Combined kitchen/living room plan

  • 29 September 2018
  • 28 replies
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Hi all - we’re doing a renovation and have an open combined kitchen/living room (roughly 600 square feet). We’re planning on putting in ceiling speakers but are unsure about the configuration (4 in living room, 2 in kitchen?) and how they would be wired to a Sonos receiver in a closet. Would all 6 go the same receiver? Are there options to only have 4 living room on at once? And if we add a TV to the set up is there a way to connect the TV to the ceiling speakers wirelessly through the Sonos receiver? Other options if the TV and receiver are in different parts of the room? Thanks!

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28 replies

Hi all - we’re doing a renovation and have an open combined kitchen/living room (roughly 600 square feet). We’re planning on putting in ceiling speakers but are unsure about the configuration (4 in living room, 2 in kitchen?)

You'd probably be fine with 2 in the living room, but 4 speakers isn't drastic overkill. I think the decision would be based more on how you want to handle TV audio. I'll explain later.


and how they would be wired to a Sonos receiver in a closet. Would all 6 go the same receiver?


Sonos does not make a receiver, not in the traditional sense anyway. There are essentially 3 products that can be used with ceiling speakers:

Connect = This would be a device that will take Sonos streaming sources and sends them to a non-sonos receiver....pretty much the same way a CD player would send audio to a reciever. So with this option, how many speakers you can use depends on the non-sonos receiver.

Connect:Amp = This is like the Connect, except it has an amp built in and can power your speakers directly, without a non-sonos amp. It has the connections for only one pair of speakers, but you can connect more than one pair to it under certain conditions.

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/introducing-sonos-amp-6812069

Sonos Amp = This is Sonos latest product that is coming out in the next few months. It has more power and more features than the Connect:Amp. There is more detail about it here:



Are there options to only have 4 living room on at once?


Yes. To do that though, you would need two separate Sonos products at a minimum, one for the living room and one for the kitchen. Those devices can play separately or grouped together in sync.


And if we add a TV to the set up is there a way to connect the TV to the ceiling speakers wirelessly through the Sonos receiver?


Essentially no, but this requires more explanation. There is no way for your TV to connect wireless to a Sonos device, but Sonos devices do connect wireless to each other. So as long as one Sonos device is connected to the TV, all of your Sonos devices can play the TV audio anywhere in your home. That said, not all Sonos devices are designed to work with your TV. The connect and the connect:amp will only input stereo audio, and will buffer the audio slightly. This means the video and audio would be slightly out of sync. Some are not bothered, by this, but I wouldn't recommend it.

The Sonos amp has been designed to work with your TV. It connects to your TV by HDMI-ARC or optical and will send audio to your speakers without any noticeable delay. If you want TV audio to come through your ceiling speakers, and the speakers are in the same room as the TV where being in sync is important, then I think the Sonos Amp is the best option.


Other options if the TV and receiver are in different parts of the room? Thanks!


Well, the Sonos amp is relatively small, and could probably be mounted on the wall behind the TV. You can also get long hdmi or optical cables that could be run from your TV to a closet or wherever you want.

There is a lot more detail to consider, and we haven't even really talked about surround sound yet. There are lots of different options that make sense. I'd recommend reading up on the products I mentioned above and/or asking additional questions.

FYI, I have a kitchen/living room setup about the same size as yours. I have a playbar connected to the TV, with a sub, and 2 play:3 in the kitchen for surround. When not playing tv audio, the play:3s are set for full stereo audio. Very happy with my setup.
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I'd recommend using ceiling speakers in the kitchen (2 should be enough) via sonos amp or connect depending on what you choose...
But for the living room you should get a regular 5.1 installation : playbar, 2 rear play ones, 1 sub.
That will provide an excellent sound for music and will work seamlessly for your TV.
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Thanks so much for your replies. It sounds like Sonos Amp is the way to go. If we mounted a Sonos Amp behind our TV would we run 5.1 (or possibly 4.1) speakers wires to this?
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You couldn't run 4.1 as that requires four channels of amplification and the Amp only has 2. You could run four speakers, with the front and rear pair on each side hooked to the same amplifier channels. You'd get the phantom center channel front and rear too.

