updated 11:25 am EDT, Tue August 5, 2008
Sonos ZP120 and ZP90
In addition to new software, Sonos today overhauled its ZonePlayer music streaming hubs with two new models that should both be more useful across more areas. Both the high-end ZP120 and simpler ZP90 are the first to use the company's in-house SonosNet 2.0 network. The standard uses the same multiple-in, multiple-out (MIMO) antenna technology as 802.11n Wi-Fi to roughly double the range of the device's mesh network and thus let users tap into music from the Internet and local network from a greater distance in a given home. The network is also encrypted in AES and is backwards-compatible with earlier ZonePlayers.
The ZP120 as the flagship takes advantage of improvements in the power supply, the digital amp, and other refinements to both shrink in size but also to improve its output, putting out two 55W stereo signals at eight Ohms and a subwoofer channel while improving its power use over the earlier design; an RCA line-in jack supports direct playback from most any audio device over the network. It holds a two-port Ethernet switch to join wired devices to the network and should be available today for $499.
The ZP90 simplifies the setup and is limited to a simpler, 2.0-channel setup through either RCA or co-ax/optical digital output. It keeps the two-port Ethernet link and the RCA line-in and will sell for $349.
Both can recognize content and playlists from music player software on Macs or Windows PCs, including iTunes and Rhapsody, and also stream certain content directly from the Internet, such as Pandora Internet radio or Rhapsody music subscriptions.
Sonos has also created a Bundle 150 pack for $999 that includes the ZP90, ZP120, and the company's signature LCD-equipped controller. An additional bundle at $1,149 adds a two-speaker audio system to the mix.