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Sonos Adds Wireless Sub To Wireless Multi-Room System

5/22/2012 09:08:00 AM Eastern

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Sonos
will offer a wireless subwoofer for the first time for its wireless multi-room audio
system.

The Sonos Sub will be available in
mid-June in high-gloss black-lacquer finish for $699 followed by a black-matte
version in October at $599.

Sonos systems create a wireless
mesh network that, when connected to a home's router, lets consumers stream
Internet radio stations, Internet music services and PC-stored music to wireless
clients located throughout the house. To select Internet music sources and
PC-stored songs for playback on different clients, consumers use a program
installed on a networked PC or Mac or a Sonos app installed on Wi-Fi-connected
Apple and Android handheld devices.

Because the subwoofer is
wireless, it can be placed anywhere in a room without running a wire from it to
a Sonos client, and because of its slim shape and driver configuration, the Sub
can be placed upright on the floor or laid flat and slipped under a couch.

Sonos clients include the $299 Play:3
two-way one-piece wireless stereo speaker, the $399-suggested Play:5 three-way one-piece
stereo speaker, a $499 Connect:Amp that connects to any pair of passive stereo
speakers, and the $349 Connect, which connects to existing amplified sound
systems or to  powered speakers. The clients
also stream music from iPods and iPhones docked in a $119 wireless iPod/iPhone
dock.

The Sub, which connects
wirelessly to Sonos' mesh network, work with all of the company's tabletop
clients but the $349 Connect to extend bass response to 25Hz at low listening
levels and to 27Hz at maximum volume, said product manager Jonathan Reilly.

The company's amplified speakers
lack wired subwoofer output. The $499 Connect:Amp features wired subwoofer
output.

The 15.8- by 6.2- by 15-inch
subwoofer can be placed upright on the floor or placed flat under a couch,
thanks to its 6.2-inch depth and two opposing racetrack-style cone drivers that
fire into one another through a slot in the center of the SUB's enclosure. The force-canceling
driver configuration also prevents the enclosure from vibrating.

Sonos didn't reveal the power
rating or SPL output of the Sub's two Class D amplifiers, but the company said the
Sub features individual ports for each 150-square-centimeter driver, active
digital crossovers, digital phase control and digital level control. The
drivers are tuned to the cabinet, which is made of proprietary resin to create
acoustically dead walls with maximum internal air volume, the company said.

Consumers use the Sonos app on
their handheld device to bond the Sub to a particular Play:3 or Play:5
amplified speaker or to the Connect:Amp. The Sub and the tabletop devices then
automatically adjust their EQ and level to deliver the best sound.

Users can also use their Sonos
app to adjust the subwoofer's phase to deliver the loudest bass output and
adjust subwoofer level up or down to compensate for placement. If the Sub is
placed in a corner, consumers might opt to dial down the Sub's level, Reilly
said.

The Sub will also recognize
whether a consumers is using two Play:3 or Play:5 speakers in a room as
separate left-right speakers. The subwoofer and speakers then automatically
adjust EQ and level for two-speaker playback in a room. Although both tabletop
speakers deliver stereo from a single chassis, users can use two speakers as
separate left-right speakers to widen the stereo image and deliver higher
output.

The Sub will be available through
all Sonos channels but Target, which is authorized to sell only the Play:3, Play:5
and Bridge. Sonos dealers include A/V specialists, custom installers, online
retailers such as Amazon and Crutchfield, and such retailers as Magnolia HiFi
and P.C. Richard & Son.

With the launch of the Sub, Sonos
is also launching a new promotion strategy in which it teams with music artists
to promote Sonos systems in 30- and 60-second online ads, in print media, and
on billboards. The intent is to position Sonos as a music-culture company and
communicate a listening-experience story instead of a technology story, said
Reilly.

Sonos has teamed with electronic-dance-music
DJ Deadmau5 and will team with other artists in the future.

Ads are appearing in such print
media as W magazine and The New York Times magazine.

In another shift, the company
opened its own art gallery in Los Angeles on May 9 to host art events and music
events while promoting Sonos systems. The Sonos-Studio opened May 9 with a
performance by ?uestlove.

On other topics, a spokesman told
TWICE that Sonos worldwide sales hit $250 million in calendar 2011, which also
marked the third consecutive year in which the number of Sonos-equipped
households doubled in number. The company is on track to make that four
consecutive years, a spokesman said.

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