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Soundbar Suggestion with Ceiling Speakers

  • 30 March 2021
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I’m having trouble deciding how to add a soundbar to my living room setup. I currently have a Sonos amp driving the 4 ceiling speakers in that room and the tv sound coming through those ceiling speakers. I’m not a fan of the all tv sound coming from the ceiling and would like to add a soundbar. I’m overwhelmed by all the options and looking for anyone that has a similar situation or any advice. There are speaker cables for a left, right, and center channel behind the TV that run to the server closet, but there isn't any room for speakers other than a soundbar. So far I’ve narrowed it down to these solutions.

  1. Just get a normal soundbar and leave the Sonos system and TV sound separate. No need for a Sonos soundbar if I’m keeping them separate. 
  2. Get a Sonos Beam and connect the the 4 ceiling speakers as SR and SL speakers in the Sonos app. I didn’t think the arc would be a good match as its atmos speakers’ sound would be coming from the same area as the ceiling speakers. Does anyone have any experience with using ceiling speakers as SR and SL speakers? Does this sound ok, or it is not even worth doing? Is the Sonos beam enough for such a big room? A couple of question about this setup functionality: If I play music over sonos, the sound would always come from the sounder and the ceiling speakers in a “All Channel Stereo” type mode? If I had music playing in a group, would turning on the TV stop the music and start playing TV sound in that room while the rest of the group continued playing music?
  3. Replace the sonos amp with a passive soundbar, a Onkyo Sonos compatible receiver, and a sonos port. This way I could set up the ceiling speakers as atmos and SBL/SBR speakers. It’s a weird configuration but at least the speakers would be in the correct areas. Does anyone know how the receiver works while in Sonos mode? Does the music come through all the speakers in a  “All Channel Stereo” type mode or just the L and R speakers? 

Any suggestions? I’m open to new idea as well. I’ve attached a picture of the room. The red lines is the couch seating. Ignore the in wall sub in the picture; it didn’t end up getting installed. 

 

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Best answer by melvimbe 30 March 2021, 20:25

I’m having trouble deciding how to add a soundbar to my living room setup. I currently have a Sonos amp driving the 4 ceiling speakers in that room and the tv sound coming through those ceiling speakers. I’m not a fan of the all tv sound coming from the ceiling and would like to add a soundbar. I’m overwhelmed by all the options and looking for anyone that has a similar situation or any advice. There are speaker cables for a left, right, and center channel behind the TV that run to the server closet, but there isn't any room for speakers other than a soundbar. So far I’ve narrowed it down to these solutions.

  1. Just get a normal soundbar and leave the Sonos system and TV sound separate. No need for a Sonos soundbar if I’m keeping them separate. 

 

 

This is a viable option, although a Sonos soundbar still has some advantages over others.  Primarily, you would be able to share TV audio with other Sonos speakers in another room.  Or, if you were using the TV to do music streaming you could mute the soundbar and play the TV audio (music in this case) through your ceiling speakers.

 

 

  1. Get a Sonos Beam and connect the the 4 ceiling speakers as SR and SL speakers in the Sonos app. I didn’t think the arc would be a good match as its atmos speakers’ sound would be coming from the same area as the ceiling speakers. Does anyone have any experience with using ceiling speakers as SR and SL speakers? Does this sound ok, or it is not even worth doing? Is the Sonos beam enough for such a big room? A couple of question about this setup functionality: If I play music over sonos, the sound would always come from the sounder and the ceiling speakers in a “All Channel Stereo” type mode? If I had music playing in a group, would turning on the TV stop the music and start playing TV sound in that room while the rest of the group continued playing music?

 

Are the ceiling speakers represented by the green boxes on your diagram?  If so, it’s not ideal, but not horrible for surround sound duty.  Still, I don’t think I would do that myself.  It’s worth noting that you if you tried this and it didn’t work for you, can easily fall back to option 1.

To answer your other questions, a Beam likely won’t feel like enough, I would use an Arc.  Regarding music streaming (not TV), you can configure it so that stereo music comes the surround speakers as well as the front soundbar.  And you can also configure whether the soundbard automatically plays TV audio when it senses a signal. 

 

  1. Replace the sonos amp with a passive soundbar, a Onkyo Sonos compatible receiver, and a sonos port. This way I could set up the ceiling speakers as atmos and SBL/SBR speakers. It’s a weird configuration but at least the speakers would be in the correct areas. Does anyone know how the receiver works while in Sonos mode? Does the music come through all the speakers in a  “All Channel Stereo” type mode or just the L and R speakers? 

