Question

Multi Room Wired and Wireless Install Help Needed Please

  • 28 February 2017
  • 7 replies
  • 680 views

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Just bought a new property and having all cabling re-done, so wanted to get the music system installed at the same time. I currently own 2 x Play 1 only with a view to buying additional kit based on recommendations. I have 3 kids rooms which I intend to use a Play 1 in each for, that's the easy part! I have a small cinema room that will require 5:1, I have 2 bathrooms that I want to fit appropriate ceiling speakers in and a ceiling speaker in the kitchen. I also want to install an outdoor speaker. I have 2 x Wharfdale free standing wired speakers I would like to use in the cinema room. I will have a comms cabinet with network switch fitted in the loft. I'm guessing I can just use a connect in the loft with my current amplifier, but not sure how to use the bathrooms individually through the Sonos amp - please help lol!! Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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7 replies

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Shame, since SONOS removed live chat I would of hoped a moderator would of least have offered some support, maybe I should look at other options where I can get support before spending $$$$$$$$$$$$ 😞
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As you are cabling your entire house, if you can you'll need power and a wired internet port at each location you want to have Sonos speaker, if that's possible. that will ensure you have a stable wired connection to all those speakers.

for the areas with the ceiling speakers, you will need connect amps, one per zone you want to create depending on the numbers of speakers you are going to have and their impedance rating. Same goes for external speakers.

your floor standing speakers will so need a connect amp to be able to be used as rears in your 5.1 setup. You will also have to wire that connect amp directly into your play bar for it to work as surrounds

While you can use your current amp and connects to drive the ceiling speakers, not sure how much use it will be sitting in the loft, you'll need to ensure all you speakers are wired to the location you decide to place all the connect/connect amps.

Don't forget you'll need to wire one directly to the playbar to use your floor standing speakers.

I hope this helps as an early planning blueprint
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Hi

Wow! Many thanks for a detailed response, I was beginning to think all was lost! Thank you.

Ok, all understood, some further info/questions based on your kind response;

The amp in the loft is going to be there as I will be setting up my Technics SL1210 x 2 turntables in the loft and be using some outputs locally.
Both bathrooms are on the first floor and I would use a single speaker in each and treat both bathrooms as one zone (If I group them I assume I can adjust volume on each individually as normal?)
I was hoping to use just 1 connect (zp90) in the loft to run both bathrooms and the 5:1 - but guess that's not an option and would need a connect amp in the cinema room with the bar and 2 floor standers? What would you recommend I add the the play bar and 2 floor standers please? (Going to hold off the sonos sub initially in case the bar and floor standers are ok on their own)
As for the 3rd ceiling speaker (Kitchen), based on your advice I will replace with a Play 1 or 3 instead or another connect, cheaper lol!!

Thanks again for your time.

Rik
Userlevel 5
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Both bathrooms are on the first floor and I would use a single speaker in each and treat both bathrooms as one zone (If I group them I assume I can adjust volume on each individually as normal?)


I'm not sure what you mean as one "zone" exactly, but... if you connect a single Connect:AMP to the two speakers (one in each bathroom), you would essentially have one bathroom playing the left channel audio and another playing the right... which I wouldn't likely think would be all that satisfactory. If you use two Connect:AMPs they will each look like a different "room", but yes, can be grouped and individually controlled (in terms of having different audio sources if you wish as well as independent volume control. Having said that... the Play1 is designed to have some humidity resistance and Sonos does indicate that it is suitable for a bathroom... for the costs, you may want to consider if there is a tidy location you can place a Play1 in each bathroom and achieve the same end result.

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I was hoping to use just 1 connect (zp90) in the loft to run both bathrooms and the 5:1 - but guess that's not an option and would need a connect amp in the cinema room with the bar and 2 floor standers?


The connect doesn't have an amp internal to it, to use a single Connect would require you to have it connecting an amplifier that would drive your bathrooms... seems impractical.

You cannot use a Connect as a device to run "surround" speakers for 5.1 audio. Surrounds require you use a matched pair of Play 1s,3s, 5s(2nd gen) or the Connect:AMP product connected to speakers. Of note is that when using the Connect:Amp you need to have an ethernet cable/hardwired connection between the PlayBar that is connected to your TV and the Connect:AMP (can be direct, or run through your router) since the Connect:AMP doesn't have the 5Ghz wifi radio needed for the PlayBar to create the bonded wireless connection. Depending on the setup, this can be easy, or brutal 😉 just for the sake of surrounds (some people have pre-existing speaker wire going to where they would use surrounds so the Connect:AMP is located relatively close to the Playbar and the in-place wiring connects to the standing speakers and makes it easy.) I note I may be incorrect in making the assumption that you wanted to use the Wharfdale free standing wired speakers as surrounds based on your next question. For the cleanliness and simplicity, and the generally small amount of ambient augmentation that occurs through the surrounds, I typically recommend a pair of Play1s, but I get that entirely depends on your preference. In my view Play1s are awesome little devices and really do deliver excellent audio - certainly enough for quality surround ambient audio.


