Setup, Install, and Getting the most from Sonos Amp

  • 18 March 2019
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Welcome! Here you can find tips and tricks, how to get started, and many answers to the questions you might have about how to use the Sonos Amp. For the basic details, check out our introductory post on the Amp and our product guide.



The Amp is a great solution for anyone with their own passive speakers that they'd like to bring into the Sonos world. It's for people who are designing a home and want to install speakers in walls or ceilings. Use the Amp with your TV, or to bring sound outside. There are a dizzying amount of options, and this thread should help ease your mind and help make some decisions, so let's get started.

What is Amp?


Sonos Amp is an amplifier for passive speakers, bringing the Sonos experience to your own speakers. It brings all the Sonos music services, functionality, and ease of use to speakers installed your home. Along with all other Sonos speakers, Amp is capable of receiving voice control commands from microphone-enabled devices, such as the Sonos One.

Amp has an HDMI-ARC and Analog RCA input, allowing for a lot of customization and different setups. Amp plays Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM stereo sound over HDMI-ARC.

Regarding speakers, Amp puts out a powerful 125 watts per channel at 8 Ohm to a max of 6 speakers, scroll down for more on speakers.

Amp Setups


The greatest thing about the Amp is its versatility, no matter if it's wall-mounted, sitting on a center console, hiding in an audio closet, or stashed behind a TV, Amp can be used with in-wall, in-ceiling, outdoor, free-standing towers, bookshelf, and any other type of passive speakers. Up to two pairs of speakers or three pairs of the Sonos Architectural by Sonance, which are specially designed for use with Amp.

Hook up the Amp to a record player (phono-preamp may be needed), CD player, or other analog audio connection, or connect it with your TV to amp up your home theater.



Home Theater setups with Sonos Amp
Designed with home theater in mind, Amp has HDMI-ARC for audio with high quality (Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM stereo). You can use your IR TV remote with Amp to adjust the volume, and when paired with a voice controlled device, the Amp can send commands to your TV over HDMI-ARC CEC.
A single Sonos Amp can be used as front or rear channels for a Sonos surround sound setup. You can use two Amps together for the full surround sound (4.0 or 4.1 with a Sub or attached subwoofer) setup. When used as the main home theater speaker, the front channels, center audio is generated by the left and right channels working together. The Amp can be bonded with a pair of Sonos speakers supporting surround channels (Play:1, Sonos One, Play:3, Play:5 gen2...).

When used for the rear channels, Amp will wirelessly pair with any other Sonos home theater device (Amp, Beam, Playbar, or Playbase) over 5GHz. Please note, when operating as the rear channels, the subwoofer output and audio inputs on the Amp are disabled.


Installing a new Amp


New to Sonos and the Amp? Here's what you'll need:
  • Sonos App on iOS or Android.
  • Wireless router broadcasting a 2.4GHz network.
  • Passive speakers you want to use with the Amp, and the wires to connect them.

To get started, first install the Sonos App, then follow the instructions in the app to connect your Amp to the network and get registered.

The biggest trick to installing an Amp might just be figuring out how to run the wires to your speakers. You might be looking to wall mount or use built-in speakers, so a customer AV installer may be someone you want to reach out to. You can find a list of Sonos installers in your area here.

Use the Amp with 2, 4, or 6 speakers. If you'd like to use 6 speakers with the Amp, use the Sonos Architectural by Sonance.

To install speakers with your Amp, you'll wire the + and - cables from the right speaker(s) back to your Amp, using the black and red ports marked right, and then again the same for the left. Use the included banana plugs, which you unscrew to open up and make wider for larger gauge or multiple speakers.


For more details and diagrams, check out our support article here.

Amp Mounting
Amp can be mounted with the bottom flush against the wall, vertically mounted to hide behind a TV or in a small space. Ensure that there's an inch on all sides for airflow. The Amp wall mount is available here.

