Setup, Install, and Getting the most from Sonos Amp

  • 18 March 2019
  • 62 replies

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Welcome! Here you can find tips and tricks, how to get started, and many answers to the questions you might have about how to use the Sonos Amp. For the basic details, check out our introductory post on the Amp and our product guide.

The Amp is a great solution for anyone with their own passive speakers that they'd like to bring into the Sonos world. It's for people who are designing a home and want to install speakers in walls or ceilings. Use the Amp with your TV, or to bring sound outside. There are a dizzying amount of options, and this thread should help ease your mind and help make some decisions, so let's get started.

What is Amp?

Sonos Amp is an amplifier for passive speakers, bringing the Sonos experience to your own speakers. It brings all the Sonos music services, functionality, and ease of use to speakers installed your home. Along with all other Sonos speakers, Amp is capable of receiving voice control commands from microphone-enabled devices, such as the Sonos One.

Amp has an HDMI-ARC and Analog RCA input, allowing for a lot of customization and different setups. Amp plays Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM stereo sound over HDMI-ARC.

Regarding speakers, Amp puts out a powerful 125 watts per channel at 8 Ohm to a max of 6 speakers, scroll down for more on speakers.

Amp Setups

The greatest thing about the Amp is its versatility, no matter if it's wall-mounted, sitting on a center console, hiding in an audio closet, or stashed behind a TV, Amp can be used with in-wall, in-ceiling, outdoor, free-standing towers, bookshelf, and any other type of passive speakers. Up to two pairs of speakers or three pairs of the Sonos Architectural by Sonance, which are specially designed for use with Amp.

Hook up the Amp to a record player (phono-preamp may be needed), CD player, or other analog audio connection, or connect it with your TV to amp up your home theater.

Home Theater setups with Sonos Amp
Designed with home theater in mind, Amp has HDMI-ARC for audio with high quality (Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM stereo). You can use your IR TV remote with Amp to adjust the volume, and when paired with a voice controlled device, the Amp can send commands to your TV over HDMI-ARC CEC.
A single Sonos Amp can be used as front or rear channels for a Sonos surround sound setup. You can use two Amps together for the full surround sound (4.0 or 4.1 with a Sub or attached subwoofer) setup. When used as the main home theater speaker, the front channels, center audio is generated by the left and right channels working together. The Amp can be bonded with a pair of Sonos speakers supporting surround channels (Play:1, Sonos One, Play:3, Play:5 gen2...).

When used for the rear channels, Amp will wirelessly pair with any other Sonos home theater device (Amp, Beam, Playbar, or Playbase) over 5GHz. Please note, when operating as the rear channels, the subwoofer output and audio inputs on the Amp are disabled.

Installing a new Amp

New to Sonos and the Amp? Here's what you'll need:
  • Sonos App on iOS or Android.
  • Wireless router broadcasting a 2.4GHz network.
  • Passive speakers you want to use with the Amp, and the wires to connect them.

To get started, first install the Sonos App, then follow the instructions in the app to connect your Amp to the network and get registered.

The biggest trick to installing an Amp might just be figuring out how to run the wires to your speakers. You might be looking to wall mount or use built-in speakers, so a customer AV installer may be someone you want to reach out to. You can find a list of Sonos installers in your area here.

Use the Amp with 2, 4, or 6 speakers. If you'd like to use 6 speakers with the Amp, use the Sonos Architectural by Sonance.

To install speakers with your Amp, you'll wire the + and - cables from the right speaker(s) back to your Amp, using the black and red ports marked right, and then again the same for the left. Use the included banana plugs, which you unscrew to open up and make wider for larger gauge or multiple speakers.

For more details and diagrams, check out our support article here.

Amp Mounting
Amp can be mounted with the bottom flush against the wall, vertically mounted to hide behind a TV or in a small space. Ensure that there's an inch on all sides for airflow. The Amp wall mount is available here.

Rack mounting the Amp is also possible. The Amp was designed for home audio installation specifically designed to fit well into a rack of audio equipment. There's a screw on the bottom to secure the Amp into the location.
There are several options for rack mounting the Amp, as they will nicely fit in with a standard audio installation. You can get an impressive wall like this one:


Use your own passive speakers with the Amp. For setup, Amp comes with custom banana plugs that accept 10 - 18 AWG speaker wire and the Class-D digital amplifier sends a maximum of 125W per channel at 8 Ohms. This is more than twice what the older Connect:Amp pushed out. You can use 2 pairs of 8 Ohms speakers with the Amp, or if you're using the new Sonos Architectural by Sonance speakers, you can use up to 3 pairs.

