By Jason Snell
February 18, 2016 2:09 PM PT
Getting Sonos to work with AirPlay (and Overcast)
Warning: This story has not been updated in several years and may contain out-of-date information.
I’ve been testing out some Sonos hardware the past month or two. I’ll write much more about it in a little while, after I spend more time with it.1
I listen to music, but I also listen to podcasts a lot. In the shower, in the kitchen… I do listen to podcasts. And I’m kind of shocked that after all this time, Sonos doesn’t do a very good job with podcasts.2
Yes, you can use the Stitcher app to play back podcasts from that service, but I’m not a fan—Stitcher adds its own ads and re-encodes audio at low bit rates. If you use the built-in Podcasts app, Sonos will let you stream episodes you’ve downloaded to your Sonos speakers. Unfortunately, I don’t use that app—I use Overcast.
Now, I can dream that Marco Arment and Sonos will one day announce that Overcast works with Sonos—but dreaming is not reality. So instead, I installed AirSonos.
AirSonos is a server that runs on a Mac and relays audio from any AirPlay-capable device—including my iPhone running Overcast—to a Sonos speaker. To get it to work, I had to download node.js and then install AirSonos from the Terminal. It’s messy, but since I have a Mac mini server running all the time, I can leave AirSonos running.
The result is not exciting, but it works: Now my iPhone sees two additional audio devices, namely two Sonos speakers. And I can play podcasts from Overcast over the Sonos speaker in my kitchen.
Here’s how I did it:
- Downloaded node.js and installed it.
Opened Terminal and typed
npm install airsonos -g
I was told I had to install the command-line developer tools, which OS X was happy to download and install for me. Once it did that, I typed
npm install airsonos -gand it installed.
Then I typed
That’s it. You can also do it via homebrew if you want to go that route.
- The Apple Music integration has been great so far, and in general I’m loving them, but I miss the time and temperature display on my old Squeezebox hardware a lot. ↩
- Some (but not all) Sonos equipment comes with a line-in plug like my old Squeezebox hardware did, so I can just plug my phone into it. It’s more fiddly than I’d like, because I have to switch back and forth between two apps to get it to work. You could also plug an AirPort Express in if you wanted a permanent AirPlay to Sonos bridge. ↩
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