Lounge TV & Sonos Stereo System Advice

Garioch

Prominent Member
Hi everybody. Apologies in advance as I'm a total newbie to this. I'm currently in the process of completing the building warrant for my self-build project. I'm going down the route of home automation and I have specced passive ceiling mounted speakers all around the house. The home automation vendor has recommended a bunch of Sonos Connect Amps to drive these standalone speakers.

Now regarding my lounge (ref attached image), I will have a TV wall mounted at the location shown. Can a Sonos Connect AMP drive two speakers, which can provide sound from the TV in addition to hooking it up to a turntable (or hifi system)? If so - is this a decent enough approach? The home automation vendor advises this way, as it keeps the entire audio system around the house operable using the Sonos App.

Also - would anyone be able to recommend what speakers to get in this setup please? I've been looking at speakers by Totem Accoustics or Dynaudio.

However - is there an alternative to Sonos for the lounge setup that anyone can recommend? I'm not sure what budget I'll have (depends when the build is complete) but wouldn't mind reviewing some alternatives. I will have some speakers in the kitchen as well (driven by the Sonos Connect AMP) - so I guess the Sonos system will allow the kitchen and lounge to operate it unison (if I opt for Sonos for the lounge).

Worth noting that I don't think I'll need 5.1, as I've specced a dedicated cinema room with Atmos and projector.

Thanks for your help.

PS: Worth mentioning that the ceiling is pitched.

plan.jpg
 
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Member 778069

Established Member
It would depend on the TV having analogue outputs as the Connect amp only has RCA in, and this will only ever give you two channel stereo.

As for also adding a turntable you would need to swap the cables over each time you switched between TV and turntable because of the Connect amp only having one input.

Why not go for a Playbar? This is designed to work with a TV and will give you Dolby Digital 3.0 with options to expand with rears or sub if you feel the need, then use the Connect amp for music only.

If you plan on having anything more than one music source, a Sonos Connect with HiFi amp might be a better choice for this.
 
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Garioch

Prominent Member
Thanks for this. Just to clarify when you mention using the Connect amp for music only. I take it I would still need to connect the Connect amp to separate speakers (and not the playbar)? So I would have the playbar (for the TV) and separate speakers for the connect amp?

Does the Connect Amp work quite well with a turntable? I quite like your suggestion of using a standard sonos connect with a Hifi amp... (I was eyeing up the Moon Neo Ace - if I can convince the other half).
 

Member 778069

Established Member
Thanks for this. Just to clarify when you mention using the Connect amp for music only. I take it I would still need to connect the Connect amp to separate speakers (and not the playbar)? So I would have the playbar (for the TV) and separate speakers for the connect amp?

Does the Connect Amp work quite well with a turntable? I quite like your suggestion of using a standard sonos connect with a Hifi amp... (I was eyeing up the Moon Neo Ace - if I can convince the other half).
No problem.

Thats correct, you connect the Connect Amp to a pair of speakers, not the Playbar... Though it can be confiigured to work with the Playbar to run rear speakers.


The Connect Amp will work fine with a turntable, you would need a phono stage, or turntable with in-built phono stage for it to work.

I haven’t heard the Neo Ace, but that with a Connect on it would almost definitely be better than a Connect Amp, and also has a phono stage.

The Neo Ace has its own streaming capabilities, but if you wanted to keep things simple and just use one app (Sonos) you could use a Connect with an optical cable into the Neo Ace, and take advantage its (most probably) superior DAC.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Personally, if you get SONOS throughout the rest of your house, then get a SONOS:Connect (no Amp) and add that to the Amp of your choice. That will give you better performance and more versatility in the lounge. In the smaller rooms with Ceiling Speakers, the Sonos:Connect-Amp should be fine.

The Connect Amp has a single AUX input, which could serve as an input for a turntable when combined with a PHONO Pre-Amp. However, that would be it. No way to connect your TV or other components.

Sonos does make a PlayBar and a PlayBase made specifically to work with at TV, and this can be expanded to a Sonos 5.1 system -

PLAYBAR - Wireless Soundbar | Sonos

PLAYBASE — Wireless Soundbase Speaker for TVs | Sonos

5.1 Surround Home Theater Package with PLAYBASE | Sonos

However, I would not personally recommend any of these, but that's really a decision you would have to make for yourself.

