Sonos:1; cheapest compatible speaker?

I’m looking for the cheapest compatible speaker out there. The Sonos:1 is a hefty $200 plus the bridge. I’m really just looking for welcome prompts, etc right now.

So is the Sonos:1 the cheapest solution right now?



Yep. You probably don’t need a bridge though. The Sonos controller version 5.1 (beta) allows for fully wireless Sonos use. You need to plug it into an ethernet port to get it initially configured, but afterwards it can use your wireless network.

Also, the Play:1 is an awesome speaker. I got one a couple months ago and am now considering adding another.

I believe you don’t need the bridge anymore

Once you go Sonos, you won’t go back. I started with the Sonos Playbar and Sub. Fell in love, then purchased 2 Play:3’s and a couple Play:1’s

Integration is a breeze with SmartThings and you actually have more control over it then what I was expecting. You won’t regret your purchase.

I’ve looked at both the playbar and sub, but I have hard time with their price ($699 each).

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Go Sonos and forget the rest. Absolutely amazing product.

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If you’re ONLY looking for prompts, consider the Ubi. You can do voice commands as well as receive voice prompts. I’ve been enjoying my Ubi for a number of months now.

Unfortunately, the Ubi is not really any cheaper than Sonos (probably more expensive than some Sonos’), so go in with your eyes open:

  1. Ubi does NOT play back music… well, it does, but not well at all. If you are looking for music playing AND voice announcements, then Ubi it not the right option.

  2. Ubi is not as integrated on the voice announcements side as I think Sonos might be. (I don’t have a sonos, so I can’t say for sure.) Ubi can do basic announcements out of the box (When presence comes home, when a door is open, when a light is turned off, etc.) but more complex stuff like “Tell me when a door or window has been open too long” is still in the realm of SmartApps.

Now, on the plus side:

A. Ubi can do basic commands right out of the box once you hook up with SmartThings: “Turn on the kitchen light.” or “Turn off the basement lights” type commands can be setup very easily in Ubi… no programming required.

B. There’s some guy called ChrisB on these forums who’s integrated Ubi voice announcements with some of his smartapps… like a good night app that checks if you’re house is prepared for night time or Garage Door (or any door/window really) Monitor app that will push a voice announcement if it’s left open too long.

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Hey, Chrisb… Are you not Chrisb :). If you are, why not share the integrated Ubi announcements and how you achieved them.

If you’re looking at Sonos, you really can only compare it to Bose or some of the higher end soundbar solutions out there. When I was looking, I weighed Sonos against Bose. I went with Sonos because I could buy the Playbar first and add the Sub later and convert to 5.1 in the future if I wanted to. The Playbar sounds fantastic and I’m not even sure I need the sub in my setup. On top of the music features, the playbar autodetects the TV audio which makes it operationally seamless. There are other features such as night mode which dampens the loud booms in action movies and speech enhancements which increases volume on dialog which are great for watching TV.

I know it’s expensive but you won’t regret it.

Yeah I got an Ubi a few days ago and I’m getting it configured with SmartThings. A few thoughts:

  • Beta is generous - it’s barely Alpha
    It’s ability to understand and execute commands is very hit or miss
    It’s awful for music - awful
    My wife mocks me every time I try to use it

That being said, I DO think that they will make improvements in capabilities and integrations. I feel like in a year from now I’ll be doing cool stuff. Just not today.


I’ve already share… er, I mean chrisb already shared them in the Shared Apps section.

Goodnight Ubi: Say goodnight to Ubi and it turns on a Virtual on/off button tile. This launches the Goodnight Ubi app which turns off selected lights a given number of minutes later and checks selected doors and windows to see if any are left open. If they are, Ubi speaks them by name so you know what you need to close. Also optionally says “Goodnight” to Hello Home.

Goodbye Ubi: pretty much the same thing as above, but optionally says “Goodbye” to Hello Home.

Garage Door Monitor with Ubi: Works the same as the Garage Door Monitor but adds an http request to Ubi that speaks the same message as the push notification and/or text message.

Unlock when Garage Door Opens: Unlocks an interior door when a Garage Door opens, then optionally relocks the door a given number of minutes later. Sends a push notification when door is locked and optionally has Ubi read the same message.

