Sonos 5.1 with Amp

  • 13 February 2022
  • 7 replies
  • 109 views

Envisioned Living room set up: 

2 Sonos in ceiling speakers - rear

2 Sonos in wall speakers front on both sides of the TV

1 Sonos Sub

1 - Possibly the Arc under TV

Looking to set up 5.1 with Sonos.  With the ARC I know it will be 5.1.2 which is cool too. 

 

Questions:

  1.  Can the above 6 speakers be powered 1 Amp? I know the 4 in-wall / in-ceiling speakers and the sub can be powered by 1 Amp but what about the ARC?
  2.  Is there another speaker besides the arc to give me that 5th speaker? And if so can it powered by the sam amp.
  3. If there is no other option besides the ARC to get me that 5th speaker and can’t be connected to the same amp then what is the best way to set this up?
  4.  Will the 5.1 or 5.1.2 be that much better than a 4.1 Sonos set up. (Yes I know this is subjective but would be curious on other’s opinions)

 


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7 replies

AMP is a two channel device. As long as you respect AMP’s impedance limit, you can drive multiple pairs of speakers, but there will still be only two independent channels. ARC cannot drive passive speakers. AMP cannot be added to ARC in an attempt to add extra passive speakers to the front..

Soundbars in general are designed to be compact and eliminate a gaggle of ‘boxes’, wires, or wireless links, but there is a sonic cost for this. Through tricky processing the human can be fooled into thinking that sounds originate from locations where there are no speakers. This trickery involves frequency shaping, timing tricks, and reflecting sounds off the walls and ceiling. Since the soundbar designer has no control over the room characteristics, it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen in the home.

With respect to ARC having an actual center speaker and AMP having only two channels for the front, the result depends on passive speaker imaging and placement. If the passive speakers are close to the TV and image well, center channel is redundant. 

With respect to adding SUB, it offloads the bass and makes ARC’s overall job easier. There are two potential payoff’s for the listener. Obviously there will be more bass, but the midrange clarity is improved because ARC has less frequencies to cover.

Yes, as you suspect, ultimate beauty is in the ear of the listener. Technical types can help you solve problems, but don’t allow this person to convince you that only they know what sounds “best”. In my observation there are cheap and expensive ears (and ego’s?). Cheap ears are the lucky ones because they can be satisfied; expensive ears will probably never be satisfied.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

About your proposed set up:

You cannot combine an ARC and an Amp for front speakers. In Sonos thought thre’s no need: the Arc is already FL-Center-FR. Also there’s no way to connect the extra front-Amp to your TV. If you want an Amp to use for front speakers you cannot use it for rear speakers too -  they will need their own amp.

In answer to your questions:

  1. how do you count six speakers to connect the the one Amp? From you question I see only four. O wait, you think the Amp powers the Sub and the Arc too. It doesn’t - both Sub and Arc are powered.
  2. And 3. There’s no five speaker option in Sonos if the thought is to combine five actual speakers.

Real 5.1.2 in Sonos would be the Arc for front, plus Sub and and an Amp for rear. That would probably sound better for TV use than using two Amps, since the front Amp in that set up computes a “phantom” center, while the Arc has an actual center.

AMP is a two channel device. As long as you respect AMP’s impedance limit, you can drive multiple pairs of speakers, but there will still be only two independent channels. ARC cannot drive passive speakers. AMP cannot be added to ARC in an attempt to add extra passive speakers to the front..

Soundbars in general are designed to be compact and eliminate a gaggle of ‘boxes’, wires, or wireless links, but there is a sonic cost for this. Through tricky processing the human can be fooled into thinking that sounds originate from locations where there are no speakers. This trickery involves frequency shaping, timing tricks, and reflecting sounds off the walls and ceiling. Since the soundbar designer has no control over the room characteristics, it’s hard to predict exactly what will happen in the home.

With respect to ARC having an actual center speaker and AMP having only two channels for the front, the result depends on passive speaker imaging and placement. If the passive speakers are close to the TV and image well, center channel is redundant. 

With respect to adding SUB, it offloads the bass and makes ARC’s overall job easier. There are two potential payoff’s for the listener. Obviously there will be more bass, but the midrange clarity is improved because ARC has less frequencies to cover.

Yes, as you suspect, ultimate beauty is in the ear of the listener. Technical types can help you solve problems, but don’t allow this person to convince you that only they know what sounds “best”. In my observation there are cheap and expensive ears (and ego’s?). Cheap ears are the lucky ones because they can be satisfied; expensive ears will probably never be satisfied.

Thanks for the detailed answer.  Luckily I have cheap ears (for the most part) but I do like an immersive sound experience. 


What Equipment / Set up using only Sonos Equipment would you use to create as close as possible to a 7.1 system? Just close as possible. For the sake of discussion cost is not an issue. 

About your proposed set up:

You cannot combine an ARC and an Amp for front speakers. In Sonos thought thre’s no need: the Arc is already FL-Center-FR. Also there’s no way to connect the extra front-Amp to your TV. If you want an Amp to use for front speakers you cannot use it for rear speakers too -  they will need their own amp.

In answer to your questions:

  1. how do you count six speakers to connect the the one Amp? From you question I see only four. O wait, you think the Amp powers the Sub and the Arc too. It doesn’t - both Sub and Arc are powered.
  2. And 3. There’s no five speaker option in Sonos if the thought is to combine five actual speakers.

Real 5.1.2 in Sonos would be the Arc for front, plus Sub and and an Amp for rear. That would probably sound better for TV use than using two Amps, since the front Amp in that set up computes a “phantom” center, while the Arc has an actual center.

Got it. I definitely had some wrong ideas mixed all in there. 

I like to get you input on my question I asked above as well if you wouldn’t mind.

“What Equipment / Set up using only Sonos Equipment would you use to create as close as possible to a 7.1 system? Just close as possible. For the sake of discussion cost is not an issue. “

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Most immersive all Sonos would be Arc, two Subs and two Fives for rears. That would be 5.2.2 I believe.

Userlevel 7

What Equipment / Set up using only Sonos Equipment would you use to create as close as possible to a 7.1 system? Just close as possible. For the sake of discussion cost is not an issue.

The closest you can get to a 7.1 Sonos setup is using an Arc + Sub + two surround speakers which would give you a 5.1.2 setup.


What Equipment / Set up using only Sonos Equipment would you use to create as close as possible to a 7.1 system? Just close as possible. For the sake of discussion cost is not an issue. 

To some extent it depends on your viewing habits. If you watch nature films, a pair of ONE’s in the rear for the crickets will be fine. At the other extreme, if you watch full action films, two SUB’s and FIVE’s for the rear is a lot of fun.

As a practical matter speaker placement is important. Don’t box ARC in a cabinet because this will limit what the side firing speakers can do. Also don’t place the rears too close to your listening position, otherwise the closest speaker will tend to dominate and small head movements become significant. For example, surround speakers on end tables adjacent to a couch is a bad idea.