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Creating 5.1 with non-Sonos Subwoofer

  • 25 December 2013
  • 66 replies
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Sub disabled when Setting up SONOS CONNECT:AMP as Surround Rears Why are you disabling the subwoofer out when configuring the Connect Amp to drive non-Sonos rear speakers with a Playbar? I have a my own sub that i want to connect to the Connect Amp so that it can be driven along with the rest of the system. I do not want to buy another Sonos sub. Surely this would just be a software or firmware update that is easily achievable.
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Best answer by Chris 14 March 2018, 03:05

It's not possible. A 5.1 system has a discrete .1 channel.

The Connect:Amp is only able to receive a stereo signal (R/L). In this case the R/L is the right and left surround sound. There is no dedicated chanel to send to the Subwoofer.

The original design of the Connect:Amp was not to be used in the manner of surrounds. Its original hardware takes a stereo signal. Filters it through a crossover - sending higher frequencies to left/right channel speakers and the lower range to the subwoofer output. So the subwoofer output sits between the stereo input and the speaker output (just as a normal sub would). There is no direct channel to the subwoofer just a processing of the stereo signal.

Therefore, there is no reason to have the subwoofer active. There is no reason to filter out the low end output from the surround sound mix (as the surround sound mix doesn't have the LFE channel or really any low end to speak of).

It is an internal hardware issue that makes it impossible for the Connect:Amp to pass a discrete LFE channel in the form of the .1 signal from a surround sound setup. It just physically is not built to do that - so no asking for it will solve the issue.

A new Connect:Amp model designed to pass a discrete signal would be required.

Hope this makes sense as Sonos has no way to add this ability to the current model.
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66 replies

Think about it. The Connect:Amp is only a two channel device, so it can only play stereo. Set up as rear channels, the most it can play is the very minimal bass in the two surround channels. In order to play the bass from the '.1' of the 5.1 channels (the '.1' is the dedicated subwoofer channel), the Connect:Amp would need to be a three channel device, or the Playbar would have to magically recombine the bass into the rear two channels, neither of which is possible.
Without knowing the design of the Connect Amp I am not sure how it can confidently be said that it is impossible for the Playbar to send the rear speaker channel and subwoofer channel to the Connect Amp and have it split the signal (based on frequency) into rears and subwoofer.

The Connect Amp has three outputs (left speaker, right speaker and subwoofer) so one way or another when it is used as an amplifier to drive two speakers and a subwoofer it is already splitting the two channel signal it receives to provide a low frequency output to the subwoofer.

As I wrote in my OP I believe that it is possible through either a software update or maybe a firmware update for this to be done. One option would be for the Playbar to send the combined signal (rear speakers and subwoofer) and have the Connect Amp split it. Given that Sonos have already once before modified the Connect Amp to drive the rear speakers in a 5.1 setup, which is not what the Connect Amp was originally designed for, I'd like to think that that my OP is the realms of doable.
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Sonos customer help states the following regarding using a Connect Amp to drive non-Sonos surround rear speakers: https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2248 Sonos technical support advised the following to me in an email: "We do not support third party SUB in a Sonos 5.1 setup - My recommendation is that you actually put this up as a feature request to show our product developers that there are a demand for this. " So it looks like this is possible. It just needs support from end users and Sonos may implement it.
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This was all VERY unclear when I bought my amp and now it's past the 30 day return policy of Amazon. I really want to just return ALL my sonos gear. While it sound great I'm not at all happy with the pain in the ass that it's been to connect into my current speakers and sub only to have it not even work. Screw it.
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This was all VERY unclear when I bought my amp and now it's past the 30 day return policy of Amazon. I really want to just return ALL my sonos gear. While it sound great I'm not at all happy with the pain in the ass that it's been to connect into my current speakers and sub only to have it not even work. Screw it.
You can get the rear speakers to work just fine its only the subwoofer that does not currently work. I agree with you that based on all of the Sonos advertising/perception that you'd think it would all be easier to deal with especially when it comes to DTS which unbelievably is still not supported.
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This was all VERY unclear when I bought my amp and now it's past the 30 day return policy of Amazon. I really want to just return ALL my sonos gear. While it sound great I'm not at all happy with the pain in the ass that it's been to connect into my current speakers and sub only to have it not even work. Screw it.
yep - rears work fine. If I'd known this was all I'd get I'd have bought 2 Play 1s and saved some money. This is ridiculous. If they're not updating this soon it's all going on Craigslist most likely. Onkyo and bluetooth gets me almost back to where I am now and it'll blow my roof off.
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Supported!!
asperableedy - please ellaborate on your comment?  are you saying that sub out is now enabled on the connect amp when paired w/ the playbar?  was close to buying playbar and amp to implement like this but came across this thread/issue so will not pull trigger or buy any sonos product until its enabled.  sonos team, please reply something 'official' on this matter. thanks!
I'm interested in this as well. It's definitely a cheaper and more flexible solution to buy a connect:amp, two speakers and a subwoofer than two play1s and the sonos sub. 
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asperableedy - please ellaborate on your comment?  are you saying that sub out is now enabled on the connect amp when paired w/ the playbar?  was close to buying playbar and amp to implement like this but came across this thread/issue so will not pull trigger or buy any sonos product until its enabled.  sonos team, please reply something 'official' on this matter. thanks!
Pretty sure you still can't use a 3rd party sub while he connect amp is paired with playbar to act as rears. A buddy of mine has this setup and he couldn't use his sub a week ago. The sonos sub is pretty awesome though, hits so smooth
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I'm sure the sub is fantastic but I already paid for an amp and third party sub. Another $700 for a sub is ridiculous. Sonos needs to get on the stick and update the firmware.
I'm sure the sub is fantastic but I already paid for an amp and third party sub. Another $700 for a sub is ridiculous. Sonos needs to get on the stick and update the firmware.
It'd just be nice to know if it was possible. I'm going to buy connect:amp anyway when install outdoor speakers, this would let me put in a switch and  finish the 5.1 setup without having to buy extra sonos equipment.
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I'm sure the sub is fantastic but I already paid for an amp and third party sub. Another $700 for a sub is ridiculous. Sonos needs to get on the stick and update the firmware.
I tried using a third party sub and ti didnt work. I'm pretty sure its because the amp acts as rear speakers...so the amp disengages the sub. 
I think having this option to connect 3rd party sub woofer to the playbar is a great idea.  I want to use mine in the same set up.   

