Best answer by AirgetlamView original
Moving. Take older equipment or not
I had a system installed when building a home almost a decade ago. Open walls. Lots of Cat 6 run. Moving to new home already built. Assuming I'd have to go wireless. Are current connect amps any good?
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connect amps compatible?
Of course; that is one reason why obsolete stuff is used in every sphere today. But buying new passive speakers to make use of existing Connect Amps could very likely be bettered economically via play units.
Bettered economically I'd agree, the Play 3s and v1 5s that I have sound pretty good for the price, they are also a winner in the space used and lack of complexity arenas too.
But for sound quality a Connect Amp or Connect and external amp powering dumb speakers is hard to beat. My ZP-80 (previous version of the Connect hardware) in our living room, driving a Denon receiver and a 5.1 Infinity TSS 4000 speaker set seems to have a lot better sound to me. Still we tend to use the Play 5 on a plant shelf for general listening or a Play 3 on an end table for low level listening a lot more often than we do the big system. A smaller system in my computer room with another ZP-80, Yamaha receiver and a 5.1 Infinity TSS 800 5.1 set usually sits idle while I listen to a Play 3 too.
All the legacy stuff will go when we downsize again, it will be missed but our Sonos Play units are good enough at this point. I still miss my Klipsch La Scalas that the wife refused to let me bring to this place but things change.
But for sound quality a Connect Amp or Connect and external amp powering dumb speakers is hard to beat.
To my ears, a 1 pair + Sub bested at least three well known makes of passive speakers. I took the same care with placement with these as I would with a passive pair. And then ran Trueplay on the Sonos set up.
I think you will find others that will say the same about the gen 2 5 pair, even without the support of a Sub. With a Sub, that will go head to head with many more passive makes.
Active speakers such as the play units can dedicated amplifiers to each driver - the 5 units have 5 amps inside - and utilise crossovers that work in the digital domain that allows use of DSP for optimising driver performance, better use of small volume speaker boxes, and room response tuning algorithms of the kind used in Trueplay. All of this provides many more degrees of freedom than what the boxed in designer of passive kit has. A very useful benefit of this tech is how it allows costs and price points to be driven downwards. There is a reason why professional studios almost entirely use active speakers now - for both quality and cost reasons.
Sound quality and preferences are subjective I agree, but there is some very tasty proof of the active speaker/digital tech pudding in the eating of it. There is lot that can be done in the realm of small size satellites + Sub set ups than what is possible with passive speakers where most of the choices are often about what veneer to use/buy.
I agree that there are excellent examples of passive speakers of varying ages, and the Connect/Connect Amp addresses how to still use these, but I would not buy or recommend buying a new pair today.
I don't know why wifi would be a problem in particular. The signal is already going through walls in the house, so it should be able to hit what's in the wall. But, as I mentioned earlier, if I'm going to wire power, I'm wiring cat5 or 6 as well.
It would be smart to wire speaker wire to the locations as well. If you sell your home, everything attached must stay. I would not want to lose sonos speakers in a home sale, so I would replace with cheaper speakers during the sale.
And while I'm dreaming, where you wire the power to? would the power line come out of the wall near an outlet or perhaps tie the whole system to the breaker box?
Having a junction box (or whatever it's called) sound good, but it's not how speakers are typically installed. I would definitely want it done to that passive speakers could be installed. As well, it sound like you're going to require professional installation for sure now
While I have no experience of audio with such ceilings, why should a vault make any difference other than for the worse where the sound from ceiling speakers will have to come from further away and be subject to more bouncing around and diffusing before it reaches you? Conventionally mounted speakers, lower in the room and firing horizontally towards your ears would not have this problem; and if that kind of sound projection is more effective in delivering sound quality in a normal listening room compared to ceiling speakers, all the more reason for this to be the case in such rooms.
IMO, ceiling speakers make the most sense in bathrooms, and perhaps in passages if you must have music there. Yes, they are discreet but I would prefer a conventionally placed play 1 unit/1 pair any day for sound quality. And if filling the space is the need, 1 units scattered in different parts of the space, that can still be done without they being visually obtrusive. The other disadvantage of ceiling speakers of course is location inflexibility.
All that said, I agree that Connect Amp still has a role with them, but not as much as it does with external speakers. Everywhere else inside the home, I prefer the play units approach.
As far as the bathroom goes, I did have a single stereo ceiling speaker in there and liked it somewhat. I currently have a play1 and like that a bit better, but I also have a relatively dry spot to place it now.