Need help with starting home system


We are looking to spend about $1k to begin a Sonos sound system in our large home. Currently we have a decent stereo with two 17-year-old Klipsch speakers and a Yamaha HTR 5240 receiver (which was a freebie from a family member after our other very expensive receiver broke) in the family room, where the TV is. We run the TV audio through that receiver. We have a Tivoli radio with a line in (no bluetooth) in the kitchen. Main living space has open floor plan with a kitchen, dining room, and large living room with no TV. The living room is 24' X 15.' We want speakers in the main living area, connectivity to the family room stereo, a speaker in one bathroom, our kids' bedroom, and our own large bedroom where there is also a TV. The router is currently in a hall that adjoins living room and kitchen. We want to be able to stream Spotify and Audible; we're not as concerned about the bedroom TV being connected. We currently have no speakers at all in the bedrooms or bathrooms -- we have been listening to music through our phone speakers or headphones when in those areas. Our kids really enjoy listening to music all through the bath and while getting their PJs on in their shared bedroom, so it's time to get some real speakers. I realize 1K is too limited a budget to cover all that space, so we just need to get it started and build on later. We may choose not to use any voice activation, as my husband has privacy / security concerns with that. My big concern is making the Connect work with our family room stereo, because I have read about some issues with a delay or lag. That's an area where music has been really important to us and we want it to work with the rest of the system plus be able to easily stream Spotify there. The choices are overwhelming so any help would be appreciated.

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9 replies

There are indeed many choices and options. For just a Sonos interface to the existing stereo, the Connect will do the job for music there in addition to the existing TV use there being met as it is now. As long as the Yamaha has enough life left, or can be easily repaired if it fails, so that the Connect investment has life enough. The delay on its own is a minor matter, and it will only affect the family room being out of sync with Sonos speakers in other rooms if all are playing at the same time and can be heard in the family room and other rooms. Even there, if the Yamaha has a source direct switch as it probably does, it will eliminate even these delays.

The large open space is best served for music play via Sonos speakers scattered across the space; 3-4 play 1 units should serve well. Any can play alone or with any number of the others in perfect sync. Start with one unit and see how many more you need to fill the space.

For the kids, I suggest a portable bluetooth splash proof speaker like a JBL Flip 4. Easily and safely used in the bathroom - even in the bath itself - and in their bedroom as well. Quite decent sound and as loud as is advisable. Easily changed in a couple of years given the low price.

The Tivoli may be useful as a wired speaker for an Echo Dot, if you want to dip the toes in those waters; voice activated music play can be something you can quickly get to like in places like a kitchen. It will then be standalone, in lieu of one play 1 unit less for the open space.

All the above should be doable close to the budget - where home audio is concerned these days, that amount goes a distance.

All of the above assumes that you get a decent WiFi signal in the entire home, wherever music is to be played.
And if all you need in the family room with the Yamaha is a way to play Spotify there, a cheap but equally good way to do this is via the USD 35 Chromecast Audio; the con is that this will be a standalone solution that will not integrate with Sonos speakers elsewhere in the home. But a con only if that integration is really needed.
Thank you so much for your advice! We would really love to have the integration. I clean my 2500 sq ft home (where we have two dogs and two young kids) myself and I always listen to a book, podcast, or music while I clean. I'm beyond ready to ditch the headphones and have an integrated system. Trying to decide whether to do the cheaper option in some of the rooms, as you suggest, until we can afford more integration. Also we may have to replace our Google router that was provided with our Google Fiber, as some on these forums have suggested is required. I would definitely try it first to see if we could make it work.
If you want the music/other content to follow you seamlessly from room to room, integration is a must. I would still suggest the JBL type of option for the kids' bathroom though.
Were you suggesting that due to moisture? My thought was to put the speaker up high on a shelf in the bathroom. Between cleaning and the lengthy bedtime routine, we seem to be in that large bathroom a lot. That might even be a place where I would want voice functionality -- dd has special needs and we cue up songs to help with handwashing, etc. They both often have alternating song requests while bathing.
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Just want to backup what Kumar has suggested. The temptation is to do everything with Sonos, but Sonos excels in quality, wireless, and whole house integrations. In rooms where those features really aren't needed, it can be overkill.

The kids rooms and bathrooms are a good example of that, so I agree Kumar's suggestion is good. And I understand the concern regarding privacy and voice control, however I'd say voice control is a particularly good interface for kids. It empowers them to make their own choices and control without having to use their parents systems, or even spell what it is they want if their are younger. Personally, I opted to get stand alone Amazon echo's in the kids rooms for that reason and it's worked well. My kids were never really interested in controlling the music in the common areas with Sonos, even though I encouraged them to do so. Kids like to feel like what they have is theirs, not borrowed from their parents.

That said though, if you find yourself in the kids rooms and bathroom a lot and see a definite benefit to having audio in sync with the rest of the house, then Sonos is the way to go.
Were you suggesting that due to moisture? My thought was to put the speaker up high on a shelf in the bathroom. Between cleaning and the lengthy bedtime routine, we seem to be in that large bathroom a lot. That might even be a place where I would want voice functionality -- dd has special needs and we cue up songs to help with handwashing, etc. They both often have alternating song requests while bathing.
No, both the play 1/Sonos One can cope with humidity if left in a corner. I suggested the JBL as something even more splash proof, for something that could be moved around and even held in soapy hands at times! But if voice control is desired there, the Sonos One may suit better, with built in mics/voice control.

As may the cheaper Echo, and I suspect that it ought to also cope with the humidity though I can't say that with as much certainly as I can about Sonos.
A comment on reddit:
"I have my full-sized Echo in the bathroom now with no problems. Over the years, I've had several radios, speakers, and audio systems in the bathroom, none of which ever died from "humidity" (most were simply replaced with better technology when it came along).
If your bathroom is dripping with humidity, you probably need an exhaust fan."
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If you're going to use voice control, don't plan on putting the speaker on a high shelf. The microphones are on the top usually, and aren't going to pick up sound nearly as well if they are above your head (and your kids).