Cambridge Audio 851N and Sonos Play One: how to connect them

I’m a new owner of two Sonos play one and I’d like connecting them to My new Cambridge Audio 851N. I have an Apple MacBook Air and a Apple Extreme TimeCapsule 3Tbyte, too.
I have not succeeded yet.

Thank you all

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10 replies

I'm afraid you can't. Sonos players talk to each other, but not to a third party network player.
Thanks for your answer: but if I buy one of these products: Connect, Amp, Boost ?
I think a pause for breath is needed here. You seem to be contemplating spending lots of money to get sound out of a single small mono speaker (albeit a good small mono speaker). What content are you trying to play and is it stored only on the CA player? What other gear do you have?
I bought 851N, before. Sonos are two presents for my birthday after. I don’t have another gear
I don't know what you're hoping to achieve here. Your 851N is a ~£1400 network music player. Surely it's connected to some fancy downstream equipment?

Sonos players are obviously network music players in their own right.

If you somehow envisage playing the 851N to the Sonos Ones via say a Connect, at the same time as it's feeding the fancy downstream equipment, I suggest you abandon this idea. The sound from the Ones wouldn't be in sync with the traditional equipment, owing to network delays. Moreover it would basically be reducing the Ones to the role of dumb wireless speakers.

In short, it's really either/or. Use the Sonos or use the 851N.
Userlevel 2
I think you're saying you only have the 851N and the two Sonos Play:1's. Based on that, there are options to make a connection, with tradeoffs, assuming you are willing to add another Sonos device.

You could take the analog RCA outputs from the 851N to the inputs of a Connect, Connect:amp, or Amp. You would then select the "Line-in" on the Sonos device as your input, and you would be able to hear the audio sourced from the 851N on the Sonos speakers.

If you use the Amp or Connect:amp, you could also connect a set of conventional speakers to the amplifier outputs and have another room in your system. If using the Connect and you wish to drive an additional set of speakers from the analog outputs of the Connect, you would need an amplifier and speakers. (Preferably analog gear, as that would avoid adding any audio delays).

You could also connect the analog outputs of the 851N to the line-in of a Play:5 if you want the room to have a speaker. This would be a clean and minimalist set up.

All of these scenarios use the analog output of the 851N to drive the analog input of a Sonos device. You get the functionality of being able to use the 851N as your source device played on the Sonos speakers. The downside is that this connection method takes the output of the (presumably) fine DAC in the 851N and re-digitizes it so that the signal can enter the Sonos eco-system. From an audio purists point of view this isn't optimal, but it works. I suspect the audio quality will still be very good.

The network streaming capabilities of the 851N will probably overlap with the capabilities of the Sonos app. I'm not familiar with the 851N and what source media it can accept, so perhaps it will add some unique functionality that Sonos lacks.

Good luck with your system.
That is all sound comment from @jsmuir, but in the end @ratty is right, it makes no sense to put these items together if that is all there is. You would get a more convenient experience,, with the sound at least as good, if you replaced the streamer with a NAS drive, or just stored the music on a computer. The streamer is completely wasted in this setup.
A point to remember is that there is a 70ms latency between SONOS Line-In and output from a SONOS player. This will introduce an annoying echo effect if a SONOS and non SONOS room can be heard simultaneously.
I was reading the previous post: I have a couple of Sonos One, not two play:1. Sorry??
I was reading the previous post: I have a couple of Sonos One, not two play:1. Sorry??It doesn't matter. The same comments apply whether they are Sonos Ones or Play:1s.