Question

CONNECT - Using dual outputs & muting

  • 9 November 2016
  • 11 replies
  • 205 views

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I ask this question in advance of purchasing a Sonos Connect (I currently just have a Play:1).

I am contemplating connecting a Connect to my hi-fi amp via its digital output. I would also like to connect some headphones to the analogue output of the Connect. I understand that is feasible, however I am wondering about controlling volumes/muting. I would only ever intend to listen via my hi-fi OR through my headphones. When listening through headphones I will simply not switch on my hi-fi amplifier. However, when listening via the amplifier I would want to mute the headphones. Is this possible, perhaps via the Connect's settings on the Sonos Controller?

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11 replies

No it isn't.
Userlevel 7
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Your headphones and receiver will always receive the exact same signal. If you want to be able to mute your headphones you will need to unplug them or have some type of control between the connect and headphones.

Example: One of these would allow you to turn down the headphones or adjust their volume in relation to the volume going to the amp.
https://www.amazon.com/Foxnovo%C2%AE1M-Female-Headphone-Extension-Control/dp/B00DYP98LU/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1478650673&sr=8-5&keywords=headphone+cord+with+volume
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Many thanks Chris, both for the confirmation as to how the Connect operates and the Amazon link.
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of course you need one of these to coming off the connect
https://www.amazon.com/TNP-3-5mm-Stereo-Audio-Adapter/dp/B01DZV37VY/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1478651946&sr=8-11&keywords=headphone+connector+with+volume
Userlevel 7
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You could even go fancier with a little headphone amplifier with RCA in and headphone out (and amplified volume control)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1HE2UY0166
The CONNECT's analog outs are line-level interconnects. Depending on the headphone impedance they may struggle.

Chris' suggestion of a headphone amp is a good one. I have a couple of these hung off ZP80 digital outputs. A word of warning though: they need external earthing to avoid a slight hum, exacerbated by touching the case.
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Thank you both for your suggestions.

I am now think of asking Santa for a set of Sennheiser wireless headphones e.g. their RS 175 model. These have a power switch on the transmitter section, and I notice from the video on Sennheiser's website that the transmitter can be connected to RCA sockets on the source device. I guess this should answer my requirement quite nicely.

(NB: They are available at a decent discount from Amazon.)
Just be aware that those Sennheisers -- like many digital wireless headphones -- use spread-spectrum to spray their signal across the 2.4GHz band. This can drive up ambient noise levels for Sonos, triggering the maximum noise rejection countermeasures that the RF chipsets have available. I have RS165 -- which claims a much lower range than RS175 -- and its effects are obvious in the Sonos diagnostics.

In my case the RF interference is not an issue, since the player driving the headphones is wired. If you're in a similar situation you'll obviously be fine.
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Many thanks Ratty for the warning.
My plan would be to hardwire the Connect (via HomePlugs which I have used happily in the past, even for onDemand video applications). Any other Sonos players I have (including my current Play:1) will be in different rooms, where I would hope any interference from the Sennheisers would be minimal. ...and in any case I could switch off the headphone's transmitter.

Interesting to hear however that you use some the RS series headphones. What is your overall impression of them?
Interesting to hear however that you use some the RS series headphones. What is your overall impression of them?
I confess I don't use them that much, though they're sometimes useful to avoid having to listen to SWMBO's endless repeats on ITV3. Sound quality is pretty good, isolation is fine, but they're quite a bit heavier than my now-deceased analog RS85s and they can get a bit sweaty in the warmer months.

One point I would make is that, along with their effect on Sonos' ambient noise rejection, they themselves can occasionally glitch as a result of a phone in a pocket transferring a burst of data at 2.4GHz. I might notice this if a Sonos controller on the phone is subscribed to the player in question and receives an update at the start of a new track. If you can put devices in the local vicinity onto 5GHz it's worth doing.
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Thanks again.
The phone issue shouldn't be a problem for me. We have zilch reception here in Cumbria where I live so virtually never switch my phone on at home.

...and they can get a bit sweaty in the warmer months.
...that shouldn't be too much of a problem, from what I remember of Scottish summers. (I lived in Argyll for a few years.) 😃