Question

Best for TV and Music


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Hi All,

My living room TV currently has a cheap Visio Soundbar, I also have my Alexa and Turntable setup to Audioengine A5s.

I want to upgrade to the Sonos Arc and Sonos Sub, however I’m not sure what to do with my turntable, I kind of want to get rid of the A5s because I think the Arc + Sonos Sub will sound much better than just the 2 Audioengine A5s for room listening (especially since I have no sub with the A5s).


What are your opinions as to how to go about this? Should I keep the A5s and join them with a Port? Or get rid of the A5s and get a Five for Line In? Or is the best solution getting an AMP and using the A5s as surround? Will this properly crossover the Sonos Sub and Soundbar?


27 replies

Userlevel 7

Hi @zsamuels28 

You have a couple of options for Sonos…

Purchase the Arc, Sub and Port. The Port can support a pre-amped Turntable (TT) that is grouped to the Arc or the Arc can be set as the auto-play room. By doing the latter the TT audio will start as soon as the stylus hits the record groove. The Sub will augment the low-end.

Purchase the Arc, Sub, Play 5 (gen2) or Five. As you said you can use the line-in of the Play 5 or Five with your pre-amped TT. However, the Sub can only be used to augment low end with either the Arc or Play 5/Five but not both at the same time. 

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Thanks @AjTrek1 !

What do I do with my A5s? Can I use an AMP and use those are surrounds with the Arc and Sonos Sub? Or will the Port support surrounds with my A5s?

Userlevel 7

Hi @zsamuels28 

I assume the A5’s are powered speakers :thinking:  You can only use passive (wired) speakers with the Sonos Amp as surrounds. You can use the A5’s with a Port as stand-alone speakers or group them with other Sonos for whole-home audio.

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@AjTrek1 


If I use the port can I group the A5 + Arc + Sub?

 

They are powered speakers but do have banana plugs out of the back (left/right channels) so why could I not just hook them to the AMP as surrounds?

Userlevel 7

To be clear the Arc and sub would be bonded as a unit. But yes using the Port with the A5’s they could be grouped to the Arc w/sub for music. Grouping them to the Arc for movies they would experience a 7Oms delay.

The Amp can only accept a source such as a TT or CD player to send audio to 3rd party WIRED speakers. The A5’s are not a source.

 You can use the Amp with 3rd party WIRED speakers as surrounds with a Sonos Arc, Playbar, Playbase or Beam.

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@AjTrek1 if I listen to Spotify will I also experience a 70ms delay?

 

In your opinion what is my best option for best sound quality for music and for movies/TV?

Userlevel 7

Hi @zsamuels28 

I gave you two options in a previous post with pro and con for each. You’ll have to decide which will best meet your need. 

The 70ms delay only occurs when grouping a Sonos sound bar with another Sonos speaker when watching a Movie or Cable broadcast. It does not occur for any Music source.

 

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I used to have a Playbar, with Sub and 2 Play:1's as surround, for my tv sound. Next to that I had a hifi amp, an Arcam A18, with Monitor Audio Radius 270 passive speakers and a Sonos Connect. For my hifi music. Both in the livingroom. 

Both ok. 

Just recently I sold the Playbar, Arcam and Connect. And I bought the Sonos Amp. The Amp is now used for tv sound, with Sub and 2 surrounds, and also for hifi sound, with the Sub.

The tv sound is now really much beter than with the Playbar. It works great with the Radius speakers and the virtual center speaker of the Amp, combined with Sub and surround. And for hifi the 2x 125w Amp combined with the Sub is much better sounding than the Arcam I had. 

So if you want lesser equipment, use the Amp for tv and for hifi, it is a great combination for me. 

 

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@Geebee problem is I can’t use the AMP as my speakers are powered. Also, there is a delay with using other Sonos products with TV, no? (Like 70ms?). I’m also not ready to drop tons of money on passive speakers.

 

I think the best solution is to have Port + A5 + Arc + Sub, then I can tune the Arc how I like with the A5’s. The A5 will still be playing full range, but having the sub in there will make a huge difference. Or get an EQ to cut the low range to the A5’s like https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/422063-REG/Behringer_FBQ800_MINIFBQ_FBQ800_Graphic_Equalizer.html. Worst case I can return or rethink. Thoughts?

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Rethink 🙂. I'm trying to understand what it is you want, apart from all the options and gear you already have. First do 1 step back: what is it you want?

What I wanted, and I assume you are more or less the same, is

  1. good TV sound
  2. good stereo hifi sound, listening to music.
  3. all in 1 (living?)room

For TV you can perfectly use the ARC, even better if you add surrounds and sub.

For good music I would not use the ARC.
I prefer 2 good passive speakers, they are the most important thing for having good hifi stereo music. Combine these speakers with the AMP, either with or without the Sub, and you have that goal covered.

