1 Zone - Centeralized Configuratin - Need Help


Userlevel 2
Hi,
I need some help understanding how I would go about using Sonos in my environment.

I have 8 pairs of speakers wire installed in my house. Each room has wires running from ceiling (for two speakers per room) to a point in wall (for volume control) to a centralized location.

I only have a need for 1 zone at this time. I might (might) need more zones when kids are older in few years time.

To keep the cost at minimum, I would like to get 1 ZP-90 and plug it into an amplifier. This amplifier would drive the Sonos ZP-90 as well as 5.1 surround home theater system as well.

Can the above be done? If so, I would have to buy 8 pairs of speakers, 8 (impendence matching) volume controls, 1 ZP-90, and an amplifier. I would use my iPod touch as the controller. Am I missing something? Do I need speaker selector? How do I plug all 8 pairs of speakers into an amp?

Lastly can someone recommend an amplifier/receiver for this purpose?

Thanks for your help.

~Aman

11 replies

First post! Welcome to the forums.

The Xantech CB18 is a great little problem solver. It eliminates the mess and makes diagnosing problems very easy.

You do not need a speaker selector when using the impedance matching controls. Any combination of speakers can be operating at the same time.

Your plan can work, but you should be aware of some time delays that could cause heartburn. First, there can be processing delays inside the receiver. This means that when you are playing from the ZP90 in both the remote zone and the direct zone, the sound from the receiver's main output (the direct zone) may be delayed slightly relative to the sound emitted directly from the 8 pairs of speakers. Normally this delay is not very long, but you will be aware of it when standing between rooms or if one of the 8 pairs is in the same room as a speaker connected directly to the receiver.

Second, there is an encoding delay associated with the ZP90's Line-In. This means that if you are using the receiver's zone output or record out connected to the ZP90's Line-In, when playing the ZP90's Line-In the ZP90's output to the 8 pairs will be delayed somewhat. Again, it will be most noticeable as you pass between the main and a remote room or if one of the 8 pairs is covering the same area as the receiver.

An example of the dual coverage would be a joining kitchen/living room/dining room area where the A/V receiver covers the living room area and one or two of the 8 pairs covers the kitchen and/or dining room area.

A few little details:

The ZP90 offers no mechanism to switch the amplifier ON or OFF. If the amplifier includes an "auto sensing" feature, the amplifier will manage its own power. Note that there can be little glitches with such a feature if you are a classical music listener because the amplifier may misinterpret quiet passages. If you are a pop listener, don't worry.

If you are using two spare channels of the receiver as your remote zone amplifier, you'll need to interact with the receiver to turn ON the remote channels. The SONOS controller will not do this. I am not keen on this arrangement because everyone who operates the system must be very aware of this requirement -- it is not possible to simply pick up a single remote and play music everywhere.

I do not want to discourage you from installing a SONOS system because it will become the centerpiece of your music. I am merely suggesting that one needs a different mindset.

I am a big fan of automated speaker selectors. I recommend using a standalone amplifier and that you install an automated speaker switch on the front left and right speakers. Normally the SONOS system will play through the front speakers, however, when the A/V receiver is switched ON, the speakers will transfer to the A/V receiver. Now, operation is completely transparent and automatic -- even Aunt Tilda will be able to operate the system. (and most of the time delays will vanish)

Note that, with this scheme, you will need a volume for the front speakers when they are playing music. This will be a little tricky because you will effectively be using 9 pairs of speakers and the impedance matching schemes usually top out at 8 pairs. Using two amplifiers (4 channels) will solve this issue.

Finally, the ZonePlayers are very good amplifiers. The cost difference between a ZP90 and a ZP120 is $150.00. That's quite a deal. I'm not aware of any amplifier anywhere close to that price range that performs better than a ZP120. Of course, if you have an amplifier already standing by in a closet, the equation swings back toward the ZP90. Two ZP120's and the automated switch would make a wonderful system -- don't underestimate the utility of simultaneously playing different music in different areas. (You can easily spend $650 for an installation amplifier plus $350 for the ZP90)
Userlevel 2
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.

I have read your response several times and I have few more questions to which I hope you can help answer.

I think I am sold on the idea of two ZP-120s, due to issues of delay you mentioned. This translates into 4 pairs of speaker per ZP-120 in my situation. However, I thought one ZP-120 is only allowed 2 pairs of speakers. Is it ok (even possible) for me to put 4 pairs of 8 ohms speakers, 60W per channel, (with impedance matching volume control) on each of the ZP-120? How do I physically make this connection? I guess this is where the ‘Automated Speaker Switch’ fits in? I am not sure what they are? (google wasn't as help in this case) Can you please point me to one which you would recommend, so I can take a look?

