Wireless Multi-room audio speaker
Too few devices supported
This speaker came free with a blu-ray player we bought. It works great with the player, but that's about it. I use a Mac computer, my husband uses Windows XP and I have a Droid phone. None of these are compatible with the speaker. It is really annoying and has pretty much turned the speaker into a giant paperweight.
April 2, 2012
A Work in Progress
I own the NS-300 and noticed that the reviews here carry the same themes as on other sites such as Amazon. Many customers writing poor reviews are disappointed that they can not use their Mac, iPhone, or iPod with this product as one would expect. If you are an Apple customer looking for a wireless speaker then understand that the NS-300 is NOT the right product for you. You need to check out the AirPlay enabled NS-500. The NS-300 and NS-400 are more appropriate for people using other media devices such as Windows or Linux based machines or devices such as the Kindle Fire which support the UPnP protocol and DLNA architecture. AirPlay is Apple's proprietary protocol stack. The NS-300 does require that you have some technical knowledge. While the manual does try to educate the consumer, in my opinion it's all still beyond many consumers who just want the device to "just work".
I gave the device a 3 star rating for the following reasons: Speaker quality for a device this size was good, but not great and note that for best quality don't place the speaker against a wall. Compatibility in a diverse network environment using UPnP in a DLNA architecture is very good. The iOS app to control the speaker is only fair and needs further development. Sony is just not a software company and there are quiks in the app that hinder it somewhat. Other iPhone and Android compatible apps are available which will operate this speaker as well and generally better than Sony's. Despite the 3 star rating I am looking forward to updated models being released this year and hope for an all weather speaker to be part of the mix.
The world of wireless devices and streaming media is, unfortunately, complex and Sony should take note that they need to be a bit more conscious of how easily the average consumer can be confused by competing technologies. My NS-300 was purchased as a test of how compatible the speaker could be in a diverse home network environment which includes Windows based PCs, a Synology network attached storage appliance (which serves as my media server), an iPod touch, a Amazon Kindle Fire and two Sony Blue-ray players with wifi. I use DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatible devices with the hope that I can choose best of bread devices as the market matures.
All in all the speaker works in my environment with the Synology network attached storage appliance media server being the main repository for my music, photos, and video. My PCs, iPod, Sony Blue-ray players, and Kindle Fire act as controller devices with the Synology media server at the core. All my music is in MP3 with a few WMA format. Take note that the NS-300 will not render audio files with digital rights management (DRM). Everything I own works on a Wireless N network and has even been tested on a Wireless G network (for over two weeks duration) with acceptable results.
Using the Homeshare feature I can stream music to my NS-300 as well as the wired speakers which are connected to my wifi enabled Sony Blue-ray players so that I have three rooms in sync via Party streaming or I can stream different music to each room. I can use my iPod to control the NS-300 and Blue-Ray players via the Sony app or I can use a third party app such as I have loaded on my Kindle Fire. This setup allows for flexibility and greater compatibility than if I was locked into Apple products. The downside is that setup tends to be more complex across devices.
March 6, 2012
Sigh if you're a Mac user
I love the idea of the Home Share systems and connecting multiple audio equipment to your wireless network, but sadly it's a big headache to set the thing up because I use a Mac.
Value and Design are good.
Performance and Reliability - I have no idea, I'm still trying to set the thing up.
January 13, 2012
No AirPlay support limits the use
I have two of the SA-NS300 I got with the STR-DN1020 AVR. The homeshare works great but still needs some work and features. The part that kills the homeshare the most is the iPhone app. The iPhone app does not allow playing of music content from iPhone and I can not stream internet radio to device from iphone. AirPlay would have sovled the problem an eliminated the need for the app. The iPhone app is useless.
I now have two SA-NS500 to replace the SA-NS300, but they are an overkill for my needs. I wish Sony added AirPlay support for the SA-NS300s to get more use of them.
Also, it would be nice to have a windows 7 driver to make the speakers under general windows application. As of now, you can only use the speakers for playing MP3s with WMP. I can't stream internet radios from WMP or game audio.
January 6, 2012