Sometimes those lulled laptop speakers or even the priciest headphones just don’t cut it when you want to whistle while you work with Internet radio or music on your computer’s hard drive blasting from a decent set of speakers. The Sonos ZonePlayer S5 (Sonos, $399) seems to do the trick here, creating a multi-room stereo system that seamlessly connects to your home wireless network and can be controlled from a variety of sources.
The ZonePlayer connects to your router and can then be controlled from your Mac or PC with a simple installation of the free Sonos software. The software lets you pump music from your hard drive through the large (but easy to carry) speaker, or you can opt to surf through several Internet radio stations like Pandora or Last.fm. If you really want to get connected with all of your gadgets, you can even download a free iPhone or iPad app to use as a remote and play music directly from your mobile device.
The speaker system actually contains five speakers with five digital amplifiers and a subwoofer, which isn’t surprising when you hear it in action. The volume and mute buttons on top are discreet, and the inset handle in the back come in handy when courting the system around the house with you from room to room. If you’d rather just stock up on a few of the speakers to keep around the house so it’s not tied to the room your router is in, the ZoneBridge (Sonos, $99) hooks up directly to your router and sends signals to all of the ZonePlayers throughout your house.
The setup is easier than it seems, and once everything is in place, the wireless experience of utilizing music from every source is more than worth the price. To be free from the shackles of those shitty, low-volume speakers on your MacBook? Yes, please.