Sonos Surround Sound System isn’t all-it’s-cracked-up-to-be.

Creating a great Surround Sound System.

Does Sonos have what it takes to create a great surround sound system? Or is there another brand of equipment that is extremely amazing that will knock Sonos in the water? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a client tell me, “I just want a simple Sonos type music system. Nothing extravagant” I cringe at the thought of trying to break through their sales forcefield, and have to explain to them that Sonos isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. So here’s a breakdown for those who want to know.

Sonos is a great option, if you’re thinking small and wireless. And when I say small, I mean like a few rooms of music. But, Outside this scenario: it’s simply costly, redundant, and more cluttered.  So far, they, have been able to hold onto their misnomer that they have the audio streaming / multi room music system mastered. And that it’s less expensive than other systems. But there’s a deeper reality within this misconception.

Things I simply do not like about Sonos.

First, Sonos is  an “ open source” platform. In laments terms, this means, they can monitor your private music choices. As well as, share your data.  Have you noticed, being forced into applying the latest weekly updates, before you’re able to play music? Really? Where’s the security? However, going with a more native system can give you assurance, and ease your mind knowing that your system is protected, such as, Elan / Autonomics. The real questions is, who wants to be tethered to their music system this way?

Secondly, Sonos likes to strong arm their clients into upgrading their equipment at their whim. And, most of their clients are aware that some, if not all, their gear became antiquated overnight this year. Really, What kind of company emails all of their clients to let them know their current equipment is old-fashioned? Or that they can purchase new gear at a 20% higher cost if they would like to upgrade their outdated music system? Well, that’s right, they do! I don’t have to prove it, because you have experienced it in some way or another.

Lastly, Sonos isn’t less expensive and the sound is nowhere near the same as a true music / surround sound system. I challenge anyone to take a  Sound bar, Subwoofer, and a couple of rear speakers and match them against a KEF sound bar , JL Audio 8″ Subwoofer, with the same rear speakers, and a Yamaha AVR. The reality is that the KEF, JL Audio, and Yamaha will blow said system away. It’ll sound better, be much easier to use, and it’s native. With a much less price. Hmmmm..

The proof is in the pudding. Here’s your proof served with a silver spoon.

Surround Sound System Breakdown

Sonos 5.1 Surround Sound system: ( See below a list of all required products and their pricing)

Arc Sound bar:                                        $799.99

Arc Mount:                                               $55.00

Subwoofer:                                               $699.99

Amplifier:                                                 $649.00

Elan 8” Rear Speakers (Pair):                          $400.00

                         Total:         $2,603.98


Dynamic Surround Sound System Breakdown

Dynamic 5.1 Surround Sound System: (huge sound field collection, upgradable to 7.1 Channel Surround Sound, built in HDMI Switch)

KEF Soundbar (mount Not required)              $695.00

JL Audio 8” Sub.                                     $795.00

Yamaha AVR 5.1 SS Receiver:                           $695.00

Elan 8”Rear Speakers (Pair):                             $400.00

                        Total:         $2585.00


So for about $20.00 less you can have a completely native Yamaha 5.1 scalable and completely upgradable Surround Sound System with an onboard 4K HDMI switch. Oh, yeah and full Music Cast Streaming options too. These include Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, XM/Sirius, iTunes, and support Airplay 2. Hello? This is a no brainer. Also, for those who want to talk about simplistic control, take a look at the Yamaha music cast app.

Now that I’ve broken down a simple 5.1 Surround Sound System. I feel like it’s only appropriate I break down a Sonos Whole House Distributed Music System verses an Autonomics High Resolution
Music System. Especially, since Sonos likes to taunt this as if it’s their bread and butter.

And to be fair,  I went into my own system designs and came to the conclusion that an average distributed music system consists of 6 – 8 zones or rooms of music. Let’s say that Spotify and Pandora are our preferred streaming options.


Surround Sound Zones of music :



  • (8) Amps @ $649.99 each=$5,199.92        
  • 8 Port Managed Switch @ $375.00
  • Total System Investment @ $5,474.92



  • Multi Zone Audio Matrix / Amplifier:  $2,550.00
  • Amplifier:  $650.00
  • G1 Controller: $695.00
  • Autonomics Streamer:  X 2 @ $995.00 each
  • Total Elan / Autonomics Investment:   $5,885.00


Sure, it may be less expensive when you’re talking about 1 or 2 rooms, but once you get past their redundant streamers, processors, and amplifiers it’s simply too costly. This is a no-brainer, the verdict is in and they don’t have a leg to stand on. Considering the amount of equipment it would take to complete this system. With all the extra components, where are you storing all of that gear? And, when will the company decide it’s time for you to upgrade again? Shouldn’t it be you, the consumer, that decides when an upgrade is necessary? Did I also mention that the Elan Control System is completely upgradable to add Home Automation out of the box. Can you guess who doesn’t do that? Sonos, can be a good system but in my opinion there is definitely a better one out there.


Curt Hubner