CONNECT:AMP and subwoofer vs Sonos SUB


Userlevel 2
Hi,

With the release of the Sonos SUB my plans for my Sonos system might have changed a bit. I planned on getting a CONNECT:AMP and connect a sub-woofer.

But with the release of the SUB I really don't know what to do? What is the pros/cons of buying an Sonos AMP? Obviously, I will be be able to connect some great speakers later.

Right now I have PLAY5 and PLAY3. I'm thinking of buying an extra 3 and put them in stereo along the the SUB.

But that might be as expensive as a CONNECT:AMP with a sub-woofer and two good speakers.

What do you guys think?

21 replies

Userlevel 1
I think nobody's heard the Sonos SUB yet so there's no way of answering the question.
Current lead time for first demo stock to dealers seems to be around 3 weeks, so why not contact a few local Sonos dealers to see who will be getting the Sub so you can take a listen.

At least then you can see if you think it stacks up against a conventional Connect:Amp/speakers/subwoofer setup.
Userlevel 3
I totally agree...I would want to listen to the sub also before making up my mind. On the Sonos Facebook page, I saw that they are going to have events around the US. I'm going to have a listen...also heres a short review...

http://www.stereophile.com/content/sonos-sub-sexy-smart-and-fun
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I'd been thinking about a Sub to beef up the tiny "Celestion Little 1" speakers that my ZP120 drives in the kitchen.

Then along comes the sonos sub.. perfect. Then they announce the price ... £600! Not so perfect.

On the other hand if one were starting from scratch:

Option 1 = 2x play3's + 1x SUB = £1120.

vs

Option 2 = 1x connect amp + 1x SUB = £1000. Leaving £120 for a pair of rather basic passive speakers.

vs

Option 3 = 1x connect amp = £400. Leaving £720 for some (pretty good) speakers, which probably wouldn't need a sub. Plus the option to upgrade later.

It depends on your space and quality requirements I think ... and whether you'd rather have trailing speaker cable or trailing mains leads!

Personally I'm going to have to hear it before stumping up the cash .. and will probably just upgrade my speakers (Neat Iotas = £650?), getting a bit less bass but a lot more quality I'd think.
Userlevel 2
I'd been thinking about a Sub to beef up the tiny "Celestion Little 1" speakers that my ZP120 drives in the kitchen.

Then along comes the sonos sub.. perfect. Then they announce the price ... £600! Not so perfect.

On the other hand if one were starting from scratch:

Option 1 = 2x play3's + 1x SUB = £1120.

vs

Option 2 = 1x connect amp + 1x SUB = £1000. Leaving £120 for a pair of rather basic passive speakers.

vs

Option 3 = 1x connect amp = £400. Leaving £720 for some (pretty good) speakers, which probably wouldn't need a sub. Plus the option to upgrade later.

It depends on your space and quality requirements I think ... and whether you'd rather have trailing speaker cable or trailing mains leads!

Personally I'm going to have to hear it before stumping up the cash .. and will probably just upgrade my speakers (Neat Iotas = £650?), getting a bit less bass but a lot more quality I'd think.


Well said nick, the Sonos products are priced out so that no one combination is significantly better values than the other. Still the best sounding stereo you are going to land is with a Connect on a sound system of your choice.
Userlevel 2
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Well said nick, the Sonos products are priced out so that no one combination is significantly better values than the other. Still the best sounding stereo you are going to land is with a Connect on a sound system of your choice.

I'd agree with control freak - buy a connect for £279 and with the £841 thats left over buy an amp and some speakers - Its going to sound better.

But, you will have wires everywhere and probably an eyesore installation, a controller for Sonos and probably a remote for the amp. The Sonos installation is just so elegant - three boxes (and the sub out of sight if possible) and an i-device to control.

I've got a connect to a high-ish end amp and speakers in my lounge, but for the kitchen a pair of play-3 mounted on the ceiling. Hi-fi it aint, and adding a sub wont make it so, but for the kitchen its perfect.
I hope this isn't off-topic.

