Sonos ZonePlayer by Dominic Baker

Sonos 3

The week Aestheticons regular, Dominic Baker, brings us a modern design icon in the guise of the wireless driven player and surround sound system, Sonos.

With the ever changing landscape of the music industry, there needed to be a device that could keep up with the current trends, something that was both stylish and fool proof, flawless and dynamic. Something of quality, something that not only embraced the modern market but was at the cutting edge of what is available, a pioneer of technology something so far ahead of its time that the competion never saw it coming.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sonos.

Sonos is based in Santa Barbara (California USA) and was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen and Trung Mai with a prototype wireless music streaming device made for the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It won the ‘Best In Audio’ category.

Originally named the Digital Music System – a bundle of smart speakers – the player was released in Febuary 2005. To the existing player the design team added a mesh networking system – in which each node relays data for the network and all meshed nodes co-operate in the distribution of data within the network – as a result it could be used for both wired and wireless networks. They also used AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) to prevent the system from being easily hacked – it contained similar layers of security usually to be found in Modems.

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This ‘Meshed’ networking system allowed the speaker(s) to play in any room and, using wifi, enable the same system to play different music streamed from the same source to different wireless and/or LAN connected speakers throughout the house. The system came with its own amazingly easy to use controller, so at a time when Smart phones were still relatively in their infancy, this was a huge leap.

It wasn’t just the cutting edge tech that made the Sonos player stand out. The speaker quality was exemplary and had built in WLAN and LAN connections. It delivered acoustic excellence with suprisingly good response including crisp high ends and full mid-ranges. It also had well measured bases even on the smaller units.

 

With pioneering consumers looking to enhance their home music set up and waiting for a system that would combine their online and offline music that wasn’t restricted to one streaming source, the Sonos really appealed. Those wealthier consumers that had  already invested in streamed music, that played saved iTunes or had a Spotify account, their Sonos wasn’t just another glorified dock that played music from your phone – as by 2005 the market was saturated by them – it was an integral and very high quality component of their home entertainment system.

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Most relationships work when they grow and mature with their surroundings. 
The Sonos did just that with remarkable timing. With the emergence of downloadable music on Amazon Music, iTunes and Spotify, Sonos hit the market with an unerring accuracy – with its Zone Player system now version S5 – and with the sound quality of a high-end stereo it relieved technically savvy connoisseurs of their cash …. all over the world!

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