Now what I try to tell you is that the AMP can do both: music listening via AMP, passive speakers and Sub. TV sound with AMP, Sub and 2 surrounds, e.g. 2 One SL's. The AMP has no center speaker, but the virtual center speaker that it makes is perfect for me.

So, in your situation you could:

  • sell the A5's
  • sell the Vision soundbar
  • buy 2 passive speakers, lots to choose from, most important item you need for good music listening
  • buy an AMP instead of an ARC
  • buy a Sub
  • buy 2 One (SL) speakers as surrounds

I don't understand your thinking about the delays. Make a good TV set (see all options above) and you will not have to worry about delays.

 

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@Geebee at the moment, going to Passive Speakers and an Amp is out of my price range (unless I literally do Amp + Passive Speakers + Sub and skip the Arc)

What if I start with a Port with the A5s, the Arc and the Sub? That way I can use my current gear and see how it sounds. Can always expand and add One SL (or Fives), or if I really want, I can expand to Passive Speakers and sell the Port. Luckily Sonos gear doesn’t decrease much in value over time :)

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@zsamuels28 I indeed meant to buy an AMP instead of the ARC, corrected that in my previous post, sorry.

Remember, you can not bond the Port with the Sub. So you would only use the Sub for TV sound, right? That's a bit expensive. I like that I can use the Sub with TV and with music via the AMP, 2-in-1 :-). Offcourse you can always sell the Port. But this sounds like you already know that you think it will not be enough :-). I understand that you maybe want to hang on to your A5’s. It took me a bit of time to get rid of my Arcam amp. But hey, change is good, it's only electronics in a nice housing :-). 

 

 

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@Geebee you are the man. Thank you so much! 
 

I thought I could group the Port + A5 + Arc + Sub, is that incorrect?

 

So you think AMP + Passive Speakers + Sub will sound better than the Arc + Sub for both TV Audio and Music? Can I use the Sonos Sub in this scenario? How well does the phantom center work?

 

Also, is this even worth it to go the Sonos route or get an AVR + Speakers. What prompted you to get rid of your Arcam amp? I don’t even know anymore 😭
 

What Passive Speakers do you recommend?

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Yes, as @AjTrek1 already says, you can group the Port + A5 + Arc + Sub, for music. If you group them for tv sound the Port and A5s would experience a 70ms delay. So that I would not recommend.

In my opinion the best setting for listening music is a stereo setup, e.g. the AMP with 2 passive speakers, setup in a good room. Add (bond) the Sub with the AMP to complement the speakers. Listening to music via home theater soundbars, e.g. the ARC, is not my thing. But that is my personal opinion. Music is to be heard in front of you, just like a live performance on stage. Music should not be around you like a 5.1 home theater setup.

For me, AMP + passive speakers + Sub is the best sounding setup for music, better than any soundbar.

The same AMP + passive speakers + Sub + surrounds (One SLs) are perfect for my TV audio, better than the Playbar + Sub + surrounds that I had. 

So with this scenario you make double use of the bonded AMP + Sub, namely for music and for TV audio.

About the center speaker: you can read about what the AMP does on the Sonos site. The Sonos AMP drives left and right speakers, and it will create a phantom center channel when sent discrete audio for that channel. AMP plays Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM stereo sound over HDMI-ARC, for TV audio.

I cannot really recommend passive speakers. I only can say that my white floor standing Monitor Audio Radius 270 speakers are great sounding and they look beautiful in my livingroom! 

 

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@Geebee Will the TV sound be good and clear if I don’t have surrounds like the One SLs and just the 2.1 setup? I’ve been reading a lot of forums and most people say AMP + Passive + Sub will almost always beat out a Soundbar, so looks like I have to rethink my setup… and the ARC looked so nice! Do you recommend the Sonos Sub for this setup?

 

Also, What made you sell your Arcam and switch to a Sonos setup? What benefits are there over an AVR + Speakers other than playing all over the house (because at the moment I have 0 Sonos speakers)
 

Also, Those are some impressive speakers! I don’t have that kind of money to spend though at the moment ☺️ Oh the possibilities...

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I already had surrounds. So I only listened without surrounds for maybe 10 minutes :-). You can always start without surrounds, the sound is also good then. I do not know what country you are, but the least expensive option for new surrounds are the Ikea Symfonisk speakers, they do well in tests for that purpose. Also secondhand Play:1's will do fine as surrounds.

In my case I liked that I could sell the Arcam, Connect and Playbar and put 1 AMP in place of those 3, I could buy the AMP and still have money left after I sold the 3. Minimalism :-). I already have 4 other Sonos zones, so 5 zones with music all around the house is one of our weekend pleasures :-).

About the Radius 270: I see them on Ebay for reasonable prices. 

