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Sonos - who's got em?  what do you got?  what are your critiques?  and if you considered them, what did you end up with?

 

Our media sources are:  Netflix and Amazon prime streaming, built into TV (2018, 8000 series Samsung); Offline videos sometimes 2.1 and sometimes 5.1 encoded; and Cable box with HDMI out .

 

We're looking for surround sound when watching the occasional movie.  I'm trying to minimalize extra remotes, receivers/control boxes, running cables and wires, etc.  (Ditched a traditional Yamaha+B&W system...) 

 

A full-on 5.1 (center, sub, 4 satellites) Sonos system seems overkill given we dont listen to stuff loud, dont stream music, dont do multi-room stuff, and its "wireless audio quality" afterall.

Would just 4 satellites be okay?  Or is a base/bar (emulating front and center) + 2 satellites be a better option?  Or would either be too far from providing a "surround" experience?

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Just went thru a pretty extensive evaluation of my situation comparing Bose to Sonos to a receiver setup, etc. I’m very much like you in that I didn’t want something complicated and couldn’t run wires to rear speakers.

However I had one main different criteria. We can’t hear well anymore so we needed something that really amplified voice dialog.

To get the true surround sound you have to have speakers in the back and if you don’t want wires, the Sonos is the only reasonable option. Nothing else works well unless you go high end. Also sound bars that promise surround sound are a little weak.

The Sonos Beam combined with a Sonos subwoofer and two satellite play 1’s will give you the best combo of surround. It will cost you about $1.6k.

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Would a Beam be better than 2 Ones or Play:1 for the front stage?

How would you know what sort of signal/codec the system is processing?  Assuming input for the Sonos system will be HDMI ARC from the TV, not sure if it would take the right audio stream from the TV-hosted netflix/amazon apps, or the audio from the offline video files (hosted by MacMini --> HDMI to TV).

Unlike a standalone receiver there isnt a toggle for DTS/DD/Stereo/etc....

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2 hours ago, 52-80 said:

Would a Beam be better than 2 Ones or Play:1 for the front stage?

How would you know what sort of signal/codec the system is processing?  Assuming input for the Sonos system will be HDMI ARC from the TV, not sure if it would take the right audio stream from the TV-hosted netflix/amazon apps, or the audio from the offline video files (hosted by MacMini --> HDMI to TV).

 

answering my own questions:

-the Beam, though as a single physical unit, is technically a 3-channel speaker, thereby (atleast technically speaking) more appropriate to complement a pair of surround speakers

-the sonos app will identify whether its audio input is DD or else

-TV HDMI output can transmit multichannel; TV Optical output often transmit only stereo, though higher end ones can transmit multichannel

wrinkles:

-sonos does not support any flavor of DTS (the main and often considered superior competitor to Dolby)

-sonos supports Dolby Digital (DD 5.1), but not Dolby Digital Plus (DD+ 7.1)

-if it receives 2 channel / stereo / pcm signal, it will obviously reprocess aka upmix to simulated surround tho.... but thats not the same as original producer intent

-netflix, amazon, and other sources mostly output stereo and DD+, but not DD....

potential problem:

-in theory, Sonos Beam can negotiate DD 5.1 from the TV, which will downmix the DD+ 7.1 signal into DD 5.1, and bob's yer uncle....

-in some reports, the TV recognizes that the receiving device (=Beam) can NOT receive DD+ 7.1, thereby it sends only a PCM/stereo signal, which is the worst of all cases....

 

i can buy direct from sonos and get a 100 day return window.  will be a gamble in the end

 

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Have you looked at the Playbar or play base? Also I can’t remember whether there is a SONOS config that has five separate speakers. For some reason I remember only a three speaker config, using either Playbar, beam or play base in combination with either play 1 or play 3?

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1 hour ago, Dbeasy said:

Have you looked at the Playbar or play base? Also I can’t remember whether there is a SONOS config that has five separate speakers. For some reason I remember only a three speaker config, using either Playbar, beam or play base in combination with either play 1 or play 3?

Had a hard look at both of those.  The Bar is a generation too old, and doesn't have HDMI or Alexa.  It also seems will be passed on for future upgrades like Airplay 2.  (TBH I only care about HDMI)

 

Playbase oval design just won't blend in well with my setup - square table, straight tv stand.  It's also 800€ which is nuts for lacking features as above.

 

They both should sound beefier than the Beam, but then again wife doesn't appreciate loud listening, and we'd augment it with the surrounds anyway.

 

In the end I just ordered the Beam + Sub + 2x Ones.  Should arrive by this weekend for a test run.

Edited by 52-80
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We have a sound bar with sub and 2 1s in living room. A five for outside and a 3 in the office.

 

The living room set up is perfect for sports and movies. The total package is great for entertaining or just wanting the entire house filled with music. I also like that you can group the rooms and then only play in certain rooms when you want.

