Tube amp with sonos

  • 4 September 2018
  • 9 replies
  • 1036 views

Hello Sonos community!

I'm fairly new to vinyl collecting and analog sound. I invested quite a bit of money into Sonos a while before vinyl started growing on me. I currently have a sound bar, and 2 play 3's in a surround sound configuration in my living room. I have a pro-ject turntable currently just running some old bookshelf speakers. I bought a connect:amp to hook the turntable up to. Sound quality is great, but I was hoping to push it a little further. I ordered a tube amplifier online. My question was if I run the record player to the tube amp, then into Sonos connect:amp, would I get any sound quality benefits? From either wired speakers connected to connect:amp or more specifically my Sonos speakers?

9 replies

Userlevel 5
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Tube preamp, or tube power amp, or tube preamp/solid state power hybrid? Makes a difference.

Assuming you have a tube preamp, with line-level outputs, you can do what you wan, and you'll get whatever coloration to the sound that the tubes give. You may or may not like it, but if you have it already, it's worth playing with.

I bought a hybrid on Kickstarter, still waiting for it, and I'm going to try running the post tube preamps out into my Sonos Connect to see what I get.
Based on HiFi being defined as being close to the source signal, no tube amp will go closer than the Connect Amp. What some may do is provide a small amount of distortion that people who prefer it, call the tube amp warmth. Those that don't like it, call it by its technical term - distortion.

That said, there isn't a way to run the tube amp to the Connect Amp, unless the former has line level outputs which defeats the purpose of obtaining the distortion, usually. And if you run the turntable direct to the tube amp and to your old speakers, you will not be able to hear that on other Sonos kit.

A better way to improve sound quality via the Connect Amp is to change the speakers; depending on what you have, that presents the biggest opportunity for improvement.
Userlevel 5
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That's why I asked if it's a tube amp or preamp.
Tube preamp, or tube power amp, or tube preamp/solid state power hybrid? Makes a difference.

Assuming you have a tube preamp, with line-level outputs, you can do what you wan, and you'll get whatever coloration to the sound that the tubes give. You may or may not like it, but if you have it already, it's worth playing with.

I bought a hybrid on Kickstarter, still waiting for it, and I'm going to try running the post tube preamps out into my Sonos Connect to see what I get.


Thank you. It's a hybrid amp. It does have line level outputs.
Userlevel 5
Badge +13
Then it'll be a matter of taste on your part. Kumar is 100% correct, tubes modify the sound from the original. Testing it out is the only way to know. I'm going to be doing the same once my Billie Amp arrives from Kickstarter, hopefully next month.
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I have a turntable with a pre-amp built in..i then go to my tube pre-amp...then out to my sonos connect. There is a huge difference with the tube pre-amp than without the tube pre-amp. It sounds warmer and I can pick up more of the instruments...vocals are crisper. So I am not sure when people say it makes no difference because it so does. I can even change the tubes and hear a difference
Hi. I am not sure anyone has said there is no difference, just that 'better' is to a large degree subjective. Also, expectations have a huge impact on perceptions, as debated almost endlessly on other threads.
Believe it or not: in my signal chain I once had a tube buffer made by Musical Fidelity between a solid state preamp and power amp. The tube buffer could be directly plugged to the mains, but I also had the optional power supply unit for it. Then, I bought a thick purple umbilical cord that connected the power supply unit to the tube buffer, because it was reviewed to make a day and night difference to the sound - " a veil removed from the sound etc etc" - Did I hear the difference? You bet I did.
Said umbilical was made in California, perhaps that is why the purple colour.
Do I now miss any of that kit now that I listen to music on Sonos play units/Connect Amps? Of course I don't. I like to think it is because I grew up.
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What you want it is certainly possible. At Home we have a Sonos Amp but there is also a Chinese valve amplifier just for Headsets. The catch is that that the valve amp has a line output that can be used as preamp, this amp has a CD player plus an I-East streamer for Spotify connect. We reconnected the cables and used CDs or Airplay as CD quality feed and the results were mixed but in general very pleasant.  I can assure you that with guitars and vocals the effects were very remarkable and make sound the Sonos amp as a Hybrid amplifier yet with electronic music it was just like having a different eq. Nevertheless as the sonos amp eq do have only basic eq adjustments, this happened to be good and we are planing to do that more in the future. So valve preamping before the line input on a sonos allows you to get the valve effect onto the system, but you will have to find how to feed the preamp without the  sonos streaming capabilities.

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