In the world of music streaming devices, Sonos and Squeezebox are both serious players. Both deliver as a whole-home audio distribution system, both can stream music from the internet (Rhapsody, Pandora, etc.), and both can be controlled easily with a desktop/iPhone/iPad/Android controller. If you find yourself weighing your options between these two brands, allow me to break down the most important things to consider.
Depending on your budget, the difference in price might make everything else a moot point. To start an audio distribution package (let’s say 2 rooms), Sonos will cost 3-4 times as much as Squeezebox. However, there are good reasons for this, such as…
Sonos is not only extremely easy to set up, but their engineers have mastered the art of “It just works.” In the five years I have had my Sonos system, the only troubleshooting I have ever had to do was the occasional reboot. It’s a reflection of the minimalistic design. There’s nothing for the end user to screw up! Squeezebox, on the other hand, has a higher-tech look to it, and it should come as no surprise that its prone to occasional freezing, and frequent firmware updates. Squeezebox requires tinkering to get it working correctly, whereas Sonos is plug-and-play.
A pretty big down side of Squeezebox is the requirement for a computer to be constantly on in order for it to work. While Sonos requires the first ZonePlayer to be hard-wired to a computer, that computer does not need to be on for Sonos to work.
Sonos wins again in the power category. The built-in tweeters and subwoofer in the Sonos Play:5 are very high quality, much better than what Squeezebox packs inside their units. Plus, Sonos designed the Play:5 and Play:3 with a stereo option where 2 speakers placed in the same room and act as one right and one left channel, for some serious power.
They charge you for it, but ultimately Sonos is the better product. Ultimately, the question to ask yourself is whether these features justify the extra cost for your demands of an audio distribution solution.