The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


July 29, 2013

Jeremiah Tucker: Sonos speakers able to play vinyl brilliantly

JOPLIN, Mo. — My idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon is playing records while drinking a couple beers. But until last week, I had a problem.

My turntable is heavy and stationary, connected to the phono input of an even heavier receiver, which is in turn connected to two Bose speakers by about 20 feet of heavy-gauge speaker wire.

This analog system is unmovable. Unless I'm in my living room, I either have to crank the volume or be content with far-away sound.

I like robust sound. I play vinyl. I own a decent pair of headphones. But I'm no audiophile. I'll play scratched records, and I prefer the ease of an MP3 to a lossless format like FLAC.

So I wasn't interested in rewiring my house with speakers in every room. What I wanted was to play vinyl records on my turntable and transmit the sound to wireless speakers. I wasn't sure if this was possible, but after some research, I discovered it was.

The solution: Sonos.

Sonos is a wireless hi-fi speaker system designed for streaming music from the Internet or playing your digital music collection. The backbone of the Sonos system is the Play:3, a speaker that is actually three integrated speakers, and the slightly bigger Play: 5.

Once they're set up, you can play your entire digital music collection, including streaming services such as Spotify, over one or all of the Sonos components at the same time using your smartphone or computer. The Sonos speakers sound phenomenal.

But what's even better, for my purposes, is this system is designed to work with vinyl, too.

I bought a Sonos Play:5 and the Sonos Connect. Using the Connect, I turned my existing stereo setup into a system I could control with my smartphone, like any other Sonos speaker. I used the analog inputs on the Connect to the "tape out" of my receiver. (If I had a multi-zone receiver, I would've used that output.)

Now, when I play vinyl -- or anything else through my receiver -- the sound is transmitted both to my existing speakers and digitally to the Play:5.

Conversely, whenever I play music from Spotify or my digital music collection with my smartphone using the Connect's outputs, I can play it over my old Bose speakers and the new Play:5. After playing with Sonos all weekend, I'm in love with it.

If I'm grilling outside or hanging out on my screened-in porch, I can easily move the Play: 5, plug it in, and listen to the vinyl playing in the other room. Then, if I don't feel like getting up to flip the record, I can play one of my Spotify playlists.

Or if I'm cleaning the kitchen and want to watch Netflix, I can connect my iPad directly to the Play:5 using a simple auxiliary cable. It's a pretty slick system.

Ideally, I would have Sonos speakers throughout the house, so I would never need to move the Play:5. And that's the plan for the future.

But Sonos isn't cheap. The Connect is $350 and the Play:5 is $399. I also purchased the $50 Sonos Bridge, which connects directly to the wi-fi router, instantly creating the wireless network that allows the individual Sonos components to communicate with each other. It will be a while before I can afford another piece.

If Sonos ever creates a component with a phono input for turntables, I'll probably sell the Connect and scrap my existing stereo system all together. I like the future of home stereo envisioned by Sonos -- it just needs to make room for my record collection.

Text Only
  • 071814_whiskeydicks.jpg Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location

    For the Whiskey Dick's owners, it isn't a matter of what's in a name but more of a place where everybody knows your name.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072514_LIVEWIREcar.jpg Livewire's new video debuts on Billboard (w/VIDEO)

    The song is currently on Billboard's Top 40 charts for Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Report. It is the latest release since the band's first full-length album, "Livin'," which was released in 2012 with Way Out West Records.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film-Hollywoods Ape M_Cast.jpg Benji Tunnell: Great CGI, solid writing make 'Apes' a near-perfect blockbuster

    A couple of weeks ago, we saw "Transformers 4," a big, computer-driven blockbuster film that was symbolic of all that is wrong with filmmaking today.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • polyphony.jpg Marta Churchwell: New Mexico marimba group returns for concert Sunday

    They're back. Polyphony Marimba, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, band that wowed the crowd with African music during a Downtown Joplin Third Thursday last summer, received such a response to that performance that they're coming back on Sunday.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • River Regatta 2013.jpg Dave Woods: Nevada regatta makes for a birthday escape

    In just three weeks, I'll spend my 50th birthday floating down the Colorado River with 35,000 of my closest friends.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow 1 Story

  • 071814_pickin trimmin.jpg New festival focuses on short independent films

    As Jack Truman saw his films play in festivals around the world, one lingering thought persisted: He wished that such festivals existed in his hometown area.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071614 Glory Days_72.jpg Glory Days Music to resume weekly in-store concerts

    The staff at Glory Days Music have been working their business as usual. Musicians demonstrate guitars, drums and other instruments. Music is sold; lessons are taught. But something has been missing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Joe Hadsall: All the hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    I sincerely believe the "Word Crimes" video will become the most important song in history, and the most mandatory-to-watch video in schools across the country.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X

    It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.

    Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.

    Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)

    The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.

    Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.

    AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tantric tours in support of latest studio album

    "37 Channels," the latest album from Hugo Ferreira's band, features a lineup of guests including Hinder's Austin Winkler, Shooter Jennings, 3 Doors Down drummer Greg Upchurch, Uncle Kracker guitarist Kevin McCreery, Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett and Leif Garrettt.

    July 11, 2014