The Sonos One SL drops the mics

Sonos One SL
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Alongside the new Move portable speaker, Sonos is expanding its range of One speakers with the new One SL. It’s also announcing Port, a replacement for the Sonos Connect that lets owners add receivers and other audio equipment to the Sonos wireless network.

The One SL is very similar to the latest version of the One, but it drops the always-listening microphones and voice controls for people who want a speaker without those features. The One SL effectively replaces the old Play:1 in Sonos’ lineup, and it will be available starting on September 12th for $179. The $399 Port will be available in limited quantities starting on September 12th, with a global rollout expected in January 2020.

The Sonos One SL (left), Sonos Move (center), and Sonos Port (right).

In addition to maintaining the same sound quality and design as the One, the One SL also has the ability to be paired in stereo with standard One speakers, which wasn’t possible with the old Play:1. The One SL can also be used as rear speakers in a home theater setup with Sonos’ Beam, Playbase, or Playbar soundbars. Like the One, the SL supports AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect in addition to Sonos’ platform.

Sonos says it built the One SL in direct response to customers asking for an updated Play:1 speaker, but without the voice functionality and privacy concerns that go along with it found in the Sonos One. The One SL is also ideal for use as a second speaker in the various stereo and home theater setups mentioned above.

Sonos Port.
The connections on the back of the Sonos Port.

The Port is a replacement for the old Sonos Connect that lets you integrate existing receivers and stereo equipment into Sonos’ wireless platform. The Port is shorter than the Connect so it can fit in a standard AV rack, and it has a new digital-to-analog converter and trigger to turn on the amplifier it’s connected to when prompted by the Sonos app. It joins the Sonos Amp from last year in the company’s lineup of products designed for AV installers.

Sonos One SL
Available September 12th for $179
Sonos Port
Available September 12th for $399

Photography by Dan Seifert / The Verge

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Hoping that this means a mic-less version of the Sonos Beam soundbar is in the works.

Same hopes here, but I doubt they will do that for the Beam. As written in the article, the One SL is meant as a replacement to the Play:1 — in Sonos’ corporate minds, they probably think of the One SL as the low-end budget option with limited technical possibilities to get people into the ecosystem, and not as the option for privacy-minded people. As the Beam is more expensive it has the "premium" mic feature, period. In that corporate logic, it makes sense.

This day and age mic-less version is a premium to me.

Why? I trust Sonos’ hardware. If the mic is turned off, there is no reason for Sonos to deceive their customers and have it secretly still being on. They have no incentive to do so since they aren’t behind any of the voice assistants, and only the risk of losing customers and lawsuits by lying.

There’s just too much paranoia these days.

It’s a question of angles of attack. It could be hacked, in whatever way. Each microphone you don’t have is one angle of attack less.

Meanwhile I’m waiting for an updated version of the Playbar with all the beams features

I also would prefer mic-less versions, but you can simply not set up the mic and it won’t do anything.

I think people worried about the mic are also worried about it being hacked.

True, I’m just WAY less concerned my Sonos mic is going to get hacked than I am about having my daily life recorded by a mega-corp.

Why is the port so expensive? I’ve always wondered why Sonos: Connect was priced high as well.

Better quality DAC?

It’s a "because they can" situation. It’s similar to how you can’t get an AVR with pre-out for under a grand, people who have actual sound systems are a niche and are willing to spend actual money on audio. Also I’d imagine they sell 50-100 speakers for every Connect/Port. It’s entirely a product decision by the company.

High quality DACs like the AKM 4438 cost under $2 in bulk so that’s definitely not where the cost is from.

I would have hoped the Sonos Port would get a digital audio (or HDMI) input, so that you don’t have to run a wire from the back of the room to the Sonos Beam in a projector setup. The only other way to get digital audio into your projector/Beam system without a wire from the back of the room to the front is the very expensive Sonos Amp (HDMI input), which is overkill (price-wise) for this use-case.

Ugh… They just don’t make it easy to stay with them do they. The port is grossly overpriced

The Port is a niche product with low volumes. Probably priced to recoup the costs of R&D and higher costs due to lower volumes of manufacturing.

I’m going to end up building a raspberry pi streamer for 50 bucks to get my CD and phone onto Sonos instead. Not exactly the same (can’t use Sonos to play through my reciever/amp) but I’m less interested in that anyway. They really should make a 200 dollar connect pre amp

All I want is a lower priced sub, give me a $399 or under option. $700 (or $550 refurb) is too much.

The Sonos Port is a $400 box that does what the $30 Chromecast Audio does (did, just add AirPlay2). Sonos could own the home audio world with a lightweight, $99 version of this. Astounding they still don’t get it.

The Port "goes both ways". It also has a digital out and works with a 12V trigger input for integrators.

Also paying Apple license to use Airplay 2 isn’t nothing.

The Port does quite a bit more than Chromecast Audio. It is probably overkill for most but that is beside the point.

Well, those are good points. Maybe overkill is the word I was looking for. I just want my great, old stereo to play streaming music, controlled by my phone, and not over Bluetooth.

I’m not sure if it would yield a much better price but I’d love to see unidirectional Port units if it would save money. As it stands, I have a turntable that I’d love to add as a source to Sonos and an A/C receiver that I’d like to add as a Sonos Destination. They are on different floors so as it stands I would need 2 Ports ($800!!) even though I would never use the full capability of either.

Bummer…they were so close to making another sale.

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