I'm considering doing just that, I might end up getting a speaker level volume control to lower the volume of the rear speakers a bit if I find that necessary.
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Thanks for your reply Stanley! Are you able to clarify what you mean by the phantom center channel? Are you planning to put a 5th speaker in the middle of your room? Also, are you able to connect a subwoofer to the Amp as well? Any logic in doing a Playbar below the TV and having ceiling speakers connected via an Amp as well?
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You might want to consider waiting for the release of the Sonos Amp vs the current Connect Amp. The former will provide more features such as adding Alexa voice control and TV input assuming you might use 3rd party speakers up-front.

Here's the link: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/amp.html

Stanley_4 gave you great advice. To your last questions:

1. A phantom center channel put simply is created by a left/right speaker setup wherein material appears to originate from a speaker that isn't really there. The Playbar/Playbase and Beam create simulated Left/Center/Right channels (the latter maybe too a lesser degree as it is a smaller speaker).

2. The Connect AMP and the soon to be released Sonos AMP will support a sub.

3. If you do a Playbar below the TV and wish to integrate two ceiling speakers as surrounds_that is possible. However the set-up will have to be in a Boost configuration. Click the link: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/2237?language=en_US

Cheers!
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Thanks very much for your replies! I think will go for 4 ceiling speakers +/- a sub with the Sonos AMP when it becomes available then have two other ceiling speakers in the kitchen with a Connect:AMP.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the feasibility/preferability two different scenarios:

1) AMP in a closet (about 10 feet from the TV) and run a long HDMI cable to it. This would be an easier scenario for the ceiling speaker wires. But I guess if there was a sub it would need to be in or close to the closet.

2) Place the AMP close to the TV and run the speaker wire run to this (slightly harder wiring due to positioning).

Also, does anyone know if the Sonos AMP might be available before February 2019?
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If you pick 8 Ohm speakers the Sonos Amp will drive four of them with no problems and plenty of power, unless you want to play different music from the two pair the Connect Amp will be an unneeded expense.

I have to duck the question of video / audio sync between the HDMI connected Sonos Amp and a Connect Amp playing from the TV source, I just don't know that answer.

If you get a high quality HDMI cable 20 feet of cable should be no problem.

Some folks might get an Amp early but they are probably folks that have a relationship with Sonos. You could always ask nicely, probably via the phone lines, and hope for the best.
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Hi maki

Hold up, do not pass go 😃

When viewing a video on TV you want the audio to be "anchored" to the screen to create the illuson that it's coming from the screen and not a speaker. Having audio coming from ceiling speakers would not achieve that effect. It may also create a lip sync issue.

You could use the Sonos Amp to drive speakers that are on either side of a TV (in wall as an option) which would create a "sweet" spot in the center thus creating the "anchor" effect; but not as well as a Playbar/Playbase or Beam.

My suggestion would be as follows:

1. TV (Home Theater Zone)_Playbar or Beam with bonded Sonos Sub *
2. Ceiling Speakers x 2 for surround (Home Theater Zone)_Connect Amp **
3. Ceiling Speakers x 2 or 4 for kitchen and other area_Connect Amp***

* The Beam would provide HMDI_ARC with a compatible TV and Alexa Voice control. I recently purchased a Beam for an area that is 520 square feet split level kitchen and living area with ceiling ranging from 18 to 20 feet. I might add that this is a newly purchased home that I wanted TV in the aforementioned area as well. I have Playbars in media room and bedroom as I had them before the Beam was developed in my former residence.

* In any area you have a designated space for actual TV viewing. Think of it as an elongated circle with TV to seating area being the longest distance. In my case the TV area with sub and surround covers about 208 square feet of the total 520 after TruePlay tuning. My point being is that you are not going to tune the entire 600 square feet of your living space but only that portion that covers the Beam or Playbar extending to the surrounds with imaginary boundaries left to right. The surrounds for ceiling mounted speakers should be directly above the seating area.

