Building a new house, about to jump into the world of Sonos

  • 4 February 2018
  • 17 replies

So I am in the midst of building a new home. We have a single Sonos One (which replaced an Echo) in our current place, and we love it. Now, for whole home audio, we want to go with the Sonos ecosystem since its easy for my wife to use (vs having a bunch of various equipment from Denon and others that she will NEVER use). Wife Approval Factor is an absolute must.

Here is my tentative plan. I am a few weeks away from starting pre-wiring. I would really appreciate feedback/comments on what I am doing right vs wrong, and suggestions to improve if possible, before I go and spend thousands of dollars.

Living Room & Dining Room: Each room will have its own Connect:Amp, powering two in-wall speakers per room (so I can have independent control/zones). The amps will be located in the basement server closet rack. I want to do voice control with Alexa, and so I will flush mount an Echo Dot in each Room. Question: Should the Dot be hard wired via line-in back to the Connect:Amp in the server closet, or control via Cloud? I am seeing mixed responses on this.

Home Gym & Office: Each room will have its own Playbar connected to the TV + Echo Dot. Question: Should (Could?) the Dot be hard wired via line-in to the Playbar? Or better to control via Cloud? I want my Playbar to (a) play sound from TV, and (b) Music streaming from Amazon Unlimited, Pandora, etc. Will this work?

Master Bedroom, Home Theater Room & Family Room: Each room will have its own Playbar connected to the TV + Echo Dot + Connect:Amp powering two rear in wall/ceiling speakers + Sonos Sub, for 5.1 Surround. Question: Should the Dot be hard wired via line-in back to the Connect:Amp (again in the server closet), or control via Cloud? Is this setup going to work, both for (a) Surround for my TV, and (b) Streaming Music?

Kitchen & Master Bath: Each will just have a Sonos Play 1, each connected to Echo Dot. I want them on their own zones, but also to be able to connect to entire house for those rare instances we want everything playing at once.

Outside: 4 outside speakers (8ohm) running back to Connect:Amp in the server closet; Echo Dot outside Again, do I need to the Dot via line-in to the Amp? Or use Cloud?

A KEY reason I want to use Dot's all over the place is that I want to use the Drop-In feature (which the Sonos One doesnt have) as a home intercom system. I plan to have additional Dots in all kids bedrooms, laundry room, etc.

Second key reason for the Dot's everywhere is voice control for our Lutron lighting system, home alarm/security system, and HVAC systems, all of which will work with Alexa.

Per my plan above, I would have 6 Connect:Amps centrally located in the basement server room, running audio wires to each zone. Key question overall is how to run the Dots, via line-in, Cloud or combo (if even an option), and whether my intended goals for both TV and Music playback in various areas will work

Much appreciate in advance all feedback!

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17 replies

Userlevel 7
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I wouldn’t worry with dots being hard wired but I would make sure each room has Ethernet drop.

Remember the connect amp used for rears in surround need to be hooked to playbar via ethernet or back to router Ethernet

I would get a echo show in kitchen instead of dot.

Big problem is sonos ducking right now when it comes to dots. Hopefully sonos finds way to link dot to zone so act like the sonos one and doesn’t duck rest of house.
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Oops you were thinking the line in back to the amp. Well that solves the ducking issue. I guess right now that is only way. Until sonos add ability to link. Linking wouldn’t probably make al da voice come through room speakers but just the dot. Where dot to one in Alexa voice will come through the home speakers. I guess right now only good choice is that way with line to the line in.

But if sonos were to get the linking then wouldn’t be a need. But as of right now yes wire to line in.
Userlevel 7
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Won’t help you in the playbar rooms though as the amp line in will be disabled.
Thanks for the feedback. Having all the Connect:Amps in the Server Closet would make it easy to connect to the network via Ethernet, I could just get an 8port switch dedicated for the Amps to keep it clean and simple.

Do I need to consider a separate Ethernet drop in the rooms? (All rooms will have multiple drops except living and dining, although I can add there as well, as part of my pre-wiring)
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I like having a drop in every room as you never know in future.
Easy enough to add network drops in those two rooms.

What about my playbar rooms though? Line In gets disabled on the playbar if its being used in conjunction with Connect:Amp, and rear surround speakers?

In Home Office and Gym Rooms, where its JUST a playbar and Dot, seems like no issue? But in rooms like Master Bedroom, Family Room and Home Theater, where its a playbar + sub + rear surrounds + dot, my setup wont work?
Userlevel 7
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Yes the line in on amp gets disabled if setup feeding surrounds.

In those rooms and the rooms with just playbar you would be limited to using Sonos skill which would duck all of those rooms each time issues a command. Hopefully this gets sorted out soon but that is way it is now.
Ok, 2 follow-up questions:

What if in the rooms where I'm doing surround setup, instead of doing Echo Dot line-in to the Connect:Amps, I do Echo Dot line-in to the Playbar instead? Is that a possibility?

If not, then per what I gather from your feedback, I can, in some rooms do Echo Dot via line-in connection, and in other rooms, Echo Dot Sonos skill via cloud? So I can, assuming I can live with the ducking issue in some rooms, mix-match between hardwire vs cloud commands?
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No there is no Line in on the playbar except the optical input which you will have plugged into tv.

