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Wireless & Bluetooth Speakers

Sonos now supports multiple Spotify accounts, improved Playbar sound

Version 5.2 of the Sonos software adds support for two or more accounts on many music streaming services.

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Sonos now lets you switch between two or more Spotify accounts. Sonos

Sonos will add support today for multiple accounts on the same streaming music service, removing a major source of frustration when using its wireless music system in a busy household.

Version 5.2 of Sonos' software, available as a public beta today, lets you add more than one streaming music account from the same service to your Sonos setup, and switch between them in a couple of clicks. Previously, you would have to delete the account in the Sonos settings you didn't want to use and add the one you wanted to switch to, entering the username and password each time.

The system can support up to 32 different subscriptions, with over 50 different music services supported worldwide. Multi-account support extends to all the music services Sonos supports, apart from Amazon's.

The news comes two weeks after Spotify announced a discount on Premium subscriptions for people that club together. A Spotify Premium subscription is required to use the service with Sonos. Each additional user gets 50 percent off the usual monthly price of $10, £10 or AU$12, up to a limit of four users per household.

Playbar improvements

The new Sonos software also adds sound improvements when playing music on Sonos' sound bar, the Playbar . Ryan Taylor, a senior product marketing manager at Sonos, explained to CNET that Sonos has been testing out the audio tweaks with around 5,000 of its users in a private beta.

The community of testers have been sending the company examples of tracks they want to sound better, with suggestions of what to enhance. Sonos took this feedback, added some of the things its engineers learned building its entry-level product, the Play 1 , and incorporated it into this new software version.

There are three areas of improvements in the Playbar audio, Taylor says. One is an "enhanced soundstage": improving how you visualise the instruments playing when you shut your eyes. Another addresses what Taylor calls "loudness issues": tweaking the way the ear perceives the volume of different audio elements at various stages of a track. Finally, attention has been paid to "overall balance". Taylor says the overall effect will depend on your ears and what you're listening to: some people will hear no difference at all.

Not included in this update is support for extra home cinema codecs for the Playbar, such as Dolby Digital Plus used by Netflix. Taylor declined to say when, or even if, that will come, but did confirm Sonos's announcement in its forums nine months ago that DTS, often used on Blu-ray discs, will never be supported.

Other enhancements in version 5.2 of the software include the ability to control your Sonos speakers from the lock screen of an Android phone or tablet, with support for iOS due in the full release of the software later this year. Music stored on the phone or tablet you're using is also now included in the system's universal search.

You can opt into the public beta at sonos.com/beta. Taylor says it's a "very stable release" and you can choose to roll back to an earlier version by opting out at any point.