Note (Although not recommended):You could use a Connect:AMP or Sonos:AMP if you were to use in-wall speakers or out-board speakers left/right of TV and send Low End to a 3rd party sub. However, you would not be able to process surround mode.

** I recommend Connect: AMP's since you are planning on placing them in a closet which would negate the Alexa voice control with the Sonos AMP; so why spend the extra money.:?

*** Same recommendation as above regarding placement; but you also create separate zones that can be grouped to the HT zone if you want to extend TV audio.

Suggest you review this section on what type (ohm rating) and how to wire speakers to a Connect AMP_https://support.sonos.com/s/article/265?language=en_US

Suggest you review this section on wiring speakers to Connect:AMP as surrounds_https://support.sonos.com/s/article/2237?language=en_US

I hope this helps with your decision.

Cheers!
Thanks very much for your replies! I think will go for 4 ceiling speakers +/- a sub with the Sonos AMP when it becomes available then have two other ceiling speakers in the kitchen with a Connect:AMP.


Just a word of caution. You can do this setup, but there will be a slightly odd effect since the audio will not come directly from the TV as ajtrek1 pointed out.. You'll get used to it, but guests may find it odd. I have done something similar in a previous home, however it was cathedral ceilings so the speakers were slightly better placed, I also only had the two speakers towards the front instead of 4 spaced evenly in the room. I would definitely make sure that whatever speakers you get have tweeters that can be angled towards the seating position. That will help a lot.

I'm not a big fan on in-wall speakers. I don't think they look much better than bookshelf speakers mounted on the wall, and are a bigger issue to replace/move if need be. They don't really 'disappear' the same way in-ceiling speakers do.


Regarding the connect:amp for kitchen, you can set this up in two separate ways. First as surround sound for your TV. That will mean they play surround audio for TV and can be set for full stereo for music. You would not be able to play the kitchen separately from the living room. The second option is as a second room. The downside to that you won't be able to play TV audio in sync. Upside is that you can play it separately from the living room.


Does anyone have any thoughts on the feasibility/preferability two different scenarios:

1) AMP in a closet (about 10 feet from the TV) and run a long HDMI cable to it. This would be an easier scenario for the ceiling speaker wires. But I guess if there was a sub it would need to be in or close to the closet.


You can put the amp in the closet if a long HDMI cable is feasible. I've done a few things with long HDMI cables before, no problem. Regarding the sub, if you use a Sonos sub, it does not need to be near the closet as it will be wireless. If you use a non-sonos sub, it will need to be wired to the Sonos Amp, so it would be a bit more challenging I imagine.


2) Place the AMP close to the TV and run the speaker wire run to this (slightly harder wiring due to positioning).


You can do this too. It really comes down to what wiring is easier. If you want to use a non-sonos sub, the wiring would probably be easier in this setup, but perhaps not for hiding wires.


Also, does anyone know if the Sonos AMP might be available before February 2019?


It's supposed to be available to home audio installers on Dec.1, if I remember correctly. If you were planning on using an installer, that's the way to go. If not , perhaps you can find an installer that's willing to sell you one without an install, not sure. And of course, it's still a bit early. I wouldn't be surprised if things change regarding release dates.

You really have a lot of options, which is great, but hard to make a decision I know. We can tell you a lot of different things, but it never hurts to look around here and see what other people are doing, or what we didn't think to tell you.
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Thanks all.

Ajtrek and melvimbe, if you’re both saying that ceiling alone may be odd and TV sound needs to be rooted perhaps we should go with the plan for a playbar or beam with connect:amp/4 living room ceiling speakers and connect:amp/2 kitchen speakers.

If we go this route does anyone think there be any delay for the ceiling speakers used for surround for TV?
Thanks all.

Ajtrek and melvimbe, if you’re both saying that ceiling alone may be odd and TV sound needs to be rooted perhaps we should go with the plan for a playbar or beam with connect:amp/4 living room ceiling speakers and connect:amp/2 kitchen speakers.

