New to Sonos - Need help on the right Amps to get!

  • 25 April 2019
  • 6 replies
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Hi! We are building a new house and I need some advice on the right Sonos equipment to purchase. I will qualify with, we are new to Sonos, and we are not huge audiophiles or anything like that. We just want to easily be able to play music in various rooms with easy, and at times, push our tv sound over some speakers in our adjacent kitchen area.

We are having 4 Sonance VP62R ceiling speakers installed in the kitchen/morning room area, and two Mariner 54 speakers on the back patio. All our speakers are being routed to a central A/V wire location in the basement. For our family room, we are not planning to put any built in speakers. I had intended on getting a playbase for that room (we dont need an overly impressive surround sound setup in there... we will be doing that in our basement at a later date).

I could use some input on the right equipment to get to do what we want. It was suggested to me to get two of the new Sonos Amps to create two "rooms," one for the patio and one for the four kitchen/morning room speakers. Then, get the playbase for the family room. That sounds ok, as I dont think I need to separate the kitchen and morning rooms to separate zones. A few questions: 1) For me, does the Sonos Amp provide anything extra that I NEED versus the Connect:Amp? The Connect:Amp price was dropped to $400, so I was struggling to see why I needed to pay an extra $200 for the newer Amp. 2) If I did two of the amps (either of the two models) plus the playbase connected to my tv, will I be able to easily switch my tv sound to the kitchen speakers? And 3) Vice versa, will I be able to play audio through the playbase as I would on my ceiling speakers?

Let me know what you think! Or if there is anything else I am missing! Thanks!

6 replies

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I could use some input on the right equipment to get to do what we want. It was suggested to me to get two of the new Sonos Amps to create two "rooms," one for the patio and one for the four kitchen/morning room speakers. Then, get the playbase for the family room.


This is what I would recommend as well.


That sounds ok, as I dont think I need to separate the kitchen and morning rooms to separate zones. A few questions: 1) For me, does the Sonos Amp provide anything extra that I NEED versus the Connect:Amp? The Connect:Amp price was dropped to $400, so I was struggling to see why I needed to pay an extra $200 for the newer Amp.


There is a comparision chart on this page that does a pretty good job of comparing the two products, as well as the Connect. I think you will want the extra watts for the kitchen/morning area for sure. You could use the Connect:amp for the pair outside, but it will not have the same power. If you're apple users, airplay may something you like. I also think the ability to connect it to a TV will be big plus, if you ever want a TV in your kitchen or outdoors. For outdoors, I probably would wire an HDMI cable from where a TV could go to where you'd place the amp as a just in case, assuming that's still possible with your installation.


2) If I did two of the amps (either of the two models) plus the playbase connected to my tv, will I be able to easily switch my tv sound to the kitchen speakers?


Yes, but the TV audio in the kitchen and outdoors will be slightly delayed and out of sync with the playbase. Not a big deal for outdoors where you won't hear the playbase and outdoor speakers a the same time. It could be an issue if your family room and kitchen/breakfast room are adjacent. Sonos will play the TV audio on the playbase immediately to match the video on the TV. It buffers the audio slightly for other rooms.


And 3) Vice versa, will I be able to play audio through the playbase as I would on my ceiling speakers?


Yes, and there is no delay issue when playing for a music source. Everything is buffered to be able to play in sync.
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A few questions: 1) For me, does the Sonos Amp provide anything extra that I NEED versus the Connect:Amp? The Connect:Amp price was dropped to $400, so I was struggling to see why I needed to pay an extra $200 for the newer Amp. 2) If I did two of the amps (either of the two models) plus the playbase connected to my tv, will I be able to easily switch my tv sound to the kitchen speakers? And 3) Vice versa, will I be able to play audio through the playbase as I would on my ceiling speakers?

1.) NEED? Probably not. WANT? maybe.

The Amp provides double the power (125 watts at 8ohms) than the Connect:Amp (55 watts at 8 ohms), also comes with Airplay 2 support, and an HDMI-ARC input. Also can be used wirelessly as surrounds for a playbar/playbase/beam. The Connect:Amp cannot be used as wireless surrounds. Also if you use the Sonos/Sonance architectural speakers, you can connect up to 3 pairs (6 total) to the Amp. That cannot be done for any other speakers though.

2.) Yes. If they are individual rooms, such as the Playbase is called Living Room, and then the Amp/Connect:Amp is called Kitchen - you can group the two together and they will play whichever content you select.

3.) Yes, see above. When you group, if they are both playing different content, you can select what you want to play at that time. I do that every morning when I wake up from my morning Sonos alarm. I turn down the volume on my bedroom speakers, group it with the rest of my system and select what the other rooms are playing, and not my alarm. That way I can get ready around the house listening to the same station and never get interrupted.
Thank you both for the response! I had not thought about an HDMI prewire to the patio... that is a good idea!

