Introducing Sonos Amp



Show first post

364 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +9
Something just occurred to me...for music I would want to use the attached speakers and sonos sub for music but not the rear speakers or the phantom center channel. Will this be possible?.
SOCalistic,

Obviously there will not be a front phantom center channel for music as no such channel exists. I'm sure it will be pure stereo and if it works the same as the new Beam (I think it will) ...then you can choose to play the audio through front stereo speakers with the sub, or through both front and rear surround speakers with sub.
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
Ryan S or someone else from Sonos, could you please address the questions in my post on page 8 of this thread?

Thanks.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
SOCalistic,
Obviously there will not be a front phantom center channel for music as no such channel exists. I'm sure it will be pure stereo and if it works the same as the new Beam (I think it will) ...then you can choose to play the audio through front stereo speakers with the sub, or through both front and rear surround speakers with sub.


Where do you choose this with the Beam.
hello ryan, i just read all post and replys, I was wondering if you can help me figure this out.
I have 19 speakers total at my house( in-ceillings, standings, and outdoors) and I really like loud music.
How many amps do you think i need? i forgot to tell you that i wish to have 5 zones
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
@adam2434, the replies from the community here have been spot on. The HDMI-ARC input on the new Amp will support Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo PCM (16-bit). The main screen won't show what format is playing, but you can see that in the Settings > About Sonos. And the details on the phantom center is the same as above, it's only going to show up when there is a center channel that's looking to be played. It can't be "turned off", but music won't have it, neither will stereo signals.



hello ryan, i just read all post and replys, I was wondering if you can help me figure this out.
I have 19 speakers total at my house( in-ceillings, standings, and outdoors) and I really like loud music.
How many amps do you think i need? i forgot to tell you that i wish to have 5 zones

At a minimum, you need 5 of them in order to have 5 zones. Each Amp can put one pair of 4 Ohm speakers, or 2 pairs of 8 Ohm. If you're using 2 pairs each, you could get a total of 4 speakers on each unit, and 5 will get you 20. That said, if the speakers in your house are set up as stereo pairs, and not mono speakers, you'll likely need to have more Amps there.

The requirements of what speakers you need will come down to the specifications of those speakers you have.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
SOCalistic,

Obviously there will not be a front phantom center channel for music as no such channel exists. I'm sure it will be pure stereo and if it works the same as the new Beam (I think it will) ...then you can choose to play the audio through front stereo speakers with the sub, or through both front and rear surround speakers with sub.


Since my source is only an Apple TV 4K and nothing else and the Apple TV is set to 5.1 it's not obvious at all that the Amp won't try to split everything out to 5.1 including a phantom center channel. I play Pandora and Apple Music from my Apple TV. I also do Siri voice commands to stereo paired Homepods connected to the Apple TV by Airplay, Alexa to the Beam, and Airplay to both.
One of the main reasons I want the amp is to have true stereo separation on the front using only the two passive speakers and sub so if I can't do that it really reduces my motivation to buy the amp.
Is the manual for the Amp available yet?
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
@adam2434, the replies from the community here have been spot on. The HDMI-ARC input on the new Amp will support Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo PCM (16-bit). The main screen won't show what format is playing, but you can see that in the Settings > About Sonos. And the details on the phantom center is the same as above, it's only going to show up when there is a center channel that's looking to be played. It can't be "turned off", but music won't have it, neither will stereo signals.

Ryan S, thanks for the reply.

Since the Amp only supports 16 bit PCM, I presume that a 24 bit PCM stereo soundtrack from a Blu-ray would simply not play or would show an error, right?

Since my source is only an Apple TV 4K and nothing else and the Apple TV is set to 5.1 it's not obvious at all that the Amp won't try to split everything out to 5.1 including a phantom center channel. I play Pandora and Apple Music from my Apple TV.


Setting your Apple TV doesn't mean that at Apple TV up converts all of the content to 5.1 before sending to the Amp (pretty sure it doesn't anyway, don't have an Apple TV). If your Pandora or Apple music is recorded in stereo, the Apple TV will send it to the amp as stereo.


