Question

Re establishing a Sonos System


I recently moved into a house that used to have a Sonos System with 6 separate stations. All that is left are the speakers in the walls and ceilings and the wires that all go to one place in the house. What components do I need to re-establish Sonos in the house.

8 replies

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We'd need a little more info, but the basics are:

If you have plain, passive speakers preinstalled, and wires run to a central point, you need two things 1) amplification and 2) a Sonos source with an output, of which there are only two: Connect and Connect:Amp.

So the choice between them will be based upon budget and number of speakers.

A couple pairs? Probably one Connect:Amp for each pair of speakers.

The other option is a Connect and a separate stereo outboard Amplifier for each pair of speakers. As the price difference is a cool $150 each, it's easy to see where this can provide a cost savings for more than 2 pairs of speakers, as excellent multichannel amps are available for low costs.

In fact, if you don't mind a little hands on wiring (very minimal) you could get an external 12V power supply like https://www.amazon.com/SUPERNIGHT-Universal-Regulated-Switching-Transceiver/dp/B01LATMSGS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1511880362&sr=8-4&keywords=12+volt+power+supply and a 4 channel car amplifier. This would save you about hundred dollars: 2 x Connect, $700, 1 car amp $100-150, power supply, $20, cables and wiring around $15 vs. 2 x Connect:Amp for $1000.

The added benefit of using Connects is that each Connect has both line-level inputs and outputs, the Connect:Amp only has line level inputs, so if you want to upgrade the amp later you can't without some major fiddling with level attenuators, which may affect the sound.

Setup: For each speaker pair, connect the wires from the speaker to the speaker outputs on the Connect:Amp or the outboard amplifier if using Connects, then connect the line outs on the Connect to the appropriate inputs on the outboard amplifier
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If you have a *lot* of prewires, 1) I envy you greatly! and 2) you can get amplifiers specifically designed for this type of thing, like this Pyle:

https://smile.amazon.com/Pyle-8-Channel-Theater-Amplifier-PT8000CH/dp/B002UL0XIQ/ref=sr_1_20?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1511881154&sr=1-20&keywords=power+amplifier
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OK, I didn't read the first one well, Six stations? Stereo pairs at each station, or did you mean six mono speakers, or three stereo pairs? Mono is a problem - AFAIK, and Ryan S can correct me if I'm wrong, there is no way to split a Connect into two mono streams.
Airforceteacher, Thank you very much for the great detailed reply. I have looked more into what I have in the house. I have two sets of stereo speakers outside (four total speakers) and 6 sets of speakers inside the house (12 total speakers). All of the wires come to one place. I would be looking to put the outside speakers on to one Sonos zone, and to have 5 separate Sonos zones inside the house. I would be combining the 2 sets of stereo speakers (4 speakers) in the master bedroom and bath into one Zone. It looks like, based on your note, that I should get Connects and a central amplifier to drive all of the connects. Looks like I would need a pretty strong amp. How many channels would I need and how many Connects? Thanks Peter
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One quick point to consider. If you go the connect route then you'll need to provide your own amp. This is already covered so you know this. The part that hasn't been covered is that volume control will need to be done via the amp NOT via the Sonos controller. This means that you will need to have two devices to fully control things.

My personal preference is always to use the Connect:Amp in this situation (I had a similar scenario in my last house) because you can control playback AND volume from the Sonos controller which is going to be a more streamlined solution. The only scenario that I've used a separate amp is for some really nice speakers that I felt the Sonos amp wasn't going to be enough to sufficiently power them.

Just my $0.02
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Ehh, you can set the amplifier volume to a reasonably high level, say 75%, and then play around with the Sonos volumes accordingly. It might take trial and error to get the amplifier volume right.

As far as channels, you need two channels for every stereo pair. There are 4, 6, and 8 channel amps made for this. In your situation, I might use a separate 4 channel amplifier for your outside speakers so one pair of inputs drives all four channels. At this level of expense, hiring a designer from a stereo store (a real stereo store, not Geek Squad.) Explain that you have 5 stereo sources to drive whole house audio, and also need to drive 2 stereo pairs from one stereo source, They'll know wha to suggest, and you can bring it back here for a dummy check.
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airforceteacher wrote:

Ehh, you can set the amplifier volume to a reasonably high level, say 75%, and then play around with the Sonos volumes accordingly. It might take trial and error to get the amplifier volume right.

As far as channels, you need two channels for every stereo pair. There are 4, 6, and 8 channel amps made for this. In your situation, I might use a separate 4 channel amplifier for your outside speakers so one pair of inputs drives all four channels. At this level of expense, hiring a designer from a stereo store (a real stereo store, not Geek Squad.) Explain that you have 5 stereo sources to drive whole house audio, and also need to drive 2 stereo pairs from one stereo source, They'll know wha to suggest, and you can bring it back here for a dummy check.



If you have a dedicated amp I guess this will work. But at that point you have to wonder if it isn't just more efficient from a spend and simplicity standpoint to just buy all amplified Sonos units.

But you make a good point that I didn't fully consider.
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Simpler, yes, but cost? Each Connect:Amp costs a $150.00 premium, OP has 6 stereo pairs - that's a $900 cost premium over Connects, and Connects have line-outs too for future changes and upgrades. For $900, you can find 7 channels easily. Heck, you could cheap out with a 7.1 home theatre receiver, but I'd go with a dedicated power amp designed for the task, like the Pyle I linked above.

But yes, much simpler to use Connect:Amps, except for the two pairs outside.

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