Network Connect Options with SONOS Soundbars and AMPs in Different Rooms

  • 28 December 2021
  • 9 replies
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SONOS Connect Options with SB's & AMP's

To help illustrate the network design options, I have attached a series of drawings with the various connections (see above link to my DropBox folder).  

 

I am in need of some specific advice on connecting SONOS AMPs and SONOS Soundbars to a TV?  I need to better understand the connection interfaces between them, especially when the AMP is located in a different room in the house.

 

Almost all of the custom homes I service install 4K-TV's on a wall without an equipment cabinet beneath them.  Most install SONOS ARC or Beam speaker bars.  Some decide to have in-ceiling speakers set-up as surrounds behind the seating area.  The In-Ceiling (IC) speaker wires run to an equipment cabinet in a different part of the house.

 

At one house there were four (4) in-ceiling speakers, two (2) front and two (2) rear, and I was instructed to place an HDMI 2.0 ARC Extender behind the TV to convert HDMI to Ethernet, and then Ethernet to HDMI, using a pair of ARC Extenders.  This is working well.

 

If there is a Speaker Bar installed for the left/center/right (FRONT) channels, and then a pair of SONOS In-ceiling speakers installed for left/right (REAR) channels, and the AMP is located in a different room, what is the best cable connection set-up?

 

The major hang-up I am having is when the AMP and Soundbar are not nearby or close enough for a direct WiFi connection.  From the SONOS forums it is stated there is an internal 5GHz WiFi link between the Soundbar and AMP.
 

When the Soundbar is below the TV, and the AMP is in another part of the house, what are the connection options?  I think the answer may be a combination of HDMI ARC Extenders and using the Optical-to-HDMI adapter for the Soundbar.  Is this acceptable and does this create excess audio delay or synch issues?  
 
Please review and let me know your advice.  Mike S.
 
  

9 replies

First, I was under the impression that Sonos provided a place for installers to gather and get feedback. Since I’m not on that site, if there is one, be aware that this feedback is from a true “home install” perspective, and not professional feedback.

Apologies for slightly rewording your request.

If there is a Sonos soundbar driving the front channels, how do I connect to the Sonos Amp driving rear speakers if the Amp is in another room?

Since the normal method of connection between the Sonos soundbar and the Sonos Amp driving the rear speakers is a 5Ghz radio signal generated by the sound bar, your best bet is to at first try using that format, using the normal “bonding” procedure to make the connection. If the Amp is too far away, I’d be tempted to run ethernet cables between the sound bar and the router, and the Sonos Amp and the router, but not turn off the sound bar’s radio/wifi, and see if that works. If it doesn’t, I’d definitely get in touch with the professional support area, if such exists, of Sonos, and not this community.

I’m a little confused by your answer to your question in blue. Why wouldn’t you be connecting the sound bar to the TV using an HDMI cable to the sound bar from the TV’s ARC port? The only reason you might want to go to an optical cable is if the TV has only an optical output, and no ARC/eARC output, which means you’d lose both any CEC data transfer, as well as the option for Atmos. However, there is no additional delay in either ARC/eARC or using optical with the optical adapter. 

As long as you’re playing the single room (sound bar and surrounds) there should be zero lag/sync issues either via wifi or wired solutions, assuming the extra speakers are set up as surround speakers, and not set up as extra rooms and grouped. 

The time where there can be lag/sync issues is when you’re playing the TV input on that Sonos sound bar “room” and then grouping a second Sonos “room” with it. Then you end up paying the ~75ms tax for buffering the signal for all potential secondary rooms, so any grouped “room” will be slightly behind the original TV input “room”. 

OK, more feedback, now having looked at your drawings.

Page 1 is pretty much what I was suggesting. Those ethernet switches should likely be unmanaged, to prevent issues.

Page 2 won’t work, since you’ve only got one Sonos Amp, which could drive either the front in-ceiling pair, or (if you had a second Amp), the rear pair. You definitely need two Sonos Amps for that setup. 

Page 3 is the ideal setup, with one change. The HDMI-ARC connection goes to the Sonos Beam gen 2, and not the Amp. The Beam breaks the received signal, and connects via wifi to the Amp, which powers the rear “surround” speakers.

Page 4 wouldn’t work, because the connection for the rear speakers needs to be from the device that’s splitting up the signal, not the TV set. You’d be better off connecting the Sonos Beam Gen 2 to the HDMI ARC signal from the TV, and then figuring out (like you have in Page 1) a way to get the signal from the Beam to the Amp to drive those rear speakers. The TV set doesn’t split those signals for you. 