I also do Siri voice commands to stereo paired Homepods connected to the Apple TV by Airplay, Alexa to the Beam, and Airplay to both.
One of the main reasons I want the amp is to have true stereo separation on the front using only the two passive speakers and sub so if I can't do that it really reduces my motivation to buy the amp.


I'm not quite sure the phantom center channel would effect stereo separation, but again, I doubt stereo sources will be up converted to 5.1.


Is the manual for the Amp available yet?

I doubt that will be released before the product is.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
Thanks for the reply. I usually only play music from Apple TV to twoHomePod speakers connected to it by airplay and of course that works well.
I thought I had seen mention of the manual floating around but could be mistaken.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Since the Amp only supports 16 bit PCM, I presume that a 24 bit PCM stereo soundtrack from a Blu-ray would simply not play or would show an error, right?
The HDMI should will accept the 24 bit signal and the Amp will play it to the fullest possible - on only the Amp itself. A 16 bit stereo signal would be sent to surrounds. You shouldn't see any error or unsupported message off of that connection.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
I just checked. Playing from Apple TV using the Pandora app and apple music app both play in 5.1 which I have no desire to listen to and manually switching the Apple Tv to PCM is too much trouble to do routinely.. Any receivers will let you switch between 5.1 and 2.1with a tap but I'm guessing the Sonos Amp won't. Further I bet it also does the phantom center channel to.
I'm sure a lot of people will want to play music at 2.1 with the amp not using the rears.
I see a ton of people have asked to be able to use the rears and sub without the Beam, Playbay, or Playbase playing too when the rears are set to full but for some reason this hasn't been implemented.
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
The HDMI should will accept the 24 bit signal and the Amp will play it to the fullest possible - on only the Amp itself. A 16 bit stereo signal would be sent to surrounds. You shouldn't see any error or unsupported message off of that connection.

Oh, so if I understand you correctly, the Amp will play 24 bit PCM 2.0 natively from HDMI, without transcoding or downsampling for its internal L and R channels. If so, that's great and exactly the info I was looking for!

Does the Amp then use a higher bit depth processor/volume control/DAC vs. other Sonos products?

My interest in the AMP is in a pure 2.0 channel context, so surrounds would not be used. In addition to video-based content over HDMI, I would also use the Amp for PC 16/44.1 flac files and Spotify, just like we do currently with our Connect and Play5 in different rooms

I also think I understand that while the Amp can handle 24 bit PCM natively, other Sonos devices on the network would not be able to get this same 24 bit stream from the Amp (from a line-in type function). This would be perfectly ok for my needs, as I would have no use for piping a Blu-ray based signal to remote rooms.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
The phantom centre is stated to operate when a discrete centre channel exists in the source, so presumably no phantom centre when used for stereo music.

If I play music from Pandora or Apple music from my apple tv which is set for 5.1 It plays through the Beam and Sonos rears. Since my source is set for 5.1 I'm betting the phantom channel will also exist.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Oh, so if I understand you correctly, the Amp will play 24 bit PCM 2.0 natively from HDMI, without transcoding or downsampling for its internal L and R channels. If so, that's great and exactly the info I was looking for!
It should handle 24 bit PCM at 44.1kHz and 48kHz, though I believe 48kHz will be resampled to 44.1 kHz. This would be something best tested with the devices that you're using there to make sure the right processing is taking place. The Amp won't accept DTS or LPCM, so you'll want to proceed with a bit of caution here and make sure you've got the right formats going on.

Does the Amp then use a higher bit depth processor/volume control/DAC vs. other Sonos products?
I believe that the HDMI and related processing on the Beam is just about the same as the one on the Amp. This isn't information that we generally publish, so I can't speak specifically about it.
The phantom centre is stated to operate when a discrete centre channel exists in the source, so presumably no phantom centre when used for stereo music.

