Sonos AMP with in ceiling + Soundbar 5.1

  • 29 September 2020
  • 7 replies

Hi All,

I am looking for a good 5.1 setup and was thinking about using 2x sonos AMP with 4 in ceiling speakers (two in front and two in the back) together with a soundbar (sonos arc?) for center audio and a sub.
My wife did not want any speakers visible nor any cables anywhere so everything is prepared to use with in ceiling speakers. I am however afraid that using only the in ceiling speakers together with 2x sonos AMP (4.1) the virtual center channel will not work very good. That is why i was thinking of also adding a sound bar for center audio channel creating a 5.1 setup.

I don’t know however if there is a possibility to connect the Sonos arc or beam, for that matter, as a center channel. Or maybe also as a left and right channel, just to avoid not having any frontal speakers.

Are there people with 4.1 and only the in ceiling speakers connected to the sonos amp’s, how is your general surround sound experience?


thank you!

7 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +15

Hi @Smonneke, thank you for reaching out and welcome to the community. Also, thanks for letting us know about this concern. Both of the proposed setups that you gave are recommended setups. Either you'll have the 2 Sonos Amps together with the Sonos Sub having the 1st Sonos Amp connected to your TV as your front left and front right and the 2nd Sonos Amp as your surrounds plus the Sonos Sub completing your home theater 4.1 set up or have the Sonos Arc plus the Sonos Amp as surrounds with the Sub for the Home theater 5.1 setup. I’ll also suggest that we can wait for feedback and recommendations from our first-hand users which are our Sonos community users who may have the exact same proposed setup that you would like so they can share their experience as well. 

Let us know what you have in mind with the advice above.

The Sonos Community is always here to help.

I’m confused by Simon’s response, since none of the Sonos sound bars can act as a center speaker, as you suggest you want.

Sonos offers two home theater style setups, one with a sound bar (two different varieties) both of which include left, center and right speakers built in. In that configuration, there is no opportunity to split off left and right channels, and send them elsewhere to other speakers.

The second option, which he mentions, is the Sonos Amp, which can drive two of your own passive speakers, and create a ‘faux’ center channel. There is no true center channel output in this configuration, it uses the front right and front left to generate a simulated center channel.

Both of these allow the use of either another Sonos Amp to drive another pair of passive speakers as rears, or a matched pair of Sonos speakers, to be designated as surrounds. 

Userlevel 5
Badge +15

Hi @Airgetlam, thanks for pointing this out. I was able to rearrange my thoughts and edit my response to this kind of home theater setup. thanks for your help and for assisting the user with this concern. Please let me know if there’s anything that needs to be changed.

The Sonos community is always here to help.

@Simon B , @Airgetlam Thank you for your response! This makes it more clear to me now.

Is it however possible to connect both at the same time to my television? So this way creating somewhat of a creative setup, on one hand have the 4.1 setup with the amp and on the other hand the 5.1 setup of the Arc all at the same time? Or the AMP 4.1 setup together with the Beam 3.0 setup?

But i don’t know if they are possible to connect both at the same time to the TV, since they both use the HDMI ARC input, or is there another way to link them together to one single input on the TV?

My biggest concern is that only ceiling speakers with the AMP will not be very enjoyable because there is no noise coming from in front of you, but only from the ceiling. For this reason i would like to add something that is also front facing and esthetic at the same time.

The only way I could think to connect both at the same time would be to use two outputs from the TV, both the ARC and the optical output. And I would be substantially concerned about slight timing differences between the two, caused by the TV. Even a milliseconds or two might make a substantially impact on the clarity of the sound. But I’m guessing, I would never try this myself, it’s just too impractical. 

If it were me, (and I’ve actually implemented this setup at a friend’s home), I would use the sound bar, and an Amp to drive the ceiling speakers behind the listening area as surrounds. I’d then use a second Amp to drive the other pair of ceiling speakers for just music. When necessary, I ‘group’ the two rooms together, and using the music settings for the sound bar, I turn up the surround speaker and set them to ‘full’ rather than ambient, so the sound bar has less volume than the surrounds, 

@Airgetlam is correct in that you’re likely going to have slight differences in timing when you’re using two system for audio.  You can make adjustments to compensate, but I also agree that it’s not worth it.  Really, I don’t think you’re going to need a pair of in ceiling speakers in the front at all, especially if you use the Arc for a soundbar.

Thank you very much, @Airgetlam , this is indeed a good idea.

One last tought, could it also maybe be an idea to just add 4 speakers on the front audio channel, and have two regular front facing speakers next to the TV combined with the 2 in ceiling speakers in the front. So basicly a 4.1 but with 6 speakers.

The problem is that the holes are already in the ceiling so they have to be used. I could use them for music like you said, but they are in the corner of an L shaped room so the only place that would benefit from this sound is the TV area and not the dining room, which is where you would like to have the music in this case.