If we go this route does anyone think there be any delay for the ceiling speakers used for surround for TV?


If your ceiling speakers are setup as surround sound, there will be no delay. Surround sound should be coming from behind you (or at least above) so I would not plan on using ceiling speakers towards the front of the living room as surround sound.. Also, you can't setup 2 connect:amps (or 2 new Sonos Amps) as surround sound. Only 1.

I still think having 6 overhead speakers plus a playbar is overkill, but if you really want to have 6 ceiling speakers, here's an idea. Use a Sonos amp (or connect:amp) to run front living room ceiling speakers and the kitchen speakers. This will be zone 1 and will only be used for music sources. Setup a playbar for the tv and sonos amp/connect:amp to power the back living room (middle of the joint room) for surround sound. This will be zone 2 and can be used for TV and music sources. You can play the two zones together for music if you wish, but for TV, you'll get an echo.

Again, I have a room similar in size to yours that I run with a playbar, 2 play:3s and a sub, and am quite happy with it.
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Okay thanks. This sounds like a good solution. To be sure, can the connect:amp with surround 2 speakers be placed in the closer and receive signal wirelessly from the playbar or beam?
Okay thanks. This sounds like a good solution. To be sure, can the connect:amp with surround 2 speakers be placed in the closer and receive signal wirelessly from the playbar or beam?

No, it cannot. The Sonos Amp can be used as surround wirelessly like that, but not the connect:amp.

For more info about using the connect:amp, see this article
There is a tendency to assume that 5.1 is better than 4.1. (five must be better than four, right?)

With respect to using a center channel speaker or not: It depends on the situation. If the left-right speakers are very close to the TV, 4.1 is fine and a center channel speaker is redundant. (Here I'm assuming that the surround processor properly re-distributes the center channel information) If the left-right speakers are widely spaced and "image" poorly, there will be a "hole in the center" that a center channel can fill. It is very important that the speakers across the front have matching timbre -- otherwise an actor walking across the sound stage will suffer a voice change as they move from speaker to speaker. Matching timber can be difficult if you want to use an older, existing pair of speakers along with a newly purchased center speaker. It is unlikely that the new speaker will exactly match the timbre of the old speakers. In this case, in my opinion, 4.1 is a better choice.

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I'm not keen on using ceiling speakers for the left-right because they are not framing the TV. To me the situation seems disjointed. Plus, sound from the tweeters tends to be directed toward the floor, not the listeners. Ceiling speakers are OK for surround. A consideration for the surround speakers is that they not be too close to the listening position. Otherwise, small changes in the listener's position will be very significant. In really bad situations one surround speaker will dominate and the other will be insignificant. If you are watching a movie with a partner, one of you will hear the left surround while the other will hear only the right surround.

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In a kitchen, placing speakers near the noise source is a good plan. In any case they should bracket the area where most time is spent. A second pair of speakers near a seating area can be helpful. Always provide a mechanism to balance the levels between the speakers.

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Long HDMI cables can result in video problems, however, in this case all we need is the audio.
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Thanks very much to all. We are going to go with a Beam or Soundbar for a center channel speaker with ceiling speakers for surround following the recs from buzz and others regarding position.

Prior to running the ceiling speaker wire to a closet that is at a fair distance from the TV, to be sure, does anyone know if the Sonos Amp will accept signal wirelessly from the Beam or Soundbar without any noticeable delays? Also, if we have a second Sonos Connect:Amp in the same closet powering the kitchen ceiling speakers will this be able to run off wifi as well? Thanks again.
Thanks very much to all. We are going to go with a Beam or Soundbar for a center channel speaker with ceiling speakers for surround following the recs from buzz and others regarding position.

Prior to running the ceiling speaker wire to a closet that is at a fair distance from the TV, to be sure, does anyone know if the Sonos Amp will accept signal wirelessly from the Beam or Soundbar without any noticeable delays?


