AppMonday: Macronos

Sonos owners are used to the constant evolution that is the Sonos app, but an app made exclusively for Android makes Sonos a little more playful with a one-touch solution.

Whatever complaints you have for the Sonos app, if you’re a user, you know that at least the app is getting better, as the interface develops and the whole thing looks and feels slicker across the board.

If you’re just joining the Sonos ecosystem now, you’re at least seeing the app in its best state yet, so consider yourself lucky.

Still, though, it has some way to go, and while it lets you get the music from your Pandora, Google Play Music, Deezer HD, Tidal, JB HiFi Now, Spotify, and plenty of other accounts to the speakers in your home, as well as the music files found on your home network, it lacks the speed some people demand.

Enter Macronos, an app that picked up our attention when we were modifying an old phone to work as an alarm clock for home.

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Macronos is made up of the two apps in the centre.

That’s sort of where we are at the moment, or some of us, anyway, as we start to repurpose old phones and tablets to do a little more around the house. It might be for a status board or just a way of accessing websites at the fridge, but if you have a phone or tablet doing nothing, getting it to do a little more than take up space in a drawer is a possibility.

For this project, we wanted a bedside clock with the time and weather, as well as easy access to a playlist to be played over the Sonos when we went to bed. Rain noises, jazz, that sort of thing, with all of this handled through one button.

The Sonos app doesn’t quite cater for that, sadly, so we needed to find a different solution.

Fortunately, we stumbled onto Macronos by chance, which provides exactly what we were after.

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This is one of those apps you’ll want to have alongside the Sonos app, as it doesn’t really replace the one made by Sonos.

Rather, Macronos compliments Sonos by offering two sides of the app equation, with a simple control system, and a much more interesting macro builder.

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On the simple side, you’ll find controls for each Sonos speaker in your home, with bass, treble, and a left and right balance.

The Macronos controller is pretty simple and not terribly attractive, which is one of the reasons you’ll want the proper Sonos app still sitting there on your device.

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Aside for the controller, Macronos exists to provide one-touch Sonos playlists that you can create, allowing you to setup playlists for various speakers in your home with different volumes, groupings, fades, and so on, with the shortcut for these sitting on the home screen for your Android phone or tablet.

Simply put, these are “macros”, hence the name “Macronos” (macro meets Sonos), and you can setup any number of them, linking them to music-filled folders on your network, Google Music playlists and stations, Dropbox, radio services, and favourites on your Sonos account.

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In fact, it’s the lack of services that pulls Macronos back, meaning you can just dial in your favourite music service out of the blue, such as Pandora or Spotify, though there does appear to be a slight loophole allowing you to use a favourite that uses one of these extra networks that Macronos doesn’t support natively.

As such, we were able to turn one of our Pandora playlists into something Macronos could access simply by adding it to the Sonos favourites and making a macro to access that specific favourite.

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When the macro is made, a shortcut to it will appear on your launcher’s main home screen, which is fantastic, but the macros can also be run from Macronos if needed, which will run the groupings and playlist settings all for you, switching your Sonos on and doing all the work you would normally do.

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You can even double check its work by loading up the Sonos app and seeing if Macronos has done the job properly, which you’ll no doubt will be aware of once your speakers start playing the right sounds.

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All up, it’s a neat little app, though one of those things that you’ll really need a Sonos if you want to try it, as well as an Android phone.

We haven’t been able to find something that does what Macronos does for owners of other handsets, so if you have an iPhone or a Windows-based device, you are out of luck this time, which is a change from what we usually see.

As for that smartphone we were converting to a bedside table, we now have a small icon which can start up a bedtime playlist all with one button, a little white and blue cloud that starts everything up. Thanks, Macronos.

Our bedside playlist is easily triggered using that cloud icon on the top right.

Macronos is available now for Android devices only, with a cost of $5.46 (at the time of publishing).