Sooloos vs. Sonos

I would like to move my CD’s out of my living room and onto my hard drive. My desktop HP is in the same room as the stereo, but they are on opposite walls. I can’t wire them directly to each other, but they are both next to ethernet ports. Components are: B&W 804 speakers, Musical Fidelity integrated amp, Rega Planet CD player (to be replaced).

Several retailers I spoke to in NYC recommended Sooloos. I agree the interface is great, but I don’t want an extra monitor in my living room – would prefer to control use the PC to search, select and play. That said, recommendations boiled down to:

1) Sooloos Ensemble (hard drive unit) – input from ethernet port, output to integrated amp; control it from the PC; cost = $4500

2) Sonos Zone Player 90 – input from Ethernet port, output to DAC (Sim Audio 300D?); DAC into integrated amp; with Sonos Bridge connected to PC, ethernet; control all from PC; cost = $2050

I prefer #2 because of cost and its modular approach. I could also use the Sonos to run music to another room with a mini-system. Can I get the same quality, reliability as with the Sooloos? Also: do I need a re-clocker (Pace Car?) with the Sonos, as I’ve read on the forum?

Your help will be appreciated?
I can speak to option 2, and you're fine with FLAC there.

I went with Sonos for exactly the reasons you mention - that it's modular, expandable, and can be improved incrementally as I need to, in the zones where it matters.

In my main system, I'm using ethernet into a Cullen-modified (~$500) ZP90, into a Monarchy DIP (~$300), feeding a Cambridge DacMagic (<$500) before heading to a modest tube amp. Lossless files live on a RAID NAS so my computer doesn't need to be fired up all the time (nor is its HD jammed up with my music files).

Quality easily equals modest (~$2k) CDP's, and the convenience and freedom is simply impossible to imagine if you're still rummaging through CDs and their jewel cases. The music factor just goes through the roof - it's so much easier to explore your collection, to build playlists (or 'queues,' in Sonos parlance)'s just absolutely and definitively a superior way to interface with and enjoy music. You'll never look back.

The Sooloos might be great, too - others will have to weigh in there. Good luck and have fun!
Soundgasm, which RAID NAS are you using? Are you happy with its performance? Thanks.
It's a 2TB 'LaCie 2big Network 2' (what a loopy name) drive, and so far so good. No latency that I can detect, no performance issues with the array (knock wood), and a very simple plug-and-play installation. It's the best of the NAS devices I've used so far.

Thanks Soundgasm. Sounds like a neat setup. A couple of questions: 1) I see you went with a cost-effective solution for the DAC. Do you think there would be benefit to putting more $$ into the DAC, and would that perhaps elimlinate the need for the Monarchy DIP? Also: 2) Do you feel like you get a big gain from the Cullen modification of the Sonos? Looks like pricing for the Z90 + mod is ~$900.

Thanks and happy listening.

“…would prefer to control use the PC to search, select and play.”

I’ve got a couple thoughts here that can help.

Who’s going to download all your CDs onto the Sulu or Sonus?


Is the option for streaming music into other rooms a desire?

Are you driven to spend $2500 - $4000 or would you prefer to save a lot of that money instead and maybe spend it elsewhere??

As you apparently have a PC now, about all that is needed then is a competent media storage center, and media player…. Well and the prerequisite man hours for ripping the whole of your library. You might also think about getting another rom drive too. I went thru 2 easily just ripping around 500 CDs.

My concern with regard to the $2K - $4K turn key server fix is just one area…. The conversion of the digital info to analog coming out of or off of the HDD.

I felt that could be improved upon handily. Therefore improving the audio quality too..

As “Soundgasm” posted their turn key box gains for them the equivalency of a $2K CDP or so. I feel the presentation I derive exceeds that level by a pretty large margin due solely to the conversion process of the digital files, media interface and media player. All of which translate as to affecting the resultant audio quality directly.

Consequently, I went without such a OEM solution and went DIY instead in a manner of speaking. Large outboard storage device. PC. Sound card or USB converter, and DAC.

I mean, if the computer is the deal that will search, select and play the files in storage anyhow, why then spend $$$$$$ on another likewise gizmo?

True too, actual remote control akin to those you’ve used with your CDP, DVD, receiver, etc can be used then… or merely your media player inside the pc.

Storage ‘depending on amount’, will run from $200 to $1000. I’d say alot $300 – 600 there for a decent NAS or ether net storage unit and that’ll get ya around 3TB of space if not more. 3TB is a lot!

Get a very nice DAC for that $2500 or less, like an Ayre, Bryston, Bel Canto, or think about just doing USB or Firewire completely and getting in with Wavelength or Weiss, and that way no converter is required additionally. Your bandwidth will be truncated somewhat though to 24/96,but that’s better than CD! High resolution or definition files can then be played.

Fubar 2K is free and supports FLAC & ALAC & tons of other file formats. It sounds exceptionally good too. J river MC also does a good job and allows for zone uses too. it’s around $40.

If you want to use a converter so you can do files in excess of 24/96 or just want to use a more standard DAC, another $300 or so is needed.

What I’m saying here is simple…. For the same money as a turn key fix, I feel you can gain as much versatility as they would enable, yet definitely improve upon the audio quality itself in the doing, and not spend nearly as much. Or if as much is spent in the end, the audio quality will surpass IMO the Sonus or Sulu option.

If you think about it you might agree. Their DAC can’t be as good as those I mentioned here.

If I can do it anyone that can dress themselves and find their way home at night can do it too.

You’ll have to get your pc closer to the audio rig but then a coupler and ether net cable is cheap.