Asking all A/V + Home Automation people –
I have 12 zones (24 speakers inside & outside of my house), 8 zones of which are driven by separate Sonos Amp products, the other 4 driven by a Nuvo Essentia Audio system, integrated with Sonos using a Sonos Connect unit. The Sonos system has been great as I was able to disable the WiFi radios on each Amp and use only the Ethernet connections (trying to keep any EMR resulting from WiFi down to a minimum). The system is reliable, fast, user-friendly, everything one could ask for. All components in the Sonos system were purchased sometime between 2010 and 2018 at about $700 CAD plus 13% HST each. So yeah, a bit of an investment. Then comes 2020 and Sonos announces a major change in its software platform and support for newer hardware only, forcing customers like me to either upgrade all of my devices to $800 Sonos Amp products, or to stay on a stale version of the software with no more support. Being in the software space myself, I understand technology. What I have a difficult time with is that smart speakers are pretty basic devices and most components should last a lifetime as the end-user requirements don’t change very much. They still do one basic thing, which is to accept a command to stream audio data, amplify it, and output it to the speaker. Unfortunately due to Sonos’ choices, I need to make a decision on how to proceed. I’m really hoping that I don’t need to overhaul my entire audio system every 10 years… Here are the obvious choices to me:
a) Do nothing (don’t upgrade any hardware, will means I’ll be forced to use old Sonos software and likely Vera integration will also break at some point). I think it’s inevitable that eventually this option will expire unto itself.
b) Upgrade each of the Sonos Amp and Sonos Connect devices to the newer generation, which means dishing out $5,000 CAD for newer hardware (it’s actually about $7000, but Sonos is offering a 30% discount on a trade-up program.
c) Switch to another system such as Russound or Nuvo to drive all 24 Zones and abandon Sonos, or consider another similar system.
d) Try to piece together a home grown system of my own using switches and small amps that can be controlled using Ethernet. Find a way to integrate it with Apple Music. This is an option that might not be simple to get going and might create some headaches down the road too.
Seems there is no perfect option. Any thoughts from peeps out there that understand this and/or are facing the same challenges? Which option would you choose? Perhaps you have some better ideas that I haven’t thought of?
- Good quality audio system that can power 12 zones of hard-wired speakers
- Audio system must be able to run on Ethernet with WiFi disabled
- Ideally work with Apple Music as a streaming service (we are an Apple device household)
- Integrate with Vera (we have over 100 Z-Wave and Ethernet devices in the network)
- Will to spend $5000 - $10,000 on a system, but not willing to throw it away every 10 years
Thanks in advance for your help!