If I play music from Pandora or Apple music from my apple tv which is set for 5.1 It plays through the Beam and Sonos rears. Since my source is set for 5.1 I'm betting the phantom channel will also exist.


I am kind of doubtful that Pandora and Apple music are truly 5.1, but ultimately I think it's irrelevant.


Music playing through the TV is very common, given then streamers can all play music only apps these days. Sonos currently doesn't allow you to set the audio to 2.0 stereo, as you've pointed out. Additionally, you cannot play the audio in 'full stereo' mode if that's your preference for music. So for example, if I want to play a track from amazon music, I have to do so through the Sonos app (or voice control) in order to get full stereo. If I go through my fire tv, where I'd have the advantage of scrolling lyrics and such, I cannot get full stereo.

For a slightly different scenario, I plan on using the Sonos Amp to power my existing outdoor speakers and play audio from a tv. The speakers are not positioned to the left and right of the tv, which I have no problem with. I have the speakers on the outside point in to minimize sound in the neighbors yard, and I move the tv around anyways. I don't want a phantom center speaker since there really is no 'center' in the speaker setup.

So yes, I'd also be in favor of a switch to allow user to play TV audio in 2.0/stereo.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
The phantom centre is stated to operate when a discrete centre channel exists in the source, so presumably no phantom centre when used for stereo music.
If I play music from Pandora or Apple music from my apple tv which is set for 5.1 It plays through the Beam and Sonos rears. Since my source is set for 5.1 I'm betting the phantom channel will also exist.

I am kind of doubtful that Pandora and Apple music are truly 5.1, but ultimately I think it's irrelevant.
Music playing through the TV is very common, given then streamers can all play music only apps these days. Sonos currently doesn't allow you to set the audio to 2.0 stereo, as you've pointed out. Additionally, you cannot play the audio in 'full stereo' mode if that's your preference for music. So for example, if I want to play a track from amazon music, I have to do so through the Sonos app (or voice control) in order to get full stereo. If I go through my fire tv, where I'd have the advantage of scrolling lyrics and such, I cannot get full stereo.
For a slightly different scenario, I plan on using the Sonos Amp to power my existing outdoor speakers and play audio from a tv. The speakers are not positioned to the left and right of the tv, which I have no problem with. I have the speakers on the outside point in to minimize sound in the neighbors yard, and I move the tv around anyways. I don't want a phantom center speaker since there really is no 'center' in the speaker setup.
So yes, I'd also be in favor of a switch to allow user to play TV audio in 2.0/stereo.


Pandora and Apple Music/iTunes aren't 5.1. Very little music is.
If I could at least play music on the rears and the sub but not the front end be it Beam or whatever I'd be satisfied and in fact would upgrade my rear Sonos One's to Play 5's just for this purpose!
My main interest in the amp was for real stereo separation for music but I'm betting I won't get that so it's really dampened my enthusiasm for the amp.
I'm thinking I will just stick with stereo paired HomePods in the front for music and Beam, plus rear Sonos ones, plus sub, for HT then. If they come out with an updated Playbar, which is badly needed, I might upgrade to that. The Beam is OK though, it was the gateway drug to the rear sonos ones and the sub after all.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
The Amp should have true stereo separation setup as Front speakers for all music played through Sonos amp or analog input. Only from HDMI input when receiving multi-channel should it not be operating in true stereo.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
Makes sense. Not quite what I was looking for but stands to reason. I'd be ok with Airplaying to the Amp.
Userlevel 2
Badge +2

It should handle 24 bit PCM at 44.1kHz and 48kHz, though I believe 48kHz will be resampled to 44.1 kHz. This would be something best tested with the devices that you're using there to make sure the right processing is taking place. The Amp won't accept DTS or LPCM, so you'll want to proceed with a bit of caution here and make sure you've got the right formats going on.


Hmmm, seems strange that 24/48 PCM would need to be resampled to 44.1, especially since DD 5.1 is typically 48 kHz too. Does that mean that DD 5.1 is also resampled to 44.1?

