Sonos makes a great WiFi-based sound system allowing wire-free sound in any room in your home. The only problem with this strategy is that Apple and its AirPlay wireless streaming system is a peripheral competitor and when you go up against Apple well, let’s just say bad things happen to your company. So it makes sense to expand into areas which allow you to live within the Apple ecosystem.
Sonos hopes the leading-edge design of their latest SUB speaker will make customers shell out a very high price and show it off.
This is exactly why Sonos is expanding into the speaker market. They can easily make these speakers work with AirPlay and survive if their core business gets cannibalized by Cupertino.
Their latest entry into the speaker space is the Sonos SUB which is said to have clear, deep bass without excessive vibration due to the force-cancelling design of the speakers. They are positioned in a face-to-face manner. Moreover, the company is touting its zero-loss audio quality technology, sophisticated DSP circuitry, dual acoustic ports and all digital equalization.
I haven’t had a chance to listen to subwoofer or for that matter the Airplay 5 speakers but my sense is the price is high at $699 for the black lacquer version which will be available this June. If you are patient and/or more cost conscious you can wait till September and buy the black matte version which will be available at $599.
Let’s be clear that the company has decided that this speaker is so gorgeous that it is not only worth paying absolutely top dollar for it but moreover that the design is so unique and leading-edge that you will want to showcase the subwoofer for the world to see. Most subwoofers are unglamorous as they are generally stuck behind a couch. In other words they are trying to make subwoofers into a premium category. This is similar to what Frank Purdue did with once-commoditized chicken, Grey Poupon did with mustard and Haagen-Daz did with ice cream.
The catch is these subwoofers only work with Sonos amplified components – in other words the CONNECT:AMP/ZonePlayer 120/ZonePlayer 100; PLAY:5; PLAY:3. It does not work with the non-amplified Sonos CONNECT/ZP90/ZP80. Why? Well I didn’t check with the company but I would surmise the delay imposed by other amplifying audio components is impossible to measure and subsequently the subwoofer could be out of sync.
It is worth mentioning if you search for AirPlay speakers on Amazon and sort by most expensive, the GenevaSound All-in-One system comes in at $1,199 and the Beloit 12 comes in at $799. The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin AirPlay Speaker Dock is $599 and sounds amazing BTW.
When I get a chance to check this subwoofer out in person I will let you know if it blows me away to the point where I can say $600-$700 is a worthy sum to fork over.