 

 Doesn’t sound like this is really much of an improvement over option 2, if your speakers are located at the green boxes.    Atmos speakers are in a good spot, but the rear channels are pretty far back. Still not really ideal.

 

As far as ‘Sonos mode’ what the really means is that you when you want to play music on the Port, your receiver will automactically know to switch to the right input.  As well, volume control on the Sonos app will change the volume on the receiver.  Basically it makes for tighter integration.  As far as an ‘all channel stereo’ mode, that’s going to depend on what receiver you pick.

 

Any suggestions? I’m open to new idea as well. I’ve attached a picture of the room. The red lines is the couch seating. Ignore the in wall sub in the picture; it didn’t end up getting installed. 

 

 

The only option I can think of is a modification of option 2.  Just use the front ceiling speakers for surround, and get a second Sonos amp for the two speakers over the kitchen area.  Again, I am not 100% sure where your speakers are.

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I’m having trouble deciding how to add a soundbar to my living room setup. I currently have a Sonos amp driving the 4 ceiling speakers in that room and the tv sound coming through those ceiling speakers. I’m not a fan of the all tv sound coming from the ceiling and would like to add a soundbar. I’m overwhelmed by all the options and looking for anyone that has a similar situation or any advice. There are speaker cables for a left, right, and center channel behind the TV that run to the server closet, but there isn't any room for speakers other than a soundbar. So far I’ve narrowed it down to these solutions.

  1. Just get a normal soundbar and leave the Sonos system and TV sound separate. No need for a Sonos soundbar if I’m keeping them separate. 

 

 

This is a viable option, although a Sonos soundbar still has some advantages over others.  Primarily, you would be able to share TV audio with other Sonos speakers in another room.  Or, if you were using the TV to do music streaming you could mute the soundbar and play the TV audio (music in this case) through your ceiling speakers.

 

 

  1. Get a Sonos Beam and connect the the 4 ceiling speakers as SR and SL speakers in the Sonos app. I didn’t think the arc would be a good match as its atmos speakers’ sound would be coming from the same area as the ceiling speakers. Does anyone have any experience with using ceiling speakers as SR and SL speakers? Does this sound ok, or it is not even worth doing? Is the Sonos beam enough for such a big room? A couple of question about this setup functionality: If I play music over sonos, the sound would always come from the sounder and the ceiling speakers in a “All Channel Stereo” type mode? If I had music playing in a group, would turning on the TV stop the music and start playing TV sound in that room while the rest of the group continued playing music?

 

Are the ceiling speakers represented by the green boxes on your diagram?  If so, it’s not ideal, but not horrible for surround sound duty.  Still, I don’t think I would do that myself.  It’s worth noting that you if you tried this and it didn’t work for you, can easily fall back to option 1.

To answer your other questions, a Beam likely won’t feel like enough, I would use an Arc.  Regarding music streaming (not TV), you can configure it so that stereo music comes the surround speakers as well as the front soundbar.  And you can also configure whether the soundbard automatically plays TV audio when it senses a signal. 

 

  1. Replace the sonos amp with a passive soundbar, a Onkyo Sonos compatible receiver, and a sonos port. This way I could set up the ceiling speakers as atmos and SBL/SBR speakers. It’s a weird configuration but at least the speakers would be in the correct areas. Does anyone know how the receiver works while in Sonos mode? Does the music come through all the speakers in a  “All Channel Stereo” type mode or just the L and R speakers? 

 

 Doesn’t sound like this is really much of an improvement over option 2, if your speakers are located at the green boxes.    Atmos speakers are in a good spot, but the rear channels are pretty far back. Still not really ideal.

 

As far as ‘Sonos mode’ what the really means is that you when you want to play music on the Port, your receiver will automactically know to switch to the right input.  As well, volume control on the Sonos app will change the volume on the receiver.  Basically it makes for tighter integration.  As far as an ‘all channel stereo’ mode, that’s going to depend on what receiver you pick.

 

Any suggestions? I’m open to new idea as well. I’ve attached a picture of the room. The red lines is the couch seating. Ignore the in wall sub in the picture; it didn’t end up getting installed. 

 

 

The only option I can think of is a modification of option 2.  Just use the front ceiling speakers for surround, and get a second Sonos amp for the two speakers over the kitchen area.  Again, I am not 100% sure where your speakers are.

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