The best Sonos alternatives

Credits: Simon Cohen |

We have recommended Sonos wireless speakers and components for years. We still think the company makes a fantastic product. But the absolute fiasco caused by the May 7 Sonos app redesign broke almost every aspect of the Sonos experience — and we’re still waiting for fixes that were promised weeks ago.

If you’re a Sonos owner, we share your frustration. If your investment in the company’s ecosystem is significant, your best bet is to wait and ride out this storm. Eventually things will return to normal and, hopefully, the Sonos experience will be better than before.

But if you’re new to Sonos or if you’re considering buying your first Sonos product, you may be wondering about alternatives. Bad software rollouts can and do happen; going with another company is no guarantee that your home audio system will remain problem-free forever. Still, if you’re no longer feeling the Sonos love, these systems are more than capable of filling your home with sound.

But what constitutes a Sonos alternative? To our way of thinking, a true alternative should have at least some (and preferably all) of the following attributes:

  • Wi-Fi connectivity for every speaker/component
  • An app that lets you control speaker playback, speaker grouping, and that can access both your preferred streaming music services as well as your personal collection of digital music
  • A variety of speaker sizes/types, including a soundbar
  • A component that lets you connect your older, non-wireless audio gear to the system
  • Some kind of voice-enabled smart speaker option for both smart home integration as well as voice control over music
  • Expandable over time

Of the five options we present below, only the first three meet a majority of these requirements. But we’ve included two more options that will give you a “Sonos lite” experience, if you don’t need all of the features Sonos offers.


An exciting new option

Wiim Amp and Sonos Amp (overhead view).
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Wiim, a newcomer to the wireless audio space, doesn’t make wireless speakers (yet) so it can’t quite be considered a full Sonos alternative, but the company’s network music players (with and without integrated amps) are proof that you can have Sonos-like features without paying Sonos prices.

We’ve tried the Wiim Pro and Wiim Amp, and are mightily impressed by their technology, design, and sound. The Wiim app is possibly the first of its kind to not only replicate Sonos’ best features (like universal search) but also exceed what Sonos has done.

There’s full support for grouping and individual control of components, hi-res audio compatibility including MQA, and several of Wiim’s products are Roon-ready for fans of that music management software.

Each Wiim component has a plethora of digital and analog inputs and outputs, and wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth (usually two-way), AirPlay, and Google Cast.

About the only thing you don’t get with Wiim is DSD compatibility, and, much like all non-Sonos competitors, you can’t access Apple Music directly within the Wiim app.

Continue to the full article here >

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