Add two Sonos Fives OR Amp + KEF LS 50 for music listening to new ARC & Sub?

  • 25 May 2020
  • 2 replies
  • 291 views

Hi all,

I preordered an ARC and a Sub Gen 3 to replace a fairly old set up consisting of an AVR plus center speaker and two small left and right speakers. I want to declutter and get rid of the big AVR to safe space and simplify my setup. I already own two Sonos Ones which I can potentially use as rears for the setup to make a 5.1 system. I will definitely get the ARC as I don’t have much space by the TV (its wall mounted) and need a fairly “flat” speaker that fits wall-mounted below the TV.

Since I would also like a good setup for some music listening I was thinking about adding two nice stereo speaker to this setup (I’m no strict audiophile but do like good sound). Those additional speakers would most likely sit left and right of the TV and face the sofa. However, my dining table is directly behind the sofa, where my wife and I also spend a good amount of time. So we would also consider putting those speaker behind the sofa and aim them more at the dining table (in this case the speakers could potentially be used as very expensive rears 😄). Another alternative would be to place those speaker on the wall on the right side of the TV to direct the stereo sound from those speakers more twoards the entire room (even though this setup would probably be the least ideal setup).

The stereo pair I have first looked at are the new Fives as the obvious choice to complement the other Sonos speakers. However, from reading some reviews, it seems like the KEF LS 50 coupled with a Sonos Amp would be serious upgrade to the Fives. However, the Fives would be part of an existing Sonos system and may thus outweigh other shortcomings.

Against this background, the following questions:

  • I realize that I cannot use either the Fives or the KEFs as front left and right in a 5.1 setup. However, could I still somehow add them when watching TV? Any advantages here with the Fives over the option of using the AMP and the KEFs?

  • Obviously, the Sub would definitely work with the Fives and I would assume that Sonos uses some secret sauce to make the Fives work well with the Sub. Would the Sub also be a good addition to the KEFs connected to an AMP? Or would the better harmony between the Fives and the Sub outweigh other advantages of the KEFs?

  • When using the Fives OR the KEFs connected to an AMP for music listing, would it still make sense to also have the ARC, the Sub and the two Ones play at the same time or would that somehow mess with a good music listening experience? How would it even work having e.g. the Fives play together with the rest of the setup if the 5.1 option isn’t available?

  • Lastly: Any general opinions on two Fives VS two KEF LS 50 hooked up to an AMP? Please note that I have some space constraints so that the LS 50 could e.g. not be spaced far away from the wall and might even be wall mounted or placed on the side of sofa (see my thoughts above on where to place the speakers).

I know that these are many questions and this is already a lot to read but would greatly appreciate any help and advice!

Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Best, Jamaxt


2 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +15

Hello @jamaxt,

Welcome to the Sonos Community and thank you for reaching out with your set up questions. 

You could certainly “Group” the Sonos Fives to your Arc based surround set-yo, but you might want to road test the Arc on its own (with the Sonos One rear surrounds) first before deciding if you need more power. 

The Arc is designed to deliver incredible stereo sound when it is not in use as a home theater speaker and you may even prefer to use the Fives as your rear surrounds instead, depending on the square footage of your home theater area. 

I say this with the understanding that speaker placement is highly individual and subjective so your ears may lead you in a different direction. 

Perhaps some of our other community members can chime in with their opinion the options that you are considering.  

 

 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Against this background, the following questions:

  • I realize that I cannot use either the Fives or the KEFs as front left and right in a 5.1 setup. However, could I still somehow add them when watching TV? Any advantages here with the Fives over the option of using the AMP and the KEFs?

  1. you could group the Fives or AMP with the Arc set-up, but there would be a minor delay with TV input that will be enough to irritate you. Since you will hear two audio streams together out of sync (echo effect) this is worse than lip sync issues that e.g. may occur when streaming TV audio via line in.
  2. you could of course use the Fives or AMP as surrounds for Arc. Whether that would be overkill is a matter of preference. However, as listening to music seems very important to you (same here), a word of caution. You might expect upgraded surrounds to be an improvement to your overall listening experience. Indeed, many have reported that using surrounds in ‘full music’ mode takes the sound to the next level when e.g. used with a Beam. The surrounds enhance the immersive stereo experience of the Beam alone. Logic then dictates that better surrounds improve this even further. However, I don’t think this is true fall all situations and this is depending heavily of what you have as front speakers. The Arc we don’t know yet - it could be that the Arc on its own already is at a level that ‘too heavy’ surrounds will mess the sound stage. What I know from experience is that AMP driving high quality speakers as fronts (B&W 705S2) is better of with Play:1s than Play:5s as surrounds.     I did try the Play:5s first because I had these as front L+R (paired with a Sub) fed with TV through line in before I purchased the B&Ws. It worked really well for 5.1 movies, but not so much for music - the Play:5s messed with the sound stage, whereas the Play:1s used in ambient mode and volume at minus 5 for music just brings a fantastic yet subtle broadening of the sound stage of the B&Ws and Sub.
  • Obviously, the Sub would definitely work with the Fives and I would assume that Sonos uses some secret sauce to make the Fives work well with the Sub. Would the Sub also be a good addition to the KEFs connected to an AMP? Or would the better harmony between the Fives and the Sub outweigh other advantages of the KEFs?

Don’t know about the KEFs, but my B&Ws are definitely benefiting from the Sonos Sub, maybe even more so than my Play:5s did when those were my main listening speakers. Of course, this is while using AMP as fronts and being ‘master’ over the Sub.

  • When using the Fives OR the KEFs connected to an AMP for music listing, would it still make sense to also have the ARC, the Sub and the two Ones play at the same time or would that somehow mess with a good music listening experience? How would it even work having e.g. the Fives play together with the rest of the setup if the 5.1 option isn’t available?

It will work for music if you group all. You would need to try it out, but I doubt it will have the best effect. Maybe fun for a total immersive experience once in a while, but probably less suited for general listening sessions,

  • Lastly: Any general opinions on two Fives VS two KEF LS 50 hooked up to an AMP? Please note that I have some space constraints so that the LS 50 could e.g. not be spaced far away from the wall and might even be wall mounted or placed on the side of sofa (see my thoughts above on where to place the speakers).

Can’t comment on the KEFs. As I wrote, I have used Play:5 pair (gen 2, so basically the same as Fives) with Sub and it was really great for music, and also for TV. Far better than the Beams I have in other rooms, which are also good for what they are. However, there is no comparison really - my AMP, Sub and B&Ws is so much better for listening. I still very much enjoy the Play:5s, however, now each as an individual room in other physical rooms.

 

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