Oh, one quick note….not a huge fan of the email address on the images. Nothing personal, but providing a link on a fairly public website to an image with your email on it is just asking for an additional amount of spam. Not that you can do a whole lot to stop all of it, but reducing the amount you get exposed to might be a good thing :)

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Airgetlam...thanks for taking some time to review my design questions.  I have made some minor updates to my network drawing:  

SONOS Network Design - Rev2

 

Please note…

Page-1 Design is okay, but I am unable to pair the SONOS Beam2 with the In-Ceiling Speakers --- unless config error???  This may be because I’ve got WiFi Disabled on the Beam2 (Ethernet connected).  Does WiFi Disabled also disable the SONOS to SONOS WiFi link?  

Page-2 Design is currently working and was recommended by Crutchfield Technical Support.

Page-3.1 and 3.2 Design: I agree with your recommendation, however, I was unable to get it to work when the HDMI ARC cable was connected to the Beam2.  Perhaps a config error on my part?

Page-4 Design:  Still unsure how to make this work.  

 

Mike S.

 

Looking at the 2nd image with the four ceiling speakers and no Beam - it shows only one Amp connected and playing the front and rear HT channels - you will need two separate Amps to do that. I assume the other Amp is directly underneath.. ha ha 😀

There is the issue that the device (i.e. Beam/Amp/Arc) playing the front HT channels, ideally needs to ‘bond’ directly over a 5Ghz Ad-hoc wireless connection to the Amp, or speakers, used for the rear surround channels - and it’s the same thing for the one, or two, Sub(s) for the setup too.

The issue is the 5Ghz band is quick, but it may not penetrate through walls over some distance and wiring all is then really the only option and (I think) ideally all cables should go back to the same switch/router.

I’m not sure if it’s best to switch the HT device (built-in) WiFi adapters ‘on’ or ‘off’, when all is wired, as there seems to be different views about that point, but obviously if using a wireless Sub in the room, then the HT adapter will need to be left switched ‘on’.. but if wiring every component, I think I would still try it with the WiFi adapters set to ‘On’. I guess others will correct me if they have a different view. You can set them to ‘off’ if wiring another wireless device to the network (a Boost maybe) to create a SonosNet network.

Just because there is a media/network room elsewhere in the Home, it doesn’t always mean it has to be used and if I was setting up my HT, I would be inclined to put any Amp being used for the rear speakers surrounds in the same room as the soundbar, that’s if there was even the slightest opportunity to do that.

Page 1 design:

Yes, as I thought I’d indicated, you should not ever turn off the wifi on any of the sound bars. Doing so both disables the wifi as well as the SonosNet connection. Based on your notes in orange, it seems like the Amp hasn’t been added as a surround device, but instead is a second “room” in the Sonos controller….or that there’s something in those various switches that’s blocking the transfer of data. Which is why Sonos systems are really designed for the Amp and the sound bar to be in the same room. 

Page 2 design:

Wonderful that Crutchfield designed this, but you’re not getting surround information from any speakers in that system. You’re getting the front right and left channels from all four speakers. With a single Amp, there’s nothing driving surround information.  

Page 3.1 design:

Standard setup. As long as the Sonos Amp is connected via wifi (make sure the radio is turned on on both devices), then this should work.

Page 3.2 design:

Again, this on’t work. The Beam is the device that needs to receive the HDMI ARC signal, which is then split and the surround information is transferred via wifi (technically unseen on SonosNet, on a 5Ghz channel) to the Sonos Amp. That connection is not reversible, i.e. the Amp can not send the front signal to the Sonos Beam. 

Page 4 design:

No, TVs do not have the circuitry to split the signal properly so that you can use both optical and HDMI ARC. At least, I’ve never seen one that can, and Sonos is certainly not able to deal with two separate signals. There’s always a “parent” device that takes the 5.1 signal and splits it up to be sent to other “child” devices. Sonos doesn’t allow two “parent” devices to be part of a single room.

Oh, thanks for removing the email address...my OCD has reduced :)

Note, I understand that you can actually switch the WiFi ‘off’ on the wired HT device/surrounds, but if a decision is made to do that, then you must wire another device (with WiFi enabled) to the router to create a SonosNet network, otherwise the network Ethernet ports may not work - it just needs any Sonos device wired with WiFi ‘on’, it doesn’t have to be a device that forms part of the Home Theatre setup - but to avoid any confusion I’ve changed/updated my earlier post to suggest that the WiFi is left ‘on’ anyway - but just to say there is no harm in trying it with the WiFi adapters ‘off’, but just remember to wire a device (like a boost for example) to the main router.

Hope that clears up any ambiguity.

To clarify one point: there’s no need for any device to have its radio turned on so long as all are wired. 

The wired latency between the HT master and its satellites is the critical part, as the buffers are very shallow in order to preserve lip-sync.

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