Surround sound and Line in via Sonos Amp

Hi, I have a Beam connected to my tv, a Sonos amp, 2 passive Speakers and a turntable connected to the amp. I want to use this setup as a 4.0 surround sound system for my tv and I want to use all speakers to play music from my turntable. I can configure the system to play 4.0 surround sound but than the line in disappears in the app. And I can unpair the surround speakers, create a separated room for the amp with the passive speakers and group it with the beam to play the turntables on all speakers. So I’m basically able to do all what I want to do but not without reconfiguring the hole system every time. Please help ;)


Best answer by flyingpadrejr 9 May 2020, 00:45

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Unfortunately, surround + line in can’t be done with your components without unbonding. If Amp is used as surround line in is disabled, because Beam acts as ‘master’ that distributes all sounds in the group. As a side note, when you use Beam as fronts, it is technically 5.0, not 4.0. 

Is there any plans on supporting this configuration(without having to go through the proccess manualy)?

I`d like to use my speakers connected to my Amp as surround speakers when watching TV. But at the same time be able to use my record player connected to the same Amp.

Is there any plans on supporting this configuration(without having to go through the proccess manualy)?

I`d like to use my speakers connected to my Amp as surround speakers when watching TV. But at the same time be able to use my record player connected to the same Amp.


I highly doubt it.  Bonding as surrounds puts the Amp into a receive only condition, like a Sub.  I’m pretty sure it it were possible to modify this condition, Sonos (or some third party app like Sonosequencr) would have done it.  

yeah, if it was possible they`d probably done it by now :(

Hello all! 

Backstory so you know where I'm at, and  question after!


So I thought I had the master plan, I landed on the arc, and an amp.

I thought I would be able to have the amp power a set of towers for surround to my arc as well as be available for a stereo set with my record player that is also set up on the amp AND it power a third party sub.

Thought the research and trials  I found that once the amp is set to surround, it automatically shuts off the line in as well as the sub, BUMMER but I understand. 


So I now have an amp that is capable of two scenarios. And I have to unconnect and reset up everytime i want to switch back and forth from the amp powering rear surrounds and it being its own 2.1 stereo. Is there any software workarounds to make the switching easier?


Also I cannot use a third party sub connected via amp for the arc. 


So i guess my question is what does the community recommend me do to have a smoother situation here?


  1. no brainer to just get sonos sub  ?  {anyone looking for a supercube4000??}
  2. get a port for my record player so it allows my amp to just power the rears? 
    1. that would allow me to just use the record player as a media source and stream it to any room i want. right? 
    2. could i use a older, used connect to accomplish the same thing 
      1. Whats the main difference? 


  1. i know its a little over kill for tower rears but they are great speakers i had from my old set up, and sound better than two 1s. I could potentially put back there.
    1. i think with the port set up my record player would stream to “ living room” and the nice towers would be just rears, but switching to full music playback would be sufficient and the sonos sub would be connected as well. right? 
  2. I have thrown around getting rid of the towers and the amp and put in two 5s 
    1. I could then use the 5s as a record player input 
      1. but would i run into the same problem of having to disconnect the 5s as surrounds and re set them up to do vinyl? 


Ps i think all of this sonos stuff is great and the community is even better.


Thanks ahead of time for any thoughts and or comments, apologies if this has been discussed before. 








I just invested in an Arc, an Amp, and the in-ceiling speakers.  I ran wire and cut holes in my ceiling (in the Texas heat) to get this setup.   I tested the line-in before installing the speakers.  Only after pairing the speakers as surrounds did I learn that the Amp turns into a dump piece of crap when paired with the Arc.

So no I cannot play my record player (which was the primary motivator for getting the Amp and speakers).  So I have to chose between surround sound and being able to play my record player.  Had the installation instructions said something, I would have placed the speakers differently and set them up in stereo mode.  

Sonos should:

  1. Enable audio-in on Amp in surround mode, or
  2. Enable audio-in on Amp when surround sound is not playing.  I.e., play a movie or play a record even if both cannot happen simultaneously.

Even if Option #1 is impossible (I doubt this), Option #2 merely requires two profiles (one for surround and a second for line-in mode) and no additional processing capability.



