Khoi Vinh flirted with Sonos and ultimately gave up on it deciding AirPlay was good enough for him. Since I’ve been talking about my Sonos system on the Mac Power Users, I’ve received a number of emails, tweets, and carrier pidgeons asking this same question. I’d respond that if you have a fully integrated stereo and you want to just play music from your iThingies, AirPlay is good enough and you probably don’t need a Sonos system.
In my case, I had an aging (>20 years old) set of speakers and receiver and I wanted something simple and easy to get music through the whole house. Sonos delivered. It felt like an Apple experience setting it up and it still feels like an Apple experience using it. I’ve now added the subwoofer and my total investment in this system is substantial but I absolutely love the way it improves my experience listening to music and watching movies. In short, I’d do it again.
To answer the question of how you use Sonos with AirPlay, it’s possible but you’ll need an Airport Express. The details are here. I’ve set this up in my own home and use it all the time. I also find myself using the Sonos App quite often to tweek audio settings (particularly for watching movies) and play streaming services. Sonos isn’t cheap but it sure is nice.