Rack mounting the Amp is also possible. The Amp was designed for home audio installation specifically designed to fit well into a rack of audio equipment. There's a screw on the bottom to secure the Amp into the location.
There are several options for rack mounting the Amp, as they will nicely fit in with a standard audio installation. You can get an impressive wall like this one:



Speakers


Use your own passive speakers with the Amp. For setup, Amp comes with custom banana plugs that accept 10 - 18 AWG speaker wire and the Class-D digital amplifier sends a maximum of 125W per channel at 8 Ohms. This is more than twice what the older Connect:Amp pushed out. You can use 2 pairs of 8 Ohms speakers with the Amp, or if you're using the new Sonos Architectural by Sonance speakers, you can use up to 3 pairs.

The Amp also has a subwoofer output that's auto-detecting RCA with adjustable crossover, between 50 to 110Hz, if you'd like to use your own subwoofer. You'll need to be using an independently powered subwoofer. Please note, when operating as the rear channels, the subwoofer output on the Amp is disabled. Amp will also bond with the Sonos Sub.

When connecting speakers with the Amp, you'll use the included banana plugs and follow the installation instructions above.

To purchase the Sonos Architectural by Sonance, you can find them respectively here for the In-ceiling, In-wall, and Outdoor speakers. Hot Tip: If you're using these Sonance speakers, make sure you go into the Sonos App > Settings > Room Settings > Trueplay and Identify the speakers (it really can improve the sound a lot).



Trueplay and Amp


The Amp is Trueplay capable when paired with in-ceiling and in-wall Sonos Architectural by Sonance speakers. These speakers have been specifically designed to be capable of Trueplay tuning with the Amp and will be automatically detected using the Sonos app.

Trueplay tuning will only function in one room with an Amp, so if you're wiring speakers in multiple rooms with the Amp, you'd be best off not using Trueplay.

Home theater setups using an Amp as the rear surrounds will also be able to Trueplay. The surrounds don't need to be Sonos Architectural speakers, but if they are, you'll be getting finer tuning and a better experience when using them. Please note that if you're using two Sonos Amps for a home theater setup, you will need to be using the Sonos Architectural by Sonance speakers or Trueplay won't show as an option.

32 replies

Can Amp be used as surrounds for an existing Playbar set up as well as maintaining the Line-in functionality for a turn table? I'm having trouble accomplishing this with my Amp 😞
Can Amp be used as surrounds for an existing Playbar set up as well as maintaining the Line-in functionality for a turn table? I'm having trouble accomplishing this with my Amp :(

Unfortunately, the Line-In is disabled when the Amp is used to power surrounds.
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jgatie is correct. The line-in connection is disabled on all speakers being used as surrounds. When the Play:5 gen2 is bonded as a surround speaker, the line-in is disabled there as well.
Can you use the Amp for the front left and right in a 5.1 setup and a Play 1/3/5 as the centre channel rather than a 'virtual' channel?

Thanks
No. Sonos doesn't have any provision for a center only speaker.
Currently I have two Play:5 in stereo setup hooked up through the line in on one of the Play:5s. Being able to use HDMI ARC would be much better for being able to control TV sound though.

Can I use the HDMI ARC on the amp together with two Play:5 as fronts or do the fronts actually have to be the wired speakers. So I want todo the following setup

TV ---HDMI ARC---> SONOS AMP ----> 2 Play:5 in a stereo pair
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Can I use the HDMI ARC on the amp together with two Play:5 as fronts or do the fronts actually have to be the wired speakers.
The L/R fronts have to be the wired speakers.
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Short answer is no. There isn't currently a way to have your Amp receive the audio signal and pipe the front channels to the Play:5s while acting as the rear speakers.

The Sonos device that's operating as the front channels is treated as the master device, and is the only one in the room setup that has the TV input active. So if you have an Amp set up as the home theater main speaker, its connected speakers would be the front channels, and the Play:5s would be your surrounds. The Play:5 isn't a home theater capable player to be able to run as the front channels as it doesn't have a TV input, only the analog line-in.
Thanks for the answer Ryan.

So I can't even use them as a stereo pair for the TV-sound?
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The Play:5s have a line-in that you could connect assuming your TV has an analog RCA output, but it's not intended for TV audio, so you could notice some lip sync issues.
Thank you for updating us about Setup, Installation procedure and Getting the most from Sonos Amp.
Richard
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Thanks for the answer Ryan.

So I can't even use them as a stereo pair for the TV-sound?


