard drive).

(Don't work for or have any interest in Sonos other than being a fairly happy user )
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Ah, that's great to hear, cheers guys.

I do intend to invest in some Sonos stuff sooner or later, but knowing it can work with a hard drive of music is a massive bonus.
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Originally Posted by bazza View Post
Ah, that's great to hear, cheers guys.

I do intend to invest in some Sonos stuff sooner or later, but knowing it can work with a hard drive of music is a massive bonus.


Don't agree that Squeezeboxis dead. It is still the most advanced system and a 30 Chromecast Audio or a 40 Pi 3 can act as SB clients.


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Only dead in terms of availability. Once my SB Touch is gone, there's no available replacement.

Or are you meaning use the software only? Will Logitech continue to support it indefinitely?
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Another vote for Sonos and from a former Squeezebox user. Sonos was originally sold as exclusively for use with local network files with the exception of TuneIn Radio.

I'm with Chris Hendrix re Spotify in that it's great for discovering stuff, playlists for car/mobile etc but for everyday quality your own files ripped as FLAC or Apple Lossless will sound a whole lot better than compressed streamed MP3. Stick Bluetooth into the mix, particularly if non APT-X standard as used by Apple then B&O or whatever else brand speaker you have can't put the detail back in.
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So how do you store and access your local music files? Can you attach a USB HD direct to a Sonos unit? Or have to have a NAS or computer running?
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So how do you store and access your local music files? Can you attach a USB HD direct to a Sonos unit?
Yes.
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Or have to have a NAS or computer running?
No


I think the drive can be anywhere on your network. I have a Sonos Connect and a USB drive plugged in to my (apple airport extreme) router.

Although I have Sonos and am happy with it, there are now many alternative networked multi-room systems you should probably check out.
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Only dead in terms of availability. Once my SB Touch is gone, there's no available replacement.

Or are you meaning use the software only? Will Logitech continue to support it indefinitely?

I mean as long as you have LMS running on your network - now open source - then there are countless clients available that will work and are controllable just like an official SB.

They are
Raspberry Pi with piCorePlayer with or without DAC HAT
Google Chromecast using a community plugin
Apple AirPlay device or speakers using a community plugin
Android Phone or Tablet using 3rd party emulators
iOS phone or pad using iPeng app
Upnp devices using community plugin
There are also new high end devices that are essentially SB Touch devices plus DAC in a fancy case.

SB isn't going away. In fact the RPi route has given it a whole new lease of life. The Pi plus piCorePlayer can be configured as a player only, a server only or a combined player and server.

There are plugins for a lot of streaming services including Spotify at 320kbps.



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Quote:
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So how do you store and access your local music files? Can you attach a USB HD direct to a Sonos unit? Or have to have a NAS or computer running?
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrishendrix View Post
Yes.

No


I think the drive can be anywhere on your network. I have a Sonos Connect and a USB drive plugged in to my (apple airport extreme) router.

Although I have Sonos and am happy with it, there are now many alternative networked multi-room systems you should probably check out.
You can do one of four things in order to have Sonos access your own files.

1 - Point your Sonos units to files on an existing PC or Mac which then needs to be running full time (not a problem for most but can be if you only have a laptop perhaps)

2 - Point your Sonos units to files on a standalone NAS device or server

3 - Point your Sonos units to files on a USB drive connected to your router if your router has this functionality, many do these days inclduing those provided by the likes of BT and others.

4 - Invest in a dedicated ripper with storage which also acts as a network storage device - the likes of Brennan or Cocktail Audio

You can't though attach a USB drive directly to a Sonos unit.

All of the the first three are painless and require practically zero networking savvy, 4 can be a bit tricky (more in terms of getting the rip settings right) but not really that taxing
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Ruarks R2 has multiroom, streaming and aptx Bluetooth capability, worth a listen, pricey though, I've got the R1 and the R7 and both are great quality awesome sounding bits of kit
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