Sonos For Music? Nope But Here's A Better Idea
Sonos Sound Review
I was excited. Finally, after never-ending construction, my "tiny house" was ready. Moved in, unpacked boxes, mounted the TV on the wall, added a DISH, and hopped on the couch prepared for TV magic.
But there was a problem.
Hardwood floors, a cathedral ceiling, and BIG windows created an echo chamber. I couldn't hear my Sony Bravia TV. Exhausted, broke, and frustrated isn't a way to buy anything because"Best" loses to "right now." After paltry research, a Sonos soundbar, two Play:1 & two Play:5 speakers and a sub-woofer joined the family.
It took six months to clear Sonos charges, and I didn't care. My TV sounded great especially after acting on Moon Audio founder Drew Baird's advice. Drew said to add rugs, pads, and acoustic panels. Never built the acoustic boards because rugs with pads significantly improved my TV's sound.
Sonos Sound Review - Sonos Connect Plus Roon
If I could add a good pair of speakers, Sonos sound should improve. First I purchased a Sonos Connect amplifier. Adding a Roon Nucleus was next. I connected a pair of mid-fi pioneer speakers. No sonic help, but Roon recognized and could play to the six speakers and subwoofer grouped or in any combination.
Roon plus the Sonos connect amp created more sound however it didn't sound better. Roon is cool for reasons you may not realize such as:
- By tapping the web the Roon's music management app is better than liner notes, makes it easy to find new music, and you know when to buy tickets.
- Roon's EQ is sophisticated, so it's easy to tune music, gear, or rooms to improve how your music sounds.
- Don't know about optimal music file types, sizes, or compression? No worries, Roon's software knows what to do.
Understanding, installing, and managing Roon's "core" and "control apps" (in my case installed on an iPad) requires a learning curve. Buying Roon's hardware doesn't eliminate the learning, on the other hand adding a Nucleus or Nucleus Plus cut my frustration and class time in half. Not a hard decision.
Sonos Sound Review - Music Not So Much
During my first year living "tiny," daily music listening fell to every now and again. Sonos' big, booming, and muddled sound makes listening to music fatiguing, frustrating, and anxiety producing.
Quiet wasn't quiet. Even with almost as many speakers as there are square feet musical soundstage collapsed. That "They are playing in my head," is "soundstage." When you turn the lights out, rest your head on a pillow we want to hear Carnegie Hall. Placing musicians in space, our headspace, we imagine and feel. Imagination plus feeling help to imagine a soundstage.
And soundstage creates the feeling of floating away, the feeling of being lost in the music. You hear the Sonos speakers and their lack of clarity collapses our ability to imagine a soundstage. Hearing Bono's voice here, the Edge's guitar there, and Larry Mullen's drums behind them are impossible when the sound gets smeared all together.
Sonos Sound Review - New Uplifting Upgrades
Life is short and the philosopher Nietzche was right. Without music, life is a mistake. It's a new year, so I adopted a "What are credit cards for," attitude and asked Drew for guidance. With Train In Vain by the Clash playing in my new tiny Carnegie Hall, I'd say Drew saved my ears, spirit, and life.
Here are the audio gear upgrades I'm listening to as I write.
- Reference 3A Speakers (Moon showroom pair)
- April Music Eximus S1 amp.
- Mytek Brooklyn DAC/AMP
- Roon Nucleus music server
- Music Hall MMF 2.3 turntable
- Black Dragon speaker cables V1
- Black Dragon USB cable (between Brooklyn and Eximus AMP)
- Blue Dragon power cables (my review is on the product page)
- Sturdy audio stand (also from Drew's showroom)
|Reference 3A||April Eximus S1 Amp||Mytek Brooklyn DAC|
|Roon Nucleus Server||Music Hall MMF 2.3|
Sonos Sound Review - Upgraded Gear Initial Sound Review
Excuse me. The Clash is wondering if they should stay or go. Time to jump around the house a little.The last sentence may be the best review. Even before break in the sound from my new upgrades is stunning, awesome, and epic. No link for the speakers since Moon Audio won't sell Reference 3A until they have the gorgeous red finish again. Nice to have color and a cool shape in the tiny house. Now that I'm asthmatic it's time to finish this review.
- Soundstage is Carnegie Hall epic (a known Reference speaker trait)
- Ringing bell in the Himalayas clarity
- Speed and muscle without bullying or pushing the sound (guitars don't lose focus or clarity as volume goes up for example)
- Quiet sounds QUIET listening to Keith Jarrett live I could hear the guy in the third-row yawn (well not quite but you get the idea)
- The feeling of floating away with the music is back
Music relaxes, energizes, and inspires. Listening to music on Sonos for more than a year I knew something wasn't right. It's the gear stupid! Sure it's easy to understand what was wrong now listening to THIS. Drew suggested wiring every Sonos speaker to the router.
As you see in the pictures below, there are enough wires to choke a horse now. Someday soon I'll dig in, move the telephone wire under the house, organize and bundle the cables. And yes crawling under the house and bundling wires is the definition of an "I'll do it tomorrow" task. Rewiring didn't feel like a good use of time.
However, asking for Drew's help and breaking out a CC has me jumping for joy. I'm relaxed, inspired, and thankful. Music is back baby. Music is here again thanks to Drew, Nichole, and the Moon Audio team. Nicest "treat me" birthday gift, I was born on January 1, ever. THANKS.
surfing audio upgrades santa visited my tiny house can't wait to hear vinyl again
Full Reviews Soon
I'll review each piece of gear such as the MyTek Brooklyn soon. Today, I added a review to the Blue Dragon power cords. The current review didn't share many details. I use Blue Dragon cables to connect Shure KSE1500s IEMs to Hugo so despite not being past break-in I posted a review. Moon's power cords are as big as small fire hoses so a much-needed accessory here in the country (Efland, NC) where power is variable, dirty, and run by a cooperative.