Moderator edit: Removed Profanity

Surround sound guidelines and limitations



The following features will be disabled on Sonos products used as surround speakers:

  • AirPlay
  • Line-In
  • Subwoofer output

The microphones will be disabled on voice-enabled products used as surround speakers with a Sonos Beam.

Would a solution be to remove the line in from the amp and get a either a port or an older connect amp possibly, used to feed the record player into the system? 


That way the amp can be used to power the surrounds and then you could use the whole system to play the line in via the connect/port? 


Also would there be a noticeable difference between the two?

A separate Sonos Amp, or Port, or PLAY:5, or CONNECT, or CONNECT:AMP,  all of which have an active line in, as long as they’re not being used as/powering surround speakers,  would provide an excellent way to get the phono input into the Sonos ecosystem. All would be the same quality.

I'm in the same boat... we purchased the amp to kill two birds with one stone: get the line in for the turntable and power a set on existing in-ceiling surrounds speakers.  Guess the surrounds will have to be put into its own room and not act as surrounds so the turntable will always work…

I have both the Arc and Amp hard wired to Ethernet, I just can't wrap my head as to why this can't be a software switch.   Thousands invested, and the solution here is to buy another product?  

SONOS, there's got to be at least a script that can unbond/bond the rear surrounds as needed. 

Can the ARC's optical input be used like a line-in? Meaning available to be played on any speaker? 
I have a 3.5mm to optical cable from my old Chromecast Audio, that would be neat.


Not sure what you mean. There’s no optical input on the Arc. There is an adapter, and yes, any input to that adapter that matches a codec that Sonos can interpret would play on the Arc, using that adapter. 

For what it’s worth, ARC is Audio Return Channel, Arc is a speaker.

Sorry for the misspelling, I'm talking about the Arc speaker as I had heard it has an optical adapter.  Sounds like that would go to the only HDMI port on the Arc, which needs to go to our TV.  I'm still waiting on the Arc and sub (both backordered), so for now the Amp is connected to the TV via HDMI. 

My issue is all our records/turntable are in my living room/Home theater, and it sucks to have to buy a port to be able to isolate a line in, because when my amp is used as surrounds the line in is disabled.  


There another option then the Port, namely the Five, if your interested in just a single line in, which could be used to connect either a pre-amped turntable, or the line level output from your receiver. Bonus is that it’s a great speaker, too. But no, Sonos doesn’t design the TV speakers to have multiple inputs. Perhaps you could connect the receiver/turntable to your TV, if it has analog inputs?

Given that the Arc only has a single HDMI ARC input, if you were to be constantly unplugging the cable from the TV to insert the adapter to the optical input, you’d get tired of the process pretty quickly. 

If the turn table was in another room, that would be another story.  

Here’s another option I’m thinking of.   Since the line-in on the amp gets disabled when those speakers bonded as surrounds, what about the built-in hdmi port on the amp?  Does that remain active?  Perhaps a RCA to HDMI adapter?  It sounds like once the amp is bonded as surrounds to either the arc/beam/playbar it loses the ability to do anything other than act as surrounds.   Very disappointing.


No, all additional inputs on a device dedicated to surround support are turned off. Likely due to the Special nature of the connection required to the front device, but you’d need to talk to a Sonos engineer. It’s always been this way. Feel free to be disappointed, if you feel the need. 

Same problem.  I buy an expensive Amp and figured it could walk (line in) and chew gum (surround) - doesn't even need to be at the same time!  with a simple switch. I AM A SONOS FAN, BUT A MIGHT PISSED OFF SONOS FAN RIGHT NOW.

Here's my gripe with this...
Neither the marketing materials nor the user guide mention this limitation.
I read the user guides on each and every component before buying this system because the marketing material does a very poor job of explaining the technical aspects.

Marketing material doesn’t mention this limitation under Features and specs, nor in the FAQ:

User guide - no mention here either:

Instead, you have to head over to the support site to find this information.  People don't go to support until after they've found the problem.   That's misleading.

If it has always been that way, then update your documentation on the main web-site.

I’d like an explanation from Engineering as to why the line in must be disabled.  I wouldn’t even care if the surround speakers don’t play the line-in, I just need it out to the rest of my system.   Also, if both amp and arc are hard wired to my network, why must it “bond” wirelessly?

