Question

Record player with Sonos

  • 12 December 2017
  • 10 replies
  • 1153 views

Hi Sonos community,
I have been bequeathed some records, but I don't have a record player. I would like to create a solution (involving Sonos) that allows me to play the records with minimal hardware/equipment. Based on my research and reading on this forum, I believe the simplest solution is that I need to buy:
(1) a record player (turntable) that has a built-in pre-amplifier, and
(2) a Sonos device that has an analog audio input (i.e., Sonos Line-in).
For (2), it is my understanding that my options are PLAY:5, CONNECT, or CONNECT:AMP.

The only twist is that I already have a PLAY:1, so I would also like to keep using that as well.
Have I understood everything correctly? Is any option preferable? I would greatly appreciate any feedback or guidance.
Thank you in advance.

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10 replies

Pretty good data gathering, DPW5. You've pretty much hit the nail on the head. The one modification I'd make is that the turntable doesn't have to have the pre-amplifier built in, there are lots of pre-amps that you can buy as a separate device, and connect any turntable to.

But by connecting to a CONNECT, with RCA cables, or a PLAY:5, with RCA to headphone cable, you're pretty much good to go. There'd be 10 minutes of finagling on the settings in the app for the appropriate line in level, but you could then send it to any speaker you have in your Sonos ecosystem.

I don't know that there's really any preference. I could go either way. The PLAY:5 is slightly more expensive, but provides an extra speaker (which doesn't have to play the line in, oddly enough, it can, or you can choose to not have it play), the CONNECT is more suited if you're connecting a previously existing amplifier connected to several devices, or speakers of its own.

The most important thing to remember is (if you're getting a CONNECT to hook to an amplifier with it's own speakers) that any analog line-in on a Sonos device of any type has a certain amount of delay. What this ultimately means that if you were to hook your turntable to the receiver, and the receiver to the Sonos CONNECT, you wouldn't be able to have both your Sonos speakers and the speakers connected to the amp in sync. Going the other way, playing streaming music from the CONNECT to your receiver already has the delay built in, so in that case, the Sonos and amplifiers speakers would be in sync.

I've probably gone in to more detail than you care about, but hey, I like to type 🙂
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For minimal hardware then it has to be the Play 5. That's the least amount of boxes if you like that (a) connects the TT (with built-in pre-amp) to the Sonos ecosystem, and (b) provides Line-In, amp and speaker all in one unit.

The only real catch is that your vinyl will play in mono since that's what the Play speakers are: mono. If you want stereo then add another Play 5. However, IMO it starts to get expensive (£499 for a single Play 5 vs £998 for two).

At that point the economics tips for me towards a Sonos Connect combined with a decent new- or used- Hi-Fi. The Connect is £349. That leaves up to £650 for the amp and speakers.

Monitor Audio BX2 speakers make a great used buy. Expect to pay £90-£120 for the speakers only, or £130-£170 with stands. For an amp, you could do a lot worse than a used Rega Brio. The model has gone through at least four model revisions. Expect to pay £150-£400 depending on age and condition. It's perfectly possible then to have £750-£800's worth of really good British Hi-Fi for around £300. Add the cost of the Connect (£350) and you'd be all in for £650 plus a small amount - say £30 - for cables.

To hook up and avoid the audio delay issue with Line IN on Sonos, you wire up the TT to the Connect, then the Connect to the amp. This way the TT signal carries the delay in to the stereo system and it will play in sync with your Play 1 elsewhere in the house.

With the £300+ potentially saved you could add another Play 1, thus giving you a stereo pair* or another room and still have £100+ to play with for additional vinyl or a TT upgrade to a better cartridge.

* Play 1 only pairs with another Play 1. It's not possible to pair up a Play 1 with an Alexa-enabled Play One.


A tip on record cleaning.
Buy a Carbon Fibre brush with Felt Pad. The Analogue Studio Antistatic Record Cleaning Brush (£15.99) is the equivalent to the Hunt EDA brush I've owned for 30+ years. It's still going strong.

If I want to deep clean used vinyl I do the equivalent of a face mask for an LP. Bostick wood glue works wonders at picking up all the grit and grime on pre-owned vinyl. Cover the groove area on one side of an LP with a thin layer. Allow it to dry (it turns from milky white to a beige/grey translucent), then peel it off. All the dust and dirt gets trapped and lifted off too. It sounds a bit extreme but it really does work. No more frying bacon sounds.

You can do this with LPs, 45's and 12" singles.
Hi Sonos community,
I have been bequeathed some records, but I don't have a record player. I would like to create a solution (involving Sonos) that allows me to play the records with minimal hardware/equipment.

Another option is digitising the records so you don't need a record player to listen to the music. In the long term, far less of a hassle to access the music. And none of the associated fun with the record player rituals of course, there is that.
Thank you everyone for all the feedback. It has been a great help!
Userlevel 7
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The only real catch is that your vinyl will play in mono since that's what the Play speakers are: mono. If you want stereo then add another Play 5. However, IMO it starts to get expensive (£499 for a single Play 5 vs £998 for two).
Just one minor correction: A single PLAY:5 is a stereo speaker, if oriented horizontally. Obviously, the left and right channels are close together, but they are definitely separate.

