Help with Sonos Amp, setup and difference

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Hello to the community,

My current setup is (apart from the streaming services) a Project X2 turntable going into a preamp, then into the line in on a Sonos five. I have that Sonos five stereo pared with another and that is my main setup for listening to vinyl. I then have other Sonos ones around the house if I want to pickup the turntable when I’m in the kitchen etc (for example).

Someone has suggested that I should feed the turntable and preamp into a Sonos Amp and then into passive speakers as my main system, then use the fives somewhere else in the house. They state, I will get a better HIFI representation from the turntable going into the Sonos Amp than the Five.

My main question is - what is the difference between using the Sonos Amp and passive speakers, over going into the Five line in as a stereo pair?

What is it (if anything) that the Sonos Amp has in processing sound over and above the Sonos Five input?

I would value any thoughts/ opinions or experience…

Cheers, Robin



Best answer by Airgetlam 14 June 2022, 17:11

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Userlevel 4
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I would also be interested in this question as I have a turntable set up like yourself. I would not be able to afford to change to an amp and I’m not sure I would need to as to my ears, the turntable/pre amp into the stereo Fives sounds really nice. I did have, up until a few months ago, a very old traditional set up with all the separates and a big old amp into my turntable and old passive speakers. Not sure I can tell a difference in the sound from then to now with my Sonos set up. I much prefer the Sonos mainly as it looks a lot cleaner and like you say, I can stream my vinyl now to my other Sonos speakers in other rooms if I want. 

The only difference between the two line ins is the form factor, RCA on the Amp, 3.5mm on the Five. Other than that, they are identical, and there would be zero change in the ‘quality’ of the data being processed. 

Frankly, I’m not sure what ‘advantage’ this person is suggesting to you in changing to an Amp. Perhaps they consider the speakers connected to the Amp to be superior to Sonos speakers? 

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The Amp itself won’t give you better or different sound than the amplification within the Five — any improvement would be due to using passive speakers that have a sound signature that is more pleasing to you than that of the Fives.  

I agree with @Airgetlam and @early rejecter .  The input itself will make zero difference.  IMO you would have to spend significantly more on a pair of passive speakers and a Sonos Amp to match the sound of a pair of Fives.

The fact that it’s a turntable also makes no difference; my comment applies to all sources.

It sounds like the advice you have received is pure hifi snobbery.  I suggest you ask that person if he or she considers him/herself to be an ‘audiophile’.  If the answer is ‘yes’ you should definitely ignore anything they say.

Edit: even if the answer is ‘no’, you should definitely ignore their advice on this occasion.


@SarahN .  There is nothing wrong with your ears.  They are simply not ‘audiophile ears’, and are therefore incapable of hearing differences that do not exist.

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Thank you so much @SarahN , @Airgetlam , @early rejecter and @John B 

I appreciate the thoughts and advice.

And really interesting re your comments and the ‘advice’ I was given was actually from a salesman from a HIFI store who was telling me that the Sonos system was just an average streaming system for basic consumers. Now that I have owned Sonos for a little while I know from my own ears that it isn’t a basic streaming system, but couldn’t understand what he was trying to get at.


Thanks again guys - I appreciate it - Robin

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@Wobind he was trying to get at your wallet 😜

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I personally went digital quite a few years ago now my music setup is an Astell and kern kann DAP connected to my stereo 5s and sub gen2 and it sounds every bit as good as anything I have ever owned 

The amp gives out a lot of power 125W per channel. If you use some speakers this could be useful if you wish to play at reasonable levels as many good speakers have low sensitivity. The amp also allows connection of a subwoofer. If you wish to use smaller speakers that don’t go too low on their own this is invaluable. It works brilliantly if you already have decent speakers or other hi-fi components allowing integration into the Sonos system.. 

It works brilliantly if you already have decent speakers or other hi-fi components allowing integration into the Sonos system.. 

It also works well if you know how to access the market for used HiFi passive speakers, often sold for half of the normal price. 

On the other hand, right now I am listening to some very well recorded Jazz from a playlist I have made on Spotify on a play 1 pair + Sub. The kit can’t be seen late in the evening with the lights turned down low, but the performers are present in the room. I am sure that a 5 pair + Sub will shade that a little, and I cannot imagine needing to go beyond that.

Such an experience is alien to audiophiles who can’t think of enjoying the music where their kit can’t be seen. A bit like my smoking days - I never liked smoking in total darkness because then you could not see the smoke being exhaled:-). Which was half the fun.

@SarahN .  There is nothing wrong with your ears.  They are simply not ‘audiophile ears’, and are therefore incapable of hearing differences that do not exist.

This audiophile ears thing is all humbug anyway. The differences arise in the brain via various biases. Which is not to say that for the person influenced by these biases the differences are not real, but they don’t arise from the hearing organ.