Question

Record Player: Better with 2 Fives and Sub or AMP and Bookshelf Speakers?

  • 2 August 2020
  • 7 replies
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I’ve recently got back into vinyl with a new record player that has an inbuilt preamp. I have a great set up with two Fives and a Sub, with the record player plugged into the “line-in” at the back of one of the Fives. It sounds great…..but there’s a niggle. Would I get better sound from having the dedicated Sonos Amp and two bookshelf speakers instead? Would the dedicated Amp give me a better sound than the amp that the Fives are using? Or actually are the two Fives and a Sub already pretty high end as they are? All opinions gratefully received. Cheers!


7 replies

Or actually are the two Fives and a Sub already pretty high end as they are? 

At their price point there is very little to better them - or even at some price points higher, as long as you have placed them optimally and then run Trueplay tuning.

That said, since speaker sound signature preferences are subjective, you might find that you like the sound of a third party speaker pair more, but that would be down to the speakers, and not due to the Sonos Amp used to drive them. And as stated that would be a subjective preference that only you can decide on after listening to these. Preferable in the same location with the same music.

But unless you have the time and energy to do these comparisons, you are better off improving the placement of the 5 pair+ Sub, and dealing with room acoustics if necessary and letting any imagined niggles slide.

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Hi Kumar.

Thanks for your considered response. From the sounds of it switching to the AMP in and of itself wouldn’t make a huge difference, and I must admit to being pretty happy with the sound from the current set up. The speakers and sub are definitely placed optimally and Trueplay has been done. I feel I’m definitely hearing stuff from my records through this set up that I hadn’t heard before. Probably just a misplaced notion that channelling the vinyl sound via an AMP would produce a better sound compared with the current situation where it is directly plugged into the Fives. Having said that though, amplification-wise, I’m not sure there is a huge difference between the AMP and the amp that the Fives have internally. 

 amplification-wise, I’m not sure there is a huge difference between the AMP and the amp that the Fives have internally. 

Actually, the fives have it better; each driver inside each unit has an amp dedicated to it - and that helps because tweeters need a lot less power to drive them to the same sound level compared to woofer units. More amps also potentially give more degrees of freedom to the Trueplay tuning algorithm used.

You WILL hear differences using the Sonos Amp, but these will be down to the speakers used and how they interact with the room. And you may like/not like the difference.

And here is a plus point for the Sub - it lets music sound richer at lower volumes by not denuding the bass as much as what happens with the Sub missing. Of course, you can get this by employing the Sub along with the Sonos Amp+third party speakers as well.

The only reason for considering a Sonos Amp in my opinion is if you can get hold of used and therefore cheaper HiFi speakers that sell when new at much higher price points than Sonos. Even in this case, I would not change without a listening test even though the third party speakers may look more HiFi. Even if these are stand mounted speakers used along with the Sonos Sub. You can then redeploy the 5 units as standalone players in other spaces in the home. This may be a good way to go in time if you can get hold of better speakers at used prices.

 

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I think you’ve convinced me to stick with what I’ve got. Amp wise there seems to be little to be gained. As much as getting an AMP and speakers appeals, of course the pain would be to go to that hassle and find it actually doesn’t sound any better, or sounds worse (I appreciate it's all subjective). I think speaker placement also makes the current set up the logical one. Bookshelf speakers often have to be some distance from the wall, whereas the Fives don’t have to be and have the technology to mitigate this via Trueplay anyway. In my circumstance this makes the Fives preferable.

 

In conclusion, thank you. You’ve saved me from a possibly thankless upgrade/downgrade process. Cheers!

You are welcome, and you can now get down to what it is really all about - the music!

Though there is plenty of scope with a turntable to improve sound quality via making sure of cartridge alignment, and even cartridge changes that will reveal more of what the groove carries. Be warned though, that this is a rabbit hole that needs care and expertise while negotiating...

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Yep. I’ve already started slipping down that rabbit hole. Upgraded the cartridge to a AT-VM95E at the weekend. Noticeable sound upgrade there. Already now wishing I’d got a better turntable rather than the mid range one I got. Vinyl deliveries almost everyday. Wife is not impressed. Cheers!

Lol. I got tired of having to leave my chair every twenty minutes and exited vinyl, when that started looking very inconvenient compared to app controlled selection of hours long playlists!

But it is a fun game, as long as you can keep domestic harmony intact.

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