Thanks again for your help.

~Aman
The Sonance AS/2S will do what you need. Simply plug a modular 12V DC power supply into the switched outlet of the receiver. When the receiver turns ON, the switch will flip.

Note that you should include a volume control for the front speakers when they are connected to the second zone. Otherwise, you will not be able to match levels when listening to music through the SONOS system.

You must connect an impedance matching volume control to each set of speakers. In your system you would need nine controls, including the control for the front speakers.

Since the wiring scheme may not be obvious to all, a 5th pair of speakers would be connected to one of the ZonePlayers for the front main speakers. Place the volume control in this set of speaker wires between the ZonePlayer and the switch. Also, you'll need two Xantech CB18's -- one per ZonePlayer.
Userlevel 2

Note that you should include a volume control for the front speakers when they are connected to the second zone. Otherwise, you will not be able to match levels when listening to music through the SONOS system.

Since the wiring scheme may not be obvious to all, a 5th pair of speakers would be connected to one of the ZonePlayers for the front main speakers. Place the volume control in this set of speaker wires between the ZonePlayer and the switch. Also, you'll need two Xantech CB18's -- one per ZonePlayer.


Please pardon my ignorance. I am very new to this and very confuse right now.

Please see my picture below, am I in the right direction?


spk (pair) 1 - spk 2 - spk 3 - spk 4
| | | |
vol control vc vc vc
| | | |
----------------- cb 18 ---------------
|
|---------------------------- zp-120 (first)
| |
| Receiver 1
----------|--------------- zone 1 -----------------------------------------------
V

AS (automated switch)
Input A -> Receiver 1
Input B -> Receiver A/V
Output -> Spk 9

Ethernet
Receiver A/V
F - L Channels -> AS Input B


------------------------- zone 2 -----------------------------------------------

spk (pair) 5 - spk 6 - spk 7 - spk 8
| | | |
vol cont vc vc vc
^ | | | |
| ----------------- cb 18 ---------------
| |
|---------------------------- zp-120 (second)
|
Receiver 2




Spk 9 (connected to Automated switch)
Where does the volume control go?

You mention that I should connect volume control to front speakers (spk 9) when they are connected to second zone. Where would I connect them to the second zone in above picture. Second zone is only connected to the network as of now.

Also, the newly added pair (front speakers), the 9th pair are only connected to the switch, not to the zone player. So a volumn control should be added between the 9th speaker connection on the automated switch and the receiver?

Sorry, I am confuse and really could use some help.

Thanks.
~Aman

that picture looks terrible, I wish I could post an image
amanoorani,

Character art using a proportional font is not easy to decipher. I don't know what you mean by "Receiver1".

Connect a CB18 to each ZP120.

On the first CB18 there will be four volume controls connected. Each volume control's output will be connected to one pair of speakers.

Similarly, on the second CB18 five volume controls will be connected, but the fifth volume control's output will be connected to "A" on the switch.

"B" on the switch will be connected to the main Left and main Right output of the A/V receiver.

"Common" on the switch will be connected to the main Left and Right speakers.
Userlevel 2
Thank you so much for your help. Now that I have read your posts several times and looked at the Sonance switch and CB18 product guide, I feel I understand how things will be connected and running.

Now, only 1 thing is left to do, is to order!

Thanks again for your help.
Userlevel 2
Based on Buzz's advice, I have narrow down to following choices and was hoping someone can confirm that the volume control speaker combination would be ok and that each ZP 120 (CB18) can drive 4 pairs of these speakers?

2 ZP 120s
2 Xantech CB18s
8 pairs of these speakers
8 of these volume controls

I plan on connecting 4 pairs of speakers to four volume control which will connect a CB 18 which will connect to a ZP 120. Sounds right?

Thanks for your help.
~Aman
Whoops. Misunderstood the thread.
amanoorani,

The plan is correct.

I have no experience with the speakers or the controls, but they look OK on paper.
Userlevel 2
Sorry to bring this old thread back to life. I just wanted to say thank you for your help Buzz. It only took about 2 years for me to do this, but I finally have the Sonos setup in my home the way I wanted. The wife/life is very happy.

I wouldn’t have been able to do this setup without your help.
Thank you!
amanoorani,

Don't worry, I too have lots of "projects" who's priority seems to be one notch down from the bottom of the list.

Glad to help.

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