I've got the same question. I'd like to use the Amp connected to an Apple TV which is also connected to a projector. Would the audio coming out of the AMP necessarily only be the front L/R channel? Could you have mono go to all speakers?
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Thanks for the answer Ryan.

So I can't even use them as a stereo pair for the TV-sound?


I've got the same question. I'd like to use the Amp connected to an Apple TV which is also connected to a projector. Would the audio coming out of the AMP necessarily only be the front L/R channel? Could you have mono go to all speakers?


The amp would be the front L/R phantom center channels only. I don't think mono is an option for TV. Regardless, you could connect 4 passive speakers (2 pairs) to a single amp if you wish. If your goal is to be wireless though, that won't help you.
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Setting the Amp to mono will affect all sources of audio you're playing. If you have the TV input on, it'll still be playing mono out of all speakers wired to the Amp.
Hi, I currently have a sonos home theatre set up with playbar, sub and play 1s. I’m looking at picking up an amp running a pair of passive speakers as surrounds, not sure if bookshelf or floorstanders, mainly for listening to music, I don’t expect any better for surround sound.

My questions are; will my sonos sub bond with the amp for tv (assume just the sub line out doesn’t work); and is there any way I can easily switch off the playbar so I get a straight stereo set up from the rears and amp? Only a sound bar is suitable at front.


Also, does anyone have any speaker recommendations to pair with the amp? Not unhappy with current set up other than not being able to switch off playbar, just looking for a change and hopefully an improved stereo experience

Thanks
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Hi Lpatch

Maybe this will help.

Hi, I currently have a sonos home theatre set up with playbar, sub and play 1s. I’m looking at picking up an amp running a pair of passive speakers as surrounds, not sure if bookshelf or floorstanders, mainly for listening to music, I don’t expect any better for surround sound.
This part of your question is a bit confusing. You stated "I currently have a sonos home theatre set up with playbar, sub and play 1s". Assuming your Play 1's are used as surrounds why would you want a Sonos Amp to power third party speakers as surrounds? When playing music you may get better sound from the 3rd party speakers used as rears instead of the Play 1's; but the Playbar would still be part of the mix.

The only logical reason IMO to purchase a Sonos Amp to power 3rd party speakers would be to have a dedicated two (2) channel stereo system.

.My questions are; will my sonos sub bond with the amp for tv (assume just the sub line out doesn’t work); and is there any way I can easily switch off the playbar so I get a straight stereo set up from the rears and amp? Only a sound bar is suitable at front.
The sub can only be bonded to one configuration at a time. There is no way to switch off the Playbar. FYI, This was also answered above.:8

Also, does anyone have any speaker recommendations to pair with the amp? Not unhappy with current set up other than not being able to switch off playbar, just looking for a change and hopefully an improved stereo experienc
I don't have any speaker recommendations other than to say to be sure to follow the recommendations in the link regarding impedance and wiring. https://support.sonos.com/s/article/265?language=en_US

There are a lot of good sounding floor and bookshelf speakers depending upon how mush you want to invest. I'm sure someone in the community will offer their opinion.

When I was shopping for speakers (back-in-the-day) I'd audition the best sounding speakers in the room typically $6,000 per pair (which I couldn't afford :8). Then I'd listen to speakers within my budget that would approximate (to my ears) the stereo acoustics that came as close as possible to that of the $6K pair. Not very scientific but I found that Definitive Technology speaker's were a good fit at typically $2000 per pair. WoW, I just made a recommendation ;)

Note: I might also add that when I was seriously shopping for speakers there were a lot of audiophile stores in business with speakers setup in listening rooms. That made auditioning speakers an enjoyable experience. A far cry from the big box stores with speakers all around playing the same sample loop. My point (if possible) is to locate a store with a listening room to really get a feel for what type of speaker sounds best to you.

Cheers!
Hi AjTrek1

Thanks for your reply, some really good points. It seems the best option is to look either having the amp run a pair of speakers at the front (unlikely given need for wife approval 🙂 ) so I can switch off surrounds, or go with a separate stereo set up.