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What would you recommend I add the the play bar and 2 floor standers please? (Going to hold off the sonos sub initially in case the bar and floor standers are ok on their own)


If I understand the question: see above I pretty strongly recommend Play 1s.


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As for the 3rd ceiling speaker (Kitchen), based on your advice I will replace with a Play 1 or 3 instead or another connect, cheaper lol!!


Agreed. I have a 5 snugly set into a shelf in my kitchen and it works wonderfully to fill the space with audio. Entirely dependant on your audio preferences, but a 3, or pair of 1's (if you have the space for them somewhere in the kitchen that is suitable) could also be perfectly ok.


Enjoy the setup and creating your own - Non-Silent home 🙂
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Hi Sharkb8t

Again, thanks for your detailed response which is also very comprehensive and helpful. I have decided to leave the bathrooms out of the equation now, for the time used it doesn't warrant the spend. I will probably install at 3 or 5 in the Kitchen.

This leaves me with a final question if I may; For the 5:1 are you suggesting that a set up of playbar, 2 x play 1 and sub would be better than using my existing wharfdales with a connect amp and playbar (no sub at this stage)?

Thanks again for taking the time to send such a detailed response.

Regards, Rik.
Userlevel 5
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This leaves me with a final question if I may; For the 5:1 are you suggesting that a set up of playbar, 2 x play 1 and sub would be better than using my existing wharfdales with a connect amp and playbar (no sub at this stage)?


SO... not knowing details of your existing speakers, or the space in which you will be placing this system except that it is a "small cinema room", I'll answer this way and perhaps it will provide enough context for you...

The use of a Connect:Amp for surrounds will obviously work, but it is the nature of what is being sent to the surround channels that makes me recommend the 1s so often.

Context: When provided with a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal, (Note the PlayBar doesn't support DD+ or DTS) the PlayBar takes the front left, centre, and right channels and plays them across it's 9 speakers. You can likely envision how it does this by looking at the image below showing the speaker dispersion:



The remaining 2 surround channels are, by design, intended to provide *ambient* sound to augment the experience and are designed to be to the left and right side of the viewer (Not behind). This ambient audio is often very subtle... some background chatter in a party scene, car sounds in a chase scene, etc... Surrounds do not carry the broader front channel audio to the sides, but simply provide augmenttation... having larger, more powerful, speakers for this is often unnecessary since the space separating the listener/viewer is often not very substantial in the typical home (and likely isn't in your small space) . Yes, you can have this sent to your speakers via Connect:AMP, but that requires the previously mentioned wiring that can be a nuisance for some people and depending on the sie of your existing speakers... you may enjoy getting the small amount of real estate back in the room from a smaller speaker.

It is my understanding that without the SUB, the bass load is carried almost entirely (perhaps entirely?) by the PlayBar front channels. The use of your existing speakers via Connect:AMP will not substitute for a SUB for TV audio. (I'll get to the SUB in a moment, but short story is I LOVE the two SUBs I have connected to my PlayBars.)

Now for listening to music: in the Sonos controller app you can set the "surround" speakers to play ambient or "Full" audio and this may be where you may prefer to have your existing speakers... Or larger Sonos Play speakers

This depends greatly on your listening preferences. In my opinion, the PlayBar is awesome because it adds to the audio of my whole homes Sonos system and isn't only a "one trick pony" soundbar for TV, but to get the *best* of the audio experience from it, the addition of a SUB is transformative. With the obligation for the bass handed off to the SUB (which it does *incredibly* well) the PlayBar becomes a much more satisfying audio device with the combined sound being truly excellent.

I have set up a 5.1 audio system with two Play1s in a small room in my home ~10'x11' .. set on "Full" with Play1s the audio is, to my mind, exceptional, and certainly more than enough. For the limited 5.1 TV I get to watch, they are very suitable. (If the PlayBar receives Stereo, it will utilize the surround speakers to provide a simulated surround experience - I have no idea how it is done, but it is exceptional - at times I've had to look in the Controller just to confirm the audio it is receiving is actually stereo)



So long post, Summary:

In a small space Play1s are more than enough for surrounds given the limited audio they are called on to play (IMO)

A SUB is an awesome device that transforms the PlayBar and I highly recommend it - existing speakers as surrounds in a Connet:AMP cannot help with the TV audio bass support in any material amount (if at all - and I don't think they can at all, but don't have 1st hand technical knowledge to confirm that).

The use of the Connect:AMP with high quality existing speakers can help substantially augment the space with music audio and provide some supplement bass for audio since the surrounds essentially become like a stereo pair connected to the PlayBar.

Wiring for the Connect:AMP can be avoided and some real estate retrieved using the smaller wifi Play1 for surrounds
I don't know what is the time horizon involved for when the house will be ready - and what new kit will therefore be available at the time. So while all the above advice is good, my suggestion would be to make sure that all the necessary cables/sockets are laid while the re wiring is being done. Ethernet cables that provide at least one ethernet jack in every room, mains power sockets where kit needing power will be installed and speaker cables to wherever third party speakers are to be located.

That infrastructure will then be useful for whatever kit/direction you decide to pursue based on what makes most sense at the time, with no messy/visible cabling.