The Amp also has a subwoofer output that's auto-detecting RCA with adjustable crossover, between 50 to 110Hz, if you'd like to use your own subwoofer. You'll need to be using an independently powered subwoofer. Please note, when operating as the rear channels, the subwoofer output on the Amp is disabled. Amp will also bond with the Sonos Sub.

When connecting speakers with the Amp, you'll use the included banana plugs and follow the installation instructions above.

To purchase the Sonos Architectural by Sonance, you can find them respectively here for the In-ceiling, In-wall, and Outdoor speakers. Hot Tip: If you're using these Sonance speakers, make sure you go into the Sonos App > Settings > Room Settings > Trueplay and Identify the speakers (it really can improve the sound a lot).

Trueplay and Amp

The Amp is Trueplay capable when paired with in-ceiling and in-wall Sonos Architectural by Sonance speakers. These speakers have been specifically designed to be capable of Trueplay tuning with the Amp and will be automatically detected using the Sonos app.

Trueplay tuning will only function in one room with an Amp, so if you're wiring speakers in multiple rooms with the Amp, you'd be best off not using Trueplay.

Home theater setups using an Amp as the rear surrounds will also be able to Trueplay. The surrounds don't need to be Sonos Architectural speakers, but if they are, you'll be getting finer tuning and a better experience when using them. Please note that if you're using two Sonos Amps for a home theater setup, you will need to be using the Sonos Architectural by Sonance speakers or Trueplay won't show as an option.

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62 replies

Thank you!  I do recall that it can do 4.1 and the 5th channel ends up being a virtual channel?  Don’t really understand the how or why but I get it. 

I’ll go read the links you’ve provided and let you know how it goes. Thanks again for the quick assistance. 

Thanks for the answer Ryan.

So I can't even use them as a stereo pair for the TV-sound?
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would I get a better sound out of a Sonos amp running a more 'hifi' (if that is the best way to describe them) pair of speakers than I would from say a pair of play 5's or Play 1's and a sub, with the benefits of Trueplay? Alternatively I could go with some separate powered speakers and a Sonos Connect.

It's all subjective. The Play 5's are great speakers and deliver an excellent sound stage. I use mine as a stereo pair with sub. Might I get a better sound stage with a Sonos Amp and a great pair of floor or bookshelf's highly possible. But as I said the listening experience is subjective to the listener.

To be honest I use one of my Amps with a pair of Definitive Technology BP 500's. The BP stands for Bi-Polar as they have front and rear firing mid-range speakers. The complete setup also includes a Sonos sub. That setup has a slightly different acoustic presentation than the Play 5's with sub. IMO it's a little more open in the mid-range. However, since they are in different rooms I'd be hard pressed to say that one setup is better than the other. Each room has it's own characteristics.

So back to your situation. It would seem that you really want a true stereo experience and quite frankly I'm not keen on listening to my music via a Playbar as I feel it colors it. However, that's not intended as a knock on the Playbar as it wasn't designed for music but for TV and cinema.

Based strictly on cost the Sonos Amp will set you back $600 plus speakers and maybe a sub at $700 so your cost is $1300 plus $????. Two Play 5's will set you back $1000 and maybe a sub at $ cost $1700. Overall cost-wise IMO two play 5's with sub is more cost-effective. In fact some say that the Play 5's in stereo pair don't require a sub.

That's all I can offer. Good luck with whatever you decide. May be you can get the wife to give-in with a nice mother's day present. It doesn't matter if you don't have kids...they (wives) just like getting gifts :)



Ok thanks... Back to the drawing board then.

I don't own any Sonos stuff yet, so want to know what will work before spending £1k+.

You're input has been invaluable, many thanks!!!

Thanks Bruce, that's what I suspected. I'm not sure I always want the TV coming through my main speakers/with full surround (e.g. when our daughter is watching something) - so if I went for the Amp+passive speakers Front L/R, Sub, and possibly Sonos Ones as Rear L/R, can I easily disable/enable the entire Sonos routing so sounds just plays through the TV. I know that is dependant on others things like the TV but I guess I just keep the Optical connection between the TV and Amp unplugged, and plug it when we are going to watch a film/want full surround sound...


Why would you want to disable surround sound?   I’m not following what the concern is regarding your daughter. Are you think it will be too loud or scary, or something of that nature.  I honestly wouldn’t think so.


Regardless, I don’t know that unplugging the amp would work well.  Your TV is still going to send audio over the optical connection as it would not know the amp is unplugged.  You would need to reconfigure TVs audio settings each time.  But you could prevent the rear channels from coming on by unplugging them, maybe a smart plug. Not exactly recommended, there would be boot up time, etc.  That way sound is only from the Beam/Amp + sub.  I wouldn’t recommend unplugging the sub as the Beam/Amp won’t make up for the missing bass.