Two PLAY:5s are expensive, but (in my subjective opinion) are far from outclassed by alternative equipment at that price point, depending on one's needs.

Two PLAY:5s are expensive, but (in my subjective opinion) are far from outclassed by alternative equipment at that price point, depending on one's needs.

In general I agree. The thing though is that Sonos kit tends to hold value/price much better for just this reason unlike audiophile kit belonging to users afflicted with upgraditis. So if lucky/alert, one can score great used equipment deals for audiophile kit at levels that are 50% or less than for equivalent new kit, that confers upon it the advantage of it being compared at that bargain price point with that for a new 5 pair. So while not apples to apples, the comparison quite realistically can be of a 5 pair with two year old "HiFi" kit that retails new for twice or more the price of the 5 pair. Which isn't to say the latter will always come out behind of course.
PS: which rather suggests that one has to be a mug to buy new "HiFi" kit and pay more than twice its real value as is reflected in the price of two year old equivalent kit in perfect working condition.
Userlevel 7
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Two PLAY:5s are expensive, but (in my subjective opinion) are far from outclassed by alternative equipment at that price point, depending on one's needs.

In general I agree. The thing though is that Sonos kit tends to hold value/price much better for just this reason unlike audiophile kit belonging to users afflicted with upgraditis. So if lucky/alert, one can score great used equipment deals for audiophile kit at levels that are 50% or less than for equivalent new kit, that confers upon it the advantage of it being compared at that bargain price point with that for a new 5 pair. So while not apples to apples, the comparison quite realistically can be of a 5 pair with two year old "HiFi" kit that retails new for twice or more the price of the 5 pair. Which isn't to say the latter will always come out behind of course.
PS: which rather suggests that one has to be a mug to buy new "HiFi" kit and pay more than twice its real value as is reflected in the price of two year old equivalent kit in perfect working condition.

That is a very good point. I'll observe that my older audio equipment, ranging from 10-25 years old, is all still working perfectly but would be worth very little on the used market. In contrast, I bought all three of my CONNECTs (each 3+ years old) from ebay, at about 60% of their new cost, indicating they've held their value well.
Continuing the digression, now that OP is satisfied, in my mind the biggest useful purpose that audiophiles serve is to keep a healthy supply pipeline to the used kit market! Unfortunately, tech progress of the last decade has also rendered much of the offerings in that market obsolete - while one can get a good deal there for kit with excellent sound quality that is also well maintained by users with OCD on that count, one still has to put up with the clutter and mess of the associated cabling and the footprint of far too many boxes. And then struggle to interface that with the truly world wide web for music that now is there to be tapped into.

Hence: Sonos. And at this time, minus the voice control distractions:-).
Userlevel 5
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Just one minor correction: A single PLAY:5 is a stereo speaker, if oriented horizontally. Obviously, the left and right channels are close together, but they are definitely separate.
Fair point about the Play 5 being stereo, albeit with very limited stereo separation.

Two PLAY:5s are expensive, but (in my subjective opinion) are far from outclassed by alternative equipment at that price point, depending on one's needs.
I'm not arguing whether or not a couple of Play 5's are outclassed by other gear. I'm simply laying out alternatives for a similar budget if two Play 5s were on the cards.

On a personal note, I'd find more use from a conventional amp and speaker set-up in a lounge than one or two Play 5s because I'd route the TV, the satellite receiver, the Blu-ray player, my streaming box and a TT through it as well as the Connect. Also, the idea of either improving Sonos audio on a second zone by going stereo, or by adding an additional room of Sonos is much more appealing to me within a £1,000 budget (if that's what it is). I quite appreciate that other folk have different opinions, but isn't that the point of asking these questions on forum sites; to get a range of opinions?

🙂
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Two PLAY:5s are expensive, but (in my subjective opinion) are far from outclassed by alternative equipment at that price point, depending on one's needs.
I'm not arguing whether or not a couple of Play 5's are outclassed by other gear. I'm simply laying out alternatives for a similar budget if two Play 5s were on the cards.

On a personal note, I'd find more use from a conventional amp and speaker set-up in a lounge than one or two Play 5s because I'd route the TV, the satellite receiver, the Blu-ray player, my streaming box and a TT through it as well as the Connect. Also, the idea of either improving Sonos audio on a second zone by going stereo, or by adding an additional room of Sonos is much more appealing to me within a £1,000 budget (if that's what it is). I quite appreciate that other folk have different opinions, but isn't that the point of asking these questions on forum sites; to get a range of opinions?

Completely agree, and I didn't for a moment intend to imply otherwise. Apologies if it came across that way.
Like you, in my TV room I have a traditional 5.1 system fed by a number of sources including a CONNECT.