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@Geebee 5 zones around the house!? Sounds like a great time! Do you use the Sonos sub?

 

This will be my first entry into the Sonos realm so I want to make sure I do it right (given the amount). Other than being able to use the Sonos sub and eventually expand to other rooms (I’m in an apartment), What’s my benefit of this vs doing an AVR + Speakers?

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In my first post in this thread you can read what I use, yes I use the Sub :-).

For me, since Sonos came to the market, the multi-room features is what makes Sonos great. If you do not need or want that, there are tons of other options.

The Sonos stuff is easy to setup, mostly. Also important. And I like the design. For smaller rooms nowadays the One (SL) is a perfect fit, the sound is great. And even better when 2 are a stereo pair. You can start with 1 and expand if budget allows :-). And sonos has a lot of integrations nowadays with online services, e.g. Spotify. And recently Sonos Radio!

From 2006 till now all my Sonos stuff has been very reliable. Offcourse setting up the network, cabled or wifi/sonosnet, can be troubling sometimes. Hey, it is all computer-stuff now and that can break or not work as well. But the Sonos Support is good, I recommend the chat option to be helped directly.

Let us know what you choose in the end!

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@Geebee I’m so torn, especially since I can’t listen to speakers in the store. I also can’t read reviews on the ARC since no one except Sonos has heard it. I spoke with someone at Sonos, and they wanted to push me toward the Arc + Sub and basically get rid of my A5s, but it didn’t sound like they were very versed (no offense Sonos <3). I hear the playbar is great for theater but then again, for music, it likely won’t beat out two passive speakers + amp + sub as many people have said.

So either I bite the bullet and try out Port + A5 + Arc + Sub (and group them all together) or go Amp + Passive + Sub. I guess I could always add an Arc in that scenario which is kind of nice? I also, have no idea about anything with regards to passive speakers, wattage, ohms, etc. So I’m a bit lost there, especially if I’m going to order them online… I know I am way overthinking this, but for $1000+ I want to ensure everything is right :)

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Well, first of all it is good that you think about it for $1000+!

You have to try to be honest with yourself: do you care enough about hifi quality music to have seperate equipment for that, next to a home cinema setup? How big is your living/listening room?

I for myself am convinced I do. I love hearing the music I like coming from 2 stereo speakers and a sub, just like when I go to a concert. I don't want that music coming from all directions, like home cinema. Same in car-audio: speakers all around seems like a good idea, but actually the sound is always better if you keep it at front-speakers and a sub in the car. 

Port and A5's will probably sound good for music. But no Sub here. 
The Arc bonded with the Sub will sound good for movies, even better with added surrounds. 
If you would have both I would never see a good reason to group these 2 rooms when you want to listen to music. That is what the Port/A5's are for, on their own!

With the Amp you combine both worlds, the Sub is used for music and for movies. And instead of 2 devices, Port & (big) Arc, you only have 1 device to put somewhere in your room. But I already explained that earlier in this thread :-).

Will you expand Sonos to other rooms in the future, e.g. with Sonos One speakers? It would be logical to group those with your music zone, e.g. the Port/A5 combo or the Amp/passives combo, depending on your choices.

Choices, it's hard. Make a list of the costs for the scenario's (don’t forget to add up the dollars for selling old stuff :-)), maybe that helps :-).

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@Geebee thank you so much! You have been so helpful and I really appreciate it!! Right now I’m in an apartment so it’s not that large. My A5s are around my TV, so I have:

Speaker - TV - Speaker

This is why I would join it all together, since it’s not in a different room or zone. If I was just going to use the A5s then for me there wouldn’t be a good reason to get the Port at the moment.
 

You are 100% right about the AMP in that it kind of does everything I want in one device, also the nice thing is if I do decide in the future to expand with the ARC I can use the passive speakers as surrounds.

The problem with the AMP is I also have to get Passive speakers and sell my current equipment, as opposed to getting one simple package.

At the moment I won’t be expanding Sonos into other rooms.

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Another option is to buy a secondhand latest version of the Connect instead of the Port. Saves you some money when also buying the Arc and Sub. And I doubt you would hear a  difference between Port and Connect. 

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@Geebee if I group the Port and A5s with the Arc and Sub in the same room, do you think that would sound ok?

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That would only be possible for hifi music, not for home theater (because of the lag of the Port). For music it will probably sound great IF you do not mind music coming from all around you instead of a front stage :-). 

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@Geebee I don’t mind not using the A5s for theater, not a big deal to me. I wouldn’t necessarily have it be surround because I don’t have the speakers behind me so it would still be coming straight at me. I guess I could always try that setup and see how I like it? Nice thing is the 45 day return policy.

I can always then go down the route if I want of selling the Port + A5 to get the AMP + Passives 🤔

I just want whatever sounds the best for both scenarios. 😂

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