Advice Pls: Sonos Amp + bookshelf speakers (+ TV) in an alcove


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Oct 15, 2020
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Looking for various bits of advice please. I've recently moved house to a fairly "normal" victorian terrace, therefore my sitting room is a fairly square smallish room (approx 3.5m square) and has a fire place with log burner and therefore of course the dreaded alcoves. A poorly drawn floor plan is below. From a purely asthetic point of view the room is really nice and I like it (accoustically is another matter). The natural place for the TV really has to be it's current position in the RHS alcove, currently it's an HD Sony 32inch and I'm unlikely to change in the near future, I would love an OLED but really 38inch ish is the max size for this room (and as far as I'm aware they don't exist that small yet).

However my main question is the age old speaker positioning.
I have a Sonos amp with some old Kenwood bookshelf speakers. I'm certainly no audophile but I'm fan of the set up, I love the ease and flexibility of Sonos and enjoy the stereo sound of bookshelf speakers (and also the slightly more traditional stereo look to be honest!), I've had these as my primary speakers for almost 20 years and they have a high sentimental value to me. That said before we moved I was planning to actually try out something new, likely B&W 607s - always wanted to own some B&Ws when I was younger and now lucky enought to be able to afford to (and this room is too small for anything larger I think, although opinions welcome?)

I also like the HDMI input on the amp to improve the TV sound and the "phantom" centre channel it produces works surprisingly well IMO (much less so in this room mind, but again it's an issue with the speaker positioning), obviously not the same as a full setup or probably even a decent soundbar but huge improvement on the built in TV speakers. TV sound is only a secondary concern though. While I can clearly hear it's not ideal it's fine for the amount I watch TV.

Basically need to decide on set up and buy some furniture for the TV/stereo. Literally the TV is just sitting on boxes currently and speakers on the floor, rest of the room is now furnished. (Speakers and TV slightly angled towards the sofa on the LHS where I usually sit). Since it's a smaller TV we probably want it a bit higher than the low tv units you would probably stick a larger TV on. [Worth noting my other half is very anti wires and anti clutter in general, if she had her way completely she would be perfectly happy with the TV on a nice looking sideboard using just the built TV speakers and having an echo dot or something on a side table]

I do think the general layout has to remain the same as the current floorplan i.e. sofas where they currently are and therefore at least the TV (if not the speakers) in the alcove.

In terms of TV furniture, if I keep the sound system with TV I see my otions as either
1) Get a low-ish cabinet in the alcove (for sky box etc), Amp and speakers on top of this (with TV wall mounted above the speakers). I'll have to do some sort of cable management to keep the other half happy mind!
2) Get a bespoke alcove furniture with a deep shelf below the TV shelf dedicated for the speakers.
The latter I think would go down better asthetically for the room and I could get the speaker shelf height to my choosing (i.e. typically speaker stand height). But one question is would putting the speakers on a shelf but below another shelf within an alcove be almost the equivalent of putting them in a box and just sound awful. Do you think accoustically there would be a big difference between these two options? (Obviously bespoke furniture is a significant cost but we do have some budget left in the furnishing department luckily so trying to keep money out of it initially to determine what is the "best" option)

Both scenarios also don't change the fact that the width of the alcove is only 90cm which even to my uneducated ears I can tell the difference in stereo separate compared to when I spread the speakers out.

I could just decouple the sound system from the TV, live with the TV speakers for TV (as I say not a massive priority for me) and put the amp and speakers somewhere else in the room but dont really see any good options (again that my other half would be happy with).

I could just admit defeat and get something like a Sonos Beam (as I say I'm fan of the sonos ecosystem) and put the amp and speakers in another room where they would just be used as background music. While I'm confident the Beam would actually be an improvement on TV sound I don't know if it would be an improvement, be about the same or deteriote the sound quality for purely music listening? Also purely from a room perspective I just like the look of having stereo speakers (even if the misus doesn't). In an ideal listening environment in my opinion I think the Beam is worse, or at least less to my taste, (having tried it out before purchasing the amp in my previous house) but I don't know if the nature of soundbars means it might actually be better in a less ideal space like the alcove. [Incidentally the Arc looks very cool but definitely overkill for the size of my room!]

Final question assuming I stick with the Sonos Amp with bookshelf speakers in the alcove would upgrading the speakers (to say the 607s or anything else that you reccomend) make a material difference or due to the poor positioning that I appear to be forcing on myself means it's a pointless upgrade?

As I say I'm no audiophile, but I do enjoy listening to music, I accept that nothing is going to be ideal and at the end of the day it's the living room not my cinema or listening room so just want to maximise sound quality where possible. Open to any suggestions or advice, thanks very much.


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