Based on your bio at the bottom of your reply you have a lot of sonos gear including 2 amps! In your opinion would I get a better sound out of a Sonos amp running a more 'hifi' (if that is the best way to describe them) pair of speakers than I would from say a pair of play 5's or Play 1's and a sub, with the benefits of Trueplay? Alternatively I could go with some separate powered speakers and a Sonos Connect.

Be keen to hear your thoughts, and thanks again for the reply.

Cheers
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would I get a better sound out of a Sonos amp running a more 'hifi' (if that is the best way to describe them) pair of speakers than I would from say a pair of play 5's or Play 1's and a sub, with the benefits of Trueplay? Alternatively I could go with some separate powered speakers and a Sonos Connect.

It's all subjective. The Play 5's are great speakers and deliver an excellent sound stage. I use mine as a stereo pair with sub. Might I get a better sound stage with a Sonos Amp and a great pair of floor or bookshelf speakers....it's highly possible. But as I said the listening experience is subjective to the listener.

To be honest I use one of my Amps with a pair of Definitive Technology BP 500's. The BP stands for Bi-Polar as they have front and rear firing mid-range speakers. The complete setup also includes a Sonos sub. That setup has a slightly different acoustic presentation than the Play 5's with sub. IMO it's a little more open in the mid-range. However, since they are in different rooms I'd be hard pressed to say that one setup is better than the other. Each room has it's own characteristics.

So back to your situation. It would seem that you really want a true stereo experience and quite frankly I'm not keen on listening to my music via a Playbar as I feel it colors it. However, that's not intended as a knock on the Playbar as it wasn't designed for music but for TV and cinema.

Based strictly on cost the Sonos Amp will set you back $600 plus speakers and maybe a sub at $700 so your cost is $1300 plus $????. Two Play 5's will set you back $1000 and maybe a sub at $700...total cost $1700. Overall cost-wise IMO two play 5's with sub is more cost-effective. In fact some say that the Play 5's in stereo pair don't require a sub.

That's all I can offer. Good luck with whatever you decide. May be you can get the wife to give-in with a nice mother's day present. It doesn't matter if you don't have kids...they (wives) just like getting gifts :)

Cheers!
I am considering a Sonos Amp for my study but wanted to know if it is possible to stack a LCD monitor on top of the amp? The monitor weighs about 5kg...
I wouldn't want to. The top of the Sonos Amp is designed to act as a heat outlet, I would think stacking something on top of it would be counterproductive.
I wouldn't want to. The top of the Sonos Amp is designed to act as a heat outlet, I would think stacking something on top of it would be counterproductive.. Thanks, I couldn't tell if the only ventilation was underneath but I just found a review that stated the top is ventilated.
No worries. And honestly, I have no idea how much weight it could take. Oddly, it seems to be designed to be rack mounted as well, but at 1U, I would think there would still be at least an inch between the top of one and the bottom tray of the next.
I just moved my tv to a room where I have an Amp running a set of wired speakers on the back wall. If I get a Soundbar, can this be configured wirelessly as a home theater set up? Our do I have to run a wire from the Soundbar to the Amp?
I just moved my tv to a room where I have an Amp running a set of wired speakers on the back wall. If I get a Soundbar, can this be configured wirelessly as a home theater set up? Our do I have to run a wire from the Soundbar to the Amp?

If it is the Amp and not a Connect:Amp, then there is no need for Ethernet wiring. The Connect:Amp would require wiring both units to the router, or to each other.
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Hi AjTrek1

Thanks for your reply, some really good points. It seems the best option is to look either having the amp run a pair of speakers at the front (unlikely given need for wife approval 🙂 ) so I can switch off surrounds, or go with a separate stereo set up.

Based on your bio at the bottom of your reply you have a lot of sonos gear including 2 amps! In your opinion would I get a better sound out of a Sonos amp running a more 'hifi' (if that is the best way to describe them) pair of speakers than I would from say a pair of play 5's or Play 1's and a sub, with the benefits of Trueplay? Alternatively I could go with some separate powered speakers and a Sonos Connect.

Be keen to hear your thoughts, and thanks again for the reply.

Cheers

Hi there,
Just wanted to check were you able to try the setup(Sonos amp with bookshelf speakers for TV)? Interested to try this setup with Amp and 2 passive speakers plus Sonos sub and Play 1s as surrounds.
Thanks

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