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Converting Existing System To Sonos

  • 19 August 2019
  • 7 replies
  • 231 views

Good Morning,

Firstly I would like to say I have 0 experience in home audio systems and recently moved into a house with an existing setup. I'm looking to convert the system to sonos so that I can add more speakers and control different zones. The house currently has 10 in wall speakers wired to an onkyo tx-rz630 reciever. None of these are used for a home theater. They are all strictly background music. I can stream through the onkyo from my phone but all the speakers play at once.I would like to be able to have 3 different zones as follows

zone 1- 6 speakers
zone 2- 2 speakers
zone 3- 2 speakers

So I guess my question is which sonos products would I need to buy in order to make this happen. Also how easy is it to set up with this existing system. The onkyo is not plugged into a TV so trying to work on it has been a nightmare.

Thank you in advance for your help
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Best answer by AjTrek1 19 August 2019, 15:58

Hi Bmaloney

Having all speakers wired to the Onkyo will not allow you to setup separate zones for Sonos. You can bring Sonos into the mix via a Sonos Connect but all speakers would still play the same music. Your options to create separate Sonos zones are:

  1. Leave Zone 1 connected to the Onkyo with a Sonos Connect
  2. Purchase two Sonos Amps one for Zone 2 and the other for Zone 3. *
  3. Each Sonos Amp would power two (2) speakers.
  4. You may need a professional installer or a knowledgeable friend to help you get all the connections properly setup and centralized.
Total cost USD = $1547
  1. Sonos Amp $599 x 2 = $1198
  2. Sonos Connect x 1 = $349
Besides the equipment above you'll need am iOS or Android device to on which to install the Sonos controller. You'll also Internet need a router with a good 2.4GHZ signal.

Just FYI...All routers today will generate a 2.4Ghz and a 5GHz signal. Sonos uses the 2.4Ghz signal as primary but will use the 5Ghz signal when setting up surrounds and/or sub for Home Theater to a Playbar/Playbase/Beam or Sonos Amp. At this point you need not concern yourself with HT.

* There is a possibility you may be able to find a Sonos Connect: Amp or two at a cheaper cost on the internet. The Connect: Amp; although recently discontinued, is the forerunner of the Sonos Amp. However, it is still supported by Sonos.

Feel free to post back with your decision and questions.

Cheers!
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7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi Bmaloney

Having all speakers wired to the Onkyo will not allow you to setup separate zones for Sonos. You can bring Sonos into the mix via a Sonos Connect but all speakers would still play the same music. Your options to create separate Sonos zones are:

  1. Leave Zone 1 connected to the Onkyo with a Sonos Connect
  2. Purchase two Sonos Amps one for Zone 2 and the other for Zone 3. *
  3. Each Sonos Amp would power two (2) speakers.
  4. You may need a professional installer or a knowledgeable friend to help you get all the connections properly setup and centralized.
Total cost USD = $1547
  1. Sonos Amp $599 x 2 = $1198
  2. Sonos Connect x 1 = $349
Besides the equipment above you'll need am iOS or Android device to on which to install the Sonos controller. You'll also Internet need a router with a good 2.4GHZ signal.

Just FYI...All routers today will generate a 2.4Ghz and a 5GHz signal. Sonos uses the 2.4Ghz signal as primary but will use the 5Ghz signal when setting up surrounds and/or sub for Home Theater to a Playbar/Playbase/Beam or Sonos Amp. At this point you need not concern yourself with HT.

* There is a possibility you may be able to find a Sonos Connect: Amp or two at a cheaper cost on the internet. The Connect: Amp; although recently discontinued, is the forerunner of the Sonos Amp. However, it is still supported by Sonos.

Feel free to post back with your decision and questions.

Cheers!
Userlevel 5
Badge +13
The Onkyo OP already owns features not only a Zone 2 and Zone 3, but also three digital inputs (1x coax, 2x optical) so OP may be able to achieve his or her goal with three Connects instead of purchasing the more expensive Amps for the extra zones. A look at the manual would be needed to see if the digital inputs can be assigned to the additional zones and whether the built in programs allow the use of the surround channels as stereo out matching the front output rather than surround channels. Probably will be tricky programming, so enlisting the aid of an installer or stereo geek friend is good advice.
Userlevel 5
Badge +13
Went diggin - here’s the manual : https://www.onkyousa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/SN29403443_TX-RZ630_En_180518_web.pdf

it does appear to have a setting for front and surround speakers to play the same signal,

AllCh Stereo
This mode is ideal for background music. Stereo sound is played through the
surround speakers as well as the front speakers, creating a stereo image.
Thanks for the helpful info. I would definitely rather go with the 3 connects route. Is this a difficult thing to set up? I’m a little confused at how the connects plug into the Onkyo. Sorry again for knowing nothing about this. I usually try to do more research on my own but with a new baby in the house things are a little hectic so I’m reaching out here.
Userlevel 5
Badge +13
The Connect has three outputs, all with the same audio stream: L/R analog, digital over optical, and digital over coaxial. Use a digital output on each Connect. You would connect them to the DVD, CD and TV audio inputs (the names are meaningless, that just controls the labels, the audio connections work the same regardless of what’s connected to them.)

Your Onkyo receiver has three digital inputs. It has 4 stereo speaker output pairs, which can be split into three different stereo outputs carrying different music.

You would then connect the speaker wires for the rooms to the Front, Zone 2 and Zone 3 speaker outputs on the back. Since you want 6 speakers running the same audio, some kind of bridging will be required. The AllCh Stereo option I mentioned above can help with this, since you can use 2 pairs of speaker connections for those six speakers (not all bridged together - get an expert to help you connect this.)

This is really a more complicated than normal setup, especially as the system is already connected (presumably) to the speakers that are installed. If this isn’t one of your normal hobby areas, it will take a bit to figure out.

If the speaker wires are labelled, you could get one Connect to start, connect it to one of the inputs, and first get it playing on all speakers in the house. Then use the phone app or remote to send the Sons signal source to Zone 2 and Zone 3. If that works and you’re comfortable, add another Connect and then set up Zone 3. However, I strongly do not recommend doing multiple speakers to the same speaker output post without help from a competent friend or professional installer. Bridging amplifiers wrong with speakers is a fast way to let out the magic smoke.
Great, thanks for the info. I actually just rewired/tested all the speakers and labeled them so I can be more organized. I spoke with a technician and he had me bridge 2 speakers to get the 6 speaker zone 1. Im going to take your advice and buy 1 sonos connect and go from there. Off the top of your head do you know if i can install the connect without connecting the onkyo to a TV? Ive been having trouble setting anything up, even the ios app remote, since the receiver is not plugged into a TV. I just keep getting a "turn on TV for setup" message. I would have to drag my wall mounted tv in from another room and am not looking to do that.
Userlevel 5
Badge +13
Not having that amp, sorry. I have an old Yamaha that has on screen setup, but every setting is also available via the buttons on the front of the receiver and the remote, albeit in a more wonky way. I linked the manual above - hope that helps.

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