New Sonos Amp vs Sonos Connect with Sony Receiver

  • 16 February 2019
  • 15 replies
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Hi there. I am about to purchase a sonos product to connect my regular floor speakers to my Sonos system. Do I want to buy the new Sonos Amp and get rid of the receiver or am I better off buying a Sonos Connect and using it through the Sony receiver. Currently I have a Sony Str-DN1000 7.1 channel receiver.

I use Sonos mostly for music, but will be upgrading to a surround sound system some time in the future. As of now I have 5 rooms connected with a variety of Sonos speakers but I want to use my nice Pioneer floor speakers with the system. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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15 replies

If you want to eventually go 7.1, keep the SONY and add CONNECT.

One point to keep in mind is that the timber of the front speakers, L-C-R, should match. The center speaker should come from the same series as the left/right. Otherwise, an actor’s voice will change while walking across the sound stage.

Another point to be aware of is that there is a about a 70ms latency associated with Line-In on CONNECT and output from CONNECT. For your application this will usually not matter, however, if you are using the SONY’s Tuner and sending this output to the other SONOS rooms via CONNECT, the SONY direct output will “lead” the other rooms. This will not be an issue in a distant bedroom, but there might be some heartburn when you are standing between the SONY direct room and an adjacent room driven by a SONOS device. The easy solution in this case is to use an Internet feed from the radio station and play this feed through the SONY from CONNECT. In this mode, all of the rooms will be time aligned.
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Personally, I'm very happy running a Connect through a Yamaha AV Amp and Kef 5.1 speakers, for home theatre duties.

In addition to what @buzz states, note that some AV amps/receivers introduce a downstream audio processing delay, meaning that the Connect audio out of the amp lags the sound from other grouped/synchronised Sonos players. This does not afflict my particular amp, but it's been widely reported on this forum, and it's hard to work around.
That lead is very important to know about. Thank you for the heads up. In the end I am hoping to have my floor speakers part of a surround system while using 2 play 1's as the rear speakers. I am starting to think that might be easier done on the new Sonos Amp. My receiver is good, however one of the things I look forward to most is having music playing throughout the house at the same time. If there is a lag it will drive me crazy. Is the sound quality going to be different using an amp vs my sony receiver?
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Is the sound quality going to be different using an amp vs my sony receiver?
Hard to advise, really. Are you happy with the sound quality from the current receiver driving your speakers? The Amp will be at least as good, but you sacrifice the option of a genuine centre speaker, if you want to add one at some stage. You gain some extra Sonos goodness, and the ability to use P:1s as surrounds.

Why not buy a Connect from Sonos on a returnable basis, try it with your receiver and see how you get on?
uherby,

You PM’d me, but if I answer here, others will benefit too.

Probably, you are currently selecting video and audio sources using the receiver. If you replaced the receiver with AMP, you would need to select sources using the TV or some sort of 3rd party “box” and connect to AMP through the TV’s ARC (Audio Return Channel) HDMI port. Depending on your setup, this may or may not be physically convenient. Review your use of the SONY. If you removed it, would anything be missing, such as the ability to use some sort of audio only source? (Such as a turntable) Of course, AMP will fully integrate with your other SONOS units.

When high quality L/R speakers are placed close to the screen, an actual center speaker is redundant. For the best stereo music presentation, regardless of room size, the L/R speakers should approximately form an equilateral triangle with your listening position.

As @pwt states, SONOS players can be “Bonded” to AMP as surrounds. Or, you could use a second AMP to drive generic surround speakers.

When high quality L/R speakers are placed close to the screen, an actual center speaker is redundant. For the best stereo music presentation, regardless of room size, the L/R speakers should approximately form an equilateral triangle with your listening position.

I find that making the centre speaker redundant is achieved even if the front L/R speakers are some distance away from the screen, as long as their placement conforms to the latter part of the above quote about equilateral triangles. The same effect/illusion in the brain that then delivers the stereo image for music from such placement, also delivers the feeling that dialogue is emanating from the screen even where the two speakers are the only ones that are delivering sound.

But there is value of still having a dedicated centre speaker wired to the dedicated centre channel: it makes it a lot easier to adjust sound levels across speakers so that dialogue can be heard clearly without having the rest of the movie sounds to be unpleasantly loud in a domestic environment.
I purchased and installed the AMP tonight. 99% of it I completely love. The ease, sound, setup, everything is amazing. My only problem is the volume. It is still not loud enough even with the added power of this model. My Sony receivers output is 100 watts x 7 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD. I do not know what that exactly means. How does it compare to the Amp?
AMP is 125W/channel into 8 Ohms. Does AMP truly not get loud enough, or are you running up the Volume control farther than you think is appropriate? In general, SONOS designs their Volume controls such that one usually operates at 3/4 or more. Analog audio units need to allow some slack in their Volume control characteristics because analog source levels vary. SONOS deals exclusively with digital signals and maximum Volume is precisely defined. There is no need to allow any slack. SONOS is easier to control at normal listening levels.

