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Sonos connect + active subwoofer

  • 20 September 2017
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Is it possible to use an active subwoofer (not sonos sub) for example Dali e9-f by connecting audio out from a Sonos Connect directly to the line in RCA-s of the subwoofer? I intend to use the subwoofer together with a single Sonos play:5 ( grouped ), until i might expand and combine with old loudspeakers through a new stereo reciever.

This way I hope to add the play 5 with the extra boost of bass of a subwoofer, that later I can also use with a classic stereo reciever and loudspeaker. Buying a Sonos sub is not something I want to do because of personal sonoc preferences and beeing strictly bound to sonos.

Thanks!
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Best answer by ryde 14 November 2017, 20:23

To follow up. I now have a third party subwoofer plugged to a sonos connect and it works great! I can adjust the volume separately in the sonos control app. And also when increasing the overall volume on my grouped setup of a single play 5 and the connect (plugged to the subwoofer) the levels adjust appropriately (the sub volume increase in the same ratio as the play 5 volume).

The crossover on the sub makes adjustments of the frequency range easy to match with the play5 to make it sound great.

The sonos connect triggers the auto turn on function of the subwoofer when I start a song. You may have to raise the volume a little if its turned down really low since some subs demand a higher signal to engage.

Overall this experiment has left me increadably satisfied. Amazing bass from a used XTZ w99 12 together with a used but as new sonos connect has left me with what I intended. Less money spent, better bass, better and more adjustments available for controlling the bass and lastly the flexibility to later team up the sonos connect with a full scale stereo setup with the bass connect to the amp at a later stage.

So I highly recommend this type of setup!
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Userlevel 4
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It's not going to work as your expect.

First, I'm going to presume that you'll wire from the headphone out rather than trying to get a signal from the Line In socket. (Audio and video sockets are, for the most part, directional. That means a Line In socket is a one-way connection i.e. signals going IN to a device - Hence Line IN).

However, even if you wire to the headphone out and use that to connect to the sub's Line IN connections, the act of pushing in the jack plug switches off the sound going to the loudspeakers inside the Play 5. That means you'll get sound to the sub, but no sound heard from Play 5 directly.

This affects your plan to add a second Play 5 in two ways:

1) Only one of the Play 5s will give sound out, so you can't use them as a stereo pair

2) The Sonos software senses headphones connected to a Play 5. That means if it was grouped in a stereo pair - which is what you were planning to do with 2x Play 5s and the sub - then the one with the headphones connected is dropped from group volume. That's a sensible thing. You wouldn't want to be blasted out when listening on phones by someone else controlling the volume. But it does mean that you can't control the sub level as part of an audio group


The Sonos Connect:Amp has a dedicated subwoofer output. The Sonos Connect has a dedicated stereo output that could be split with appropriate hardware to drive active speakers and the Dali sub at the same time.
Userlevel 1
Thank you for the answer. I dont think I follow you though. I dont intend to add a play 5 later. And I dont really get what you mean by the headphone jack. I will try to refrace that.

By connecting the audio outs from sonos connect to audio in on the active sub, will I get a signal supplying the sub to be able to play? Second questions is if its possible with this sonos connect/subwoofer setup to group the sonos connect with my existing single play 5, hence getting the play 5 to play in sync with the active subwoofer?
It does seem that the first reply didn't get what you are planning. My view is that your eventual plan makes perfect sense, and the interim very little sense and will not sound remotely like the musicians intended. There is simply no mechanism in what you suggest for handing crossover. The Play:5 will play full frequency spectrum. I can't be sure what the sub would do when fed a full spectrum, but I just cannot imagine what the result of the two together would sound like.
Userlevel 7
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Yea, I think Lucid was a little confused as to what you were trying to accomplish. He's right that you don't want to connect the subwoofer to the P:5, but that isn't what you're asking. What you're describing seems like it would work though. And since it's just rca connections between the CONNECT and your sub, I don't think you could cause any damage by trying it. I've never tried this before(I'm kind a curious and may try it now), and I'm not a sub expert, but it makes sense to me.


And yes, this should be able to sync with your play:5 without issues.

