Advice on Best Sonos System for Music in Living/Dining/Kitchen

We have previously had a Sonos system which my husband loved and are wanting to install a system - initially for our living/dining/kitchen room which has a cathedral ceiling. The room is approx 5.5 x 7.5 metres.

We have recently received an audio proposal which seems to contain a lot of sonos products I am concerned will not necessarily support my principle goal of being able to listen to music (not simply have background music as they assumed) either in the living room or while in the kitchen. Their proposal includes a playbar and cantilever bracket (although we own a small TV that won't, apparently fit on the bracket at this stage); a subwoofer ; 2 rear in ceiling speakers; and a amplifier.

My limited reading on this site has me concerned that this proposal is based on an assumption that we are interested in a home theatre system which we aren't.

So ... I would appreciate advice on:

(1) What we should be installing to achieve the initial goal of getting best music listening experience using sonos. For example, should we be looking to install a pair of either Sonos 1, 3 or 5 speakers. Our music tastes are reasonably conservative (jazz; classical etc), so I am not sure whether a sub-woofer should be included? In this scenario do we also actually need a playbar (or play base which would be our preference)?

(2) Can we theoretically later add the playbase for the TV side of this only and use just the pair of sonos speakers for music. If so - would it be at this stage we'd also need to consider in ceiling speakers and the amplifier if my husband really wants his movies to be surround sound and can this alternative 'system' (or parts of it) be limited to TV/DVD only?

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11 replies

an assumption that we are interested in a home theatre system which we aren't.

if my husband really wants his movies to be surround sound

There is a contradiction that needs to first be resolved. Either you want a home theatre or you don't.
I don't want one at all and we are both in agreement that we want this initial purchase to address music listening needs which I felt it doesn't adequately.

I would be happy to not ever worry about the watching TV part, however my husband rather liked the playbar (they didn't have a play base to show us) - so indicated he'd be perhaps wanting to later have a system geared to his interest, rather than mine.

If the play base and/or play bar would be part of a viable solution for the music listening I'm certainly happy to include it from the start.
In that case, look at just music first - assuming that if any compromise can work in future, it won't be for music! Next question is whether your music listening will be from a specific listening area in the room/s, where quality sound will have to be heard. And if so, what is the approximate distance of this area from the end of the room where speakers can be located.
Note that other areas can be addressed as well; just seeing if there is any prioritisation to be done.
In truth I will probably do most of my listening while cooking, whereas my husband will likely sit in the adjacent family room on the sofa. The kitchen is at the northern end of the 7.5m long (x 5.5m wide) combined room.

The sofa is facing the eastern wall and is approx. 2.5m from the TV (and potentially sound bar) location. If I am working in the kitchen it will be approx. 5 metres to the north of the TV location and approx. 4.3m from the middle of the sofa.

There is a bank of windows/glass doors on the southern end and a plastered brick wall on the western side.

The cathedral ceiling starts at 3 metres on the sides to I'd guess 4.5 to 5 metres in the centre. There is no impediment in theory to a wall based speaker in any corner of the room (or wherever they sound be placed for optimal sound).
My suggestions:
1. A play 1 pair addressing the kitchen area, pointing towards it from the north side wall. The speakers can be placed as convenient, spaced such that there is an approx 3.5 m between the two, angled in slightly towards the listening area if possible. They should be at the approximate height of your ears in their listening position. Floorstands to achieve this if necessary, but there are probably shelves that can be used, just leave some space behind the speakers.
2. A play 1 pair, flanking the TV, pointing toward the sofa, as far apart from each other as they are from the sofa - approx 3m, I guess. Placement on floor stands if necessary.
For the best sound quality, I would add a Sub to this set up, placed on the floor below the TV, such that it is between the two 1 units.
This set up can easily converted to a Sonos Home theatre set up by adding either a play bar or play base, under the TV, and shifting the 1 pair from the flanking TV location to one behind the sofa on either side of it, for surround. This set up can also then be used in "Full" mode for music play.
Thanks for that advice which is really helpful.
Sorry - can I just clarify: would the sound come out of all 4 speakers simultaneously if we specified the 2 zones and/or could we then just have music from either of the locations if there is only 1 person in the room in either the kitchen or living area.
Absolutely. The two units in the kitchen would be paired in stereo, named Kitchen or as you prefer and be one zone. The other pair, plus Sub if added, would be another zone, Living Room. You could play either zone, or both grouped together, with music in perfect sync in that case. Or you could play different music in each zone as will probably happen once you incorporate TV via play bar/base into that zone.
That sounds like a really good suggestion. We can add the soundbar when we get the TV and move that second set of Play 1 speakers then as you suggest for the surround sound. Many thanks, again.
I also suggest adding the Sub later; if the need is felt for more bass than what the play 1 pair delivers. Or, when the play bar is installed. Because the Sub is from where much of the effects for movies are delivered.