Regarding the comment about the audio being slightly delayed from the playbase for TV sound... I had not heard that before. But now I am seeing that as a thing when I google search. Seems like this is just a common/known issue? Is there anything you can do to address it? That seems like kind of a pain, as I had hoped to be able to play the sound throughout the downstairs area. Thinking particular things like sporting events, if we have people over and they are mingling about. I guess the solution would be to mute the playbase when you are in the other area, but that is not ideal.
While I care about lip sync, the TV and video industries do not. Generally, the short latency introduced by the soundbars is constructive because audio almost always leads the video for TV's. Of course, everyone's mileage will differ on this point and a software update on the TV could change this dynamic. I've been in the master control room of a TV station and the audio was already out of sync. I brought this up and the reply was simply a stare indicating: "You don't get it, do you." The film industry dealt with this issue in the 1940's. It is interesting that the film channels on cable TV usually have the best lip sync. I rarely watch TV, but when I am near a TV I tend to watch or listen. Attempting to coordinate picture and sound is too painful.

I'm in the US and there are tons of lip sync complaints. It is interesting to note that the Euro TV viewers don't seem to be complaining about lip sync issues. Evidently, there is a different attitude among the video presenters in the EU.

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With respect to synchronizing audio among SONOS players, there is a 75ms latency between a SONOS Line-In and output from the players. When players are part of an audio Group, all members of the Group are time aligned. This latency is usually not a problem because the audio was likely created years ago and an additional 75ms delay is a non issue. The 75ms latency is an issue if one is attempting to simultaneously play directly through a standard audio system and a SONOS system and both sets of speakers are in the same room. The 75ms latency introduces an unwanted echo. If the speakers are in different rooms, this is usually not an issue unless one is positioned midway between the rooms and can simultaneously hear both rooms.

When surround speakers are linked to PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE/BEAM the rules are slightly different. By default, all of the speakers that are part of the surround room will be running at about half the latency (~38ms) of the Line-In latency (75ms). If this is an issue, there is a delay adjustment for surround lip sync. One can adjust this delay to match the Line-In latency if necessary. Obviously, this adjustment will impact lip sync for the TV viewer, but one should not automatically assume that this has a positive or negative impact on lip sync for the TV viewer -- it's the luck of the draw.
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Thank you both for the response! I had not thought about an HDMI prewire to the patio... that is a good idea!

Regarding the comment about the audio being slightly delayed from the playbase for TV sound... I had not heard that before. But now I am seeing that as a thing when I google search. Seems like this is just a common/known issue? Is there anything you can do to address it? That seems like kind of a pain, as I had hoped to be able to play the sound throughout the downstairs area. Thinking particular things like sporting events, if we have people over and they are mingling about. I guess the solution would be to mute the playbase when you are in the other area, but that is not ideal.


Well, I'll start off by trying to explain a little bit of why the delay issue exists. Sonos was originally designed for music only and setup the best multiroom system for music that they could. That meant using 2.4GHZ wifi for their mesh network because it is better at penetrating walls and reaches a farther distance. It essentially cannot deliver as fast as 5.0 GHZ, so Sonos added a buffer to music playback to help guarantee everything played in sync.

When Sonos took on doing wireless HT audio, they realized 2.4GHZ wifi wasn't going to work as it was too slow. So they designed it so that with speakers boned together for a HT room (front sound bar, sub, and 2 surrounds, they would communicate through 5.0 GHZ. That helps to make sure the TV audio is synced to the video on a TV, but at the cost of reduced distance/wall penetration. The end result being that speakers bonded in a single room are in full sync for TV audio (5.0), but other rooms grouped are slightly delayed.

As far as doing whole house TV sound for a sporting or something, there are ways you can manage this. As I said earlier, for rooms that are significantly separated by a wall, when generally can't hear or see the TV in the family room, it's not an issue. So if you have folks over for the superbowl for example, you could have the TV audio playing in the bathroom without concern, or one of the bedrooms. No issue. If your home has an open concept family room/kitchen/morning room area, you may find that just playing the audio off the playbase covers it well enough. People may want to congregate to the kitchen/morning room areas to talk and hear the game at a lesser volume anyway.

The outdoor area has a couple options. Since it's separated, you can just group it and play as normal. However, since you are using a Sonos amp, there is another option. I chose to put a TV out there (it's actually on a rolling cart I put outside on occassions) that can be fully synced with the family room TV. I have a splitter coming off of my cable box sending HDMI to the family room TV and the outdoor TV. The outdoor TV is connected by HDMI-ARC to the Sonos Amp that powers the out door speakers, so the audio inside and outside are completely in sync (as far as I can tell), though not grouped in the Sonos app.

If you end up using a Sonos amp for your outdoor speakers, and your your kitchen/morning room speakers, you could theoritically place a TV outside and in the kitchen, along with the family room, sync all the TVs together with an HDMI splitter/switch and then play in full sync. I should warn you that I can't guarantee that the kitchen/morning room would be in exact sync though, as it's going to depend on fast the TV processes the signals etc. It appears to work for me, but I don't think I would notice very small difference between my outside and inside locations.

Either way though, if your walls aren't up yet, you might want to consider adding HDMI wiring whereever it makes sense. From outdoor to central wiring location, outdoor TV location to family room TV location. family room to kitchen. Or maybe every TV location to the central AV location.
HDMI “wire” is running out of bandwidth. In new construction I recommend pulling some fiber too. The fiber may be “dark” for the immediate future, but once 8K TV becomes mainstream, the fiber will come into its own.

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