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Thread: Sonos...update

  1. #1

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    Default Sonos...update

    Well, still enjoying this thing, but a few setbacks happened. Upon getting the ZP90, bridge, and S5, setup took all of 5 minutes, and worked pefectly. After one week, the S5 stopped playing,took a dump. Call CS, no problem, I instead opted for the ZP120, to hook up some bookies and some outdoor speaks. Unit worked fine except for one thing, it sounded horribly thin. Sent it back as there is no way to make that particular unit sound better. Moved the standard ZP90 upstairs to run both sets of speakers by way of an old Sony receiver. Much better SQ, no different in fact to the Sony avr and a cheapo Sony CDP. So thats where the 90 will stay. Now I've ordered the cullen modded unit for the main rig. After a lengthy talk with Underwood Hifi, they claim the 24/96 is the best for SQ so it will be set to that. Before I make a decision on a dac, I want to see how this thing sounds going thru the Pioneers dacs.

    I can't lay blame on Sonos for the S5, lemons happen in anything mass produced, but the 120 imho needs to have better sound or it will die on the vine.As far as what this system brings to the table though, completely happy. First thing people gravatate to is the controller. I keep hearing "OMG,you have this song?" Then they play whatever they haven't heard in years.....and smile. Like a kid in a candy shop. Anyway, my cullen modded unit should be here anyday now, so we shall see. Will update asap when I get it.

    My initial impressions on a standard ZP90 on the main rig using the pioneer dacs was positive, but still not up to my standards. You couldn't hear deep into the track like a dedicated cdp. The weight and tone was belittled by an overly forward upper freq. It felt strained in a sense, thin. Of coarse I wasn't expecting great results, just wanted to see where I needed to improve it and obviously the digital signal stood out.

  2. #2

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    I have Installed hundreds of Sonos everything. I have yet to have one not work or fail. I'm sorry to hear you had problems.
    As far as sound quality goes with the ZP120 , I have had that thing connected to many different kinds of bookshelf speakers and it has always performed well. I have also had them connected directly to outdoor speakers of all kinds and it rocked the deck, yard or pool.
    Sound quality is in the wire you use , speakers and the type of music files you run. When you run lower quality files , they sound horrible. Better quality like Flac , .wav and Apple Lossless files sound great.
    Nothing sounds better then a high quality CDP along with good DAC's. What I have been doing is running a ZP90 with a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic. The combo is pretty damn good. But again when less quality files are played through this system , the sound quality really suffers.

    I'm curious what speakers you had and wire connected to the ZP120? 50 watts of digital power usually works out bro.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

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    No complaints on my end with the ZP120, I have it running my Polk Atriums on the lower deck & it literally rocks!!! The ZP90 & DacMagic are literally "Magic". CA did their homework & designed the DacMagic with servers like Sonos in mind. Apparently jitter is inherent to computer based systems using wi-fi & hard wired via ethernet. They designed the DM to virtually eliminate jitter from those systems. I think other dac's rely on the CD/transport to take care of jitter & might not perform to their expectations with a server system. There's a great in depth article on their site explaining how they accomplish that with their dac.

    My S5 speaker is also performing well beyond my expectations.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
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    KEF Q900 / mains
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    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
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    Dan, same speaker wires are used, same bookies, only thing added to the mix with the zp90 is the Sony receiver. The 120 on it's own with the same wires and bookies, couldn't stand it. Yes,all apple lossless files to boot. Let me re phrase, when I say I couldn't stand it, I don't mean it's unlistenable. More so just not as pleasing as I've been acustomed to.....and I refuse to go backwards in the SQ department. Right now, the 90 and 100 watt Sony receiver are kicking ass and taking names on the deck speaks or the Tad Bookies inside, totally happy with that combo. On the main rig though, it has to be better. A modded zp90 and a dac I think should bring it up to snuff. For casual listening, you expect a few trade offs for the convenience factor, but not for serious listening.
    I'll give you guys the run down when I get some listening time on it.

