Sonos AMP Center Channel

  • 6 January 2019
  • 6 replies

I am very excited to try the new Sonos AMP but dont understand how to drive a center channel. Under the description it states you can have a phantom center channel but is this a phantom using the L and R or can it actually drive a center channel speaker across the R and L outputs?

6 replies

Phantom means it doesn't physically exist. It's a combination of the signal from the left and right audio from those speakers.
Does it work ok?
When reading reviews, the opinion varies a lot. Some reviewers mention that it works, but quality is far from using an actual center. Others marvel at how close it gets.

I would love if someone could tell of their real world experience, preferably someone who knows how a real center setup sounds.
I have tried running 2 stereo speakers on my traditional setup, using LG's VirtualSurround on the tv-set (also dsp'ed phantom center), and it is very disappointing compared to a physical center speaker.
Amp is a very interesting product, but center is really important in movies (for dialogue), and I guess lots of people hesitate to make the switch. Opinions requested!
Did you get a reply to this?
This probably isn't the answer you want, since I haven't had a TV hooked up to a center channel (or any external speakers) in over 10 years. I just got an Amp as my first Sonos unit. Hooked it up to two floor speakers and external sub, all positioned for music. I think it's pretty decent. Decent enough that I haven't gone back to my tiny TV speakers. My wife hasn't had any particular negative comments either.

I didn't buy the Amp for TV connectivity as a priority, but it is a nice bonus. I'd be interesting in comparing this setup with just a Beam. I am *not* interested in buying a Sonos Sub to pair with the Beam. I already have a sub. I would buy a Beam (or a mini Beam) and a pair of Ones if Sonos could figure out how to do a proper 5.1 setup with the Amp running L, R, and the .1.
I think it is given that it beats internal tv speakers. The question is whether it compares somewhat decently to a physical center.

In other words, should you go all sonos or keep the old clunky surround receiver.

There is much to like about the amp, small and easy to fit. I just dont want to buy, and then realize phantom center is marketing hype.
I am using it with two Jamo towers. The only problem I am having was that I had built-in shelving that was designed specifically for a console that I have. I have a center speaker but the Jamos also have Atmos top firing speakers. Sounds great on music and love that I can stream throughout the house to Plays and PLay1s. For the TV, the phantom center works great when you are in the middle of the room with the speakers angled. I find that on the sides of the room though the nearer speaker is dominant. It isn't a very large room so the spread of the speakers is more amplified. I think if you have the speakers closer to the actual TV it would sound better. I am going to add the center channel speaker that came with the Jamos to the optical out and see if I can play both at the same time or just use it when I'm watching something. My other question, has anyone tried using a play as a center?