I sometimes walk through the audio section of mass merchant stores. Here I hear the comment that “this is a powerful unit because I only need to crack the Volume control before it gets really loud”. Never mind that the unit doesn’t get much louder as the control is rotated beyond 9:00. The lower end manufacturers are very aware of this and make sure that their products get loud with minimum control rotation. In my opinion these units are very difficult to control at reasonable listening Volume, but I’m not their target audience.

There is another factor that can catch one by surprise. We are conditioned to equate ‘distorted’ with ‘loud’. We will turn up a unit until we hear some distress, and accept this as “loud”. I discovered this in my college apartment. I had a decent system, it was a small room. I could easily play at levels that made verbal communication virtually impossible. At these levels the system was clean sounding. Remarkably, I would constantly get requests (screamed into my ear with cupped hands) to “turn it up” because the system did not seem to be playing “loud”. This same group of friends at another venue with a dreadful little boom box sort of appliance bellowing as loud as it could (grossly distorted in my opinion), still allowing conversation, yet no one requested “turn it up” because that unit was playing “loud”.

AMP is a well controlled device, difficult to force into distortion. This could be a reason why it does not seem “loud”.
Buzz has got it! When a system sounds loud it’s distorting.
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I purchased and installed the AMP tonight. 99% of it I completely love. The ease, sound, setup, everything is amazing. My only problem is the volume. It is still not loud enough even with the added power of this model. My Sony receivers output is 100 watts x 7 into 8 ohms (20-20,000 Hz) at 0.09% THD. I do not know what that exactly means. How does it compare to the Amp?
What’s the model of your Pioneer speakers? How high have you set the volume in your testing? All the way up to 100% (although be careful with that)?

I have my Amp capped to a maximum volume of 75% in the Sonos app., since my speakers are 6ohm and rated for 100W. The Amp can push out 125W x 1.5 per channel into 6ohms, so running the Amp at full volume into these speakers runs a real risk of destroying them. At 75%, the Amp is as loud as I’ll ever want it to be — well into ‘home alone’ territory.
I am playing the amp at 100% volume and it sounds crystal clear but I just wish it could go a bit louder. Is there a way to connect my sony receiver to the amp for a little extra output? I really love everything about the amp and I want to keep it but its going to frustrate me every time I want to "crank it up"
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I am playing the amp at 100% volume and it sounds crystal clear but I just wish it could go a bit louder. Is there a way to connect my sony receiver to the amp for a little extra output? I really love everything about the amp and I want to keep it but its going to frustrate me every time I want to "crank it up"
No, there's no practical way to do that. I have to say that I'm surprised at what you're reporting. Again, what model are your Pioneer speakers?
uherby,

Your best plan would be using CONNECT as an input to the SONY. This will allow you to play your SONOS music through the SONY. Evidently, AMP is not for you.

There have been a few odd reports regarding AMP output. Try rebooting AMP (remove power at least until the lights go out).
My problem is that I truly love the AMP. It is everything I dreamed of, but I wish it could go a touch louder. I listen to a lot of live music through youtube which is part of the problem. Live recordings and youtube videos can definitely be quieter than your usual recordings. Also using Airplay can't be doing me any favors in terms of volume. I might explore if there is an app which would allow me to increase the volume of either Youtube, Airplay, or my IPAD... that would solve the issue.

If I can increase the volume of either Youtube, Airplay, or my IPAD it would solve the issue. The speakers that I decided to hook up are Technics SB-A34. They sounded better than the Pioneer. It is not a problem of the speaker though, max volume is a problem for me on my Sonos speakers as well. (Including a play 5) Maybe I just like music really loud lol.

The AMP is amazing. So easy to hook up. The ARC is so amazing because we can continue to use our tv remotes as if nothing has changed. Thats a big selling point for me because the wife struggles mightily with technology and any little switch be it a remote or even a new button to press with throw her off. The AMP solves those issues for me. I just need to find a way to squeeze a little more juice.
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Maybe look at the efficiency rating of your speakers? Picking more efficient speakers will get you a lot more sound out of an amplifier, and even better reduce the distortion you can get from clipping at louder volume settings.