Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Multi-Room Music System Review

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Setup

Sonos did a great job in making this music system easy to set up. If you want to attach the S5 directly to your wireless router, you don’t need the ZoneBridge. For most of us though, our wireless router is not in the room that we want to enjoy entertaining and listening to music. That is where the ZoneBridge comes in. If you purchase the USD 99 ZoneBridge and attach that to your wireless router, you can place the S5 anywhere in the house and it will catch the music over your wireless network. As a matter of fact, if you can afford it, you can easily put a Sonos player in every room of your house. All will hook up wirelessly.

Although the instructions are very good and the setup process is easy, if you purchase both the S5 and the ZoneBridge, you may be stymied as to which to install first. Sonos should put this in their instructions. The answer is, install the ZoneBridge first and the S5 will go on automatically.

To set up the ZoneBridge or the S5 you simply run the Sonos software, touch a button or two on the unit and it automatically connects to the network.

After you attach one S5 or one ZoneBridge to your wireless router, you can add more Sonos players by pressing a button or two on the devices. An indicator light on both the S5 and ZoneBridge changes from blinking to solid to signify the connection.

Although the Sonos worked brilliantly with both of the wireless networks we connected it to, because Sonos uses a proprietary version of 802.11n, there are a few incompatibilities with some routers and switches. So you might want to contact Sonos or check out the Sonos FAQ on router compatibility before you purchase.

Once you have the software installed, you will have to show the Sonos where your music is located. This is fairly easily done using the Sonos Desktop Controller on your computer, which is shown in Figure 6. The only caveat is that because of the file-sharing implications of the Sonos, if you are using a software firewall, it may need to be adjusted before the Sonos can connect with the music on your computer. Unfortunately, if this happens you will just get a cryptic error like “upnp=1002.” This will give you no real indication that it is a firewall problem, but that will be the first thing to look at.

We tried the Sonos with Norton Internet Security 2010 and AVG 9.0. When the firewall portions of these programs were running, both needed adjustments to work. Fortunately, Sonos offers specific instructions on their website for making necessary firewall adjustments for many different security programs.

Sonos ZonePlayer S5 Multi-Room Music System ReviewFigure 6: The Sonos Desktop Controller software

As you can see in Figure 6, there is also a tab in the Sonos Desktop Controller software where you can set up Music Services like Sirius Internet Radio, Napster and Rhapsody. Thirty-day trials of these programs come with the ZonePlayer S5. Set up is automatic. Sonos also works with Internet radio sites like Pandora and Last.fm. You can either use the account that you already have or you can set up a free account online. Just be sure to register your Sonos to make all the music services available to you.

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Author: Sandy Berger

Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.

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