Question

Can sonos replace b&w 802 diamond


Help needed , i have a really nice set up in my living room.
A pair of b&w 802 diamonds connected to a nad m3 and a camebride audio streamer.
Now i would like to simplify the set up , but i dont know if i could be happy with a pair of play 5 with a sub.
I there someone here who made a simmilar change in stereo set up.

12 replies

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I have been debating getting rid of my system with b&W. I have a set of B&W 600 series fronts tied to my older surround receiver and a B&W ASW Subwoofer. It is a good sounding system. But having used the Play:5s and Sub I don't think I'm losing much going to the Sonos.

While I'm not going to say it blows away B&W. What I will say is ..... I never play music through my B&W system. Even though I have a Sonos Connect hooked to the receiver so I can control and play the B&W system with my Sonos. I never go to the trouble of turning it on. I find myself always playing the Play:5 which is in the kitchen beside my living room that has the B&W system.

I'm having trouble convincing myself to ditch the wired B&W's. I'm thinking of a compromise in ditching my old receiver and plugging my B&Ws and Sub into a Connect:Amp. Then I start thinking just ditch it all and get a Playbase as what I do most in that room is watch TV.

uggg.....

Well hope my dilemma helps you.

Fact Is: I hate to waste the B&W speakers I have but Sonos is much more convienient and in a lot of ways can hold its own in sound (if I'm talking pair of Play:5s with Sonos Sub). But heck your diamond and NAD is probably pretty sweet sounding. I would have probably gone the Sonos Connect attached to the NAD route in that case kind like I previously did (with me having lower end of the b&W family)
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Dkops wrote:

Help needed , i have a really nice set up in my living room.
A pair of b&w 802 diamonds connected to a nad m3 and a camebride audio streamer.
Now i would like to simplify the set up , but i dont know if i could be happy with a pair of play 5 with a sub.
I there someone here who made a simmilar change in stereo set up.



You plan on going from a pair of (was) £6,000 speakers and a (was) £2,000 amp, both items very well respected, and fed from a streamer that (if it's the CXN) isn't too shabby either, to a pair of Play5's and a Sonos sub? I'm sorry, but that's the equivalent of owning a top-of-the-line BMW M3 and debating a change to a Mini because you "can't see what all the fuss was about" with M3s, principally because you never had it out of full auto mode and went no further than to the shops and back... lol

B&Ws can IMO be a bit of a challenge to live with because they need space to run. Typically, they require about 2ft space between the back wall and the back edge of the speaker. But it's the side wall spacing that makes a huge difference. There's no two ways about it, cramming them in to a small or unsuitable room really hobbles the performance.

The other way to strangle them is playing at very modest volumes. They'll never develop the scale of dynamics if the speakers are doing little more than just ticking over. This is true for a lot of good Hi-Fi. It sounds okay but nothing really special at background listening volume levels. But when you open up the taps... boy oh boy do things come alive! Conversely, bad stereo gear sounds okay at low volume but worse when the sound level increases; harsh, congested, fatiguing. It's why Bose demos are kept very short ;)

Look, you can replace your Hi-Fi with anything; an iPod dock if you wish. The question is will you miss what the big Hi-Fi does? Even in a less-than-ideal room (so long as it's not floor to ceiling tiled) then decent gear will pull stuff out of the music that lesser gear just won't do. I'm presuming here that you're streaming something better than 128kbps iTunes downloads.

The next question is how well the gear is matched to the room. Too many folk buy Hi-Fi based on pride. Smaller stand-mount speakers may not look so impressive when showing off to your mates, but where space is at a premium they can often work far more effectively. If you had the sort of dealer who was only interested in pushing you out of the door with the biggest sale he could talk you in to then my apologies that you've been poorly served. A good Hi-Fi dealer tells you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear; and they're not afraid to tell you No if something you're considering isn't a good match. A bad dealer just wants your money.

