SONOS Amp vs Origin Acoustics Valet AV850

  • 26 September 2019
  • 2 replies

I recently purchased a model home that included a Origin Acoustics Valet AV850 Distributed Audio Amplifier (OA). My previous house was stocked with SONOS Play Bars, Play Ones (gen1), Subs, and a connect so while I enjoy the OA capabilities I simply want to play the same music throughout the house rather than supporting two eco-systems and therefore two music streams.

The OA currently works with Gen 2 Echo Dots. They talked about adjusting the ceiling mount for the gen 3 Echo Dot but never delivered. As for how it works, Ethernet cables run from each of the OAs four zones to ceiling mounted Echo Dots. The Ethernet cable goes into a OA dongle that contains one Ethernet out jack and one 3.5mm jack. Short connections from the dongle are made to the Echo dot. The Echo Dot gets powered via POE from the OA amplifier and sound from the Dot travels through the 3.5mm output back through the OA dongle and Ethernet cable into to the OA amplifier. Any sounds from the Dot can be heard directly through the wired speakers within each OA zone.

I'm interested in replacing the Origin Acoustics Amp with 4 SONOS Amps but I'm unsure if my desired setup will work

I have tested a SONOS AMP using the speakers and Dot from one OA Zone but, unlike the OA setup, the sound NOW comes directly from the Echo Dot. Even when dialed to 10 (max) the Dot sound is not sufficiently heard. While I'm happy moving the entirety of the home's wired speakers to SONOS Amps, I feel like I'm giving up some impressive functionality with the OA Valet.

Does anyone have any experiences (good or bad) connecting an Echo Dot Gen 2 using a 3.5mm to RCA cable to the new AMP? Am I alone in this desired configuration/setup? Is SONOS or has the community developed (or is developing) something similar?

Thanks for reading. I'll take any/all advice.

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2 replies

A couple things here.

First I would not replace the OA with Sonos Amps. I would use your Connect and/or 1-3 Sonos Ports (the new Connect) to combine your OA with your existing Sonos speakers.

Second, I'm not quite sure what you did for your Sonos amp test. I have you enabled the Sonos skill with Alexa so you that you can do voice commands on your dots to play music on Sonos wirelessly? (This is something you should definitely do, along with Alexa groups, regardless of your setup). If so, then yes, Alexa's responses will come over on the echo dots only, not through your ceiling speakers. And yes, the dot's speakers are on the bottom, so ceiling mounts tend to muffle the sound a bit. Is it possible that you could abandon the ceiling mounts (you wouldn't need the 3.5mm connection anymore) and just place the dot on a table in the room for better hearing? This is what I do in a couple rooms, and have no issues with hearing the response.

That's a great idea. My Connect, was not only old, but just seemed woefully under-powered. The Port was not an option when I purchased the Amps through in early August.Thankfully, Sonos is accepting a return of the Amps. I've already ordered the Ports and look forward to connecting them to the Origin Amp.

Thank you for allowing me to see clearer.