If the Sonos Amp is used for surround sound, there will be no noticeable delays. If it setup as a different room, then it will be in sync for music sources, but not for TV audio.


Also, if we have a second Sonos Connect:Amp in the same closet powering the kitchen ceiling speakers will this be able to run off wifi as well? Thanks again.


Yes, it can run off wifi without issue. This would need to be setup as separate room, since you already have your Sonos Amp as surrounds, and therefore will be in synch for music sources, but not for TV sources.
maki,

If you are using a CONNECT:AMP for surround, it must be wired to the network.
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Thanks all. If we get a 4K Samsung TV, does everyone think a Beam or Soundbar are needed? I've heard the sounds from these units are pretty good. If we used the TV audio as the anchor I'm assuming we could use the Sonos Amp with ceiling speakers as surround?
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I'm not a fan of the beam by itself but if you add surrounds to it then it is the way to go. I'm a fan of the Beam HDMI connection over the sonically better playbar (that has optical input instead).
Thanks all. If we get a 4K Samsung TV, does everyone think a Beam or Soundbar are needed? I've heard the sounds from these units are pretty good. If we used the TV audio as the anchor I'm assuming we could use the Sonos Amp with ceiling speakers as surround?

No, CONNECT:AMP can be used to drive surrounds only in conjunction with PLAYBAR, PLAYBASE, or BEAM.

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One way to approach TV sound capability is to look at the physical size of speakers that you think sound good. There are some laws of physics that discourage smaller speakers from delivering that good sound. Calculate the size of speaker that could be stuffed inside that TV. How does this compare to the size of your favorite speakers?

All observers I have encountered feel that BEAM is a step up from TV sound.

In the end, goodness of sound is always in the ears of the listener. Only you know what sounds best (to you). Listeners I respect may or may not like speakers that I like, but we agree that we are all "right".
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One way to approach TV sound capability is to look at the physical size of speakers that you think sound good. There are some laws of physics that discourage smaller speakers from delivering that good sound. Calculate the size of speaker that could be stuffed inside that TV. How does this compare to the size of your favorite speakers?

Laws of physics are of course secondary to spousal approval. No speaker sounds good from the dog house. 🙂
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Thanks all. If we get a 4K Samsung TV, does everyone think a Beam or Soundbar are needed? I've heard the sounds from these units are pretty good. If we used the TV audio as the anchor I'm assuming we could use the Sonos Amp with ceiling speakers as surround?

Hi Maki

I'm going to proceed on the premise that the potion of your question in BOLD was referring to audio after it was routed through a Beam or Playbar? In that case the use of the soon to be released Songs Amp the answer is YES.

Click the link for my opinion of Beam vs Playbar/Playbase for vocals/speech in an open space: https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/beam-vs-playbar-playbase-my-opinion-6814520

In the end it will be your ears that will have to determine which sounds better either the Beam or Playbar in your situation. The surrounds don't figure into the equation as a major player when evaulating the Beam or Playbar for general vocals/speech. I recommend listening to both with out the surrounds in the first instance. Since you can purchase both and return the one you don't want (via most retailers_just check the return policy) auditioning both should be a simple task. Good Luck.

Cheers!
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Many apologies if this is repetitive but I seem to be reading conflicting things online.

If we have a Sonos Beam in one location by the TV, will we be able to have rear surround powered by Sonos:Amp completely wirelessly that will not result in noticeable sound delay? Our ceiling speaker wire is now running to a closet where Sonos:Amp will live once available. Just want to be sure this set up will work. Thanks!
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Many apologies if this is repetitive but I seem to be reading conflicting things online.



Hi maki

Stop reading the "fake" internet ;);) LOL

As long as the Beam is connected to your TV properly (as has been already discussed) the Sonos Amp with 3rd party rear speakers can be bonded to the Beam as surrounds in a similar fashion as if they were branded Sonos speakers and there will be no delay. A delay could possibly come into play if the Sonos Amp were used to drive 3rd party speakers as a separate room (not bonded as surrounds) to which you were sending TV audio.

Cheers!