Music Happiness: My Visit to Sonos!


While i’m a big fan of technology when it comes to photography and computers, I am just as big of a fan of music.  Its present whenever I am working on a picture, blaring in my headphones.  Its the first thing that I pull up when I am doing an edit – trying to find the perfect song to match the mood i’m looking for.  Its what reverberates around the house when I am home. The big master plan has always been to have my home wired for sound, where every room is filled with music as I need it.  Throughout my research, one name has always appeared tops on the list – Sonos.  I’m a pretty big fan of their products.  As it turns out, my buddy Adrian King works for Sonos and extended an invitation for me to come out there when I was out in Los Angeles in November.  I was as giddy as a kid on Christmas when I got in my car and make the drive up the coast to visit their HQ out in Santa Barbara.


The first thing that stood out to me was how non-corporate the entire vibe felt.  The business is smack in the middle of beautiful Santa Barbara – and felt like you were visiting a college campus more than a high fidelity products company.  The people walking around campus were nice, and a really cool energy was apparent.  In short – you could feel how excited these guys were to be building what they were building.


I was quickly met by Jon and Eric if Sonos. Jon gave me wonderful tour of the entire place- complete with a history lesson of the product and how it has evolved.  Sonos is a system that shares music in your home wirelessly, with meticulous detail for the faithful reproduction of that sound.  They have a series of systems available – and we went through how the evolution of the systems came to be and how each of the systems is built for a specific customer need in mind.  Truth be told, i’ve spend -plenty- of time on their website adding things indiscriminately to my cart thinking “Ok… a Play 1 for this room. A Play 5 for this room.  2 Play 1‘s for this room and I’ll add a Sub here” to make my own customized list.  The history tour actually changed my mind of some of these layouts. These systems are not cheap – and this is an investment I am really wanting to plan and do right – once-  so the lesson alone was helpful in that it really changed the layout of what I was trying to do.

Here’s something that I thought was really neat.  The Sub has a series of speakers set to force cancel one another out.  As deep as it goes, you can still put a glass of water on them and be OK.  No rattle – no Buzz.  Just bass.  Or – that the PLAYBAR can configure itself based on its positioning using accelerometers.



The next thing that stood out to me was the attention to detail they pay for each individual component.  There is no off the shelf parts that they add to it.  The speakers? They make them.  The Subs.  All parts made here.  They make their own coils for the speakers for crying out loud!  Jon exuded passion when he talked about molds and coils and screws – all made .. under that roof in Santa Barbara.  You can tell that the people there were emotionally involved with the product.  As someone who loves checking it out and listening to it, I could totally appreciate that.


This was kind of neat – this room blocks out very bit of sound.  Sitting in this room for a few seconds – you could hear your blood running through your veins.. it is that incredibly quiet.  Super quiet.  Its “i can only take about 90 seconds of it” quiet.  I think we take for granted just how much sound there is around us.  But again.. this is to test speakers… very meticulous.    They have all these devices that block out radio, interference and stress test the stuffing out of the units.   They are built rock solid.



thelistMy FAVORITE part of the tour?  I got a chance to go into the listening room at the Sonos lab!  Here they had several setups in one room for you to check out what each of them sound like.  Here I got a chance to demo different setups and finalize the ultimate list for me!  Obviously this isn’t something i’m just going up and do in one shot – but it gives me a plan of attack.  I can one part, and just add component by component till the whole house is done!

I want to thank Eric Nielsen, Jon May, and Adrian King for the time and the tour over at Sonos. Looking at how pumped you guys are about your products make me even more excited to get one!  When I do, I will totally share what the experience looks like.  Have a good one!


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