If you don't already have the connect though, I would look into getting a CONNECT:AMP instead. As Lucid stated, it has the dedicated subwoofer connection and could drive your old speakers as well. Complete control with the sonos app. If you are wanting a receiver for tv audio, or have multiple input sources (CD, bluray, phono, etc) then the traditional receiver probably makes more sense.
Userlevel 1
The play 5 would probably play full spectrum yes, since it has no idea that the sonos connect is actually plugged to a subwoofer rather than active stereo speakers or a reciever or whatever. No matter what The sonos connect is plugged to I think the grouped single play 5 will play full spectrum.

That might not be perfect, when the subwoofer is there to also fill the low frequensies, you are right. But maybe it still sound ok. One possibility is to lower the bass in the sonos app, reducing the overall bass and compensate with raising the bass/level on the subwoofer itself.

Btw I think most subwoofers can handle full spectrum signals going in to them and that the subwoofer itself perform the crossover of this full signal. Might not be as perfect as feeding the sub with a signal from a designated sub output with already filtered signal with only low frequensies but would probably work.

Comments?? 🙂
Im starting to thinks this idea will actually work, with the only flaw beeing that you cant cut the low frequensies played through the play 5 in order to let the subwoofer handle all low frequinsies.
The play 5 would probably play full spectrum yes, since it has no idea that the sonos connect is actually plugged to a subwoofer rather than active stereo speakers or a reciever or whatever. No matter what The sonos connect is plugged to I think the grouped single play 5 will play full spectrum.

That might not be perfect, when the subwoofer is there to also fill the low frequensies, you are right. But maybe it still sound ok. One possibility is to lower the bass in the sonos app, reducing the overall bass and compensate with raising the bass/level on the subwoofer itself.

Btw I think most subwoofers can handle full spectrum signals going in to them and that the subwoofer itself perform the crossover of this full signal. Might not be as perfect as feeding the sub with a signal from a designated sub output with already filtered signal with only low frequensies but would probably work.

Comments?? 🙂
Im starting to thinks this idea will actually work, with the only flaw beeing that you cant cut the low frequensies played through the play 5 in order to let the subwoofer handle all low frequinsies.
So the only flaw is that it doesn't work the way a ,Sub is supposed to work in the most fundamental way.

But perhaps I was too pessimistic about the likely results. Maybe, as you suggest, by lowering the bass on the P:5, and adding in the sub via the Connect as you say, you might end up with something almost as well-balanced and authentic as a Trueplay-tuned Play:5.
Userlevel 4
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Thank you for the answer. I dont think I follow you though. I dont intend to add a play 5 later. And I dont really get what you mean by the headphone jack. I will try to refrace that.

By connecting the audio outs from sonos connect to audio in on the active sub, will I get a signal supplying the sub to be able to play? Second questions is if its possible with this sonos connect/subwoofer setup to group the sonos connect with my existing single play 5, hence getting the play 5 to play in sync with the active subwoofer?


Yep, you're right. Somehow I missed the second line of the first paragraph, so I read it as "...example Dali e9-f by connecting audio out from a single Sonos play:5... " My apologies

You're planning on grouping a Connect with a single Play 5. The Connect's stereo out would feed the Line In of a sub. The Play 5 is simply playing as normal. Yes, that would work.

The sub has a frequency range that probably extends up to something in the region of 160~200Hz but rolling off (tapering off) at the upper end of its range. The phono input will carry the entire frequency range 20Hz-20kHz, but the sub won't respond to anything above its upper frequency cut-off (200Hz).

A Play 5 should be capable of getting down to 60Hz,and probably a tad lower depending on proximity effect. The important thing is the Play 5's bass response is well within the crossover range for most decent domestic subs.

On the rear of the sub you'll find the crossover controls. Phase, Volume, Crossover Frequency.

Phase you'll adjust to either 0 or 180 degree, whichever gives the strongest bass response. Volume is next; get the level between the Play 5 and sub about even. Finally, crossover: This one's the trickiest. You could start with the crossover control at the lowest frequency, then increase until the sonic gap is filled. If you're getting a bass thump at the crossover point it means the sub volume needs tweaking down a bit.