    I've read every review available that I could find on the modded ZP90. In theory, the digital signal shouldn't matter as long as it stays digital before hitting the dac. But every review I read comparing the unmodded unit and dac, to a modded unit and same dac, the modded one wins out. Only one way to find out right ?

    Like I said, completely happy with the Sonos, just need better SQ on the main rig is all, and I'm working on that. It's a killer wireless system anyone can stick in their home and be tickled pink.

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    Got mine on Friday and having lots of fun with it. Certainly is a family pleaser! I got the Zonebridge and (2) S5 package from the Sonos website. I can't comment on the SQ yet because they are brand-new and I'm only running free Pandora for now (128kbps). Next month I'll be more set up to run better music files through it (MOG.com - 320kbps) and will have the next fun thing to control it with (iPhone4) also. Next phase after that will be a NAS driver to have my music stored from CD's on.
    ..... ><////(*>

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    Well, after a few days with the modded ZP90, I have some preliminary results. Mind you, no external dac was used, just running into my pioneers dacs.

    Both the modded unit and standard unit were run side by side with the same tracks of music,same cables. Using the coax digital out, I thought there was virtually no difference at all, and started to wonder if I was taken for a ride on the cullen modded unit. That is until I used the analog outs on both units. The modded unit was definately better on the analog out side of things, better soundstage and depth. Still, not quite as good as my cdp, but close...very close. This had be baffled, the digital outs where suppose to be better than a standard unit. Thus I think the addition of a dac may yield the better results, but then, you'll never know if it's the dac doing it's job or the mods. I guess once I get a dac, I can then compare the 2 going into the same dac again. To tell the truth, I wasn't expecting a big difference on the digital outs, some, but not alot. Very surprised at no difference because that means going into an external dac both units are pretty even. So, if I had to recommend one or the other, I would say stay with the standard unit, get a good dac, and be happy. Phil had the right idea, I took a different path because I needed to hear for myself. Maybe once I get an external dac, the value of the mods will present itself, only time will tell and I'll update again once a dac is added to the mix.

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    I can't see much being done over the factory unit Digital to make any sonic improvement. As long as the output can send the digital signal fully to a external DAC like a stand a lone or the ones in your preamp/receiver , It should be identical.
    Modding the internal DAC's I can see yielding huge benefits as not all DAC's are equal in sound quality or presentation of audio. They technically should all sound exactly alike but they don't. Quality of output stage means a lot as well.
    I'd like some info on this mod and who one goes about getting it done. Can you send me a link or something?
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantis View Post
    I can't see much being done over the factory unit Digital to make any sonic improvement. As long as the output can send the digital signal fully to a external DAC like a stand a lone or the ones in your preamp/receiver , It should be identical.
    Modding the internal DAC's I can see yielding huge benefits as not all DAC's are equal in sound quality or presentation of audio. They technically should all sound exactly alike but they don't. Quality of output stage means a lot as well.
    I'd like some info on this mod and who one goes about getting it done. Can you send me a link or something?
    I'm with you Dan, I just don't see how a digital mod will improve things. And at $500 to boot. Maybe it does or doesn't? You're simply passing the digital signal on to another device where any jitter should be taken care of. I'm quite pleased with my ZP90 in it's stock form feeding my CA DacMagic & Yagin Tube Buffer. No complaints here! Here's a link for one of the mod companies...http://www.wyred4sound.com/webapps/c...0/117839/46317
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
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    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
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    Basically, it's a reclocker mod. Feeding the dac a cleaner signal in theory should yield some benefits but like I said, I may need to get an external dac to realize any true improvements. I just don't get the improved performance on the analog outputs.

    Having just said that, my mind goes to the actual d/a conversion itself. If the modded unit is doing the conversion, by using the analog outputs, then any sound improvements should be heard, which they were. But not having a external dac, then those improvements should be passed on in the digital signal. But it may be the limitations of my avr dac thats holding it back.