The Playbar and Sub are US$700 each, so $1400 total. Haven't looked up the UK prices. A quick check of Amazon, indicates the PlayBar and Sub are roughly £650 each. For £1300, you can get a pretty nice Stereo Amp and Speaker.

Using £1300 a base, and using a very common guideline, that would break down like this -

£433 = Amp/Receiver
£866/pr = Speaker Pair

That's just a starting point, rarely in the end does it come that close, but it does establish a starting perspective.

Could you tell us how far away you would sit from the TV? I looks pretty close. I'm guessing in the area of 10ft (3m).

Not being sure of the size of the space for listening, I'm inclined to recommend Bookshelf speakers with the possibility of a Subwoofer. Whether you need a Subwoofer will depend on the type of music and movies you listen to.

Just a suggestion, though there are many possibilities -

£500/pr = Monitor Audio Silver 2 (8", 40hz) Bookshelf Speakers (£650/pr typical)

Monitor Audio Silver 2 Black Oak Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) - Monitor Audio - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

-or-

£650/pr = Monitor Audio Silver 100 (8", 40hz) Bookshelf Speaker (newest model)

Monitor Audio Silver 100 Walnut Bookshelf Speakers (Pair) - Monitor Audio - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

£500/ea = Yamaha AS701 Integrated Amp with DAC, 100w/ch


Yamaha AS701 Amplifier with DAC - Superfi

Again, subject to personal taste, the Monitor Audio 2 or 100 would probable work well without a Subwoofer. If you do have a Subwoofer, you could move down to a speaker with a 6.5" (165mm) bass driver. Possibly even 5" bass drivers.

There are probably some better bargains out there, for example these floorstanding speaker, though floorstanding require a bit more space around them. However, they most certainly can bet by without a Subwoofer, but again based on personal taste and requirements.

Wharfedale Diamond 240 (2x6.5") - £498/pair (£700 retail) -


Wharfedale Diamond 240 Floor Standing Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

Kef Q700 (2x6.5") - £599/pair (£999/pr retail) -

KEF Q700 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

There are smaller floorstanding speakers, that are not on such deep discounts -

KEF Q500 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

Dali Zensor 5 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

Monitor Audio Bronze 5 Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

These all have 2x5" bass drivers.

To add Streaming, simply add the SONOS:Connect (£340) -

SONOS CONNECT Smart Wireless Stereo Adaptor: Amazon.co.uk: Hi-Fi & Speakers

This simply illustrates one of many possible routes to a good versatile system in your lounge.

While the Sonos:Connect-Amp would be perfectly fine in your other smaller remote location, I think you need a bit more for the lounge. I do agree that if you have Sonos in all the other rooms, then you need Sonos on your main system. However, the Sonos:Connect (no amp) combined with the amp of your choice, is, in my opinion, the best choice for the lounge.

Given that you room is nearly 9.5m (32ft), you have the space to make Floorstanding speakers work, and that would likely eliminate the need for a Subwoofer. But floorstanding speakers can not be placed as close to the wall behind as a bookshelf speaker can. I think in my case (Diamond 9.6), I have about 12" to 14" behind the speakers. That may seen a lot, but I simply move the speakers forward even with the front of my TV/Equipment stand, and that gives me sufficient space behind the speakers. I sit about 11 feet from the speakers. So, my room is very similar to yours, though a bit narrower (5m x 11m). I have no problem making floorstanding speakers work.

That should give you some sense of the possibilities.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Garioch

Prominent Member
Wow many thanks @BlueWizard and @AudibleFidelity for taking the time to write such descriptive responses! I can't thank you enough and I now have a greater insight into how to spec my lounge system. I now understand the benefits of using a Connect (no amp) vs Connect:AMP. It is interesting about the price of the Sonos Playbar / Playbases and I'm inclined to agree with you Steve, that it's perhaps better to focus the money on a decent stereo package (especially as I should have Atmos in my dedicated cinema room).