Will the Sonos gear satisfy? If it works better because it fits the space then you might be happy. But that's because you must have been really unhappy with with the 802D's in your room. A change of speakers (and of dealer, perhaps?) to something more suitable would be a far more sensible step. KEF LS50, Focal Utopia 1008be, Tannoy Definition DC8.
I'm powering a pair of QUAD ESL-63s with a Connect:Amp, very simple, great sound. The B&Ws are rated 90db sensitivity, a good bit more sensitive than the QUADs. If you are a jazz lover, like me, the Connect:Amp might work fine for you. If you want realistic concert level Classical or Rawk sound, though, you probably need more power.
I replaced my Marantz SACD player + Quad pre/power amps + Harbeth C7 speakers with a total cost in the five digit range, with a 1 pair + Sub - about USD 1000, in 2011.
No loss of heard sound quality in my space to my ears so I am very happy. The wife of course loves the drastic reduction in clutter and cabling, so that is another box ticked.
The most important box ticked though is that I am listening to ten times more music via streaming services because I am no longer tied to the "pristine" CDs I own or have to buy or even download. I recently discovered that I love blues music, and I am able to explore the entire genre at no cost other that the already paid for services - both music streaming and broadband pipe.
The key to all of this is stable music streaming; drops and stutters will damage any listening experience, regardless of price point. And Sonos needs a foundation of a stable WiFi set up at home to work well. Given that, my experience of a 1 pair + Sub suggests that a 5 pair + Sub will work very well indeed. Give it the same attention to placement and set up, and then run Trueplay room optimisation on it - job done.
Most of the high cost of audiophile gear is because it does not ever sell in large enough numbers to obtain good prices for bought components, and also needs to be priced high to cover the associated high marketing overhead. And a lot of the money you pay is for eye candy from veneers, woodwork and dancing backlit VU meters. So that is something that you should not associate blindly with good sound quality if you plan to make the change. Ironically, the high marketing overhead is needed because the price is otherwise too high for it to sell. And the price is set high to also cater to the belief of its target market that Expensive = High end = HiFi.
Others may disagree or sneer, but the above is my finding after having spent over a decade with high end - translate that as expensive - audio gear from many audiophile brands, and I am very content with my present state of affairs; I would not go back to my pre 2011 even if there was no cost associated with the move. Music is all that home audio should be about, not brand names and expensive gear.
YMMV.
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chicks wrote:

I'm powering a pair of QUAD ESL-63s with a Connect:Amp, very simple, great sound. The B&Ws are rated 90db sensitivity, a good bit more sensitive than the QUADs. If you are a jazz lover, like me, the Connect:Amp might work fine for you. If you want realistic concert level Classical or Rawk sound, though, you probably need more power.



Just out of curiousity, were you powering the Quads with something else before the Connect amp? If so, how would you say your old amp (receiver?) setup compared with the Connect setup?
Toolio wrote:


Just out of curiousity, were you powering the Quads with something else before the Connect amp? If so, how would you say your old amp (receiver?) setup compared with the Connect setup?



Many different amps, including a QUAD 405, a Kenwood Supreme 600, an ONIX A-120, several others. As QUAD's Peter J. Walker said, all competent amplifiers that are accurately level matched and operating within their limits sound the same. Absolutely no reason they shouldn't; amplifier design, for imperceptible distortion and flat response, was perfected many years ago.
To add: much of what is now heard as thin - if bad, and the usual flowery praise, if good - where amps are concerned is down to sound level mismatch and what every stereo salesman has known for decades: Louder sounds better. And all it takes is louder to the extent of just 0.2dB at times for this audibly perceived difference to kick in. Do a instrument level matched single variable DBT test on any two examples of the kind chicks refers to and many others I have used, and no one has been able to pick out one over the other in any published outcome. The only correction I will offer to this post is replace "many years ago" by "many decades ago".

As far as the Connect Amp is concerned, I have used it as a perfectly adequate and not audibly noticed replacement where other 50-60 wpc amps have served just as well in the past - ones made by Rotel, NAD, Marantz, Unison Research, and some I can't even remember now. What people don't "get" at first is that because Connect Amp does volume control differently, where a 50 wpc NAD as typical of the breed, will have its volume knob at 30%, the Connect Amp may have to be at 60% to deliver the same sound levels. At 100%, both will sound the same, except that the NAD will reach 100% of clean power delivery well before turning the knob all the way around. But run both Connect Amp and a 50 wpc NAD at 30% volume control/slider level and of course the NAD sounds much better - just because it is delivering higher sound levels than the thin sounding in comparison Connect Amp. Equalise the sound levels, the differences disappear entirely. Even with a 50 wpc Luxman. That costs ten times as much.

