Advice on ceiling speaker location and Sonos

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Hi,
We are having some major work done on our house (ceiling down, walls out etc) so have a 'clean sheet' so to speak to work with.
I'm after the best solution to have multi room speakers mounted in the ceiling. I've attached a picture of what I was thinking, 4 mono speakers in the living/ family area, 1 stereo speaker in the kitchen, one stereo speaker in the lounge and possibly one stereo speaker in the bathroom.
I'm thinking of using a pair of Sonos amps, one for the kitchen, living/ family room and lounge and a separate one for the bathroom. I thought i could fit something like a four way speaker switch to the amp that supplies the kitchen/ living/ lounge amp so I can switch the lounge out separately without the need for a third Amp.
Also could the ceiling speakers be tied in with a sonos beam or playbar so that they work as some kind of home theatre when watching tv or would this not really work.
I plan to hide the Amps and switch in the utility room, would there be a problem with this?
 

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tidyrob69

Standard Member
I've revised the layout of the speakers so that the two speakers behind the sofa would work better as a left and right with the beam or playbar. With the switch I could use the switch to turn off all the other speakers but these two when required. The family area would now require an additional stereo speaker. Maybe the kitchen and family area would need its own amp due to them being different speakers to the rest.
 

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mushii

Distinguished Member
Mono speakers? Are you thinking of just using a L or R channel off the amp for these?
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I would suggest that you do not do this. The sound generally is horrible and can be very annoying. Either use a single dual channel speaker or a stereo pair, unless your source is mono.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Ok, this is alien to me as you can probably tell.
So you wouldn't have 4 speakers in the part of the room with the TV, just a pair. A dual channel in the kitchen and one in the family area of the room.
Is there somewhere I can look at examples of typical set ups?
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
The more I read, the more it seems that for sound quality, ceiling speakers aren't ideal and wall mounted speakers would be best for the living area and dual channel stereo speakers for the other rooms. It also seems the TV would be better off with its own 5.1 rather than trying to use the other speakers. I'm finding more questions than answers.
Can anyone recommend a retailer that could offer advice and supply the equipment?
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Plenty of good advice here. Let us know your budget and people will be more than happy to help.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Sorry, I didn't mean to sound like there isn't advice here, I just wanted to know what retailers offer a good price and service really.
From what I've read it seems trying to mix ceiling speakers with the TV for surround is too much of a compromise so I've had a re-think and have come up with what seems the best solution, having a separate room for the TV or maybe even projector. This room will have a stand alone 5.1.
I've amended the drawing again. What do you think on speaker type and placement? what would you change?
Thanks again,
 

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RBZ5416

Distinguished Member
I'd suggest that if you have any regard for sound quality then the best location for ceiling speakers is left at the retailer.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Are they that poor?
What would be the better solution, Wall mounted speakers?
I don't want floor mounted ones as we have young children and want to keep the floor area free.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
It depends. If you just want some background music, they are fine. It depends what your reference is. I personally think that my MA C165s in my kitchen ceiling combined with a BK Gemini II sub, sound much better than something like Apple HomePods. But they don’t sound anywhere near as good as a decent pair of floor standers. One of the biggest problems with ceiling vs vertically mounted speakers is that ceiling speakers mid and treble directionality is very focussed so the sweet spot for listening is fairly limited. Therefore positioning is quite critical relative to listening position.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Thanks mushii,
That makes sense.
So how many and where would I put shelf type speakers mounted on wall brackets, just below ceiling angled slightly down.
Would they sound ok in the room corners?
Would it be a good improvement over ceiling speakers?
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I have not heard the 891's so am loathed to give you an opinion. I think that your revised layout looks better.

In the Living / Family/ Kitchen area is the intention, background music or do you want HiFi listening? I think that this is important as it will drive a lot of your decisions. For me my kitchen / dining in ceiling speakers are background music, TV listening and Party Music. They certainly are not HiFi but I am happy with that, as is the wife. My placements are optimised for the dining table or to flood the entire area with 'sound'. It still blows most none-hifi listeners away when they hear it.

I chose to use an AV amp for my speakers as it gave me 2 zones (outdoor speakers were zone 2), it let me drive 4 speakers in zone 1, as 1 or 2 stereo pairs (stereo / all speaker stereo), it let me drive a sub and have the benefit of airplay 2, Bluetooth and wifi. I purchased a 10 month old AVR-X2400 from a a member here for £250, which was IMHO a much more cost effective solution (for my needs).

I think that your 5.1 is relatively easy, its only a function of money.

The more information that you can provide with regard what you want to achieve, the better suggestions for your set-up you will get.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Thanks mushii,

I've been trawling through the threads on here and people do seem to take the view the ceiling speakers are not easy for achieving a quality of sound through a large area.
I think for background music in the bathroom, study and kitchen I will use one dual channel stereo speaker as the rooms are small and it's only background music needed.
The main living room and family area i'll place wall mounted speakers in a square arrangement (see updated drawing). From what you and others have said that ceiling speakers in that area will be too localised which makes sense to me and is too much of a compromise.
I've seen pictures of bookshelf speakers mounted on brackets that look discrete enough.
I like the idea of the sonos amps as the zones can be switched in and out via the app and also if I feel the need to add more speakers then sonos stand alone speakers will tie in with it.