Garage check open/close App: Uses a series of on/off button tiles to allow you to say to Ubi: “Open the Garage Door” and only opens the the Garage if currently closed. Likewise if you say “Close the Garage Door” it will only close the door if it’s already open. (This is an older app of mine… doesn’t use some of the new abilities of Ubi.)

I think my only gripe with Sonos is the price… I’m sure it’s perfectly fine for what it does, but considering I already have a fairly good sound system for my main TV viewing area (the master bedroom), it would seem like overkill – or at least overspend, considering that I just want it for the occasional announcement.

And for those of us in multi-level houses (which are not interested in whole-house music), dropping $200-600 per zone is also pretty pricey.

I remember using MisterHouse a hundred years ago where it would generate an mp3 that could be remotely pushed to a headless box or even a 3Com Audrey that you could purchase off eBay for nickels. When you want something simple, like the thing to say that it’s going to rain later or that the lights are going on at sunset, you don’t need anything overly complicated IMO.

I never could pull the trigger on Sonos. It just seems like an overpriced wireless speaker with limited potential to evolve with ST and cool future apps. I hope to see an Ubi real soon and expect the upside with Ubi will make it a far better dollar for dollar purchase if you consider the potential as ST and Ubi continue to evolve. I already have plenty of options to listen to music so that’s the last thing I care about.

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I think that’s the big thing right there.

If you’re a big music listener and want to have high quality music in multiple rooms, then Sonos offers this. If you’re not into that, then Ubi’s got the advantage of voice commands. Pick your poison. Which one is more important to you?

I’m not sure that even Ubi is worth the cost… isn’t it like $300 for latecomers? I think for what it does – if you already have a home automation setup – that’s kind of pricey. Can you do remote audio streaming to multiple rooms, things of that sort, for announcements, or is this just a single box that you plug into one place and that’s it? I’m not familiar with the whole project so I don’t know what it does.

Remote audio for announcements – and even remote voice commands – should be DIRT cheap. Considering what these boxes do – just talk to whatever hub via an API or playback audio / stream media – they should be well under $100 in price.

That’s why I was eyeballing something like Project Jasper ( which runs on a Pi and has an API, plus can display notifications based on twitter / email / etc.

I agree with both of you. I think ST should/will have some simple low cost voice/audio solution available for easy voice in/out functionality. Seems like phones or tablets with the app could do a decent job for starters. I have already seen a couple such text to voice solutions hacked together.

Ubi has potential to do much more in the future. I tend to get sucked in by things that have a lot of potential to do stuff I haven’t even conceived of yet. In addition to integrating with home automation, it does do some cool things like answer questions, tell you the weather when you ask it, not when someone unknowingly walks into a room, read and write texts etc. And with IFTTT, I bet I will come up with some other ideas to use for voice commands.

In general I think integrating home automation with voice announcements has risk to be annoying before being a wow factor. Still, there are limited things I want to do with automated announcements and more with voice commands. I was a bit disappointed that at first the $200 Sonos option appeared to be the only “simple” announcement solution. With Ubi, I might have been tempted even if I was not an ST user.

[quote=“viguera, post:15, topic:4090”]
I’m not sure that even Ubi is worth the cost… isn’t it like $300 for latecomers? I think for what it does – if you already have a home automation setup – that’s kind of pricey. Can you do remote audio streaming to multiple rooms, things of that sort, for announcements, or is this just a single box that you plug into one place and that’s it? I’m not familiar with the whole project so I don’t know what it does.[/quote]

No, it’s pretty much just a box that plugs in one location. And yeah, I agree it’s pricey. I was able to find one on eBay for well under $300, but still it was expensive.

As viguera was saying, it does more than just interface with HA… but to be honestly that’s the far majority of what I’ve used it for right now.

That’s not to say that I don’t like having my Ubi, but… right now… it probably isn’t worth the price I paid. I’m hoping that as more and more stuff gets added to Ubi it will end up being worth it. We’ll see.

FYI, they only cost $99 right now. Sign up for the beta and the link will take you to the order screen.

Can’t (RaspberryPI + speakers) be used as a cheap Sonos replacement (for voice announcements, not for music)?
There should be Text-To-Speech packages for Raspbian, and it should be easy to interface with ST?

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I am sure that would work. And really, as we have seen, using a PI to play music will work as well. The problem would be that it is a non-standard. If you are looking for Voice announcements purchase an UBI. You can join their beta and developer program and receive an UBI for a fair price of 99.00 us dollars.

Link here.