Question

Whole home plus entertainment

  • 26 June 2019
  • 8 replies
  • 155 views

Hey, new guy here!

So, I've been reading reviews and poking around this forum for a few days. I can't quite seem to get a handle on the current state of Sonos though.

I want to install a whole house system, I'd like Alexa to be able to hear and respond from every room with FULL FUNCTIONALITY, and only within the room I'm standing in at the time. For instance if I ask what the time is, she shouldn't be advising everyone in the house. I want to pick rooms to play music in and be able to play different music in different rooms, or the same music in every room. I'm also planning a new entertainment system with new TV and surround.

I'd like to do two of the ceiling mounted speakers in each room. Then the Beam, sub, two "ONEs", and possibly two Play 5's for full surround in the entertainment room. I'll be getting a new TV.

My question to the community is does all of this make sense, is it all doable? What's compatible and what isn't? Is there anything special I need to be concerned about regarding a new TV or any other equipment I'd need to make this all work?

Thanks in advance.

8 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi and welcome to the Forum :)

I want to install a whole house system, I'd like Alexa to be able to hear and respond from every room with FULL FUNCTIONALITY, and only within the room I'm standing in at the time.

If you want full Alexa functionality then you will need to have Amazon Alexa devices for your voice control. Sonos primarily focus on the functionality to control music but that's not to say that over time these functionality gaps won't be addressed but I wouldn't recommend buying Alexa Enabled Sonos devices on the hope that full Alexa functionality will be available soon.

Even if multiple Alexa devices hear a command, Alexa will determine which device heard the clearest response and only respond on that device. (Note: One advantage that you get with Sonos devices over Amazon Alexa devices is that you have the option to choose a combination of Google Assistant (Depending upon Country availability) or Alexa across your home - although only one AI can be set-up per Sonos Room.)

I want to pick rooms to play music in and be able to play different music in different rooms, or the same music in every room.

Yes, this is possible with one exception: You can only have one stream of music from some music providers (e.g. Spotify) when the music is initiated via voice control. Asking for a second stream in a different room, will stop the first stream - Music from Spotify via the Sonos App can be different in every Sonos room if required.

I'm also planning a new entertainment system with new TV and surround.

Please be aware, that if you have a Sonos Beam for your TV playbar then the mics on Sonos Ones configured as surround speakers will have their Mics disabled - you can save money by buying the Play:1's.

I'd like to do two of the ceiling mounted speakers in each room. Then the Beam, sub, two "ONEs", and possibly two Play 5's for full surround in the entertainment room. I'll be getting a new TV.

You will need a Sonos Amp (https://www.sonos.com/en-gb/shop/amp.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjMfoBRDDARIsAMUjNZp4NX0Jr7IuFO_rxQldb384Tw52DtUt1b3v0P2yIIPCSeog1nHoG_AaAr5gEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds) to control your ceiling speakers, this can control up to 2 pairs but they will be treated as a single Sonos room and you won't be able to differentiate between these in either the App or via Voice Control. As per my previous comment, get the Play:1's for your TV surround speakers when used with a Beam.

The maximum that Sonos can support for TV is a 5:1 set-up - The FrontR, Centre and FrontL are either via a Sonos Amp, with two in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, or a Beam, PlayBar or PlayBase. (With the Sonos Amp config, the Centre audio is split between the FrontL and FrontR) You can then add a Sub and either 2x Play:5's or Play:1's as RearL and RearR surround players. Personally, unless your room is very large, I would recommend Play:1's for the surrounds, rather than Play:5's.

Hope this helps, please let us know if you have any other questions.
Userlevel 5
Badge +10
Note as well:

at present you cannot change the wake word from “Alexa”;

the Beam, Playbase and Playbar only support DD, not DTS.
Sounds like there are a lot of limitations. Should I be looking at a different product? Something other than Sonos?
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
That really depends on your specfic requirements but if you want high quality multi room audio controlled by voice then you won't get a better product. If you buy direct from Sonos, you can return for a full refund for 100 days if you don't like it.
Sounds like there are a lot of limitations. Should I be looking at a different product? Something other than Sonos?

You aren't going to find another product that combines high quality sound, multi-room audio, and voice control. Echos don't have the first, Bluetooth speakers with Echos don't have the second, and all Sonos' competitors lag far behind on the third.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Sounds like there are a lot of limitations. Should I be looking at a different product? Something other than Sonos?


When it comes to the whole home audio part of your plan, I would say no, you can't get much better than Sonos. In your entertainment room, Sonos may not be your best option. If you're talking about a family room that will play a lot of music and wireless is important, than I would definitely stick with Sonos. if you're creating a dedicated home theatre room, then Sonos may not be the best option. Will you be able to put speaker wires behind walls and/or under carpet? If so, then wireless isn't a priority, As already stated, Sonos does dolby digita, mostly streaming, not DTS...which is mostly used with blu rays. So if you think you'll be watching blu rays and not so much streaming, Sonos isn't the best fit (although there are blu ray playster that convert to dolby digital.

One option to consider to setup a standard wired home theatre in your entertainment room and then incorporate that into the Sonos system using a Connect. That way you can play your theatre room audio with the rest of the house when you want, although it's not quite as convenient as being entirely Sonos products.

Also the Beam is designed for mid size rooms. If your room is large, a playbar is a better option.

I don't have a dedicated theatre room, so a playbar+ sub + play 1s is great for my family room. In my bed room and game room, I have Beam + sub + 2 play 1s. The game room is a dedicated room for TV watching (mostly gaming) but it's not large and the Beam does a great job in there. The xbox one converts everything to dolby digital for me.
Userlevel 5
Badge +10
Sounds like there are a lot of limitations. Should I be looking at a different product? Something other than Sonos?

It’s better to know the limitations before rather than after. You asked the questions, and you’ll get the good and the bad stuff highlighted in these user forums.

I suspect that only Alexa devices will give you full Alexa capabilities, for example, and ditto with GA capabilities. Some will accept a limited subset (and what’s available today will - I hope - be improved soon), whilst other users have said they’re tired of waiting for feature x,y or z and say they’re selling off their Sonos kit. I dont one know what they think is better, though.
Personally, I like the best of both worlds; Sonos speakers coupled with Echo Dots. Full Alexa functionality, and all music output via the high quality Sonos.

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