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Order hasnt registered on their website.  As in I cant pull up the order status.  Which means delivery wont be as promised.

 

And then I find out the same products are cheaper from local big-box-retailer and amazon (sold by them, not 3rd party).  Not so good with this direct-to-consumer sales thing, sonos...

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I have the Playbar, sub and two Play:1's in our living room. ~500 sq/f room with a 20 ft ceiling. It'll blow the doors off. No problems with dialogue volume. I got a Nintendo Switch for the kids for Christmas and playing Mario Kart with the volume cranked is about the greatest thing ever.

We have a 1st gen Echo Plus in the kitchen that I intend to replace with a One at some point. 

Like LeBong said - the whole system is easy as hell to set up, operate, and fill the house with that sweet ass Kenny G sax.

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  • 2 weeks later...

really enjoying the system.  im really skeptical of voice assistants, but decided to try out alexa for kicks, and really enjoying the ability to tell the system to turn on/off music, tv, etc.

 

a few minutes ago, wife just asked it to play a particular artist, and alexa upsold us on an amazon music subscription.  that fucking slut

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I started buying in last year when the quotes to finish out the prewired system in the house I bought (but no speakers installed) started at healthy 5 figures. Bought a couple of Play 1’s to try out, sold immediately on the ease of install and the simplicity of running my full Apple library from the phone. Now have speakers in 7 rooms, a connect for the turntable and a Beam and subwoofer on the main TV. Need to get some outdoor speakers to finish the system..

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I  have been a Sonos fam for 5 years.  

Originally started with two Play1 and two Play5.  The play5 went out 3 years later and they still replaced it for a minimal fee. 

Recently got a beam for the bedroom and it is awesome, easy to connect, and has Alexa too if you want that. 

At Xmas I added two more Play1....I think they just call theses Sono Ones. I combined these with the beam in bedroom and it is legit  

I have em all spread out from bedroom, living room, and garage.  Eventually will  move some outside if I ever cover the patio. 

I really like the app and over the years they have added so many music options within it.  There was a time where you could only use like Pandora and whatever music was on your home network and phone/device.  Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon music we’re added over the past years. Everything in one place.  

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19 hours ago, tbone_ said:

Where can infer the cliff notes on how all this stuff works?

speakers that form their own wireless network so you can attach virtually as many speakers as you want, anywhere around the house. 

rather than relying on a direct bluetooth connection to send music from 1 source (your phone) to 1 speaker, the speakers receive signals directly from the internet. 

basically, you could be in the attic and instruct a speaker in the basement to play a Pandora song, and it wont be interrupted by your watching porn on the phone.

19 hours ago, Dbeasy said:

Curious why hdmi is so important. Why not just use digital optical output?

 

most TVs dont send dolby digital through Optical, and HDMI CEC allows sonos-alexa to control TV (such as turning it on/off, volume, etc)

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most TVs dont send dolby digital through Optical, and HDMI CEC allows sonos-alexa to control TV (such as turning it on/off, volume, etc)

Crap I bought a new Definitive Technology sound bar and didn’t realize this.

 

Edit: wait now I remember why I didn’t care. Without the extra wireless speakers, you don’t get anything valuable with Dolby digital, do you? Are you setting up a 5.1 config?

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1 hour ago, Dbeasy said:

Crap I bought a new Definitive Technology sound bar and didn’t realize this.

 

Edit: wait now I remember why I didn’t care. Without the extra wireless speakers, you don’t get anything valuable with Dolby digital, do you? Are you setting up a 5.1 config?

Yeah, it's only for home theater.  If you're listening to music it doesn't matter.  Though for those who don't get 5.1 passthrough on their tv, there are easy ways around it like buying a splitter or switch

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Got a pair of Sonos 1s just before Christmas.  They're pretty cool for what they are, and I'm happy with them.  But over the past week, I started having an issue when playing songs off Tidal: halfway through the song, it jumps to the next one.  It plays fine when I'm playing songs on my phone, though (iPhone XS with a bunch of music on it). 

My Sonos and Tidal apps are updated.  Any suggestions other than wait for an update that hopefully fixes it?

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On 1/22/2019 at 8:38 PM, tbone_ said:

Cool. So if you have multiple zones, do you need multiple amps?

If you want to power traditional speakers for those zones.  Otherwise get any of the other Sonos speakers that can operate independently.  The Amp is really for those people who have and are attached to their existing high end speakers

Edited by 52-80
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I just did the online chat thing on the Sonos site. This is what the guy said about existing wired speakers and zoning:

 

SMUGGS: If I have multiple wired speakers throughout my house already, will the Sonos Connect be able to separate those wired speakers into different zones?

 

SONOS: You would need multiple Sonos components (Connect, Connect:amp, Sonos Amp) for multiple zones. Each of Connect, for example, can only act as one zone. I'm assuming you have a central receiver that powers all of those?

