Sonos have added a new budget Zone Player, the ZP80, to their excellent range of multi-room music servers, which adds digital outputs and comes in a compact, iPod-coloured box.

The ZP80 differs from the ZP100 in that it’s a source only – there is no onboard amplifier – and so is designed to be connected to your home stereo.

The ZP80 communicates using Sonos’ own wireless mesh system, which runs at 2.4Ghz, and is controlled via the Sonos Controller (available separately for $799). You can use a ZP80 to supplement a conventional audio system with existing speakers or as a wireless extender to increase the wireless range of your Sonos system.

The Sonos system will support up to 32 Zoneplayers with each player capable of playing different music.

The ZP80 is well connected and features RCA out, optical and digital audio out, RCA in and two Ethernet ports. It supports most formats including Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, WAV and WMA. Support for Apple Fairplay and Windows DRM are not available.

The unit is small at 136(H) x137(W) x 74(D)mm and weighs only 690g.

No local pricing available yet, but the US pricing is $349 as compared to $499 (AU$999) for the ZP100. So expect it to be worth around $700. The device will be available overseas in the second quarter of this year, with a local release not yet determined.

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