Question

How to connect multiple hifi separates to play through a Sonos system

  • 2 December 2016
  • 5 replies
  • 1594 views

I have a Sonos 5:1 surround setup with PlayBar, Sub and two Play 1s, all connected via the PlayBar to the TV.

I also have a good old set of wired hifi separates, i.e. a Pioneer turntable, tuner and stereo amplifier, and a TEAC twin cassette deck. I'd like to be able to use this equipment to play my record and cassette collections, as well as use the tuner, all through the Sonos system.

There's a lot of information available if you just want to hook up a turntable to the Sonos, or if you want to stream music from Sonos to a separate amp; however, I can't find anything to help me know how to simultaneously connect the multiple hifi separates listed above so that I can play these through the Sonos system.

Can anyone help me please?

Thanks in advance.

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5 replies

You'd need a CONNECT. It'll output to your HiFi, and accept an input from the same.

Generally we say 'treat it like a tape deck', i..e. wire the CONNECT outputs to a TAPE/AUX in, and wire a REC OUT to the CONNECT's inputs. Except you already have a tape deck, so without knowing quite which sockets are available it's hard to give precise advice.

If you plan to play a legacy source (turntable, tuner, tape) through the HiFi and Sonos speakers at the same time it also helps to have a 'tape monitor' facility on the old amp. This is because transmission of a Line-In through Sonos incurs a small (70ms) delay. We can go into this when we know quite what kind of amp you have, what it offers, and what you might want to play through what.
Hi Ratty, thanks so much for the prompt reply.

The amp is a Pioneer SA-940 (old, but excellent) which has I/O for 'Tape 1' and a second I/O labelled 'Adapter/Tape 2'.

Following your suggestion, I could connect my tape deck (a TEAC W890R) to the 'Tape 1' connections on the amp in the usual way, and then use the amp's 'Adapter/Tape 2' I/O to connect to the SONOS Connect.

However, I'm not sure the amp can use both of these I/Os at the same time, i.e. there's a selector switch on the front of the amp to engage the 'Adapter/Tape 2' terminals, so I'm presuming this effectively selects between the 'Tape 1' connections and the 'Adapter/Tape 2' connections, allowing only one or the other to be active, but not both at the same time. If this is the case, and the amp is set to communicate with the tape deck via the 'Tape 1' connections, it's likely that the connections from the 'Adapter/Tape 2' to the SONOS Connect will become inactive. Does this make sense?

I've attempted to upload a diagram of the front and back panels of the amp so you can see what connections/switches I have.

Grateful for your thoughts!

It's not entirely clear what the options are. You'd have to play around and see what works. Maybe the Tape 1 signal will pass through to the Tape 2 outputs come what may. There are other spare inputs which the signal from the CONNECT could use if Tape 2 isn't convenient.
I just read through the manual (always a good idea!) that I downloaded to get the diagrams, and it says this about the two sets of tape connections:

"When two tape decks are connected to the 'TAPE' 1 terminals and the 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2' terminals respectively, tape copying is possible from 'TAPE 1' to 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2' and vice versa:
When copying from 'TAPE 1' to 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2': (a) press the TAPE 1 function switch; and ((b) set the 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2' switch to any position, either ON or OFF.
When copying from 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2' to 'TAPE 1': (a) set the source function to any position other than 'TAPE 1'; and (b) press the 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2' switch ON."

So I think that using the 'TAPE 1' connections as the input source for my tape deck, while simultaneously using the 'ADAPTER/TAPE 2' connections for the output to a SONOS Connect ought to work after all.

I don't have the SONOS Connect to trial this yet, so was really trying to figure out whether this would be possible before spending the money. I read the manual for the SONOS Connect, but it puts the emphasis on streaming from the SONOS system via the line out on the Connect linked to the line in on a HiFi amplifier -- it doesn't mention connecting a HiFi amplifier to the line in, so I wasn't sure whether that was a good idea.

However, if this is indeed a potential solution, it left me with the following thoughts:

1. I only want to play the sources through my SONOS system, not through the HiFi -- but would running the amplifier without a speaker load attached do it any harm, or is this a myth with transistor amplifiers?
2. If I ever need to upgrade the amplifier with something new, I wonder whether it may be difficult to find one with sufficient I/Os, being that few manufacturers still cater for tape deck connections -- in which case, would there be any other connectivity options for my three archaic sound sources?
1. I only want to play the sources through my SONOS system, not through the HiFi -- but would running the amplifier without a speaker load attached do it any harm, or is this a myth with transistor amplifiers?
It'll be fine. It was said that valve amps needed a continuous load.

2. If I ever need to upgrade the amplifier with something new, I wonder whether it may be difficult to find one with sufficient I/Os, being that few manufacturers still cater for tape deck connections -- in which case, would there be any other connectivity options for my three archaic sound sources?

You'll find a way, even if it means front-ending the inputs with an additional selector switch.