Home Multitest streaming amps: Sonos, Bluesound, Volumio and WiiM

Multitest streaming amps: Sonos, Bluesound, Volumio and WiiM

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Intro

There is more and more choice in the landscape of affordable “streaming amplifiers”. Sonos was always King of the Hill. Bluesound has also managed to grab an interesting share of that market. Newcomer WiiM puts a very affordable competitor on the market with the WiiM Amp. Can this streaming amplifier compete with the established order?

On Sunday, June 2, we did another live multitest for you. In this live test, we put the Sonos Amp next to the Bluesound PowerNode Edge, Volumio Integro as well as the WiiM Amp. Four streaming amplifiers, so all you have to do is pair speakers with them!

The Set-Up

We combined the streamers with a pair of Sonus Faber Lumina II bookshelf speakers. These speakers cost about 1200 Euros per pair. With a pair of decent stands and speaker cables, you then end up averaging around 2500 Euro for a complete system. That seems like a very reasonable amount of money for a decent hi-fi system!

We wired all streamers except the Sonos Amp. Using a cable connection makes the install not only ‘plug and play’, but also prevents any problems that a wireless connection can cause.

The reason we didn’t wire The Sonos Amp is that Sonos still gives setup problems when a cable connection is used. The reason is that Sonos does not automatically turn off the wireless connection – due to SonosNET – which can cause loops in the network.

Apps

We also paid attention to how the apps work when testing the streaming amplifiers. Frankly, we were hugely disappointed in the user-friendliness of the apps. We’re pretty used to Roon and Audirvana by now. Those are two software solutions that really got it right. Everyone can work with them, we estimate.

Both Sonos and Bluesound and WiiM have really not understood it at all compared to Roon or Audirvana. Whereas we really liked Bluesound before, we don’t really like the new app at all. We have to search endlessly for music services. And we have to look even further to get to the playlists. There are just way too many actions needed to play music. Also, the installed services do not seem connected, even though they are (translation error… but a very annoying one!).

Sonos makes things even worse: it just doesn’t sync the Qobuz playlists ánd crashes continuously when trying to install the Sonos Amp. In the end, we gave up and tried again the next day: luckily it worked then…

Soon we notice that a lot has gone wrong with the new version of the Sonos app as well. What a mess the app is now! First of all, there is advertising in the app! Then you have some nerve as a manufacturer! And too many actions are required to just start music. Very annoying!

WiiM does not so much deliver a bad app, but it is just a mess in terms of navigation. There is way too much in there, flooding you with options you never use. However, the app is fast and everything seems to just work.

Finally, Volumio. Of all of them, it has it the best app. The navigation is a lot more logical and everything feels fast and responsive. However, setting up a network share is still a chore. We hope they fix this soon, because otherwise the app is just perfectly usable.

Why so difficult?

Basically, the whole app ‘thing’ is very simple to solve.

  • Always leave a “home button” available
  • Always leave the selected music zone on screen
    (at the bottom, for example. That way you maintain control).
  • Always show a search option for music
    (Possibly with an option to search specifically in services / locally)
  • Give quick access to music sources!

We understand that streamers have become more and more complex, making it increasingly difficult to keep apps organized. However, sit down with a bunch of people who have no understanding of apps or technology. Give that group of people the app and ask for feedback. We estimate that 90% of “not handy” people cannot work with these apps. They just get lost.

Okay: enough about the apps. Let’s see what the streamers sound like!

Type test
Multitest
Features
  Bluesound PowerNode Edge
  • Build: Decent
  • Sound: Calm, but not very dynamic
  • Imaging: Podium feel
  • Overall: Decent, app can be better
  • Price: 699
  Sonos AMP
  • Build: Decent
  • Sound: Bit boring, but very controlled
  • Imaging: Bit up front. Not very 3d
  • Overall: Decent, but bit dull
  • Price: 799
  Volumio Integro
  • Build: Stylish.
  • Sound: Lively, playfull. But lacks power
  • Imaging: Bubble. Holographic
  • Overall: Nice sound. But lacks power.
  • Price: 899
  WiiM Amp
  • Build: Decent
  • Sound: Balanced. Nice midrange
  • Imaging: Good. In between bubble and podium.
  • Overall: Good streamer. Very nice pricing!
  • Price: 349

Buy here

Product

Link to store

Price

WiiM Amp - bol
Sonos Amp
Bluesound PowerNode Edge

Winkels met Bluesound

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Pleinweg 136
3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
Parkweg 23
8084GG 't Harde, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Geldropseweg 105
5611 SE Eindhoven, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Korte Jansstraat 11
3512GM Utrecht, NL
Sikkel 40 F
3274 KK Heinenoord, NL
Hermesweg 2
3741 GP Baarn, Utrecht, NL
Theresiastraat 151 - 157
2593 AG Den Haag, Noord Holland, NL
St.-Katelijnevest 53
2000 Antwerpen, BE
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Sonos

Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Theresiastraat 151 - 157
2593 AG Den Haag, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met WiiM

Sikkel 40 F
3274 KK Heinenoord, NL
Peizerweg 97A
9727 AJ Groningen, NL
085 071 1860
https://www.soundimports.eu/
info@

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