Whole Home HEOS vs SONOS


Novice Member
Hi Everyone,

Looking for some advice and/or experiences with a whole-home audio upgrade. Currently I have 4 zones of stereo audio running back to my AVR cabinet. I have a HTD matrix and a 12 channel amplifier feeding this system. In the same cabinet I have an ONKYO NVR that does 5.1 for the family room. I also have 2 other locations (an office and garage) to which I have no connectivity to the system.

Right now if I want to stream Spotify or an AirPlay stream to the "whole house", I have to use 3 different apps to do it. AirPlay to Onkyo AVR, then Onkyo app and set Z2 to NET (this feeds to the HTD matrix), then HTD app to control the input and volume to each of the 4 zones of the house. As most of you can imagine, the multiple app control is not ideal for me and is rarely used by my wife because its not "easy". Yes, it works, but I agree with her that it could be simpler. (But I cringe everytime I walk in on her listening to music ON HER iPHONE!)

My main goal is to make sure I can do all of this from ONE app. I want to be able to control the input and volume to the AVR and the 4 zones with one app. (Yes, I understand that if using Airplay I'd have to open a music player or something separately on the phone, but I can deal with that). Another great thing would be the ability to tie in a separate receiver/amp to the office (bookshelf speakers) and some standalone speakers in the garage. The way I envision this is that I can use the SONOS app or HEOS app to control everything, OR the wife could use her iPhone and AirPlay2 to send music to each room in sync with full control through IOS.

I've come up with 2 solutions but both seem to have their positives and negative. Any input on your experiences with these solutions would be great!

Solution A - SONOS
1) Replace the Onkyo TX-NR646 with a new TX-NR696 or 797 as they are "works with SONOS" devices.
2) Sonos PORT to the new Onkyo.
3) Sonos AMPs for each of the 4 zones + office.
4) Sonos 1 speakers (pair) for garage

With the "Works With Sonos" integration, my understanding is SONOS app would control the AVR input to the SONOS and allow for in-amp volume control of the AVR ("pass-through" function, where output of the PORT is fixed but the app commands the AVR volume up and down). I have read some poor reviews of the Sonos Port audio quality, especially with the internal DAC. Could this be resolved by using digital out and using the onkyo's dac? Also, since I would have a turntable connected to the Onkyo, I would have to use the analog zone 2 out to send back to the port. Of course, now I'm back to having to switch the Z2 output to phono on the Onkyo amp/app to get it into the Sonos "line in". I think for the rare cases it would be used, this isn't a deal breaker.

Solution B - HEOS
1) Replace the Onkyo TX-NR646 with a Denon or Marantz AVR. (I've been looking at a few models as they all have HEOS built in)
2) Marantz NR1200 2-channel receivers for EACH of the 4 zones + office.
3) Denon Home 150 speaker pair for garage.

As the HEOS HS2 amps are no longer available (or better yet the HEOS Drive unit), buying 4 separate 2 channel receivers with HEOS built in seems to be the most cost effective solution. If I do this, my understanding is that the HEOS app should be able to control ALL the devices (AVR + 2 channel receivers) from 1 app. It should also give me the ability to select any of the units analog inputs to group into the HEOS system. Will it turn the units on and off when they are needed? The only thing I don't like about this option would be the space each of the NR1200s take up in the cabinet. Also, will I need to worry about heat? 4 NR1200s seems like a bit overkill, but, I can't seem to find a better 2 channel amp with HEOS for the price. The Denon PMA-150H is smaller and has HEOS, but double the price! I had considered buying an AVR with 11 channels to have 5.1 in the family room + Zone2 + Zone3, but my understanding is that the HEOS system only sees the AVR as "one room" and therefore I could not have different streams going to each room.

Appreciate everyone's thoughts!


Novice Member
I would go with multiple BlueSound node 2i's and cheaper receivers/speakers in each zone.
They supposedly synchronize the timing between them and you could have different music in each.

This can get pricey of you don't have the equipment already in each room.

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