Hi Danny.

Thanks for your response.

Here are the three scenarios and what I would want in each (ideally)

i) Films: surround sound, either 3.1 or 4.1 as seems to be the options.



The options are really 5.1 or 3.1.  5.1 would be the 3 front channels + 2 rear channels + sub.  The Beam plays all 3 front channels, while using amp would be the L+R  plus simulated center (is that what you’re calling 4.1?).    If it’s 3.1, they you simply don’t have rear channels setup.  It’s not the number of speakers, it’s the number of audio channels.



ii) Music: Stereo 2.1.

iii) TV: TV speakers (My Little Pony through a  4.1 system just makes my teeth crunch!, though to be honest we only generally watch comedy so don't want it played through the stereo system, surround or not). 



I’m not seeing why that would be bad, and not sure MLP is recorded in dolby digital (5.1), could just be PCM (stereo) so you would only hear it from the front speakers anyway.  But you could just unplug the rears if really bothers you, or possibly set the audio on the TV to PCM if available.


FYI in iii) I would just disconnect the optical cable and turn the volume back up on TV (or whatever was needed).


 Seems unnecessary, but ok.


Also FYI, if I had 2 x Sonos Ones to act as Rear L/R (and access Trueplay if using Amp rather than Beam), these would live in separate rooms normally and just be moved into the TV room when wanting full surround and/or Trueplay.



Trueplay is available when using the Beam.  Trueplay is only on the Amp if you’re using Sonance passive speakers.  And again, I don’t think reconfigure Sonos rooms on a regular basis is a good idea.



Basically my main passion is music and this would be any gears primary purpose, but having the facility to have an immersive cinema experience without too much extra outlay is obviously appealling. Which is where Sonos wins over others.

From previous post I think I am having to ditch the idea of having two 'rooms' that I can switch the Sub between. 

I think my current preference of the possibilities is Amp driving 2 passives, with Sub and 2 x Sonos Ones. TV will connect to Amp as and when needed via Optical, at which point I may or may not bring in the Ones for surround/Trueplay. If I can't be bothered resetting up Truplay I believe I can still adjust L/R balance of passives and overall bass/treble to ensure dialogue comes through.

....I think!



Diaglue/bass/treble settings are separate from trueplay, correct.  But again, you won’t get trueplay unless you Sonance speakers.  Which doesn’t mean it’s bad at all,  just not quite as good as trueplay.

I have a playbar connected to my tv and two amps, the amps are not used with the tv but whenever I turn on the tv both amps connect to the tv on their own, they are not grouped, how do I stop this from happening?

I’m looking for a “How to” in setting up my home theater surround sound.  Here is what I have:

1 Smart TV with the HDMI ARC cable run to a central location

2 Polk Audio Front speakers, already run to the same central location

2 Polk Audio Rear speakers, already run to the same central location

2 Sonos Amps (new, not Connect), located in the same central location


Can anyone provide me with the steps to create a 5.1 surround sound, please?  Thanks so much for the help.


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I’m looking for a “How to” in setting up my home theater surround sound.  Here is what I have:

1 Smart TV with the HDMI ARC cable run to a central location

2 Polk Audio Front speakers, already run to the same central location

2 Polk Audio Rear speakers, already run to the same central location

2 Sonos Amps (new, not Connect), located in the same central location


Can anyone provide me with the steps to create a 5.1 surround sound, please?  Thanks so much for the help.


Hey Mike,

The two amps can't do 5.1, they only actually do 4.1. You probably know that, just wanted to point it out since you mentioned 5.1.


Sonos has some docs online on what you are looking for


Does anyone know how I would set up my TV with both a Sonos Arc bar and an Amp wired to in-ceiling speakers? My TV has an optical out which can be connected to the HDMI into the Amp. But if I want an Arc to also be used and do either 3.1 or 4.1 how does that happen? (And how do I even just connect both the Arc and the AMP>speakers to my TV?) Thanks.

Setting up Amp or CONNECT:AMP as surround speakers is your best bet. If you were to set up the Amp to be a separate room, then there would be a slight delay between the two rooms. 

Since you’re on an optical connection, the best you can do, due to bandwidth issues, is Dolby Digital 5.1. With what you’ve described, doing the above process would get you to 5.0. If you set up the ceiling speakers as a separate room, you’d get just 3.0 from the Arc. 