This should be a software switch, where the speakers remain bonded when in surround mode, then switch to the other mode when line is in in use.



HERE - HERE!  Should be a simple switch.  Heck, I would even be OK if I could do it on my phone with a couple steps - I just don’t want to factory reset the amp, press the join button, etc.  The Amp is tucked away behind everything and I have to pull out the the TV, etc. to get at things.

I agree that this feature is not made as clear as it could and should be.

As to the rest, i start from the position that although Sonos undoubtedly get things wrong, they don’t deliberately set out to make things more difficult for their customers when an easy fix is available.

The nature of ‘bonding’ surrounds is that the surrounds are in some sense ‘slaves’ to the home theatre device (e.g. Arc).  The HT device controls the whole show, and the surrounds just play the stream sent by the HT device.  The nature of their connection to the system is different, and that makes getting the sound out of the line-in to the rest of the system impossible.  (Well, maybe nothing is impossible, but this is clearly a major technical challenge at least, or Sonos would have done it.).

One aspect of the different nature of the connection is that the data passes between the units in a HT setup using 5GHz wireless and direct routing, not via the router.  5GHz is used because it has lower latency than 2.4GHz - crucial in a HT setup.  However, I do not believe that is fundamental to the line-in issue.

For similar reasons, on an Amp or Connect:Amp that is being used to drive surround speakers, the subwoofer port has to be disabled. 

I don’t pretend to know the full technical details of this, so there is no point quizzing me further about it.  But the way surrounds connect to the system is fundamentally different from other speakers, so it is not surprising that some behaviours are different.


@digo-BR .  To answer an earlier question, I think it would be possible to use the Arc’s HDMI port.  (It isn’t strictly speaking an HDMI input but an HDMI-ARC output, but we’ll leave that aside.) 

I think you would need a turntable with optical out, a digital optical switch, and the digital optical to HDMI-ARC converter that comes with the Arc.  You would run optical from the TV and from the turntable into the switch, and the converter to the Arc.  To play in other rooms you would have to group.  The audio would be treated as ‘TV audio’ rather than ‘music audio’.

This is all theoretical, but I think it would work.

(Further note: if your turntable had only analog RCA out then you would have to throw an RCA to optical ADC into the mix.)

I have said the above is for the Arc, but same would apply for the Beam or an Amp used for fronts.  Forget it for an Amp used for surrounds.

All of that makes sense and I understand SONOS was designed to be a wireless system from the get go.

However, many of your devices include an ethernet port or two. So if both the arc and the amp are hardwired,  why would I go wireless to my surrounds?  Wired sure beats RF in latency at any frequency.

I think you can go wired.  The nature of the connection is still master-slave.  I don’t think the route followed by the data is the real issue.  I said that in my earlier post.  In fact, the first Sonos device with a line-in that could drive surrounds was the Connect:Amp, and that HAD to be wired because it lacked a 5GHz radio.  It still had line in and subwoofer port disabled.  

Latency is unlikely to be the only issue here, and I don’t think any of us have anything remotely like sufficient knowledge and understanding of how Sonos HT works to be sure that wiring is best overall.  Sonos may prefer to use wireless over wired in this instance, even though that would not be usual in other circumstances.

You either accept that there are technical reasons why Sonos can’t do this, or you don’t.  I have reached my view, you are free to think differently.  I am at the limits of my understanding here, and it isn’t something I am personally bothered by.

Let’s be serious. The hardware in the Amp is capable of being assigned into 2 “Rooms”, one bonded to a Beam/Arc and one that’s not. The problem is the software. But it’s not a problem, it’s an intentional move by Sonos to force buyers into purchasing an extra Amp or other speakers. So the choice is $500 or $1000 to get it to work. Instead of Sonos honoring a $1000 purchase in the Amp and updating their software. 

Be under no illusion, this is a cruel sales tactic bordering thievery.  It is ignorant to think that Sonos want you to have the ability to use the products to their potential. They don’t. They severely limit the software in order to drive sales. The hardware is capable, the software just needs the ability to be setup as such. 

@sammutd88 . I wish I had the knowledge and understanding of the Sonos system and software that you must have to make such comments with total confidence. Thank you for providing these insights.