For my ten year anniversary at SHI, I got 2000 points to spend on a gift for myself. SHI uses a service that has an online catalog of random stuff that you can pick. 2000 points seems to equal somewhere around $300. At first, I thought this system was overly complicated and kind of dumb, but when I thought about it, I guess it’s better than the obvious alternatives. The two other likely options would have been (a) just giving me an extra $300 in my paycheck, or (b) giving me some random corporate gift. For that first option, the money would have just gone into my bank account, and I would have forgotten about it. For the second option, they probably would have given me a nice pen or watch or something that I didn’t want or need. So I guess the “points” thing is actually a pretty good option, since it allows me to pick out something cool that I actually want.
So I got a Sonos Ray. I’d been thinking about buying one for a while, but hadn’t previously talked myself into it. I figured it would be a good way to get better sound out of my TV, without too much hassle. Up until now, I’d been using the built-in speakers for everyday use, and switching to my big old-fashioned stereo for movies or anything else where I wanted good sound. Routing through the stereo works well, but it’s a little bit of a pain, since it requires some button-pressing, and since I have no way of adjusting volume without getting up off my couch.
I’m already in the Sonos ecosystem, having bought a Sonos One in 2018, and a second one a bit later, which I have configured as a stereo pair. I use those often to listen to the radio, and sometimes for Apple Music. That works pretty well.
The Ray showed up yesterday, and was quite easy to set up. The Sonos app recognized it on the first try and added it to my system. It’s set up as a separate target from the Sonos One pair. In theory, I can stream music to it, the same as to the Ones, but I think I’m just going to use it for the TV. Setting it up to work with my TV remote was easy too. I can set the volume or mute it easily from my TV remote (or my TiVo or Apple TV remotes).
Overall, I’d say that the sound quality is better than the TV speakers, but not quite as good as my big old stereo speakers. But those are probably overkill for most TV. I’m not sure if I’ll be tempted to switch back to the old stereo speakers for movies or other stuff where I want the best possible sound. If I do, it’ll be a bit of a pain, since I’ll need to reach behind the TV and move the audio cable from the Sonos to the DAC that I use to bridge from the TV’s digital out to the stereo’s analog input. (Maybe I could find a DAC with a digital in, analog out, and digital passthru out. That would work…)
It occurs to me that, if I stop using the stereo for TV sound, then I’ll have pretty much stopped using the stereo entirely. I listen to the radio through the Sonos Ones now, since it’s much easier than trying to pick up over-the-air radio here. And I route Apple Music through the Sonos, because that’s the easiest way to do it. I don’t really listen to CDs anymore, and I don’t really use my little Volumio box anymore either. I don’t plan on getting rid of the stereo, but it’s interesting to think about how my listening habits have changed.