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Options for changing current AV/Sonos setup...


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Hi everyone… my first post here… (apologies it’s a long one)!

I’m sure I’m not alone in having to juggle with integrating Sonos and historic AV equipment....

In the last year or so I have bought two Play 3’s - for the kitchen and dining room. They’ve done the job brilliantly.

In my lounge I have the following setup: an old 42” Panasonic plasma TV connected to a Denon AVR-2312 - with B&W left, right and centre speakers. This setup works perfectly when watching TV - the sound when watching movies etc is amazing, even without a sub.

The problem I have is when I want to listen to music. My Denon AVR no longer connects to my router - so I can’t stream music directly from my iPhone or Mac. The USB connection on the front of the AVR is also now not working! Research tells me these issues are not uncommon with Denon AVRs. At the moment, I connect an old Apple TV to my AVR and use Airplay. This works - but isn’t as slick as it should be!

Yesterday, I decided to experiment and moved my two Play 3’s to my lounge and set them up as a stereo pair. Wow…. they sound fantastic!! I don’t want this to be a permanent setup as it means I’ve got effectively 5 speakers all lined up in a row!! So I’m looking at other options - more Sonos gear - which currently is looking like:

1. Buy a Connect to connect to my Denon AVR so I can utilise existing speakers in the lounge. I can then move my Play 3’s back to their original positions.
2. Move to a full on Sonos setup i.e. sell my Denon/B&W setup and buy a Playbar. I’m guessing that the sound from the Playbar might not be as full/deep when watching movies etc compared to my current setup if I didn’t get a Sonos sub at this stage? Also, how would listening to music on the Playbar compare to the two Play 3’s I’m listening to at the moment?
3. I guess I could also get two Play 1’s for music in the lounge. Yes, I’d still have the 5 speaker arrangement - but at least the Play 1’s would be more discreet. But would I be happy with the sound from the Play 1’s???



Any thoughts/suggestions welcomed. I have a Richer Sounds not far from me. Is it relatively easy to buy from them and then if I decide I’ve chosen the wrong option, to return under the 100 day policy?? 



Thanks…
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Best answer by Kumar 13 June 2017, 11:11

If the AVR is working well in every other respect than wireless for TV and music, I suggest the simple approach of using just a Connect and wiring that to a free audio input pair on the Denon. When using Connect for streaming music, use the stereo or direct play option on the AVR so that all its DSP is bypassed, centre speaker disengaged and you will get the ideal feed for music - 2 channel stereo via the existing speakers, which sound like they do bass well too.



And you can wire the turntable to the inputs on the Connect too, all you may need is a phono preamp between the TT and the Connect to supply the kind/level of signal that the Connect will need.
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OK... so I've thought of another option.

Get a Play 5 - which could sit in the middle of my lounge and on top of my centre speaker... so a bit more discreet. Yes, I would loose the stereo sound... but would mean I could easily connect up my old record deck (which sits in my loft most of the time with my records) ... when I'm need of a bit of nostalgia!!
If the AVR is working well in every other respect than wireless for TV and music, I suggest the simple approach of using just a Connect and wiring that to a free audio input pair on the Denon. When using Connect for streaming music, use the stereo or direct play option on the AVR so that all its DSP is bypassed, centre speaker disengaged and you will get the ideal feed for music - 2 channel stereo via the existing speakers, which sound like they do bass well too.

And you can wire the turntable to the inputs on the Connect too, all you may need is a phono preamp between the TT and the Connect to supply the kind/level of signal that the Connect will need.
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Many thanks Kumar ... that was kind of where my mind was going, so good to have that confirmation from you. And thanks for the tip re being able to connect my TT to the Connect. Cheers ...
I also suspect that a play bar + Sub won't be as good as what you get for movies today. The width of the soundstage you get from separate speakers in front some distance away from the TV and a dedicated centre channel for dialogue are both missing in the Sonos solution in the interest of less clutter/cabling. If the latter isn't a benefit for you, why not retain the better sound?
Also worth noting that the PLAYBAR is designed to take an optical Dolby Digital 5.1 from your TV. If your Panasonic can't do that, you're going to have issues getting it to work.

I also would agree that the CONNECT is a good option to go with. I would be a little concerned about how long the AVR is going to last, and whether I want to upgrade the tv eventually. I suppose I would probably get the connect and look into upgrading the tv and sound system when one of them eventually goes out for good.
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My Panny does have an optical out ... but very good point about how long the TV itself and my AVR will last! I have started to get some pink colouring along the bottom of the screen when watching Sky News where the white band and news ticker is!! I would like to get a new TV - but can't really justify it while it still produces an excellent picture (with the minor exception when watching Sky News!)!!
I agree fully with the thinking of utilising all the service life of existing kit; and in general Panasonic plasma screens are excellent. When either that or the AVR dies and must be replaced, I would still replace each with its equivalent because the passive speakers will have a long service life as these tend to usually have, and they will deliver the existing satisfactory performance for all of that time. And AVRs are only getting better and cheaper, simultaneously.
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I'm essentially doing what Kumar suggests -- feeding optical out from a CONNECT into my Yamaha AV amp and Kef speakers in the TV room, with Sonos speakers for audio in other parts of the house. It works very well.

Note that I can group the CONNECT with other Sonos rooms and I don't experience any discernible lack of synchronisation.
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I agree fully with the thinking of utilising all the service life of existing kit; and in general Panasonic plasma screens are excellent. When either that or the AVR dies and must be replaced, I would still replace each with its equivalent because the passive speakers will have a long service life as these tend to usually have, and they will deliver the existing satisfactory performance for all of that time. And AVRs are only getting better and cheaper, simultaneously.

Thanks again Kumar... you are spot on. I connected my Apple TV back up to my AVR yesterday and then did some research to tweak some of the sound settings on the AVR... I then spent a good few hours or so listening to music as it sounded so damn good!! I haven't done that in a long time. Obviously I can't do the grouping - which I think is great when moving around my house (which is on 3 floors) - so I will look at getting the Connect in the not to distant future.

And you're right about AVRs (and TVs) getting better and cheaper!

My heart tells me I would love to have Sonos all round the house... but the head wins the day 🙂
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I'm essentially doing what Kumar suggests -- feeding optical out from a CONNECT into my Yamaha AV amp and Kef speakers in the TV room, with Sonos speakers for audio in other parts of the house. It works very well.

Note that I can group the CONNECT with other Sonos rooms and I don't experience any discernible lack of synchronisation.


Thanks pwt ... that's really good to know.
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Wow... thanks everyone for their responses. This looks like a great community... I will be spending more time here, I think 🙂

My heart tells me I would love to have Sonos all round the house... but the head wins the day :)

I would say that sound quality wins the day. Sonos is excellent for music and depending on what kit is chosen, can be a no compromise solution compared to the best HiFi kit. But neither is a set up of Connect to Amp to quality HiFi speakers bettered by anything in the Sonos range, for music. It really comes down to speaker quality.

For TV on the other hand, Sonos makes compromises over a full monty HT set up to deliver reduced clutter and cabling.

In the specific case, I'd say it isn't just head alone. But the next time you want to add music to more spaces in the home, give the play 1 a fair trial. My favourite bit of kit, that.