One of my three zones is a ZP120 driving a pair of Mirage Nanosats and a subwoofer (via the line-level "subwoofer out"). My issue is that the "subwoofer out" is deliberately rolled off above 80 Hz, while the Nanosats don't really have any output below ~150Hz. Does anyone know if the new SUB will have adjustable high pass roll-off? If so, anything above 80 Hz?

Thanks,

Steven
Does anyone know if the new SUB will have adjustable high pass roll-off? If so, anything above 80 Hz?

There's a review linked in the SUB thread that suggests that the SUB, when paired with a Connect:Amp, will have a crossover setting selection of 'micro, bookshelf, or floor-standing'. We probably won't know what those frequencies are until the release (and we may never be told), but it seems to me that the existing 80Hz would be the bookshelf setting, with the micro higher and the floor-standers lower.

Whether the 'micro' setting is a good match for your Nanosats remains to be seen, but it'll likely be better than it is now.
Yes, the "micro" setting will probably be close to correct.

Ren
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I'd agree with control freak - buy a connect for £279 and with the £841 thats left over buy an amp and some speakers - Its going to sound better.

Absolutely - my "BIG system has a connect feeding a naim 122x/150x amp and neat motive 1 speakers ... and playing the connect though it all sounds nearly as good as playing a naim cd5x through it (if the data is good enough).

But that system is consigned to my "music" room by she who must be obeyed (and noise sensitive neighbours) so I mostly listen to what's in the kitchen, where there's no space for an amp or floorstanders!
Userlevel 2
I got my Martin Logan Dynamo 700W for less than the Sonos Sub will be. It has way more power than the Sonos Sub and is still wireless. It sounds awesome and is paired with B&W CM-1. It has a small transmitter that plugs into to the sub out of the connect amp but those wires can be hidden by the connect amp itself or in my case its mounted to the back of my 55" TV just above the connect amp. I'm extremly happy with the setup and would do it again.
Subs are extremely difficult to integrate with the main speaker pair where music is concerned, particularly where the taste is towards well recorded acoustic/vocal music.

Subs work well for home theater applications for effects, provided by a channel dedicated to these effects at the recording stage.

For high quality audio, I would still go with a connect driven amp + 2 speaker system, with time, money and efforts spend on the speaker selection, positioning and room acoustics.

Where the room is small, and the speakers are well designed easy loads, one can do away with the amp, and use the connect amp instead, with the same attention to the speaker side of things, without a sub.

Perhaps Sonos had made the kind of breakthrough in audio engineering that negates this view, but I doubt it.
This document gives the SUB crossover frequencies.
Userlevel 2
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I think for the money, the Sub and Play 3's are worthy of serious consideration. The sound from this set-up is very clean & crisp, maybe too clean for some.
I have the other option of the 90 pre amp plus big amp connected to some very large Tannoy's and they do provide a rich warm sound. However the speakers are in the £5k bracket.
Have tried the 120 amp with B&W M1's and a Cambridge Audio Minx X200 sub. Yes it did sound good but you could tell there was a sub in the room.
Changed to the Play 3's and Sub and the difference is amazing. Go try, go buy, you won't be disappointed.

Have tried the 120 amp with B&W M1's and a Cambridge Audio Minx X200 sub. Yes it did sound good but you could tell there was a sub in the room.
Changed to the Play 3's and Sub and the difference is amazing. Go try, go buy, you won't be disappointed.


Interesting. Others have also pointed out in reviews that it doesn't work so well with the connect Amp.

Given the price, it does make things tricky, if one wants to use it with a pair of play 3 units, even trickier with a play 5 pair, given that it appears that it will work best with these, and approach the sound quality of a decent hifi set up. Or will the sub, with a play 3 pair, outperform a connect amp plus 2 speakers at the same price?

I say pair, because I am not sure that working with a single 3 or 5, with the consequent lack of separation for stereo, how it will stack up against a 2 speaker audio set up.
Userlevel 2
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Interesting. Others have also pointed out in reviews that it doesn't work so well with the connect Amp.

Given the price, it does make things tricky, if one wants to use it with a pair of play 3 units, even trickier with a play 5 pair, given that it appears that it will work best with these, and approach the sound quality of a decent hifi set up. Or will the sub, with a play 3 pair, outperform a connect amp plus 2 speakers at the same price?