Is there some magical way to change the amp from front speakers to surround speakers? The app won’t let me. It tells me the amp is set up for front speakers and so I need another amp. So I tried resetting everything but it won’t let me use it as surround - only front speakers. 

You would ‘bond’ the Sonos Amp to the front Sonos sound bar, or the front Sonos Amp. That process would tell the front device to send the surround information to the device acting as a driver for your rear speakers. 


I don't believe this question has been asked, but here we go…


I am planning my home theater setup and want to make sure things will work correctly. 

My plan is using a playbase + sub, 2 ceiling-mounted speakers connected to an amp, and two Sonos ones as the rears. Would the amp work correctly with everything?


Also, the setup I’m looking at would include 2 patio speakers that I can choose to be wired wherever. I thought about wiring them to an aux and connecting that to the Sonos Amp. I read above that this setup would not work correctly, what/where do you suggest I run the wiring for the patio speakers to? I plan on having a patio TV but do not wish to run the sound to those speakers. I would also not want the patio speakers to play the family room sound. I would ideally like to be able to control them from my Sonos App, but I'm not sure if that’s possible outside of buying a separate Sonos Amp for them. 

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Hi mtylerr, “working correctly” here kind of depends on how you’re hoping to use the Amp. The Playbase (as with all Sonos home theater components) can support a pair of speakers for surrounds. This would be a pair of Sonos Ones, or a pair of ceiling mounted speakers connected to an Amp, either option would get you the Sonos 5.1 surround setup. If you have both the Sonos Ones and the Amp, only one of those can be set up with the Playbase as surrounds, the other pair would be used as a separate Sonos room and could be grouped with the Playbase in a more temporary setup than as a surround room. For music playback, this would work great, but for TV audio, either the Amp or the Sonos Ones (whichever isn’t set up as surrounds) will not be in sync, and will not be playing the same Dolby audio. 


Okay thanks, that’s what I was hoping to avoid. Using this setup for primarily home audio, would you be better off running the amp to a set of rear ceiling-mounted speakers? Would that give better sound or would it be better with no amp and just sonos playbase, sub, and sonos ones?


I’ve been using my amp and I love it.  It has great versatility, and I’ll use it with external speakers and group it with the rest of my house simultaneously to play LPs.

A couple questions:

  1. given that it doesn’t have standard line in, what would be the best way to connect my PC to it?  Is there a way to use the HDMI arc port, given that the RCA line in is taken up by my record player currently?
  2. any benefit or best practices to using the amp to support streaming services such as spotify premium?


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That’s a tricky one to be honest, it really depends a lot on the room. Strictly speaking, 5.1 home theater dictates that the surround channels should come from the side and slightly behind the listener, at ear level, which would be a point for the Sonos One option. Also, Sonos Ones will give you the option of having built in voice control for the room through Alexa or Google Assistant. The Amp option is a bit more hidden and might be a little cleaner of a design for the room.


Awesome, exactly what I was looking for. Any ideas on the patio speakers? Either how I can integrate them when listening to audio or another idea? I guess I could use the amp there but I’m not sure where the amp would be best placed. 

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Yep, using the Amp with them would be the way to go. You would control the Amp as a separate room or zone of music. It could be grouped with your Playbase controlled system, or play different things. When playing any non-TV source, it’ll be perfectly in sync, with TV audio, it will be a bit delayed, but you probably wouldn’t notice if the rooms aren’t very close to each other.


Depending on what sort of setup you’re looking for on the patio, another option would be a Sonos Move, a portable, battery powered unit you could take to the patio when you want music there, or take it outside the home and use it with Bluetooth. When on your wireless, you could even use a pair of Moves in stereo.

I just moved my tv to a room where I have an Amp running a set of wired speakers on the back wall. If I get a Soundbar, can this be configured wirelessly as a home theater set up? Our do I have to run a wire from the Soundbar to the Amp?
I just moved my tv to a room where I have an Amp running a set of wired speakers on the back wall. If I get a Soundbar, can this be configured wirelessly as a home theater set up? Our do I have to run a wire from the Soundbar to the Amp?

If it is the Amp and not a Connect:Amp, then there is no need for Ethernet wiring. The Connect:Amp would require wiring both units to the router, or to each other.
Can Amp be used as surrounds for an existing Playbar set up as well as maintaining the Line-in functionality for a turn table? I'm having trouble accomplishing this with my Amp 😞
Can Amp be used as surrounds for an existing Playbar set up as well as maintaining the Line-in functionality for a turn table? I'm having trouble accomplishing this with my Amp :(

Unfortunately, the Line-In is disabled when the Amp is used to power surrounds.