By LPCM, do you mean multi-channel (more than stereo 2.0)?

Depending on the specific Blu-ray disc, sometimes "LPCM Stereo" is listed on the back of the case, and "PCM Stereo" is listed on other discs. In reality, they are the same format, although bit depth and sample rate can vary. Net, I expect that the Amp can handle 24/48 stereo 2.0, whether the disc is labeled LPCM Stereo or PCM Stereo.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
LPCM or Linear PCM isn't supported by the Amp (or any Sonos devices), and it is the uncompressed multi-channel PCM format.

This may help answer most of your questions:

Over HDMI-ARC CEC, the Amp is going to let the device it's connected with know what formats it can take, DD 5.1 and Stereo PCM. After that handshake, the TV will automatically make sure to send only those formats to the Amp. If you're sending LPCM Stereo from your Blu-ray disc to your TV, the TV should convert it automatically to Stereo PCM to be sent to your Amp (it's possible you can tell your TV to instead send Dolby Digital 5.1 but I don't know off hand what TVs might have this as an option).
Userlevel 2
Badge +2
LPCM or Linear PCM isn't supported by the Amp (or any Sonos devices), and it is the uncompressed multi-channel PCM format.

This may help answer most of your questions:

Over HDMI-ARC CEC, the Amp is going to let the device it's connected with know what formats it can take, DD 5.1 and Stereo PCM. After that handshake, the TV will automatically make sure to send only those formats to the Amp. If you're sending LPCM Stereo from your Blu-ray disc to your TV, the TV should convert it automatically to Stereo PCM to be sent to your Amp (it's possible you can tell your TV to instead send Dolby Digital 5.1 but I don't know off hand what TVs might have this as an option).


From what I've read and understand, the PCM format standard on CD, DVD, and Blu-ray is actually LPCM, independent of whether its 2-channel stereo or multi-channel. LPCM is a more accurate/descriptive term, but some equipment and disc manufacturers use PCM and LPCM interchangeably.

Points 2,6, and 7 in the "Implementations" section:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-code_modulation

Net, a 2-channel stereo PCM track on a DVD or Blu-ray is actually LPCM. LPCM is the standard on discs and HDMI, so there should be no need for a LPCM to PCM conversion of a 2-channel stereo LPCM track.
@adam2434, the replies from the community here have been spot on. The HDMI-ARC input on the new Amp will support Dolby Digital 5.1 and Stereo PCM (16-bit). The main screen won't show what format is playing, but you can see that in the Settings > About Sonos. And the details on the phantom center is the same as above, it's only going to show up when there is a center channel that's looking to be played. It can't be "turned off", but music won't have it, neither will stereo signals.



hello ryan, i just read all post and replys, I was wondering if you can help me figure this out.
I have 19 speakers total at my house( in-ceillings, standings, and outdoors) and I really like loud music.
How many amps do you think i need? i forgot to tell you that i wish to have 5 zones

At a minimum, you need 5 of them in order to have 5 zones. Each Amp can put one pair of 4 Ohm speakers, or 2 pairs of 8 Ohm. If you're using 2 pairs each, you could get a total of 4 speakers on each unit, and 5 will get you 20. That said, if the speakers in your house are set up as stereo pairs, and not mono speakers, you'll likely need to have more Amps there.

The requirements of what speakers you need will come down to the specifications of those speakers you have.


than you very much i will wait until febraury i hope they will come out sooner
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Inwould check with your local (non-chain boutique style show) dealer in late november as they are supposed to possibly get in December.
Am i reading this right? Only one HDMI input? Really surprised by this. This seemed like the perfect device to replace all my bulky Denon Recievers. But I have a TV box, Apple TV and a PS4 that need to get routed to the TV. With only one HDMI input, the Sonos Amp is a non starter. Too bad. I love all my Sonos products and wish this had been a new option for me.

Reply