So I should be able to hook my TV up to one of the the recommended integrated amps (i.e. Yamaha AS701) and attach a Connect (no amp) and get both TV + hifi audio from a the same pair of speakers?

Steve - in response to your question, I estimate that I will be sitting circa 3m away from the TV. As the house technically doesn't exist yet, we will be playing around with furniture position. I can try any bias the sofa to be further away.

Also - I am interested in placing some speakers in the kitchen. Would you be able to review the two options below and advise which one you think is the better option please?

Option 1 - Mark 1 Sonos Play 5

I have a MK 1 Sonos Play 5 already (earlier purchase). My thoughts are to put it maybe on the kitchen island cut-out (see positions "a" and "b" below). Alternatively, I could place it on the counter in a corner (see position "c").
Kitchen.jpg



Option 2 - Install ceiling mounted speakers

Option 2 is to place some ceiling mounted speakers and drive using a Connect:AMP. Obviously this way is more expensive but may be neater / tidier.

Screenshot_20170802-122838.png


If I do proceed with option 2, then I will have a spare MK 1 Play:5. I could find use for it in the office / music room (wife teaches / practices music), which is 4m x 4m. But a Play:5 in there may be overkill. If this were your house, what would you do?

One final question (sorry for waffling). With all of the ceiling mounted speakers dotted about the house, I will have a total of 4 zones. Am I better getting a single 4-zone amplifier + Connect (no amp) or 4-off connect amps? Not sure if a 4-zone amplifier even exists or if that's something I've just made up.

Thanks once again for taking the time - really appreciate it.
 

Member 778069

Established Member
With the Play 5 placement it’s a tough call.. While it would sound better on the counter top playing into the room, the neater solution is to put it in A/B.

The ceiling mounted option would be my personal choice, based on a combo of aesthetics and sound quality, both better than using a Play 5 on its own, speaker choice dependent.

4 zone amps do exist but, the cost of a half decent one plus the cost of 4 Connects would see a minimal (if any) saving over buying 4 Connect amps. Also, If one zone fails on the 4 zone amp all zones will be out of action while it is repaired / exchanged, with the Sonos option you only lose one zone.

Sorry, missed the first part..


Depending on the TV audio outputs and what non Sonos amp you go for, yes you will be able to use for music and TV.

What TV do you have at the moment, or is this a future purchase? Nearly all recent TVs have an optical out, so you would want an amplifier that has a DAC in it like the AS701 Steve mentioned, or you would need to add a DAC into the equation.
 
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Garioch

Prominent Member
Hi @AudibleFidelity - The TV will be a future purchase but will probably be a descendent of the LG B7 (depending on when I get round to buying it). Something OLED anyway but I've taken a note about the audio outputs, as this appears to be important. Cheers for the kitchen recommendation!
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
On the placement of the Play:5 in the Kitchen. It does not appear that your cupboards (kitchen cabinets) are floor to ceiling, so I speculate it would be possible to put the Play:5 on top of the kitchen cabinet near the Range Vent Hood. The Play:5 doesn't really require any direct contact, it can be completely operated from a Smart Device App. You would just have to make sure you have an electcial outlet in or near the location where you would place the Play:5.

However, I would ask, where is the kitchen in relation to the lounge/dining area? From your original floorplan it seems like Kitchen/Dining/Lounge are all one big open space. If that is true, no need for a separate system in the kitchen, just use the Stereo in the lounge.

I have a similar long narrow room, which covers a lounge, kitchen, and entryway, when I am at my computer desk, I sit about 28ft away from my stereo system, and can hear it just fine. Really does not have to be exceptionally loud to hear at that distance either. So, I'm not sure I see a need for a separate system in the Kitchen. But that's your choice to make.

The lounge section of my larger open floorplan room is about 16ft x 16ft (4.9mx4.9m), from the wall behind my speaker to the FRONT of the speakers is about 26" to 27" (680mm) and the distance from the back of the speaker to the wall is about 14" (355mm). From the Front of the speaker to the chair where I usually sit is about 11 ft (3.35m). Keep in mind I have large floorstanding with twin 8" (200mm) bass drivers each.

