Third party amplifier to pair with SONOS:Connect ?


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Hey Guys, I have SONOS:Connects and a bunch of unused in-ceiling speakers. What I really need is SONOS:AMPS. Obviously I can sell one and buy the other but I will take a big loss selling used and buying new. Is there a small third party AMP out there that when paired with a non-amp CONNECT matches or exceeds quality of the standalone SONOS:AMP? Of course price is the big factor... if too expensive I will just buy the powered SONOS box. Not looking for any features but the ability to power the speakers at same quality. I'm hoping you guys have talked about this one before and can shortcut me to a product or tell me this is a dumb question. I'd like to avoid spending the morning reading about cheap amps. 🙂

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For anyone to help you, they will need to know how many speaker pairs each amp will have to drive.
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Sorry, 1 amp to 1 pair of speakers. I'm trying to emulate the powered AMP Connect with my existing Connect. Question basically is... Can I do that with a powered solution or do I just need to buy the SONOS: AMP?
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There are some cheap amps out there that might save you a little bit of money, but I think you'll also suffer a bit on quality. The cheap amps seem to range from around $50-$100 dollars, and the difference between selling your CONNECT and buying an new CONNECT:AMP looks around $100-$200 dollars.

I suppose what I'd do is try one of the cheap amps and see how I like it. If it's not so good, just use it for a room I'm not using much...then go get AMPs. If it works good, then buy more.
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Thanks for answering Mel! Do you have an amp in mind in that range?

I was kinda hoping this was a common question here with a common go-to solution. I'm surprised no one here has had to go this route.
That is because this isn't common; for USD 150 more than the Connect, the Connect Amp is as good as any amp out there if the 55 watts per channel it does is enough. Most people that do Connect + Amp do this to get a lot more power, or a lot more eye candy than what the Sonos Amp offers, and the amps therefore tend to be a lot more expensive - USD 400/500 being starting points.

If the 55 watts is enough - and it probably is for ceiling speakers, I would just bite the bullet for the reliability and ease of use of Connect Amps, by trading up from Connect. This will also give you a smaller total footprint and the autostart from standby feature that you will struggle to get in a Connect + Amp solution. Even with expensive amps.
Also, depending on the speakers, wiring 4 speakers to one Connect Amp may work well too. Worth trying certainly, for the money to be saved,
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Update with conclusion: To recap the CONNECT AMP is 150 more than a CONNECT. I own used CONNECTS that sell for 100 less than new. So not counting ebay fees I was a good 250 in the red to upgrade to AMPs. I ended up buying these to power my ceiling speakers connected to the CONNECTS i already own. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N8Q57FS/

They have Digital inputs. They push 85w per channel, which is quite a bit more and sound very slightly better than the CONNECT AMP imo. They look nice and are tiny and now are the smallest thing in my Sonos closet rack. I have them locked on 70% max volume and that puts them at the same level as SONOS AMPs when using sonos controller to control all zone volumes. The downside is I have only had them one week so who knows what can happen but IMO it is the most efficient alternative of going from CONNECT to a used CONNECT AMP that could break anytime and cost $200 difference.
The 85W rating, I believe, is into 4 ohms, where the Connect Amp does 110W.

More important is the longevity issue that only time can tell you about. There are many such amps these days, and some that are even cheaper. I would however not trust expensive speakers with these because catastrophic failure of an amp can destroy speakers in some cases. With cheaper speakers, this is much less of a risk in financial terms.
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The 85W rating, I believe, is into 4 ohms, where the Connect Amp does 110W.

More important is the longevity issue that only time can tell you about. There are many such amps these days, and some that are even cheaper. I would however not trust expensive speakers with these because catastrophic failure of an amp can destroy speakers in some cases. With cheaper speakers, this is much less of a risk in financial terms.


Welllll, I started this thread because no one knew of such an amp w/ digital in with a good rating. SMSL are all 4.5 stars including the previous models. Since I did the legwork and looked at options I'd challenge you to share one product like this even $50 more. ; )

I don't think anyone buying this little guy is looking to power their floor standing speakers, People using the Sonos quality DAC are probably in the $150-300 range for a ceiling speaker. The only amp I have had fail was my sonos probably because I owned more of them.

Good catch on the watts. They are louder than my sonos amps so I was surprised.
Reviewer:"They won't say, but it's about 50wpc into 8ohms. (The TAS5342A chip is rated for 65wpc, but passive output stage absorbs some of that. For reference, the chip states 100wpc into 4ohms.) "
The only point I was making is that today with IC/Solid State/Digital tech, amplification is a trivial issue, solved cheaply. The iffy part of cheap is reliability which itself isn't a big deal; one can change amps over shorter intervals and still be financially ahead. The only real remaining issue with cheap is the risk of speaker damage if the amp fails catastrophically, but again how big that risk is depends on how expensive the speakers.

But the days of needing to spend as much on amplification as on speakers are long gone.

As to sounding louder that is merely how the volume control is set up. The Connect Amp will deal out clean power as the slider is moved to the right long after the lower powered amp has stopped doing so, so the Connect Amp will deliver lower sound levels than the other, early in the range of motion of the volume control. Many modern amps are built this way to give the impression of being more powerful. The latter part of the volume control range is then rendered useless because clean power delivery maxes out at a little over 50% but this isn't realised to be an issue.
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I think you like playing devils advocate a little bit which is cool. I have decent speakercraft ceiling speakers in each room and have synced volume levels in neighboring bedrooms so i can hear the difference and see where volume maxes out. Ive definitely not lost anything on sound quality and there isnt any distortion up to 100% of what connect amps do. But I agree and as I said in my update post, I have only had these a week so we all need to gauge our own risk, warranty and prices. For anyone in my spot, I hope they see this post, find it helpful or can offer alternatives as mini amps have more time on the market. I also think these little guys are good for us SONOS users and it can drive the form factor smaller. Sonos AMPS dwarf these new devices.
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Hi Bill
I'm also looking for a small amp, suited for the Connect. Only, I'm in Denmark. I'd like to know, does your s.m.s.l. amp go into stand by when there's no signal from the Connect? Also does it come out of stand by by itself, when you start playing from the Connect? And there's no problems in low volume parts of songs? Thanks in advance.
Update with conclusion: To recap the CONNECT AMP is 150 more than a CONNECT. I own used CONNECTS that sell for 100 less than new. So not counting ebay fees I was a good 250 in the red to upgrade to AMPs. I ended up buying these to power my ceiling speakers connected to the CONNECTS i already own. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N8Q57FS/

They have Digital inputs. They push 85w per channel, which is quite a bit more and sound very slightly better than the CONNECT AMP imo. They look nice and are tiny and now are the smallest thing in my Sonos closet rack. I have them locked on 70% max volume and that puts them at the same level as SONOS AMPs when using sonos controller to control all zone volumes. The downside is I have only had them one week so who knows what can happen but IMO it is the most efficient alternative of going from CONNECT to a used CONNECT AMP that could break anytime and cost $200 difference.



Hey Bill
Do you used this amp (SMSL AD18 80W2) with your Sonos Connect?
I have an turntable and i want to use with my sonos speakers, i recently bougth an Sonnos connect and i need now an amp, that amp is going to help me??

Thanks.

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