To Amp, or not to Amp...that is the question!


So I'm getting started with Sonos. I know what I want. 2 Beams for 2 TVs and a Sub for one of them. I also would like surrounds for one of the TVs and I have a set of outdoor speakers I'd like to power. I'm considering in ceiling speakers but would also consider Play 1s. The question...

Should I go with a Sonos Amp or do I go with a Connect module and can I add a multi-channel amp to that?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

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12 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I would go with the Sonos amp. I think the Sonos amp is going to be plenty for up to 4, maybe more, speakers. You'll probably pay more for a Connect+amp. As well, there are some volume concerns with the connect+amp as you can control volume with the amp or the connect. It's workable, but not ideal.

The bigger factor to me is if you ever want to have an outdoor TV. You can't really run tv audio output to a Connect (audio and video will be out of sync) so you'd end up running tv audio directly to the amp. Which again means you've got volume control issues, and you can't play that audio anywhere else in your sonos system.. I actually have this issue myself right now. With the Sonos amp, you can wire the tv audio direct to it, as well as a 2nd peripheral, with no syncing issues.

I'm actually planning on selling my 3rd party amp, and maybe the Connect, when the Sonos amp comes out since it resolves my issues with outdoor tv.
Userlevel 7
Hi JonnyMac1

Well it looks like melvimbe has already responded. I couldn't see that until after I posted. There are some links in my post :8

If you choose in-ceiling speakers for music and/or as surrounds you will have to go with the Connect: AMP. The outdoor speakers will require a Connect: Amp as well. The only way to use a Connect with the above is with powered speakers; but not in a surround setup. You can choose a multi-channel amp with a Connect but that would limit you to one zone, but again not for surrounds.

There is a new Sonos AMP coming in February 2019 that may interest you. In the meantime the link below will give you important info about the Connect AMP, connections and limitations for speakers.

Current Connect: AMP
https://support.sonos.com/s/global-search/connect%20Amp?language=en_US
Sonos Amp coming February 2019
https://www.sonos.com/en-gb/shop/amp.html

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
A Connect cannot be set up to power rear speakers in a 5.1 setup, so using a Connect with a multi-channel amp won't work for in-ceiling speakers to be used for surround sound. Assuming you only have two outdoor speakers, that leaves these possible setups remaining...

1. 2 x Sonos speakers as your surround sound speakers, 1 x Amp for your outdoor speakers
2. 2 x Amp, one for the in-ceiling speakers, one for the outdoor speakers.
Thanks for the opinions. I love Sonos but at $599 a pop, it's tough to swallow 2 Amps when you only are looking for something as basic as hiding surround sound speakers and just being able to power some simple outdoor speakers.
Userlevel 7
A Connect cannot be set up to power rear speakers in a 5.1 setup, so using a Connect with a multi-channel amp won't work for in-ceiling speakers to be used for surround sound. Assuming you only have two outdoor speakers, that leaves these possible setups remaining...

1. 2 x Sonos speakers as your surround sound speakers, 1 x Amp for your outdoor speakers
2. 2 x Amp, one for the in-ceiling speakers, one for the outdoor speakers.


Thanks MikeV

I forgot to emphasize that in-ceiling speakers for surround require a Connect AMP (also in boost mode). I've edited my post.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
You could go with the older Connect:Amp and save a bit over the new Amp (which isn't even available yet)... but for surround use, it will need to be wired to your network (or your Beam)... not sure if that's a requirement of the new Amp or not (I didn't see anything mentioning it on Sonos' site, but that's a rather technical detail).
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I would use Sonos ones for rear surrounds. For outdoor I would use new Sonos amp when it comes out with good outdoor speakers.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
You could go with the older Connect:Amp and save a bit over the new Amp (which isn't even available yet)... but for surround use, it will need to be wired to your network (or your Beam)... not sure if that's a requirement of the new Amp or not (I didn't see anything mentioning it on Sonos' site, but that's a rather technical detail).
The new Amp will not need to be wired in to act as surrounds for a home theater setup. It's equipped with the 5 GHz that's required for that sort of setup, as opposed to the older Connect:Amp which didn't have 5 GHz
Userlevel 7
Hey Ryan

That’ very interesting regarding the new Sonos Amp and surrounds. So I can use my wired speakers in front and whatever Sonos speakers I like as rears? If all true (and l doubt it) will TruePlay somehow allow balancing the 3rd party fronts with Sonos rears? Lastly will such a setup require two Amps?

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
You can use the Amp with your own speakers as the front and bond a pair of Sonos speakers like Sonos Ones as the rears. In this configuration, you won't be able to use Trueplay.

You can also use the Amp with your own speakers, and another Amp as the rear-surrounds with another set of speakers.

There are currently only going to be two setups where you can use Trueplay with the new Amp:
1. When it's the surround speakers for a Beam, Playbar, or Playbase.
2. When you're using the Amp with the Sonance speakers that we're working with them to develop.

If you're using the Sonance speakers for the front channels, with another Amp or any other Sonos speakers as the rears, you should be able to use Trueplay as well.

Because we're helping make these speakers, we know what their digital and audio signature is, and can make some smart adjustments with Trueplay based on the room. Something that isn't currently possible with all speakers out there. Using Trueplay with setup 1 above (when not using the Sonance speakers), the tuning is mostly making adjustments for the Amp based on volume and distance, not major audio changes that might be possible with other players.
Userlevel 7
There are currently only going to be two setups where you can use Trueplay with the new Amp:
1. When it's the surround speakers for a Beam, Playbar, or Playbase.
2. When you're using the Amp with the Sonance speakers that we're working with them to develop.


Ryan

Thanks for the reply...it was very informative. Just a bit more clarification regarding your Point 1 above. As Sonos surrounds will bond to a Beam/ Playbar or Playbase are you referring to someone using there own 3rd party speakers as surrounds? Although, I really can't see the point unless someone is trying to save money by using speakers already on hand as surrounds. Then again maybe I'm missing something in your well written reply.

With all this newly learned information I can't wait to get my hands on the Sonos Amp. I've got a pair of Definitive Technology bi-polar tower speakers and matching Sub (end table size) I'm using with a Connect through a Sony ES DA777 AMP/Receiver. BTW...any chance you could send me one for pre-release testing...just in case something was missed in the official Beta :8

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
The point of using the Amp with Beam, Playbar, or Playbase would be exactly that, to use your own speakers with them for surrounds. Some people have ceiling mounted speakers, or maybe tower speakers that they want to use with Sonos. Perhaps someone wants to use a specific style of speaker design on end tables... We're not judging, just making it available as a use case if desired :)

I wish I had one lying around that I could send your way 🙂