I'm trying to achieve the best quality sound throughout the long living room/family room bit without having large floor standing speakers. Background music throughout the rest of the downstairs doesn't have to be of a high quality, just able to fill the desired areas.

The 5.1 is a lot easier to achieve now it's stand alone so I'm not too worried about this now.
 

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mushii

Distinguished Member
Your problem, using SONOS amps will be cost. For What you want, you ideally need 4 SONOS amps
1 - Living room - 4 speakers
1 - Study - 2 speakers
1 - Kitchen - 1 single stereo speaker
1 - bathroom - 1 single stereo speaker

at £600 each, that is £2400 spent on amps alone. That is most of your budget, without speakers or a 5.1 setup.

Replace the 2 amps for the kitchen / lounge with something like a Denon AVR X2500H - 7 channels, 2 zones (£379 PT) that will give you similar functionality to the SONOS at a fraction of the cost.

Do you already have the SONOS Playbar for the Living Room ? Otherwise you could put a second 5.1 setup in the TV watching area and a second pair of speakers in the family area on zone 2.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
They does seem a good idea.
I was planning to us one Sonos amp for the 4 wall mounted and then another sonos for the kitchen bathroom and study, they'd all be the same model and make stereo speaker, if need and budget required I could always ad another amp down the road.
The idea you suggested sounds good, I will have a look into how I can do it. The bathroom and study would be stand alone then.
The lounge I'm happy to have a complete stand alone 5.1.
No I dont have a playbar. A 5.1 in living area would be too would be too much really.
The wiring would be the same no matter what amp I used so for now Ill run wires from the utility to the speaker locations shown if you think these locations are the best compromise on discretion and sound quality.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
There are plenty of alternatives available. Your problem will be running 3 sets of speakers of one SONOS amp will mean that you need some form of speaker switch, which then means you just negated the whole, operating your audio from an app or smart speaker, as now you manually have to go and press buttons.

I think for your study maybe just a stereo amp and a set of bookshelf speakers. Connect that to something like a Google Home or Echo Dot and / or your PC/MAC and you would have that covered.

That just then needs a solution for kitchen / right hand family area / bathroom
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
I've been busy on other things with the house but have come up with this solution.
I'm not overly fussed about the playroom (yes I've change the names to what they'll be), bathroom or outside speakers but i'll run wires to them in case I feel the need to put speakers in at later date.

I'll only have 2 Sonos amps, 1 for the 4 in living area and one for the kitchen/ dining area.
The two wall speakers by the TV will have a physical switch (either by tv or by amps) to turn them off when TV is being watched as the Sonos beam will do the two front left and rights as well as the centre. I'm not overly fussed on a sub as the emphasis on this room is music and not TV, I could always get a sonos sub at a later date if need be (will it work with music when beam is off?) but want to avoid floor standing speakers cluttering up the place.

The room furthest from the partition wall (now called spare room) I think would be best suited to the 5.1 surround and, if the room is big enough, a projector. It's not ideal as there won't be a great deal of room either side of the sofa for the rear speakers. The room is 3.5 by 2 meters approx.

I'd like to keep it sonos as I can add their wireless speakers on bookshelves etc to make the set up more versatile.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.
 

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tidyrob69

Standard Member
I've just found a company that sells blinds for the skylights and doors so i could have the projector in the living room with 5.1. Or maybe it'll just be easier to wear headphones hahaha.
 

tidyrob69

Standard Member
Your problem, using SONOS amps will be cost. For What you want, you ideally need 4 SONOS amps
1 - Living room - 4 speakers
1 - Study - 2 speakers
1 - Kitchen - 1 single stereo speaker
1 - bathroom - 1 single stereo speaker

at £600 each, that is £2400 spent on amps alone. That is most of your budget, without speakers or a 5.1 setup.

Replace the 2 amps for the kitchen / lounge with something like a Denon AVR X2500H - 7 channels, 2 zones (£379 PT) that will give you similar functionality to the SONOS at a fraction of the cost.

Do you already have the SONOS Playbar for the Living Room ? Otherwise you could put a second 5.1 setup in the TV watching area and a second pair of speakers in the family area on zone 2.

I've had a good look into this and you're right, the Denon stuff can be linked together via HEOS so I could have a Atmos capable 7.1 receiver like the Denon AVR x2500h and then use 2 Denon PMA-800NE amps to give 2 zones. Additional wireless speakers can be added.

Thanks for your suggestion, I wouldn't have thought about any other options otherwise, I'm going to go with HEOS over Sonos. :)
 

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