Home theater without a speakerbar

  • 14 July 2019
  • 6 replies
  • 215 views

Hey there! I have not yet dipped my toe into the Sonos world, but have an opportunity to go all in but have some questions.

I currently use a Marantz 8805 as an AV pre/amp, and would like to keep it as it does all of my switching. I don't care about the streaming apps built into my display, as I use an AppleTV and Roku for everything.

Can I use Play5s in line-in mode at all positions (7) for traditional surround sound? I know that there are limitations on when I make them into a 'theater' with Sonos (why?) but is there any downside to this?

Thanks

B

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6 replies

Userlevel 7
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If your amp is sending the specific channel data to each speaker, yes.

Im not sure I’d do that though. A 5 is probably overkill for surround effects speakers, and it doesn’t have the depth to be a sub.
Userlevel 7
Badge +18
And there are only certain Sonos speakers (Playbar, Playbase and Beam) that have a home theatre decoder inbuilt. They ONLY support Dolby Digital, not DTS, Atmos, or other home theatre formats.
Userlevel 2
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The Play 5 will add about 70ms of delay to the analog input signal. This will probably have noticeable effects on lip sync. The delay is buffering used to synchronize the speaker when used in multi-room configurations.

The home theater oriented products (Beam, Playbase, etc.) don't have this delay on their HDMI / optical inputs and are a better fit for home theater applications.

Somebody more experienced with the home theater products can probably better explain the nuances here.

Happy listening,

-Scott
Thanks!

I don't need a decoder because the 8805 is quite competent at that -- my signal flow now is (Source HDMI) --> 8805 --> analog out to traditional amp --> regular speakers.

The 70ms shouldn't matter as I can adjust the delay in the 8805 -- but that's good to know. Since this is a band-aid type set up, I think I would set up the speakers as three 'rooms' (LCR, LS/RS, LRS/RRS) unless having them all in one room would simplify the delay (should be uniform if they are all in the same room, right?).

I have a real wired sub that I am going to use.

Alternately, could I use a few connect:amp to get the analog signal from my 8805 into the Sonos ecosystem?

I know these are off-the-wall questions but I have a unique opportunity from a pricing perspective and want to maximize what I can do within the Sonos environment, unless it's going to be totally fubar and then I will go a different direction.
Userlevel 2
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Are you able to vary delays per channel? The sub will not have the same buffering delays as the Play 5's.

You might set it up as three stereo pairs (Front, Surround, Rear Surround), and a mono center. At least each pair would be synchronized. But putting them in the same "Room" will lead to them all playing the same audio.

The stereo pairs and the center will not necessarily synchronize as they are each playing a unique input signal. From each speakers (or speaker pairs) perspective they are playing "solo". The delays are possibly (but not guaranteed to be) consistent across each pair, so it may not matter. I have no experience with this.

It's a fun experiment. I'm not confident about a desirable outcome.

It sounds like you have some sort of opportunity to get the Play 5's for cheap? Otherwise, powered, wired speakers might suit your application better - you apparently don't need wireless since you are talking about using the Line-In connection. You also have lots of ways to stream content (Roku, Apple TV, Airplay) so the controller features of Sonos don't seem like a big need. If the Play 5's were just good powered speakers they would be a better fit, but the multi-room features built into them make their application here a bit challenging.

I do appreciate your creativity, however. :-)

Happy listening,

-Scott
And there are only certain Sonos speakers (Playbar, Playbase and Beam) that have a home theatre decoder inbuilt. They ONLY support Dolby Digital, not DTS, Atmos, or other home theatre formats.


Just a note, the Sonos Amp can also interpret a Dolby Digital signal, although it can't output a center speaker. It uses a combination of the left and right speakers to create a "phantom" center channel.