Question

Sonos Connect amp with external passive subwoofer and satellite speakers


I am looking to have speakers out by the pool and I have the Sonos Connect amp, a TIC GS50 passive sub and two Polk SAT30 speakers outside by the pool and looking to connect them to Sonos. But with the sub being a 125W RMS/250 peak with 8 ohm standard and 4 ohm with satellites, and the satellites being 8 ohm compatible 100 watt..... I am seeing that I need to get an external amp to power mainly the sub. Any help on how much of an amp I need ? I have found some external amps that can provide that are fairly inexpensive (under $100) and will automatically turn on and off....but just not sure how much of an amp I need.....?? I am assuming I only need the additional amp for the sub as the satellites would go directly to the Sonos Connect Amp. If the RMS for the sub is 125 W, and the Sonos Connect is 55 per channel, would I then only need 60 watts from the external amp ?

Not sure if it makes a difference for anything but the wires coming from the sun are L +- and R+- (so four wires).



Any help is appreciated !

12 replies

Userlevel 7
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With the Connect:Amp your outputting 110 Watts into the TIC GS50 which it is then sharing with the 2 satellites and reporting back 4ohms to the Connect:Amp. It may work well for you that way without another amp.

If you got the newer Sonos Amp sending 250 Watts it would probably pump them a little more.

I guess your saying you want to use the subwoofer line level output form the Connect Amp and hook to another power amplifier. So your amp should probably be at least a 100 watt amp if you are wanting it to just drive the subwoofer (the wattage rating of the outputs of the Connect:Amp have no meaning for the amp as you are saying you are going to output the powered outputs to the stand alone speakers).

Either method will work - I would probably try just using the Connect:Amp only and if you don't like the power output then add the extra amp and power the sub off the sub line out then.
Thanks Chris. FYI I have the older amp model, not the newer model. Would you recommend the sub going into the SUB port , the analog left/right or wired with the left right +- for the satellite speakers ? Does it matter ? Keep in mind that the sub has left/right +- wires coming out of it. Is the SUB port on the back of the Connect amp only for active subs ?

Thanks.
Userlevel 7
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Yes as I mentioned your Connect:Amp outputs 110 watts to the sub. So I would connect its right left +/_ to the sub. Then connect satellites to the sub. See how it works if enough power for you.

If want more power then you will connect satellites to the right left +/- on the connect:amp and then output from the sub port on the connect:amp to external amplifier to connect to sub.
My preference would be to drive the subwoofer with an external amplifier from the Subwoofer output of the CONNECT:AMP and wire the satellites to CONNECT:AMP's speaker terminals. If you wire both the subwoofer and the satellite speakers directly to the speaker terminals of CONNECT:AMP, you will not have the benefit of a crossover for the satellites. If you wire the subwoofer to CONNECT:AMP and the satellites to the subwoofer's satellite outputs, then you will have a crossover. Overall, you'll have better results with a separate subwoofer amplifier.

One point about the external amplifier: There will be a slight lag while the amplifier starts up. This might cause an initial bass thump to be missing.

EDIT: Note that I improved the wording with an edit.
Got it, thanks !!
One more thing, how powerful do you think that external amp needs to be ? 100 watt ?

Thanks again.
It's a big room out there. A beefy 100W amplifier would be appropriate. Personally, if I found a good deal on a 150-200W amplifier, I'd go for it. It turns out that more speakers are damaged by too little power than too much power. This seems counter intuitive, but when you push the amplifier beyond its design limits, it will misbehave and deliver lots of distorted power while the larger amplifier might not distort. 50W amplifiers damage many more speakers than 150W amplifiers. If the system sounds "clean" don't worry. If the system seems like it is laboring -- worry. SONOS amplifiers are well designed and it is very very hard to make them misbehave. If they are upset, they will shut down. If you gave me a job: "please blow up this speaker", a SONOS amplifier would be my last choice and I'd need to resort to tricks that I won't publish here.
If you wire the subwoofer to CONNECT:AMP and the satellites to the subwoofer outputs, then you will have a crossover. Overall, you'll have better results with a separate amplifier.

How? Wired to the sub out on the Connect Amp, won't the Sub get only filtered low frequency output in the first place?
Is the SUB port on the back of the Connect amp only for active subs ?

Providing a filtered line level signal as it does, that is correct.
I would wire the speaker terminals of the Connect Amp to the Sub and the satellites to the Sub and see how things go.
If you need more sound levels or the Connect Amp keeps shutting down at the levels you need, change to a Sonos Amp. Or, a Connect + external third party amp, making the Connect Amp redundant for the zone.
Note that I edited the earlier post in order to improve clarity.
My preference would be to drive the subwoofer with an external amplifier from the Subwoofer output of the CONNECT:AMP....

Overall, you'll have better results with a separate subwoofer amplifier.


I think there is still a problem with the quoted bits.

The first the reference to wiring the sub out of the Connect Amp to the external amp - this will not be a full bandwidth signal, correct?

The Sub literature also recommends not to use a subwoofer amp, but a regular amp to drive the passive Sub and to hang the satellites on to the Sub, to be sure that the crossover in the Sub is correctly activated.
There is a switch on the subwoofer output jack of CONNECT:AMP. When this connection is used an electronic crossover is activated inside CONNECT:AMP. Bass is routed to the subwoofer output and highs are routed to the CONNECT:AMP's speaker terminals.

The speaker instructions want to prevent the user from attaching the subwoofer to an amplifier that supplies only the lows, then connecting satellites to the subwoofer. In this case there would be no output from the satellites.

One could argue that there is a slight overlap between an electronic crossover and the built-in passive speaker crossover, but this is minor with proper choice of the electronic crossover frequency. (set at or below the speaker's passive crossover)

A big advantage of using a separate subwoofer amplifier is that there is less intermodulation distortion in the amplification. Further, in my opinion, speakers sound better if the drivers are directly coupled to an amplifier -- with no passive crossover between driver and amplifier.

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