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First Look: Sonos BU150, multi-room music system

updated 05:45 pm EDT, Tue September 2, 2008

Sonos BU150, music system

Everyone enjoys music, but most people can only listen to their favorite songs in a single room. A stereo or computer may play audio, but the moment you step out of that room, you'll leave your music behind. Since wearing ear buds and carrying an iPod around your house may be impractical, consider the Sonos BU150 multi-room music system for your home.

The BU150 bundle consists of three Sonos devices.

The BU150 contains of a ZonePlayer 90 (ZP90), a ZonePlayer 120 (ZP120), and a Sonos Controller, which provide the basic equipment to set up the Sonos wireless music system throughout your home or office. In addition to this bundle, you must also have a high-speed Internet connection with a router along with stereo speakers so you can hear your music played through these ZonePlayer devices. Sonos sells optional speakers or you can use any speakers since the bundle includes several cables to plug everything together.

To install this system, you must first plug one ZonePlayer (either the ZP90 or ZP120) into your router using the included Ethernet cable. Now you can plug speakers into this ZonePlayer so you can listen to music in the same room as your router.

A ZonePlayer needs to connect to a high-speed Internet connection.

Next, you can place the second ZonePlayer (either the ZP90 or ZP120) in another room (depending on interference from walls and furniture, the range is approximately 150 feet). Plug speakers into this second ZonePlayer and you've set up your wireless music system. (In case your home or office has built-in Ethernet wiring, you can also physically connect multiple ZonePlayers through Ethernet cables if you want.)

Each ZonePlayer provides Ethernet ports and plugs for stereo speakers.

After connecting one ZonePlayer to your router and a second ZonePlayer in another room with speakers, you can control each ZonePlayer using the wireless Controller. For both indoor and outdoor use, this device includes a special screen that eliminates glare along with a light sensor that automatically dims or brightens its controls so you can use it in bright lighting or complete darkness. To conserve energy, this item can put itself in sleep mode and wake up when it senses movement as you pick it up.

You can control the music playing through each ZonePlayer.

In addition to using the Controller, this bundle also includes a Desktop Controller program for Windows and Mac. This lets you control your music directly from your computer if you wish.

Connect these devices to your router and you can tune into any radio stations that broadcast over the Internet. Included with the Sonos bundle are free 30-day trials to music services such as Napster, Rhapsody, and Sirius Internet Radio. If you already have a collection of music stored on your computer, you can play your collection through this wireless system as well. Plug in an ordinary CD player, TV, stereo, or digital music player and you can play sound throughout your house.

Even better, you can selectively program each ZonePlayer so you can have soothing classical music playing through one ZonePlayer and heavy metal playing through another simultaneously. Program an alarm in a ZonePlayer and you can wake-up to music through an Internet radio station or your own favorite playlist.

For $999, the BU150 bundle provides the basics for setting up a multi-room, wireless music system throughout your home or office. Set up is straightforward, creating the wireless network is easy, and the audio quality sounds no different than if your speakers were directly connected to the original music source. If you're the type who wants to listen to music in every room without punching holes in walls and stringing cables all over the place, the Sonos BU150 bundle will let you fill each room with music quickly and easily.

by MacNN Staff



  1. moteltan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    or try...

    an iPhone connected to your wireless network running the free "Remote" app from Apple, your airport extreme basestation wireless router controlling a 1TB USB external drive hosting your iTunes library, and a PC or Mac running iTunes w/ its library mapped to the external drive. Buy a couple of cheap Airport Expresses (or just one and move it around) and use each one's audio out to airtunes to a stereo or any amph'd speaker.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great product

    I set this up in a house a couple years ago and it is light years beyond using the iphone remote app in it's current state. It is actually a real pleasure to use, very Mac like really. Apple should really have bought them a couple years ago.

    It is able to do a mode where every zone plays the same song (in sync), I'm not sure itunes does that yet? And then from the controller you can break pieces of the whole network off. For a large scale house it is very cool and works very well.

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