What type of DAC do you use with Sonos Port?

  • 31 May 2022
  • 6 replies
  • 170 views

I’m getting a pair of GoldenEar Triton 2+ floorstanding speakers.  I’d love Sonos and I only care about Sonos as a source.  I’d like to setup:

  • Port  → DAC → Amp → Speakers

I’m curious what external DAC folks have found to be superior to the built-in Port DAC?

And if you want to throw in what type of Amp/Speakers that’d be cool too!  I’m considering Cambridge, NAD, Anthem, Parasound.


6 replies

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I’m curious what external DAC folks have found to be superior to the built-in Port DAC?

And if you want to throw in what type of Amp/Speakers that’d be cool too!  I’m considering Cambridge, NAD, Anthem, Parasound.

None, and that includes standalone DACs at a price point of USD 2000, when compared to the DAC in the older version of the Port. Which is supported also by the absence of even one blind and well controlled listening comparison test of any DAC versus the one in the Sonos Connect. I refer to just sound quality with EQ in flat mode; more expensive DACs may offer a wider range of sound shaping features, so if that is part of being superior, then there may be many such.

Much the same applies to my Connect Amp, which is not able to be picked in a listening test of amps of any brand that are in its power delivery spec, when played on speakers that do not need more power than 55 wpc into 8 ohms that the Connect Amp delivers. I can’t speak to the new version from personal experience but I doubt that things will be different there, based on accounts here from knowledgeable posters.

Of the amps named, I have used NAD and I am not impressed by its build quality and therefore, reliability. 

 

I have never used the Port as well since my Connects continue to perform just fine, so I can only refer to discussions here that the Port can do strange things in certain modes - but as far as I recall this is only when its DAC is being bypassed and digital outputs are in use. And not having heard any of this, I can’t say how audible these differences are, especially in controlled conditions.

The actual signal path is: PORT → (external) DAC → AMP (Line-In) → (internal) ADC → (internal) DAC --> (internal) Amplifier → Speakers

The signal path could be: PORT → Network → (internal) AMP DAC → (internal) Amplifier → Speakers

The actual signal path is:

This when Sonos Amp is in use - but why use a Port at all then? 

The OP posted path is correct when a third party amp is in use.

True. The SONOS naming conventions are sometimes confusing. (“AMP”, “ARC”, “CONNECT”, “CONNECT:AMP”)

The changes from ZP to Connect/Play etc was some marketing jazz explained at the time( 2012?) of that change of wanting to move from nouns to verbs for product names in hope of making them sound more dynamic:-)).

There must have been a change from that thinking to the present naming conventions - when marketing got a new head perhaps!

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