I say pair, because I am not sure that working with a single 3 or 5, with the consequent lack of separation for stereo, how it will stack up against a 2 speaker audio set up.


Not thought of the Sub working with just 1 x Play 3 or 5. Could be worth a try but then I think you'd have to position the Sub carefully or get a strange experience. My current set-up is the Sub is on the kitchen worktop with the Play3's equally spaced on 2 x window sills around 3 feet apart either side of the Sub. It does dominate the room a bit! I think if I removed one of the Play 3's, I would lose more than 50% of the overall sound quality.
Not thought of the Sub working with just 1 x Play 3 or 5. Could be worth a try but then I think you'd have to position the Sub carefully or get a strange experience. My current set-up is the Sub is on the kitchen worktop with the Play3's equally spaced on 2 x window sills around 3 feet apart either side of the Sub. It does dominate the room a bit! I think if I removed one of the Play 3's, I would lose more than 50% of the overall sound quality.

Sub frequencies are non-directional, meaning you cannot locate the direction of the source by simply hearing them. This is why a multi-channel system only needs a single sub (the '.1' in 7.1, 5.1, 2.1 etc.). Given this, sub placement does not have to be between the stereo channels, you should place it for impact, not direction. Best impact is achieved by corner loading it close to the listening position, with care to avoid nulls in the fairly long wavelengths.
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Sub frequencies are non-directional, meaning you cannot locate the direction of the source by simply hearing them. This is why a multi-channel system only needs a single sub (the '.1' in 7.1, 5.1, 2.1 etc.). Given this, sub placement does not have to be between the stereo channels, you should place it for impact, not direction. Best impact is achieved by corner loading it close to the listening position, with care to avoid nulls in the fairly long wavelengths.

Yes, I am sure you are correct and idealy once I have knocked a wall down, the Sub will be re-postioned on the floor to 1 side. It is purely sited this way for ease of use, oh and the fact I cannot fit it anywhere else!
Good evening,

I know that time has passed since this thread was active, would you still say that "Subs are extremely difficult to integrate with the main speaker pair" (see below)

I am considering Connect:AMP with 2xFocal 906 (bookshelf) and a Sub and I am wondering whether I might have issues as mentioned above

thank you in advance for you advice and experience sharing.
Eric

Subs are extremely difficult to integrate with the main speaker pair where music is concerned, particularly where the taste is towards well recorded acoustic/vocal music.
Subs work well for home theater applications for effects, provided by a channel dedicated to these effects at the recording stage.
For high quality audio, I would still go with a connect driven amp + 2 speaker system, with time, money and efforts spend on the speaker selection, positioning and room acoustics.
I wrote the quoted sentence before evaluating and buying the Sonos Sub, and as I have written elsewhere thereafter, the Sonos Sub is one that has been a very pleasant exception to this "rule". I have used the Sub with a Connect Amp wired to three different bookshelf speakers - Quad 11L, Dali Zensor 1 and KEF Q100. In each case, with the crossover set at 110hz, and the Sub placed between the speaker pair, integration and music sound quality has been very impressive.
I haven't heard the well regarded Focals, but I believe they have a distinct sonic signature that divides opinions, so be sure you are on the side that likes it. If you do, and you are looking to invest in the Sonos Sub, I believe the smaller 905s would do just as well because the Sub would be performing the bass duties that the larger and more expensive 906 would do better than the 905 would in a system without a Sub. With the Sub in place, both speakers should sound the same.
I would still be very careful in using a third party Sub for music play, but I have had excellent results with the Sonos Sub.
I suggest that you look at another alternative as well - a play 1 pair with a Sub. I rank that a close second behind the Connect Amp + Sub based systems I referred to, and ahead of them where the ability to go loud is concerned.
A boost to the sound quality of this is around the corner, with the soon to be launched Trueplay tuning software that will work with the play units, but will NOT do anything for the Connect Amp based systems. With this boost, the sound quality difference to Connect Amp based systems may well disappear.
And finally, there is another intriguing possibility, also soon to be launched, and that is the new play 5. Install a pair of that and it is very likely that you will get music sounding just as good as any of the foregoing, but without the need for a Sub. It might be worth waiting for that launch.

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