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With all of these components you’d think set-up would be a bit of a nightmare, but as I mentioned above it was one of the easiest bits of wireless kit I’ve ever had the pleasure to install. You have to make the first ZonePlayer a wired connection so I hooked one up to my broadband router in the study. Next the software was installed and music folders located. The system uses Windows shared folders, so if you’ve got your music on a NAS (network attached storage) box, you can stream music from that too.
Finally, I hooked another ZP80 up downstairs to the main hi-fi system with a pair of decent interconnects to my Primare A 30.1 stereo amplifier. One button press added the downstairs unit to the system and with the controller unit charged up I was ready to rock 'n' roll – literally.
The beauty of this system is that it just works and the technology side of things is pretty much completely transparent. There are no fiddly settings to complete, no wireless security set-up to go wrong (security is set up automatically for you during installation so there's no danger of a next door neighbour joining in the party). In fact after you’ve set the various bits and pieces up all you have to worry about is the music. And just to illustrate how friendly this kit is to use, I handed the controller around to various non-techies during an evening get together. Without exception they were all browsing through the music happily adding tracks to the queue in moments – and with very few calls to the in-house help desk.
And it’s not just the ease-of-use that’s impressive. It seems that Sonos thought of everything and then squeezed in some more features when it was designing this system. The controller, for instance, has a motion sensor built into it – pick it up and it switches itself on automatically, while its white backlit buttons adjust their brightness according to how bright or dim the ambient light conditions are.
The system also allows you to ‘tune into’ Internet radio stations. There’s a whole load predefined in the software including, footy fans will be glad to hear, BBC Radio Five Live and Radio Five Live Extra, and others can be added too.