Sonos Gets Apple Music and Trueplay Tuning

Thanks to a public beta released December 15, Apple Music is now available on the Sonos wireless music platform. Using the mobile Sonos app, or Sonos controller on your computer, music from your iTunes library, Beats 1 radio, and Apple Music can now play on Sonos speakers. The Sonos update also brings Trueplay tuning to the PLAY:1, PLAY:3, and PLAY:5 speakers.

Because it’s still in Beta, getting Apple Music may require different steps for different users. To begin, Apple Music requires a subscription (free trials are available). For Sonos owners, open the Sonos controller app and there should be a notification that an update is available. Once updated, the Apple Music may appear in your list of music services. If you don’t see it, check under “Add Music Services.” If you still don’t see it, go to the Sonos blog to get links to sign up for the public beta.

Until it’s final public offering, users will find limitations to the initial Apple Music offering on Sonos. The search feature only displays the top 100 results from the Apple Music streaming service (and you can’t force it to get more). The bigger problem is that it does not search music in your iTunes library so you manually have to browse your library to find a song.

Also missing from your iTunes library are smart playlists. Playlists to which you manually added songs are available to play on the Sonos Apple Music app, so it’s easy to copy a smart playlist to create a regular playlist. When I tested this, the regular playlist was immediately available after quitting and opening the Sonos app. Playlists cannot be edited on the Sonos.

In a press release, Sonos clearly states, “We know there are areas we’ll need to improve, and we’ll continue to do so throughout the beta.” The public release of Sonos Apple Music is expected in early 2016.

There is nothing particularly special about Apple Music on Sonos beyond the convenience of listening to your iTunes library, streaming Apple Music, and listening to Beats 1 radio. Personally, I prefer Spotify or Google Play Music. Still, if you are an Apple user and want to easily get to your music library without having to sync or upload it, this is a great way to listen to it around your home. And it sounds great on the Sonos speakers.

The Trueplay feature optimizes sound quality based on the acoustics of where a speaker is located. When a speaker is added to the Sonos controller app, or when the app is updated, the Trueplay setting automatically appears. Otherwise, it can be found in the settings menu.

When you start Trueplay in the mobile app, a special tone is played on the speaker which is received by the microphone of your iPad or iPhone. For a detailed hands-on look at how Trueplay works, see Darryl Wilkinson’s recent blog.

Given that other whole-home music systems—including LG’s Music Flow, Yamaha's MusicCast, and Google's Chromecast Audio player—have yet to add Apple Music, Sonos might be a good option for Apple Music subscribers. Of course, Apple users can attach an Airport Express to an amplifier or speakers and get the same effect for a fraction of the price of a Sonos, but if you want a Sonos speaker for other services, or already have one, you’ll probably be happy that you can now stream Apple Music.

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