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Friday, August 10, 2007

knee deep in Sonos, gonna get deeper

Sonos CR100

Like Rick - I've recently added Sonos to my home electronics mix and am so far pretty impressed. Even though I have probably 200 GB in MP3's on a NAS box in my basement, I bought off on what Fred Wilson calls the "music dial tone" - that is just plugging in and being able to listen to anything, old or new. I have no idea if Fred coined that term, but he gets credit anyway.

Anyway, for quite some time, I've been using Yahoo! Music to power my whole house audio system, but was kind of a klunky solution. A laptop sitting in the closet or in the entertainment system that was plugged into a multi-zone receiver. It could have been controlled remotely via VNC or Windows Remote Desktop, but again, that's more clunk.

Sonos + Rhapsody is pretty much the same thing, but much more elegant. Right now, I've started with aSonos ZonePlayer ZP80 Add-On Player and a Sonos Controller CR100 that allows me to control the music stream from both Rhapsody and my 200 GB of MP3s from anywhere in the house. And there is a Controller client can even run on every computer on the house as well.

I vowed never to use another Real product again given their propensity to create software worse than viruses, but here I am using Rhapsody. So much for holding a grudge. It's pretty much equivalent to Y! Music, except it has an OS X client that runs in your browser. That is a big plus, actually. My only complaint with the Rhapsody integration is that there is no way to search for music by something as simple as say, typing in an artist name. You have to drill down by genre and sub-genre, or set up preset favorites on the web before using the CR100 controller. At least there is a "new releases" category right up front.

So where do I go from here? Well, there are probably 3 legitimate "zones" in my house that could be controlled separately - or be run in sync. So sooner or later (probably sooner) I'll get another ZP100 and start building out the mesh network of players in the house. This has the added benefit of adding range to the controllers as well.

I'll report back when that's working.
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