That placement is typical of a floorstanding speaker, a bookshelf speaker could perhaps be placed a bit closer to the wall. Again, in my case, my speakers are simply forward with the fronts even with the Front of my TV/Equipment Stand and that gives me the space I need behind the speaker.

Today, no one is using a single multi-channel distribution amp to feed an entire house. The disadvantage to that type of system, is that each room MUST have the same music playing. With the Sonos Amp system, each room can be either the same or independent. And given all the variations for Streaming Speakers, Streaming Devices, and Streaming Amps, adding more to the system is easy enough. So, I would recommend against a single distribution amp. Better to use the Streaming Speakers, or a Streaming Amp in the smaller remote locations. Scale the systems to the needs of the rooms, and the type of listening that would be done in that room.

You would connect the TV to one of the Optical Inputs on the amp; Optical Out being the most common audio output on TVs.

The Sonos:Connect could be connected either by Optical, Coaxial, or standard Analog RCA outputs, so you have some versatility there.

The Yamaha AS701 (~£500) has a Single Optical and a Single Coaxial input. If that is not enough it is not that expensive to add an additional DAC (digital to analog converter).

Take this one for example -

Cambridge DACMagic 100 - £169 -
CAMBRIDGE AUDIO DACMAGIC 100Black DAC

It doesn't sound like you will need that, but it is an option should the need arise.

Of course, there are many other options for equipment, I was just illustrating the possibilities. However the Yamaha represent high value while still maintaining quality, and are certainly a worthy option to consider.

If we break the suggested system down, it works out like this -

£340/ea = Sonos Connect Streamer
£500/ea = Yamaha AS701 Integrated Amp w/DAC
£500/pr = Wharfedale Diamond 240 Floorstanding Speaker
--------------------------
£1340 = Total


That is roughly the price of the Sonos Playbar and Sub, but would most certainly be a considerably better system. Again, there are other options. But this is a pretty good system.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
One additional note, though especially on speakers, you have many more options. The Wharfedale Diamond 240 are on sale, normally £700/pr. They appear to still be available in a variety of finishes (black, white, Rosewood, Walnut), but I suspect it might be limited to available stock.

Wharfedale has announced the replacement for the Diamond 200 series which will be the Diamond 11 Series. While some Diamond 11 models are just now available, the full series is not on the market yet, but should be very soon. The draw of the Diamond 240 is there exceptionally low price and deep discounts.

The model that is the nearest equivalent to the Diamond 240 would be the Diamond 11.4, which has 2x6" bass drivers instead of the 2x6.5" bass drivers of the Diamond 240.

Diamond 11.4 | Wharfedale Hi-Fi

Wharfedale Diamond 11.4 Speakers (Pair)

If you want to take it up a notch in sound quality, the new Wharfedale REVA are worth considering, though the price is going to be substantially more -

Wharfedale REVA 3 (2x5") - £900/pair -

Wharfedale Reva 3 Gloss Black Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Wharfedale - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Wharfedale REVA 4 (2x6") - £1295/pair -


Wharfedale Reva 4 Gloss Black Floorstanding Speakers (Pair) - Wharfedale - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

There should also be a Rosewood version of the Reva's but they seem harder to find.

https://www.hifix.co.uk/wharfedale-reva-3-loudspeakers

Wharfedale_Reva-3_Loudspeakers__-_Deep_Rosewood38681-3.jpg_1.jpg




As to the specifics of the system and features, I've assumed a price roughly equal to the Sonos Playbar and Sub, if you budget is more than that or less, we can certainly accommodate it.

If we really want to get down to specifics, you have to give us your preference for budget and features. Again, regardless of the budget, we can certainly find something that will work for you.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Garioch

Prominent Member
Thanks that's really interesting about omitting speakers from the kitchen altogether. You're correct that the layout is Kitchen, Dining, Lounge. If you think that the speakers can drive that entire space then that's going to save me a bunch of cash.

Many thanks once again. I'm going to spend a bit of time reading about your recommended speakers and decide what I want to do about a subwoofer (sounds like I may not need one from what you say, with two decent standmounts).
 

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