If ZonePlayers and SonosNet are at heart of system, much of its power comes from remote control. This wireless handheld device permits direct and full control of each ZonePlayer in system. Imagine you are sitting downstairs in lounge and want to decrease the volume of music playing in bedroom. No problem. A press of controller's Zones button permits you to choose any zone, adjust the music playing in it, change the volume and tone, and link or unlink it from system's other zones.
Concurrent zones all play similar music at the same time, while unlinked zones can each be allocated an independent soundtrack selected from any audio source devices attached to system. The Sonos controller is simple to use, because of large 3.5" color screen, devoted volume, zones and music buttons, an iPod-like scroll wheel, and three soft buttons whose functions adapt to context of now shown menu.
The great feature of controller's is its ability to choose any attached audio source. This is not just restricted to your local collections either, but flawlessly adds with online services including over 600 already loaded Internet Radio stations and a choice of common download sites, including Napster and Pandora. Sonos can access these services straight with no need to turn on a PC. You simply choose music right on the controller and system will take care of downloading and playing it. Though, iTunes users must note that one of the system's some restrictions is that DRM-protected files are not supported.
Only one controller is needed to run a full multi-zone system, but it is similarly possible to add extra controllers as are necessary one per room, or even one per person. Or maybe a single spare for when rechargeable battery of main unit runs out after a couple of days of moderately heavy use. Obviously this is not a problem if you charge it up at night.
Sadly battery is repaired eternally inside controller, so when it finally loses its ability to retain a charge, full handset want to be replaced. With controllers costing around $400, this might be good business for Sonos's accountants, but not for its customers or its ecologist credentials; sometime, we like to notice Sonos develop the system by using replaceable batteries.