We did encounter the odd wireless dropout – never for long, and it always reconnected itself. We never quite worked out if this was an issue with the Sonos system or our wireless network and although it wasn't disastrous, it was certainly irritating. However, the S5 made up for this occasional glitch with the quality of its sound, which is really very impressive. The midrange is expressive and open and while the top end can sound just a smidgeon shut-in on occasion, it's really nothing to worry about at this price.
Intuitive operation and sounds great
Bass isn't super deep but has a decent punch and it's reasonably tight too. It doesn't distort either until you push it right to the max – even then the bass remains tight and controlled, though the treble starts to get a bit harsh. It certainly stands comparison with many of the better quality iPod docks we've heard and while it may not quite match the full range of B&W's award-laden Zeppelin, but it's not far off. Not far at all.
Once you've got it up and running, the Sonos system is an excellent way to pipe your music around the house without having to rewire it. The sound is impressive for such a compact unit and easily stands up with its nearest rivals towards the higher end of the iPod dock market. Furthermore, it offers an increasingly impressive armoury of music source options and, as such, remains the wireless streaming system to beat. ®
More Networked Music Gear Reviews…
Sonos ZonePlayer S5
So why only 85%? You don't mention anything wrong with it.
Thing is ...
If you're wiring it in to your network it's a cheap option. The S5 is less than a ZP120 and that's also before adding speakers. If you do not have a iPhone or iPod Touch, then you can still control it through your PC/Mac.
I got a BU150 set in the Richer Sounds sale (when the new controller and BU250 bundle came out) and added a S5 as a third zone which was both cheaper and more practical. I can move it around the house and the only limitation is the need for a power cable, no having to move speakers (or even stereo system/amp) around.
Half the price of a BU250 bundle...
.. but also under half the functionality. The BU250 includes a CR200 controller and two ZonePlayers (one with amplifier, one without), but an S5 and ZoneBridge for £429 is only one zone and no controller. Makes the price comparison a bit daft.
I should add that I'm a very happy Sonos user, but I'm unlikely to add one of these as an extra zone.
So you don't use the fast search function ? I can't believe they would have dropped it on the new hand controller, but on the old one I can select it then scroll through first letters.
The trouble with Sonos
...Is that you have to scroll through everthing by name alphabetically and you normally give up by the letter C. I have over 1200 albums on the Sonos and browsing through the collection is such a drag. It's easier to look at the CD boxes themselves. Much as it pains me to say so, an ipod-type-coverflow-type-thing would make browsing a lot easier. Even Windows Media Player 11 is easier to browse through with a search bar and browsing by album cover.