    When my cdp is connected by the same coax digital cable, the combo sounds pretty sweet. Taking a 24/96 file and playing it by way of the same input, I was hoping for similiar results. The avr even recognizes the 24/96 file and displays it. Both cdp and sonos uses the same analog output stage in the avr so the difference has to be digital.

    As a side note, I'm trying out Spotify and Rhapsody on the Sonos. So far, Rhapsody gets the thumbs up as far as SQ, and ease of use. When you search Spotify for a album,artist, you get european versions added in. So one album search can yeild 5 variations of releases. I find it agravating. Plus Spotify has problems with dropping out and just not playing a certain track I may want. Yes, both services are premium fwiw.

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    I am trying out MOG. Pretty cool, but don't know if I can tell much difference in SQ from Pandora when I'm just running the Sonos S5 speakers. How would you compare Rhapsody to either of these?
    ..... ><////(*>

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishbones View Post
    I am trying out MOG. Pretty cool, but don't know if I can tell much difference in SQ from Pandora when I'm just running the Sonos S5 speakers. How would you compare Rhapsody to either of these?
    Haven't tried Mog, but Phil has, maybe he'll chime in. Pandora I have and just my opinion, but I think the SQ is terrible. So far, Rhapsody seems to be more consistent, better software, menu and so forth. Spotify is pretty big across the pond but They need to upgrade some servers or something to cope with us greedy bandwith americans.

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    MOG didn't do it for me...the format was not to my liking. They are working on improvements though. Maybe I'll give it another try down the road. Pandora is great for the price "FREE". It is rather fun to use & sounds good enough for my background music. I pretty much only use Pandora outside wth my S5 speaker on the deck. Not the least bit shabby though!

    Now Rhapsody is another story, I really like the format & it's sound quality. I use it a lot in my main system & the more I use it the more I'm becoming addicted to it.

    I haven't tried Spotify yet & it sounds like I'll hold off a bit especially after Tony's thoughts on it.

    Now don't forget I"m running all the music venues in my main system thru my CA DacMagic & Tube Buffer & that has really elevated their sound quality big time.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
    Rotel RMB-1095 / 5 channel amp
    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
    Oppo BDP-93
    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
    KEF Q600 / center
    KEF Q800 / surrounds
    KEF Q100 / rear surr.
    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
    Velodyne SPL-1200R subs / dual pair
    DSPeaker Anti-Mode 8033 sub EQ
    Equitech Balanced Power Son of Q 1.5R
    Extensive room treatments

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    Yeah, I'm not sure I like the format in MOG either. I thought being able to pick exactly what I wanted to hear would be great, but I find that I have to keep after it a little more to enjoy what is playing....whereas Pandora I just click it on, walk away, and enjoy what is playing. I'll check out Rhapsody...thanks for the info!
    Last edited by fishbones; 07-19-2011 at 07:12 PM.
    ..... ><////(*>

  14. #14

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    Had some time to play around today. So I figured I would compare the modded unit directly to the cdp. Since I allready established the analog outs on the modded unit sounded better than the digital outs, I simply connected the cdp by digital to the avr and Modded Sonos by the analog to the analog in's on the avr. My original assumption was that it was close in SQ. I played a 24/96 file of Dire Straights, "Money for nothing", then played the actual cd. Holy crap, the cdp was miles ahead in SQ, I'm talking leaps and bounds. Maybe it's a synergy thing, but the Pioneer avr and the Pioneer avi59 with the Butler amp get along gloriously. I'm waiting for Burson to release their Dac, they delayed it to the end of July,so we shall see what improvements it makes in the whole ball of wax. As of right now though, in the main rig, I see no reason to box up the cdp and stick it in that dark hole of a closet anytime soon. I dunno, maybe I'm expecting too much from downloaded music files. All I know is,after getting a dac, if the SQ isn't up to snuff, I just shelled out 2 g's for nothin' but the privelege of not getting off my ass to change a cd. We shall see.
    Last edited by Kenneth Swauger; 07-23-2011 at 08:25 AM.

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