Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System - Sonos BU150

By Riyad Emeran



  • Recommended by TR
Sonos BU150 Wireless Digital Music System


Our Score:


File format support is very, very good - you get MP3, WMA, AAC. Audible (Format 4) and impressively, Ogg Vorbis lossy standards. And if you’re serious about your audio quality, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s support for Apple Lossless and Flac, while uncompressed WAV and AIFF files will also play.

Pretty much everything Jon said about sound quality in his original review stands. How good a Sonos setup sounds will depend on a variety of factors. First and foremost, audio quality will depend on how your music is encoded - which codec you choose and the bit rate at which you encode. If you have enough disk space, using a lossless codec like Flac will take this step of the process out of the equation.

The rear panel of a ZonePlayer 90.

The second limiting factor will be the DACs inside the ZonePlayers, and although a serious audiophile like Jon will never be happy with the sound that the Sonos DACs produce, I honestly feel that the vast majority of consumers will be more than happy with the job done by the ZonePlayers in this department. Also, as with the ZP80, the ZP90 ZonePlayer features digital audio outputs in both optical and coaxial formats. This means that you can output the music as a digital bit stream, and use an external DAC - this way, an audiophile can stream losslessly encoded music around their house, while enjoying high quality playback through their own Hi-Fi equipment.

The ZP120 doesn’t have digital audio out, because it’s supposed to be used as a standalone Hi-Fi, a job which it does quite well. Again, true Hi-Fi buffs will probably be disappointed by the combination of Sonos’ DAC and amp, but the overall effect is far from offensive, and once more I doubt that most consumers would be disappointed in any way. Sonos sent me a pair of its own speakers to test with, which add an additional £130 to the price of the BU150 bundle, and although they produce reasonable sound, I’d suggest spending a little more on a better set, even if you’re connecting them to the ZP120. You can pickup some great bookshelf speakers from the likes of Kef for only a little extra.

The rear panel of a ZonePlayer 120.

The ZP120 is a far smaller device than the ZP100 that it replaces, despite packing the same 55 Watt output as its predecessor. The one compromise that has been made due to the reduced size, is the number of ports on the built-in Ethernet switch. Whereas the ZP100 sported a four-port switch, the ZP120 only has two ports, just like the ZP90 in fact. The Ethernet ports add to the flexibility of the system, allowing you to connect directly to your network if that’s convenient, while also allowing you to piggyback other devices on the Sonos wireless mesh. Let’s say for instance, your ZonePlayer 90 was sitting next to your Xbox 360 - you could get your Xbox online, by connecting it to the ZP90 via Ethernet, without having to buy a separate wireless module for it.


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 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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