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Sonos Ports + HTD MCA-66 6 Zone setup

  • 13 December 2022
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I purchased a home that has an HTD MCA-66 with CAT5 cables running to every room. I have 6 zones, each with the corresponding HTD wall volume control.

The HTD has a 4 pin Phoenix connector AND a corresponding CAT5 connector for each zone.

I’d like each speaker pair in each of the 6 zones to operate separately via a Sonos Port (one Port for each Zone).

Question: 

  • Where am I hooking the RCA from each Sonos Port to? Audio in on the MCA-66? Or do I set it up as a sub zone within each zone?
  • Can I remove and bypass the wall power and volume controls and only use Sonos for everything?
  • Lastly - how can I make the speaker pair in my living room operate as RL and RR for surround with my Sonos Playbar? Do I need a Sonos Amp for that? Or would one of my Sonos Ports suffice?

Thank you for your help!

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Best answer by Corry P 14 December 2022, 11:20

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Hi @DW81 

Welcome to the Sonos Community!

I’d like each speaker pair in each of the 6 zones to operate separately via a Sonos Port (one Port for each Zone).

Question: 

  • Where am I hooking the RCA from each Sonos Port to? Audio in on the MCA-66? Or do I set it up as a sub zone within each zone?

Connect “Out” on each of the Ports to the Source Input panel on the MCA-66.

  • Can I remove and bypass the wall power and volume controls and only use Sonos for everything?

I presume so, but the question is: would you really want to? No, is the likely answer. Volume should always be controlled at the final amplification stage, otherwise you need to set the volume to the highest setting you will ever use, then turn down the sources. This results in a low signal-to-noise ratio and therefore lots of hissing from the speakers at any volume other than loud. We recommend setting the Port’s output to Fixed (effectively disabling volume in the Sonos app for those rooms) and letting the amplifier deal with volume changes.

If you were to use 6 Amps instead of 6 Ports and the MCA-66, then you could control all volumes from the Sonos app(s) on your device(s). There would be much more power available in each room - 6 times as much, which the speakers may not be able to cope with. The volumes of Sonos devices can be semi-permanently limited to a particular percentage, but if the speakers can only handle 20W (what the MCA-66 outputs to each room) then Amps with 125W would be overkill.

  • Lastly - how can I make the speaker pair in my living room operate as RL and RR for surround with my Sonos Playbar? Do I need a Sonos Amp for that? Or would one of my Sonos Ports suffice?

You would indeed need an Amp - Ports can not be a part of a Home Theatre setup. The Amp will need to be within 5GHz WiFi range of the Playbar (in the same physical room) or both Amp and Playbar will need to be ethernet-wired for the Amp to perform as surround speakers.

If these speakers are the in-ceiling type, you may want to reconsider - surround sound speakers should be located behind the sitting position and roughly at head height. You could reserve the in-ceiling speakers for music playback and add, for example, a couple of Sonos One SLs (or a One SL and a One, if you want a voice assistant capable speaker) on stands for surrounds.

I hope this helps.

 

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