WHAT: Sonos ZonePlayer S5
COMPARE TO:AirPort Express Base Station , Bose SoundDock
WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING: Take a second and think about all the physical media you currently own. Now, think about how much of that is music. Now think about how much of that music has been digitally converted. We're not psychic, but we're willing to bet almost all of your music can be found on your computer. If we're right, and that's the case, why are you still buying traditional stereos to play your music collection in your crib? With all your music stashed on a internet enabled computer, leaving it all up in the proverbial cloud, you need something that can easily pull it down from the cloud and play it wherever you want it played. Sonos' latest ZonePlayer, the S5 can do just that. And it can do it very well.
The ZonePlayer S5 may look like a traditional iPod dock, but it's not. Far from it. For those unfamiliar with Sonos, they're an audio networking company that spends each and every one of their waking hours trying to come up with easier ways for people to listen to music in their homes. The S5 is just the latest in their long, lauded line of products. Visually, it looks like another extremely popular iPod stereo: the Bose SoundDock. This is probably as much for marketing as it is for functionality. Its current set up allows Sonos to pack in two tweeters, two mid-range drivers and a subwoofer, all of which is powered by their own digital amplifier. The sound produced isn't quite Bose level, but it's damn close.
However, the great sound is only one of the S5's main attractions. Thanks to their SonosNet 2.0 network, you can connect any computer in your house to the S5, allowing you to play music from any computer connected to your network. And it's simple. There's no need to tinker with tricky network settings, or wiring. Nah, after you set up your computers, you just plug in the S5 to your router and rock. To make it go wireless, pick up a ZoneBridge ($99), plug that into your router and put your S5 where ever you want. Even better, though, is how you control it. If you have an iPhone or an iPod touch, you can download the free Sonos app that will turn it into a Sonos remote control. That allows you to browse through all your songs, or play music from one of the many internet radio services that run natively on the S5. Yes, Pandora's already on there. With everything going wireless, this is what docks are looking to become.
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