Amazon Echo vs. Sonos Play:1- Who Will Be Victorious?

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The popularity of music streaming continues to rise as more companies enter the market to compete and win over customers looking for easy-to-use, high-quality playback devices. There seems to be a trend in the home stereo market that’s leading buyers away from complex systems with dozens of components to sleek, simple machines that roll your tuner, receiver, and speakers all into one. Of all the choices available, the Amazon Echo and Sonos Play:1 have become two of the top contenders, but which of these devices is truly worthy of your dollar?

At a glance the Amazon Echo seems promising. It features Alexa, a voice assistant program similar to Apple’s Siri. Alexa can be commanded to stream music from your collection, give you weather updates and even help you with your math. There is a large list of commands people can use and even some “Easter eggs” to get things done or have a little fun.

Digital Music News quoted The Times, saying, “While Echo has received mixed reviews for its sound quality, its Alexa voice assistant — which allows people to quickly play music with verbal commands — has captivated the tech industry and the public.

The Echo sounds like a great investment if you have your hands dirty and need someone to scratch your nose for you, but what about its sound quality? How does the Echo compare to the Sonos Play:1 and other streaming devices?

A number of reviews state that the sound quality of the Echo is uneven (despite its 360-degree, omni-directional audio capability), and that the bass frequencies are weak at high volumes. When pushed up against a wall, it showed minimal bass improvement, a poor use of the “boundary effect.” It also lacks resolution at times, which could be due to the fact that the Echo encodes mp3s at only 256 kbps using a variable bit rate. A variable bit rate means that while complex parts of audio are playing, the overall bit rate will be higher than when less complex parts are playing, so listeners are not hearing the same quality audio at all times.    

On the contrary, the Sonos Play:1 has received rave reviews for its audio quality. Trusted Reviews writes that it, “…produces excellent, rich and meaty sound for its size. It has pretty neutral voicing, but the depth and scale of the bass the speaker is able to produce is very impressive.”

A single Sonos Play:1 can fill a room with sound almost as well as the Echo, but if you’re looking for true surround sound, Sonos gives you the option of purchasing multiple units as well as woofers and soundsbars to pair together and play as one unit. What’s more, the device allows you to stream mp3s at a constant bitrate of 320 kbps, not to mention FLAC and ALAC files at a whopping 1411 kbps. That’s over four times the bit rate of the Echo!

In addition, nerdwallet.com reports, “the Echo can play songs from Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Amazon Music Library, whereas the Sonos Play:1 can stream music from your iTunes library, pull from over 100,000 free radio stations, and work with a number of popular online music services (Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, Google Play Music, Amazon Music and iHeartRadio, to name a few).”

Not to mention, you’re able to stream your entire Murfie CD and vinyl collection via Sonos. We at Murfie have been using the Sonos app and speakers to listen to music for several years now, and we love it!

Price-wise, the two are comparable. The Amazon Echo goes for about $179 retail while the Sonos Play:1 goes for $199.

There has been some debate on whether or not the Sonos Play:1 will remain a competitor in the streaming device market in the coming years. There are a number of other companies producing similar products for a fraction of the cost (i.e. Google Home priced at $129 or Muzo’s Cobblestone priced at $60). Regardless of what the future holds, the choice for audiophiles and music aficionados should be clear. The Sonos Play:1 is hands down the better buy. It may not have all the bells and whistles the Echo has, but it does what it was designed to do, provide listeners with the highest quality audio possible.

We at Murfie will continue to support Sonos because we know the importance of audio quality. When subscribers send in their collections, Murfie ensures quality playback, with full metadata, in 320 kbps mp3, lossless FLAC, and other formats, all of which Sonos is able to deliver.

To learn more about our streaming services, see our FAQ or contact us.      

Creative Cover Caption Contest

Let’s have some fun celebrating the new Murfie + VOCO partnership! You have a chance to win VOCO devices, Murfie HiFi, VOCO credit, Murfie credit, and more in our Creative Cover Caption Contest!

The contest will have 12 winners—meaning you have 12x a greater chance at grabbing great goodies!

CONTEST DETAILS

Step 1 of 3. Pick any album cover on Murfie and think of a creative caption. It can be funny, clever, socially relevant, interesting—anything you like!

Step 2 of 3. Share your caption, the hashtag #MurfieVOCO, and the Murfie album page link on Facebook and/or Twitter.
If your Facebook account is private: Copy and paste the Murfie album page link in a Facebook post and change the post privacy settings to “public”.
If your Facebook (or Twitter) account is publicly viewable:  You can hit the social sharing buttons right on the Murfie album page!

Step 3 of 3. Double-check that your caption, the album link, and #MurfieVOCO are all included so we can see your entry!

The deadline to get your captions out there is August 22nd at noon ET!

We’ll pick our favorite entries, which will then move to a final round of voting. We’ll let you know if you’re a finalist by responding to your post on Facebook, or by tweeting at you! We’ll include a link with instructions about how to rally for votes from your friends and fam in the final round.

Here are some examples of captions:

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

PLEASE NOTE

  • In order for us to see your entries, you’ll have to be certain that:
    – Your Facebook post is publicly visible.
    – Your Twitter account is publicly visible.
  • You’re only required to share your caption once, on your choice of Facebook or Twitter—although you’re more than welcome to share on both platforms, which will only increase your visibility!
  • Be sure your caption won’t offend anyone.
  • The contest is for US residents only.
  • Album art may not be altered in any way.
  • Go ahead and submit a few different album captions!
  • Murfie and NAVVO staffers (and their family members) can enter for fun, but they will not be able to move to the final round!

Enough details—let’s talk PRIZES!

There will be 12 winners. Finalists must rally for the most votes to win the best stuff! Here’s what you can win:

1. VOCO VSPOT + 1 year of Murfie HiFi + $100 Murfie store Credit
2. VOCO VSPOT + 1 year of Murfie HiFi
3. VOCO VZONEplus + 1 year of Murfie HiFi + $50 Murfie store Credit
4. VOCO VZONEplus + 1 year of Murfie HiFi
5. VOCO VZONE + 1 year of Murfie HiFi + $25 Murfie store Credit
6. VOCO VZONE + 1 year of Murfie HiFi
7. $100 VOCO store Credit + 6 months of Murfie Gold or HiFi + $25 Murfie store Credit
8. $50 VOCO store Credit + 6 months of Murfie Gold or HiFi + $20 Murfie store Credit
9. $25 VOCO store Credit + 6 months of Murfie Gold or HiFi + $15 Murfie store Credit
10. 1 year of Murfie HiFi
11. $50 Murfie store Credit
12. 1 year of Murfie Gold

Give us a holler at info@murfie.com if you have any questions. The deadline to get your captions out there is August 22nd at noon ET!

G’luck, friends—now make those captions!

Get Lossless Streaming with Murfie + VOCO!

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Today, we are happy to announce a new partnership with NAVVO, the creators of VOCO—wireless audio systems that stream top quality music through a unique voice and touch user interface.

What does this mean for you? Now you can listen to your entire Murfie collection on any VOCO device! 

Plus, VOCO supports lossless streaming! Instead of just 320kbps mp3, lossless streaming plays FLAC files, giving you perfect CD quality audio. (You can learn more about FLAC music here.)

Join the Murfie HiFi for $99/year to get lossless streaming with VOCO, in addition to all Murfie Gold benefits!

Need a VOCO device? Pick out something that fits your vibe. Use the coupon code MurfieHiFi and get free ground shipping on your order!

Already own a VOCO device? Stream with VOCO!

We’ll keep workin’ hard to bring you new ways to enjoy your music—if your ears are super-happy, so are we!