 

SMUGGS: yes

 

SONOS: Got it then yeah, to get multiple zones, you can use a Connect with that one receiver. Then use a Connect:AMP or Sonos AMP to power the other speakers you want in a separate zone each amp can power up to 2 pairs of speakers (2 left and 2 right channels) as long as they're rated at 8 ohm

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The value proposition of the system is that +1 room = +1 unit = receiver/amp/speaker all integrated.

 

If you've already got your own speakers, it erases a third to half of the value.

 

IMO the amp only makes sense if you've got a pair of speakers you really cherish for the performance, appearance, integration into your room.  say...for a den, man cave, whatever.  400 is the cost to integrate that room into a Sonos system. 

 

Otherwise it's almost a 400$ wireless/wifi/Bluetooth dongle.  (Of course you eliminate the need for a receiver but still....)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...
If you aren’t trying to play the same shit everywhere I don’t think you need the port. Could just do the five.

Check out the Move. I really like it.

I’d like a Move for the back porch but feels overpriced to me. Keep thinking they will run a sale - probably wishful thinking on my part. For now will just continue moving one of my other speakers out when we are on the porch.
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Sonos ran a $150 off deal on the sub recently, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on one to pair with my beam.  Slams and goes very hard. 

Which probably also means they are on verge of releasing a new model. 

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8 hours ago, Anastasis said:

Sonos ran a $150 off deal on the sub recently, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger on one to pair with my beam.  Slams and goes very hard. 

Which probably also means they are on verge of releasing a new model. 

There's a new longer Atmos bar.

I don't care about the Atmos part, but the length visually fits better with larger TVs, and it might have better front channel separation which is wife's complaint about the beam

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  • 7 months later...

Bought a Beam on Black Friday for $100 off.

The One ($159) and One SL ($139) are both $40 off right now.

The One and One SL are the same, except the SL doesn't have Alexa.

Trying to talk myself out of buying a pair of One SL's to pair with the Beam.

Edited by Pablo
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Bought a Beam on Black Friday for $100 off.
The One ($159) and One SL ($139) are both $40 off right now.
The One and One SL are the same, except the SL doesn't have Alexa.
Trying to talk myself out of buying a pair of One SL's to pair with the Beam.

I’ve had a beam and sub for a while, took a couple of ones that weren’t getting enough use and paired them in a couple of months ago. Definitely add depth to the sound. That said, if you don’t have a sub I’d spring for that over the back channels.
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3 hours ago, Godzillatron said:


I’ve had a beam and sub for a while, took a couple of ones that weren’t getting enough use and paired them in a couple of months ago. Definitely add depth to the sound. That said, if you don’t have a sub I’d spring for that over the back channels.

Good insight, thanks!  I'll hold off on the Ones and keep an eye on a sub sale.

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On 12/13/2020 at 7:10 AM, Pablo said:

Bought a Beam on Black Friday for $100 off.

The One ($159) and One SL ($139) are both $40 off right now.

The One and One SL are the same, except the SL doesn't have Alexa.

Trying to talk myself out of buying a pair of One SL's to pair with the Beam.

 

do it

if it fits your decor, you could also consider buying the ikea symfonisk.  theyll pair identically.

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Not Sonos, but I ordered one of these from Audioengine last week and it should be delivered on Thursday.  I have an excite.

spacer.png

 

https://audioengineusa.com/shop/wirelessspeakers/b2-wireless-speaker-2/

I've had a pair of their A5 speakers on my record player for a few years and they sound incredible.  These guys are also headquartered in Austin and are worth a look if you're in the market for speakers.

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23 minutes ago, riloh05 said:

moved and at the new spot cant get my old system to connect. frustrating.

I did this a few years back after moving and installing a new Eeros system. I called Sonos tech support and after about 45 minutes of submitting diagnostics, resets and reboots we got everything back to working. The dude on the line was great to work with - made a frustrating situation a lot easier to get through.

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Just set up my arc sound bar and new amp with two rear in-wall speakers for surround in the basement. Sub should arrive soon.

Question I have is this: 75" TV is mounted on wall between built in bookshelves and above a built in cabinet. Right now I have the arc sitting on the top of the cabinet but if course wife wants wires hidden.

Should I wall-mount the Arc flush with the bottom of tv? Or just buy a white cover for the wires and hide them against the wall and paint it to match?

Also I just set up the devices using the app. It seems to work well so far (ran a Dolby atmos demo and the surround seems to work well). Am I supposed to optimize it somehow?

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Arc needs to project sound upwards and bounce off ceiling for Atmos. 
 

Good idea to give it some breathing room, rather than tuck it flush with the TV. 
 

If you have an Apple device running Sonos app, run Trueplay tuning on it. Depending on the acoustic environment, it can make *all* the difference. 
 

Did it for one of my setup in a room with hard reflective surfaces, and sound went from tunnelly and repressed and hollow to wide and bright and musical. 

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