Sonos Play:3 network music player
The best starter streamer bar none?
To enjoy your locally hosted tunes you need to keep your PC switched on - not a problem for me because my system goes on when I wake up and only gets switched off come bed time if I remember. Internet radio and services like Spotify can be streamed without a PC, and as long as your Nas box supports the SMB/CIFS networking protocol you can play music files held on remote storage.
The main menu of Sonos' Controller app for Android (left) and what it's playing (right)
The Play:3 itself is a solid and well made, if rather anonymous box that’s small enough to be easily positioned in a room without shouting, "Look At Me!" like the B&W Zeppelin and its ilk. The unit has rubber feet on the bottom and on the left side so you can stand it either way up as available space dictates.
Pick a song from your library (left) then stream it to a stereo set-up (right)
Controls and inputs are limited to a power jack, Ethernet port and volume/mute buttons. There’s no auxiliary input which wasn’t unexpected given Sonos’ belief in the primacy of the network but the absence of a headphones socket is annoying.
Sonos doesn’t bundle a remote because you're supposed to use your iPhone, iPad or Android handset after installing the free Sonos app. It's an idea that’s hard to argue with when smartphones are so ubiquitous and Sonos’ own remote costs a terrifying £279.
Stream songs from internet radio stations (left) and other online music sources (right)
Once installed on my Desire HD, the Android Controller app worked a treat and offered both ID3-tag and folder views of my library. If you are without a smartphone, the system can be controlled directly from your computer's desktop.