Question

complementing the beam with an amp for wider front stage

  • 9 June 2019
  • 6 replies
  • 160 views

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  • Contributor III
  • 20 replies
Hi everyone,

I have already read a few topics about people who are disappointed by the width of the front stage on the Sonos beam.

I bought it thinking i could just add left and right speakers, i didn't notice that it was only left and right SURROUND speakers you can add.

so i was thinking of solutions, and i don't want to get a wired system and then something like a connect to wifi enable it, it kinda defeats the point.

so my idea was this:
run the Sonos Beam from the HDMI Arc as it is now, but add a Sonos amp via optical for left and right front channels. OR if its possible to split the arc signal, then run both from the arc.

because both devices are "wired" this should get around the delay echo when trying to do the same thing wirelessly.

so a few questions:

can the beam and amp be used together on the same arc?
can the beam and amp be used together on both arc and optical?
is there any chance of delays before i throw a ridiculous amount of money at an amp and a set of front speakers only to find out it wont work?

any info would be great, i can't justify spending money on this idea without knowing its going to work

6 replies

I can't comment for sure on whether an HDMI-ARC is splittable, but I wouldn't think this possible. Using an optical to the Amp should work, though there is the risk of differential delay and hence echo effects. So long as the TV can configure delay on its optical out, independently of the HDMI, you may be able to trim things satisfactorily. I think Amp's own lip-sync adjustment could be too coarse.

Note however that you would be left with two independent Sonos rooms, each with its own volume control. You may be able to fix this, after a fashion, by training both the Beam and Amp with the same IR remote.

Frankly I'd suggest you buy from Sonos direct. Then if it doesn't work out you'd have the option of returning it.
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I can't comment for sure on whether an HDMI-ARC is splittable, but I wouldn't think this possible. Using an optical to the Amp should work, though there is the risk of differential delay and hence echo effects. So long as the TV can configure delay on its optical out, independently of the HDMI, you may be able to trim things satisfactorily. I think Amp's own lip-sync adjustment could be too coarse.

Note however that you would be left with two independent Sonos rooms, each with its own volume control. You may be able to fix this, after a fashion, by training both the Beam and Amp with the same IR remote.

Frankly I'd suggest you buy from Sonos direct. Then if it doesn't work out you'd have the option of returning it.


thanks for the reply, i was assuming that if i set the levels on both the beam and the amp and then use the TV's output to be a volume control they should stay synchronized, and while they would have to be listed as two rooms due to the app restrictions they should in theory work as one room because they have the same source, as long as the audio source is the TV and not a music source, then they would have to be grouped before playing.

i realised that i can actually test this setup now with my connect, except i have no powered speakers at the moment (They are in for repair) so i might test it and see if both outputs are active and if there is any delay between the two.
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ok scratch that idea, the Connect only has optical out not optical in. so i need something with an optical in to test this.
In general a TV volume control doesn't affect its optical out. That runs at 100% all the time. Assuming the TV has CEC the remote will however vary the Beam volume.

In principle you could do some testing with a Connect, but (a) you'd need a DAC and (b) Connect's line in would be delayed about 40ms compared to audio through the Beam.
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In general a TV volume control doesn't affect its optical out. That runs at 100% all the time. Assuming the TV has CEC the remote will however vary the Beam volume.

In principle you could do some testing with a Connect, but (a) you'd need a DAC and (b) Connect's line in would be delayed about 40ms compared to audio through the Beam.


hmm well i assume the amp has the same guts as the beam so i imagine it would have a remote learning, but that would also be another experiment.

it would be nice if sonos just allowed for front stereo speakers.

i am going to see if i can find an optical amp lying around anywhere and see if there is any audio present and if it is in time with th beam
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ok for those interested i have done some tests and kinda got something to work. so my LG 65" OLED seems to output audio constantly on the optical out regardless of what the settings say, which means i can get audio out both on the HDMI ARC and the optical simultaneously.

using an optical to RCA DAC, i have managed to hook up some left and right speakers. but there is a delay.

i assume this delay is the Sonos buffering the audio slightly so it has time to broadcast it out to the sub and satellite speakers.

i was going to try and adjust the timing on my beam to see if i can get the audio to line up with the optical out but the sonos app seems to not be working at the moment and i cannot edit any settings.

the other problem is that the audio on the optical is at a fixed volume, and the volume control on the DAC has to be manually adjusted. but in theory using the new sonos amp i can group it with the beam and then as the beam changes volume it should adjust the amp too so in theory it will work.

but i think the main reason that the sound stage is so small on the beam is to sell play bars, and the only reason i bought the beam (apart from the price) is because it had HDMI ARC where as the play bar is only optical. Which makes me think that rather than sonos adding support for left and right front speakers and thus making the playbar obsolete, they plan to bring out a new one which supports eARC. so really, do i spend a load of money on the new sonos amp and some bookshelf speakers and try and hack the audio timing, or do i wait and see if they solve the problem with a playbar 2?

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