Your aim is for a seamless blend between the sub and the Play 5. If you knew the lowest clean frequncy the Play 5 can handle then the sub could be set at about 10Hz higher. If you don't know then it's tuning by ear.
Userlevel 1
If anyone here has a sonos connect and a third party active subwoofer I would be really excited to here if it works at all, and if you can control volume through the sonos controller app? Thanks!!
Userlevel 1
To follow up. I now have a third party subwoofer plugged to a sonos connect and it works great! I can adjust the volume separately in the sonos control app. And also when increasing the overall volume on my grouped setup of a single play 5 and the connect (plugged to the subwoofer) the levels adjust appropriately (the sub volume increase in the same ratio as the play 5 volume).

The crossover on the sub makes adjustments of the frequency range easy to match with the play5 to make it sound great.

The sonos connect triggers the auto turn on function of the subwoofer when I start a song. You may have to raise the volume a little if its turned down really low since some subs demand a higher signal to engage.

Overall this experiment has left me increadably satisfied. Amazing bass from a used XTZ w99 12 together with a used but as new sonos connect has left me with what I intended. Less money spent, better bass, better and more adjustments available for controlling the bass and lastly the flexibility to later team up the sonos connect with a full scale stereo setup with the bass connect to the amp at a later stage.

So I highly recommend this type of setup!
Is it possible to use an active subwoofer (not sonos sub) for example Dali e9-f by connecting audio out from a Sonos Connect directly to the line in RCA-s of the subwoofer? I intend to use the subwoofer together with a single Sonos play:5 ( grouped ), until i might expand and combine with old loudspeakers through a new stereo reciever.

This way I hope to add the play 5 with the extra boost of bass of a subwoofer, that later I can also use with a classic stereo reciever and loudspeaker. Buying a Sonos sub is not something I want to do because of personal sonoc preferences and beeing strictly bound to sonos.

Thanks Ryde, this post of yours is really helpful and helps me to add a non Sonos sub to my Sonos Base and Play 1 surround set up 😃
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Thanks! Good to hear! Tell us how your setup sounds!
Userlevel 2
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Is it possible to use an active subwoofer (not sonos sub) for example Dali e9-f by connecting audio out from a Sonos Connect directly to the line in RCA-s of the subwoofer? I intend to use the subwoofer together with a single Sonos play:5 ( grouped ), until i might expand and combine with old loudspeakers through a new stereo reciever.

This way I hope to add the play 5 with the extra boost of bass of a subwoofer, that later I can also use with a classic stereo reciever and loudspeaker. Buying a Sonos sub is not something I want to do because of personal sonoc preferences and beeing strictly bound to sonos.

Thanks Ryde, this post of yours is really helpful and helps me to add a non Sonos sub to my Sonos Base and Play 1 surround set up :D

Could you pls share if it works with surround setup, interested to experiment with connect and non Sonos subwoofer
Is it possible to use an active subwoofer (not sonos sub) for example Dali e9-f by connecting audio out from a Sonos Connect directly to the line in RCA-s of the subwoofer? I intend to use the subwoofer together with a single Sonos play:5 ( grouped ), until i might expand and combine with old loudspeakers through a new stereo reciever.

This way I hope to add the play 5 with the extra boost of bass of a subwoofer, that later I can also use with a classic stereo reciever and loudspeaker. Buying a Sonos sub is not something I want to do because of personal sonoc preferences and beeing strictly bound to sonos.

Thanks!


Hi Ryde,

Great explanation and exactly what I wanted to hear, thank you very much and now to get a subwoofer

Regards


Roy
Thanks guys for the post. I just bought a Klipsch Sub 8 on ebay for $80 and plan to pair it with my existing unused Connect. Hopefully it will improve the sound when paired with 2 Play Ones. Ill let you know how it sounds.
William
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So @bfitzhugh how does it sound?

I want to complete my system with a Playbar + sub but the Sonos sub price is indecent. I already have a Connect, so adding an active subwoofer from third party would be pretty easy and inexpensive.

Userlevel 7
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So@bfitzhugh how does it sound?