 

 
Completely agree
I would very much like the ability to use my 3rd party sub from the sub out of the connect amp from the rear channels.

I finally jumped at getting a playbar and am now very disappointed and debating returning it. I want to use my connect amps sub out from the surround channel, as well as be able to listen to music out of all speakers without having to remove the connect amp from 5.1

I hope to see this change, or my playbar is going back.
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I would very much like the ability to use my 3rd party sub from the sub out of the connect amp from the rear channels.

I finally jumped at getting a playbar and am now very disappointed and debating returning it. I want to use my connect amps sub out from the surround channel, as well as be able to listen to music out of all speakers without having to remove the connect amp from 5.1

I hope to see this change, or my playbar is going back.


yep - I'd have returned all my Sonos gear at this point but I didn't add the third party sub until it was too late. it is in the documentation that this won't work bit with all the demand out there they certainly should put this on the map to fix with an AMP firmware update. The don't appear to care at this point.
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I would very much like the ability to use my 3rd party sub from the sub out of the connect amp from the rear channels.

I finally jumped at getting a playbar and am now very disappointed and debating returning it. I want to use my connect amps sub out from the surround channel, as well as be able to listen to music out of all speakers without having to remove the connect amp from 5.1

I hope to see this change, or my playbar is going back.


I have a workaround using a switch box that seems to work.  It's not elegant, but here it is:
1.  Subwoofer cable from AMP to left line on switch box
2.  Dual RCA cable from line out on TV to switch box
3.  Dual RCA from switch box to 3rd party subwoofer

And of course, I need to select the input on the box manually for music or TV. 

The relative signal strengths from the TV and Connect AMP seem to be different.  So still experimenting to resolve.  I'm still new to Sonos.  So, any suggestions on how to address this would appreciated it.  
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I have a workaround using a switch box that seems to work.  It's not elegant, but here it is:
1.  Subwoofer cable from AMP to left line on switch box
2.  Dual RCA cable from line out on TV to switch box
3.  Dual RCA from switch box to 3rd party subwoofer

And of course, I need to select the input on the box manually for music or TV. 

The relative signal strengths from the TV and Connect AMP seem to be different.  So still experimenting to resolve.  I'm still new to Sonos.  So, I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to address this.  
Thanks for the option, but a work around is not sufficient for the amount of money paid for these devices; this hound be a firmware or software fix.
I strongly encourage Sonos to release a firmware/software solution, that brings the SUB back online when used as a add-on for surround sound. Most Sonos users probably as I started of with the connect AMP and a high end relative expensive stereo/SUB setup from a previous setup. So the connect amp was the add-on not to give up the high end setup for everyday music listening. Now having to switch between 4.0 and connect amp regular function is already too annoying for movie watching, and furthermore this only gives a descent surround setup, because you lose the SUB in  surround mode. It is ridiculous, and this have to be improved sooner than later. 
Keep this thread alive, this would be an excellent new feature and really help those with their own highend subwoofers for a 5.1 system.

Another Idea would be to allow a connect amp to be used as the other channels from front left/right and center.
Any news on this?
Sonos recently added the ability to keep the AMP as the rear channel, but when playing normal music, it switches to either a full mode or ambient mode, the subwoofer output is STILL disabled despite being used in essentially a separate zone. I had to make my own program to go into the webpage and disable the amp as a rear channel, and configure as a group; and then when the input is selected back to TV, I have to re-setup in the webpage as the surrounds.

This is stupid, why is the subwoofer output STILL disabled when switching to full in the music playback section.

This should be trivial and I don't understand why the ball continues to be dropped!
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nothin yet Sonos? How about an update? acknowledge that we're even here?