PS: The other thing is that exactly this kind of discussion can be found from thirty year old archives. But the high end audio makers have a vested survival interest in keeping the beliefs/illusions alive. As do purveyors of expensive/exotic DACs and those hawking Hi Res kit and music.
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Lucid AV wrote:

Dkops wrote:

Help needed , i have a really nice set up in my living room.
A pair of b&w 802 diamonds connected to a nad m3 and a camebride audio streamer.
Now i would like to simplify the set up , but i dont know if i could be happy with a pair of play 5 with a sub.
I there someone here who made a simmilar change in stereo set up.



You plan on going from a pair of (was) £6,000 speakers and a (was) £2,000 amp, both items very well respected, and fed from a streamer that (if it's the CXN) isn't too shabby either, to a pair of Play5's and a Sonos sub? I'm sorry, but that's the equivalent of owning a top-of-the-line BMW M3 and debating a change to a Mini because you "can't see what all the fuss was about" with M3s, principally because you never had it out of full auto mode and went no further than to the shops and back... lol


My personal experience tells me that a system comprised of a pair of PLAY:5s and a SUB, correctly configured, and powerful enough for the space in which it's deployed, is capable of embarassing much more expensive systems. As always with audio, try it out to see if it matches your tastes and needs, but do so without preconceptions of its performance.
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Kumar wrote:


As far as the Connect Amp is concerned, I have used it as a perfectly adequate and not audibly noticed replacement where other 50-60 wpc amps have served just as well in the past - ones made by Rotel, NAD, Marantz, Unison Research, and some I can't even remember now. What people don't "get" at first is that because Connect Amp does volume control differently, where a 50 wpc NAD as typical of the breed, will have its volume knob at 30%, the Connect Amp may have to be at 60% to deliver the same sound levels. At 100%, both will sound the same, except that the NAD will reach 100% of clean power delivery well before turning the knob all the way around. But run both Connect Amp and a 50 wpc NAD at 30% volume control/slider level and of course the NAD sounds much better - just because it is delivering higher sound levels than the thin sounding in comparison Connect Amp. Equalise the sound levels, the differences disappear entirely. Even with a 50 wpc Luxman. That costs ten times as much.


That is exactly my experience.

(Just for information, I'm now running my CONNECT:AMP with a pair of Q Acoustics 3050 floorstanders, and I can recommend this combination if you have the space. The speakers are 6 Ohm nominal impedance and 92dB sensitivity, so they're an easy load for the amp., and they sound great.)
How about this preconception though? That the active crossover and DSP tech incorporated in the 5 unit, with a dedicated and matched amplifier for each of its 6 drivers grants many more degrees of freedom to the designer of the 5 to deliver quality sound from the integrated package that it is. Than what is available to a maker of passive speakers using decades old passive crossover tech, who also has no control over what amplifier will be used by customers out of the many available; a lack of control that comes in the way of designing the speaker for the best performance its tech, albeit old, can deliver.

I agree that the 5 may sound different enough for there to be a preference for or against it, compared to any other option that is heard. The problem I have is with the preconception is that it will always sound different AND inferior. IMO, that is prejudice.
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chicks wrote:

Toolio wrote:


Just out of curiousity, were you powering the Quads with something else before the Connect amp? If so, how would you say your old amp (receiver?) setup compared with the Connect setup?



Many different amps, including a QUAD 405, a Kenwood Supreme 600, an ONIX A-120, several others. As QUAD's Peter J. Walker said, all competent amplifiers that are accurately level matched and operating within their limits sound the same. Absolutely no reason they shouldn't; amplifier design, for imperceptible distortion and flat response, was perfected many years ago.



Thanks. As I said, I was just curious to know how, in your opinion, the sound compared.
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For the original poster: As mentioned above, if you’re concerned that your Sonos idea might not work, the KEF LS50s might be an alternative. They get excellent reviews, with most agreeing that they punch far above their weight for the cost. I concur, after living with them for a week at a friend’s house few months ago. (My Sonos gear includes Play 5s, Gen 2.) Builtin DAC/amps get rid of most of the wiring. Control and streaming are wireless. There have been some firmware glitches, but updates seem to have resolved most.

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