Yes - so you have most of your rooms using the Line in and Dot. Those rooms you would disable from voice control in the Alexa app as far as the sonos speaker (so only the Dot connected to it will do voice for it and it will not duck when other Dots are spoken to).

Then the rooms with Playbar you would setup with the Sonos skill. In those rooms if someone issues a command to the dot all of those rooms will in fact duck. So you are going to have a lot of rooms duck.

I also just noticed Kitchen and master bath you say your going to use Play:1s instead of Amps. Your Dots won't connect to them either. You will have to use the Sonos skill in those rooms as well - Play:1s don't have inputs. I would consider going with a Sonos One in bathroom (do your really need intercom in bathroom - thats what I did and I use the intercom in all other rooms with dots). In the kitchen then if you went Play:1 I would definately get an Echo show in the kitchen (and use the Sonos skill).

All the issues in this situation are resolved if sonos gets the Alexa Skill to be able to link Dot to Speaker so that only that speaker ducks (and then you also don't have to say the name of room command anymore just like a Sonos One).

I personally like the Sonos Skill better then direct wiring because I like Alexa voice coming from the Alexa device (show, dot, echo) and only music coming from Sonos. If they could just get the linking part of skill going it will be perfect.
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My current setup Alexa wise -

1. Master bedroom - normal full sized alexa. Sonos Connect hooked connected to my 5.1 legacy home theater receiver.

2. Master bath - Sonos One (love it and didn't need intercom feature in bathroom)

3. 3 kids rooms. Each have a Dot and each have a play speaker (Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5)

4. 3rd Floor Loft. Dot and a Play:5

5. 1st floor Bar. Dot and Connect:Amp powering bookshelf speakers and feeding powered sub. (have sonos skill disable so never ducks) (have an old iPhone 6s setup as dedicated controller)

6. 1st floor living room. Dot and Connect hooked to legacy amplifier that powers 2 zones (speakers and sub in living room and zone 2 is my outdoor speakers buried in ground).

7. 1st floor office. Dot and Connect hooked to my computer feeding to 4.1 desktop speakers and providing computer audio to rest of system (have sonos skill disabled so never ducks)

8. 1st floor kitchen. Echo Show and a Play:5 .... used to have Dot connected to Play:5 but wasn't fan of Alexa voice coming through the Play:5

9. Garage. Dot and 2 Play:3s stereo paired

10. 1st floor sunroom. Dot and Playbar/Play:1s/Sonos Sub 5.1 system (have sonos skill disabled so never ducks)
I also much prefer Alexa voice coming from Echo device, not Sonos speaker. So if I prefer that, seems like line-in not the right option anywhere. I want an Amazon Echo device everywhere for all Alexa commands, not Sonos. I like the idea of an Echo Show in kitchen instead of Dot. I'll even have Dots in some hallways for the drop-in intercom capability (like front entry door, side entry door, etc)

From what I'm gathering, it appears like I need to wait until the ducking issue is resolved so only a particular room, not entire house, ducks when using Alexa. Not moving into the house until October, so that gives Sonos 8 months to get it resolved.
Userlevel 7
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Hopefully resolved soon. It’s pretty annoying. Plus with the linking won’t uave to alway day the “in kitchen” part of command. With lin king an echo and Sonos speaker would eventually emulate a Sonos One (which is perfect in the way voice control works).
Userlevel 7
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sonos show Good in kitchen. Video capability adds a lot and good for showing news recipies etc. also I have netgear arlo cameras and can ask Alexa to show me front door and I will get the video feed from front door.

I also got shoes for parents and grandparents and they actually utilize the video calling.

I moved my home phone to net service and then have connected with the alexa connect box so home phone calls ring to my Alexas (no regular phones in house now).
Yes, I'm thinking of a combination of Show + Dots and maybe even Spots in some areas where I may want video on rare occasion although the Spot of course cant be flush mounted (but it might still make sense in certain areas for me).

I also use Arlo's currently (though I may go with something higher grade in the new house).

So it seems, assuming I am willing to "risk it" that by October/November Sonos has resolved the ducking issue, I will still hardwire my in-ceiling speakers to the Connect:Amps in the basement, and I will add network drops to all rooms, but I will NOT plan to do line-in hardwire from the various Echo devices to the Connect:Amps.

Sonos, you better not let me down on this!!!
I hate to interrupt or jump in the middle of a conversation but I am very interested in this conversation and could use some insight. I too am about to build a new house and thinking of getting into the smart house stuff. I don't currently have Sonos but interested in implementing it into my house. Not sure where to start really. However I do have an alexa and also plan to purchase a smart thermostat that will work with alexa, smart lights, speakers (sonos), and possibly door locks ect. It sounds like yall are very knowledgeable on how sonos and alexa work. Currently I use alexa to play amazon prime music. However i struggle with my samsung sound bar connecting from my tv optical input to bluetooth for alexa. So I was hoping that the sonos speakers would be able to seamlessly play music from my alexa but also be the speakers for my tv, xbox, bluray ect. Also how do you or plan to install this? Is sonos hard wired via Ethernet (which I plan to install throughout the house) or wireless. Are these speakers embedded in the walls or mounted? I am at the very beginning stages so lots to learn and think about. Any ideas are welcome!