I want to complete my system with a Playbar + sub but the Sonos sub price is indecent. I already have a Connect, so adding an active subwoofer from third party would be pretty easy and inexpensive.

 

Your scenario is significantly different then @bftizhugh though, since he’s playing from an music audio source while, presumably, you’re playbar will be playing TV audio.   For TV audio, Sonos ensures that all the speakers in the defined HT room play in sync with video.  For other speakers you want to group with your HT room, there’s a necessary delay to properly buffer the audio, approximately 75ms.  This results in an echo effect between your HT room speakers and other room speakers.  For your scenario, your sub will be behind the other speakers.

 

When playing music service, everything is buffered since there is no need to sync audio with video.  Music played in different rooms will play in sync, so you can cheat and setup your play:1s (or other speakers) as one room, Connect with attached sub as another, and play them in sync.  Hopefully I explained that clearly.

 

I think this is actually a very good time to be looking at getting a Sonos sub though.  Best Buy’s black friday ad shows the Sub at 20% off.  It’s safe to assume that same discount will be at other retailers and the Sonos site.  Sonos also has the tradeup program going on now, allowing you to tradeup your Connect for 30% off the price of any new Sonos product, including the Sub.  This might be more than want you want to spend, but for a Sonos HT setup, it’s really your only option right now.

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I understand the buffer-delay thing, but I don’t fully get the difference between having a Play:1 or a Connect in said “HT room”. I must say that I don’t currently have a playbar, so I don’t know if something different is visible within the app in that case.

 

Anyway, in a classic home theater setup one can have the bar, the sub, two satellites play:1. I’m sure Sonos sync everything with the video. What’s the difference if I also add other Sonos items, like a connect, or other play:1 or :5 or whatever? Does the system blocks me or what?

 

Unfortunately I’m outside US and can’t buy from Best Buy. I’ll see what Black Friday brings, since it’s a thing also here in Europe now, but 699 Euros for a subwoofer, even with a 30% off is a pretty high price. I didn’t know that I could trade Connect for a Sub but I’ll eventually think about it.

Userlevel 7
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Sonos has a concept called “room’ or “zone” in which it allows you to “bond” speakers together to always play in sync.  A room could be a single speaker, a pair of speakers, a pair with sub, an amp, a Connect (now Port), a HT setup for example.  There are more, but they are limited to what you can do.  You cannot have 4 play:1s as a same room for example.  And you cannot use a Connect/Port in a HT room.  The Connect/Port can’t actually be bonded with anything else, it’s always stand alone as it’s own room.

 

Whenever you want to play a single audio source in multiple rooms, you must ‘group’ them temporarily in the Sonos app.  When the source is music, everything is in sync.  The audio is buffered in all rooms.  When the source is TV, only the HT room that is connected to the TV will match the video on the TV.   Any other grouped rooms will be slightly behind, buffered for multiroom audio.

 

So, for your plan, you would necessarily have your Playbar as one room and the Connect w/attached sub as a separate room….even though they may physically be in the same room.  You can group them together to play the same audio.  For music sources, it will work fine.  For TV sources, your connect/sub will be slightly behind, creating an echo effect.

 

To give you another option to think about, you might want to consider using a Sonos Amp instead of playbar.  You can use your own speakers for  the front channels with a phantom center channel and your own third party amp.  The overall cost may be a little bit more, depending on what speakers you get, but you can trade in your Connect, bringing down the price of the Sonos amp by 30%.

 

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Ok, so if I’m not getting it wrong, the feature I’m currently using to see more speakers as a single one (I have it for a couple of :1 coupled as stereo speakers) would NOT be available to merge playbar+connect. On the other hand, it IS available to merge playbar+sub.

 

I’m currently using a 3rd party home theater that can alternatively play audio from TV, Playstation etc, or audio coming from the Connect. What I want to do is get rid of this system and replace it with a Sonos based HT.

 

Thank you for your help!

Correct.  A Connect cannot be bonded with other devices as a single room.  A Playbar and Sub can.  See this link for details on Sonos surround sound offerings:

https://support.sonos.com/s/article/2927?language=en_US

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