Question

Integrating Sonos Into New Home with Existing Speakers

  • 11 September 2017
  • 6 replies
  • 6954 views

I just purchased a house that has 5.1 surround speakers in the living room ceiling, plus two outdoor speakers on the deck. I'm a longtime Sonos user, and would like to optimize the setup. It is important to me (i) to be able to stream sonos through the living room ceiling speakers and (ii) to be able to listen to music outside while someone is watching TV inside. Is the best option the following:

1. Purchase 5.1 AV receiver and attach to it (i) HDTV, (ii) cable box, (iii) the 5.1 speakers, and (iv) a Sonos connect.
2. Purchase a Connect:Amp and attach to it the two outside speakers.
3. Add addition Sonos Play 1s, 3s, and 5s throughout the house as needed to create additional zones.

Does this sound right? Is there a better way that I am not thinking of?

Many thanks.

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6 replies

Can you clarify what you mean by having 5.1 surround speakers in the ceiling? 5.1 usually refers to 3 speakers up front, or a soundbar, 2 in the back for sorround, and subwoofer. So is all that in the ceiling? Or are you saying that just the 2 sourrind speakers are installed in the ceiling?

If it's the latter, what your suggesting will work (after buying the missing speakers), but you could also get a playbar, sub, and connect:amp to complete a 5.1 setup. The playbar covers the front 3 speakers, and connect amp can be bonded to the playbar to drive the sourround speakers, and then the sub of course. A second connnect:amp for the outside speakers.
Thanks for the good clarifying question. I have 5 speakers in the ceiling - 3 in front, and two in rear, plus a subwoofer. That's what makes this more complex - I can't use a playbar (I don't want to waste the existing speakers, and also a playbar does not work aesthetically in the space).
In that case, I think your plan makes sense. Depending on how you want to use those outdoor speakers, and budget, you may want to get a receiver that is capable of powering a 2nd zone. Assuming your outdoor speakers are wired to the same spot as your indoor, your outdoor speakers would be the 2nd zone. That would save you from having to get a CONNECT:AMP for the outdoor speakers, at least at first. I don't think that would add too much to the cost of the reciever.
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Depending on how you want to use those outdoor speakers, and budget, you may want to get a receiver that is capable of powering a 2nd zone. Assuming your outdoor speakers are wired to the same spot as your indoor, your outdoor speakers would be the 2nd zone. That would save you from having to get a CONNECT:AMP for the outdoor speakers, at least at first. I don't think that would add too much to the cost of the reciever.
I would discourage this - not that using Zone 2 per se is horrible, but more that the Connect doesn't integrate at all to a Zone 2 control, so you'll need to do power on/off and volume control from an IR remote controlling your main HT system, and unless you have URC, Niles, Elan, or similar system, you can't use a universal remote with the system.

For your 5.1 zone, I'd highly recommend a hub-based Logitech Harmony remote, since it integrates into Sonos and can control your Connect on the AVR, as well as the AVR itself, from one interface - something Sonos itself can't do.

Receiver recommendations generally are a whole other ball of wax, but check out the Denon X series right now, specifically the X1300W, X2300W, and X3300W, all of which are available for about half off right now as they're doing a full product line churn. Their next generation models only add Heos support, which would be wasted on a Sonos user, so you can get a very powerful receiver for practically a song. They'll probably be sold out in the next week or two, which is why I mention it.
Thanks to both of you - this is very helpful.

JEC, on the receiver question, is there any reason I shouldn't use an even simpler Denon, like the AVRS530BT? I realize that won't give me 7.1, but should work ok with my 5.1 setup. Let me know if you disagree.

Thanks!
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Well, two reasons (though the AVR-S530BT is a very good product in its own right - would recommend for many people). The first is that the X1300/S730 has more power, going from 70 to 80 watts per channel/2 channels drive, which can be important when dealing with in ceiling/in-wall speakers - their big drivers mean big bass, but also mean big power, and going to the X2300/S930 brings even more power to the table, of course.

But the bigger reason I'd suggest stepping up to the X series is IP and wired IR control. Sure, there are streaming features and blah blah blah, but you're going to use Sonos for that - however, the X series' actual selling point is the Denon InCommand features.

Especially with in-wall speakers, you've got to control your AVR somehow, which won't necessarily be conveniently located. You can use a Harmony Hub very effectively, of course, but you're still controlling the AVR via basic IR commands, which can and do go awry even in the best of situations. An X series gives you two more options for control: direct IP control via a compatible remote control, with full 2-way feedback; and the IR in jack also allows you to use a simple mono audio cable to actually directly wire into your receiver instead of using IR, or even just place an IR receiver within line of sight to where you are.