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17-minute Sonos setup

Three-room wireless music system

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Sonos makes it incredibly easy to listen to a plethora of music in any room of your house — wirelessly. To test how easy it’d be for a newbie, we outfitted the home of Rachel, one of our web designers. We gave her Sonos gear for three rooms and timed how long it took her to get everything up and running.

All the music you want

Sonos is a multi-room music system. A network bridge connects players to the Internet and to computers on your home network, so you can play a host of music. Choose from digital music services like Pandora® Internet radio, Beats Music™, and Spotify® as well as hundreds of thousands of Internet radio stations. You can also play music stored on any networked computer.

Control your way

One of the best things about Sonos is selecting and controlling music with a phone or tablet. A free app download turns an iPhone®, iPod touch®, iPad®, Android™ phone, or Android tablet into a wireless controller. Easily create playlists, select a room or multiple rooms for playback, and adjust volume. Rachel and her husband have two iPhones and an iPad in their home — and all are now Sonos controllers.

Setting up Sonos at Rachel’s house

Rachel lives in a two-story home with her husband and twin toddlers. To fill her house with sound, we chose a Sonos Connect, Sonos Play:3, Sonos Play:5, and a Sonos Bridge. Our goal with this setup was to figure out how long it'd take for someone unfamiliar with Sonos to set up a complete system, so I followed Rachel around with a stopwatch, taking notes as she went along. Here’s how our time broke down.

Sonos BridgeSonos Bridge
Sonos ConnectSonos Connect
Sonos Play:3Sonos Play:3
Sonos Play:5Sonos Play:5

Minute 1: Download the Sonos App

To start, Rachel downloaded the Sonos app for her iPad from the iTunes® store. Once she pulled up the app, it gave her step-by-step instructions on setting up her new system.

Minute 3: Setting up the Sonos Bridge

The Bridge connects your Sonos system to your home network, so you can access Internet music services, Internet radio stations, and music stored on networked computers. Rachel set up this piece in her basement near her router and modem, and connected the Bridge to her router with the included network cable.

Minute 5: Setting up the Sonos Connect

We wanted to make Rachel's Sony home theater system part of the larger Sonos system in her home, so we incorporated a Sonos Connect. This player plugs into a wall outlet and connects to the Sony home theater system with an audio cable. This was the most “involved” step of our Sonos setup, since it required audio and power cables.


Minute 6: Setting up the Sonos Play:3

The Play:3 is Sonos’s smallest player. With three built-in amplifiers and three built-in speakers, this player is small but mighty. It’s a standalone player, so it plugs into power and then provides warm, rich sound. Rachel set this player up in the kitchen, so she and Ben can enjoy music while they cook.

Minute 7: Setting up the Sonos Play:5

The Play:5 is a standalone player that’s larger than the Play:3. The Play:5 has five built-in amplifiers and five built-in speaker drivers, so it’s better equipped to fill a larger room with sound. We initially used this player out on Rachel’s deck, but she later moved it into the large basement playroom for her sons to enjoy music while they play.

Minute 8: Updating the players

Once we had all the players set up, we needed to update the software to the most recent version. Because all of the players are controlled by an app, this was easy. Rachel touched a button in the app and all players checked for updates and implemented the updates.

Minute 15: Setting up music services

Next up, we had Rachel use the Sonos app to log into music services. We set her up with a new Beats Music account as well as her existing Pandora Internet Radio account. As Rachel discovers more music services, she can add those to her Sonos system, too — the folks at Sonos frequently update their compatible services as new ones are released.

Sonos Party

Minute 17: Ready to party

Within 17 minutes, we had a Sonos Bridge and three Sonos players set up, and Rachel and Ben were exploring music on Pandora through the Sonos app on their iPhones. After a discussion of what to play first, they picked a room and started listening to music. They quickly figured out how to play music in multiple rooms of their house, too.

Portability for a party

We timed this setup so we had everything up and running the day before Rachel held a huge housewarming party. On the day of the party, the weather was beautiful so Rachel wanted the majority of the party to be held outside. To bring the music outdoors, Rachel set up the Play:3 on her patio and the Play:5 on her second-story deck. She set up a playlist and had the two outdoor players, along with the Connect in the living room, pump that music through her house — indoors and out.

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