Mediocre measurements for new Sonos Amp


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As a long time Sonos user am quite disappointed.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-sonos-amp.6957/

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It’s a pretty typical bias, performance over everything else. Very few folks buy equipment based on this. It’s certainly a valid bias, though. Lots of motorcycles, etc sold for similar reasons.

When you are more interested in music through the house, with great sound, minimal wires and visual impact, simplicity of operation, voice/phone/tablet/PC control, integration of video system audio, excellent support (manufacturer and peer), ... Sonos is still far and away the best choice.

Try getting support from the Chinese maker of those near-perfect DACs some time, lol (and the likelihood of actually hearing a difference in that DAC vs a Sonos device is most likely nil for anyone over 25). Not to mention all the power blocks and interconnects required for all that stuff, and having to manually power them on and off... Yeesh! No thanks. My ears are more than happy, as is the wife. I’ll stick with Sonos.
Looks like the line-in tests were done without modifying the line-in level in the Sonos app in any way, resulting in poor test results with external sources, but (obviously) excellent amp results when using AirPlay streaming. Tester apparently didn't even took the time to add a music service to the Sonos app at all, so there's no test result for app-internal streaming sources either. Using a turntable as line-in source without adding a pre amp in-between doesn't sound too well-prepared either.

Apart from that it's an excellent breakdown of the AMP's built quality and overall look and feel.
Userlevel 6
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I just started reading it, but it reads like someone who knows nothing whatsoever about Sonos - not familiar with daisy chaining Ethernet or using it as a bridge, unaware of several previous Sonos products with inputs. And what’s that crack about the custom power cord? I guess I’ve never tried other cords but I always assumed they were standard figure 8 size. Is the Amp not standard size?
Userlevel 7
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I see two types of folks looking for sound systems, the ones that want the best system they can afford based on their listening to it and folks that are more impressed by price and specifications and pay little attention to their ears.

I'm firmly in the first group, if I can't hear it I'm not going to be paying for it.
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I think he's pretty accomplished:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/a-bit-about-your-host.1906/
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Lots of experience testing. Not Amir’s first rodeo.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/master-index-for-audio-hardware-reviews.2079/
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I'll feed mine with a good analog signal at the weekend and see if I can detect any differences between that and the same content in FLAC pulled from NAS.

The analog input SNR measurement after he changed the software setting was 87 dB at 5W. So probably you will not hear the noise.
^^^
Wow, I can’t believe a professional review used “discreet” where “discrete” was called for, but I guess copy editors are just “too expensive” these days. Sigh.

This graphic, for some reason, never made it into the Sonos Amp review at ASR.  The digital input’s SINAD performance puts it in the very top tier, against some very good, but pricier, and far less convenient to use gear.  Also significantly better than a more direct competitor, the Amazon Link Amp.

 

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I just started reading it, but it reads like someone who knows nothing whatsoever about Sonos - not familiar with daisy chaining Ethernet or using it as a bridge, unaware of several previous Sonos products with inputs. And what’s that crack about the custom power cord? I guess I’ve never tried other cords but I always assumed they were standard figure 8 size. Is the Amp not standard size?

I made the same comments and more in the thread on his site.  It really seems like he has an issue with Sonos which is disappointing.

Userlevel 2
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I don't get the point about phono preamp; the reviewer just used signals from test equipment into the line-in.

Is someone from Sonos able to speak to the higher than expected noise levels that were measured (~93 dB SNR), which is worse than Sonos has been claiming.
Userlevel 7
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I enjoyed the pretty graphics, but the review has quite a few errors.

I would expect the performance of the Line-In signal to be no worse than that of AirPlay or directly streamed sources, assuming that the Line-In gain ('Line-In Source Level') is adjusted correctly. However, nowhere is it mentioned what adjustments, if any, were made.

As for sampling at 48KHz, capping signals at ~20Khz: so what? It's above the frequency required for any human's hearing.
Looks like some very iffy "science" going on over at that site. Doubt the admin has any real science background. Looks like he simply doesn't understand how to set the input level.
OK, great engineering (not science) background, so he should be able to set the input level appropriately. Wonder why he didn't, apparently?
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According to this article, Sonos specs the SNR at 116db, which puts the noise WELL below audibility. They certainly can't lie about that, so this guy is simply not measuring correctly. Perhaps Sonos' engineers should show him how to do it correctly.

https://hometheaterhifi.com/blogs/sonos-amp-review/

But Sonos does not include that 116dB spec in their own literature. Someone from Sonos should reply here and clear this up.
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If sonos has data that proves these measurements wrong then lets see them. I have more invested in sonos than most - 3 Connect Amps, 1 Connect, 1 Play 5 Gen 2, Pair of Play 1s with sub and currently have a pair of play1s and a spare connect amp and connect in storage but I would like to know that technically the units measure well especially if you are a company that speaks of engineering excellence.
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Sonos is likely measuring SNR under different conditions. In the ASR review, SNR was measured at 5W output. SNR may be much better when the amp is putting out more power. Also, A-weighting may a factor.

It would be helpful to hear from them.
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Yes but Sonos specs THD+N at 0.1%. I assume that is 0.1% at 1W, which agrees with the measurement in the ASR review.
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He does measure a digital input, "streaming from Android", and gets excellent THD+N of 0.002% @5W, 1kHz, which is within the spec for the Qualcomm chipset.
i think that's the bottom line. It's a great amp for streaming (and I assume for optical/hdmi input as well) but the analog input is flawed. I wonder if there is any chance that it was a bad unit. Maybe someone from Sonos will say something?
Userlevel 7
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i think that's the bottom line. It's a great amp for streaming (and I assume for optical/hdmi input as well) but the analog input is flawed.
I remain a little skeptical of this, because the test methodology does not specify what Line-In gain was used, and I see no reason why the Amp's ADC should introduce below-par noise performance. I'll feed mine with a good analog signal at the weekend and see if I can detect any differences between that and the same content in FLAC pulled from NAS.
Userlevel 3
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I listen primarily from the line in and it sounds great to me but what do I know. :8
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The analog input SNR measurement after he changed the software setting was 87 dB at 5W. So probably you will not hear the noise.

Sorry, I am wrong on this. The 87 dB is SNR at full power, not @5W, after changing the software setting. I thought he was saying that the software setting made a big difference in noise, but in fact he was saying it didn't matter much. The fact remains that this is a great amp for streaming, but the analog input is a little noisy.
What odds that those that measure haven't used one for real life listening to music and those that have one for that end could not be bothered about the measurements?
Userlevel 5
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I just started reading it, but it reads like someone who knows nothing whatsoever about Sonos - not familiar with daisy chaining Ethernet or using it as a bridge, unaware of several previous Sonos products with inputs. And what’s that crack about the custom power cord? I guess I’ve never tried other cords but I always assumed they were standard figure 8 size. Is the Amp not standard size?

He didn't take the trouble to find out which would have been two seconds of a google search. Seems like he started with bias for some reason.
My Experience here - https://en.community.sonos.com/components-228996/sonos-amp-and-vinyl-journey-6826446

Nothing scientific and no golden ears - the sound from the analog was not great compared with an external ADC into optical onto the amp, very happy now and analog served a good purposes when in party mode.