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Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System review




  • Recommended by TR

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Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System
  • BU150 Bundle


Our Score:


It was back in 2006 when I first played with a Sonos system, and I was pretty damned impressed. The problem with most music streaming devices at the time was that they came from networking manufacturers who knew a lot about the technical side, but weren’t so clued up when it came to the user experience. As such, you ended up with devices that “kind of” worked, if you knew what you were doing, and if you had a decent enough home network in the first place. Sonos, on the other hand, came at the problem from the other side, deciding to build a supremely usable device that was then stuffed full of digital streaming goodness, over both wired and wireless networks.

Despite the fact that Sonos managed to hit the usability nail right on the head, there were a couple of negative points with the system, the most notable being the high purchase cost. Added to the initial cost of the system, there was also the added expense of “wasting” a ZonePlayer, just to get you connected to your home network. You see, the first ZonePlayer in the system had to be hard wired to your router, and then the others could all communicate wirelessly. Unfortunately this meant that if your router wasn’t in a convenient place (mine’s sitting next to my sofa, because that’s where the phone line is), the ZonePlayer that you had to use to get connected, couldn’t then be used for music, thus making it a very expensive wireless bridge. Thankfully, Sonos has addressed both of those issues, and with the new BU150 bundle, kitting your house out with a Sonos system has never been more affordable.

The speakers, ZoneBridge and docking cradle are optional extras, but the latter is definitely worth buying.

Although the components that make up the new Sonos BU150 bundle look familiar, with the exception of the superb remote handset, everything has changed. When Jon tested the Sonos ZP80 bundle back in 2006, there were two types of ZonePlayers, the aforementioned ZP80 and the ZP100 which featured an integrated amplifier. This latest bundle however, features the new ZP90 and ZP120 ZonePlayers, and we’re talking more than just semantics here. It’s also worth mentioning that back in 2006 the basic bundle consisted of two ZP80 ZonePlayers and the remote handset for £779, while the new BU150 bundle gives you one ZP90 and one ZP120, plus the remote handset for only £699!

One of the things that always made Sonos systems so easy to setup, is that they incorporated their own wireless mesh system, rather than trying to piggyback off your home Wi-Fi network. This meant that there were no wireless channels to worry about, no MAC address filtering to contend with and no encryption keys to enter - it really was a plug and play system. These latest ZonePlayers move the game on by using the new SonosNet 2.0 standard, which brings with it both AES encryption, and more importantly, MiMo technology. Now we’ve seen MiMo (Multiple in Multiple out) technology used in wireless devices for a while now, and it’s also an intrinsic part of the new 802.11n standard. By including MiMo in its ZonePlayers, Sonos is essentially extending the range of the devices, by allowing multiple signals to be sent and received.


August 11, 2008, 7:08 pm

Looks like a nice system, however a question regarding the remote.

Since the system is able to use an iTunes server, and since Apple has now released the remote app for iTunes, do you think in the future Sonos will release an update / software that will let you control the system on the iPhone/iTouch?


August 12, 2008, 6:33 pm

Err - I never said it used an iTunes server, I was specifically saying that it doesn't need an iTunes server. That's what's so good about it, you're NAS appliance doesn't need to support any kind of streaming service.


August 14, 2008, 3:56 pm

Ah sorry, I thought I read it could connect to an iTunes server my bad


September 21, 2008, 2:33 am

Amazed by this and saw/heard a demo recently...not a techie,and haven't got an MP3 player or iPod...bit behind the times!

One thing I haven't grasped yet...is it possible to play music files from the hard drive on the PC through the Sonos if the PC isn't turned on? If not, is there any way of listening to our CD collection around the house using the Sonos?


November 24, 2008, 7:09 pm

I've had the Sonos system for a few years now. The updated ZP90/Z120 look worthwhile on their own merits, but together with the price drop the system is just irresistable if you're serious about music.

During the time I've had it, it's been faultless and a joy to use.

Just like to add a couple of things to the review:

Big news is that there is now a free iPhone/iTouch app which turns these devices into fantastically slick controllers of the Sonos system. You can even purchase an iTouch and load the app for less than the cost of an additional Sonos controller.

There's also a free PC app which can control the system.

Lastly, Sonos also regularly supply free firmware updates that continually enahnce the product, such as support for additional file formats or new music services - although with support for a large complement of file types and streaming services such as Napster and internet radio, it's pretty comprehensive already.

In summary a fantastic product, with fantastic support which any music lover (Audiophile to mp3 junkie) would love.

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