Question Home Multi-Room setup: Which Brand? Which Amp? How Many?

A1exander

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Hi All,
I'm a novice when it comes to audio, so could really use some help deciding on amps for a multi-room audio setup - with app connectivity.
I've got 9 Monitor Audio ceiling speakers for a new flat:
1 c265 stereo speaker for each of the 3 bedrooms
1 awc265 stereo speaker for each of the 2 bathrooms
1 c165 left speaker and 1 c165 right speaker for the living room tv area (I'll probably get an ARK soundbar also)
2x c265 stereo speakers in living room and the kitchen

Rough sketch below:
Flat Speaker Layout Image
S = stereo speaker
L / R = left / right speaker


The idea is to be able to play Spotify from my phone in each of the rooms separately if I wanted, or together. I'd also like to be able to connect the TV to a Sonos ARC and two left/right ceiling speakers. So far, I understand that Sonos has a really great multi-room audio capability with their Amps and the Sonos App. After scouring the internet my understanding is that you can connect 2 stereo speakers to a Sonos Amp, and up to 4 left/right speakers? If so, how many would I need?
3x Amps for the 3 bedrooms?
1x Arc and 1x Amp for the TV area?
1x Amp for the kitchen and living room?
2x Amps for the 2 bathrooms?

7x Amps would cost = 7 x £585 = £4,095... That's ridiculous!

Is there a better way to do this and still connect each room to an app?

I've also read a little about the competing BluOS App - would amps with BluOS capability be worth it with the Monitor Audio speakers, any examples of good amps to look for?

Any advice is greatly appreciated, I'm way out of my depth here and just mentioning Sonos as it's well known!
 
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A1exander

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If you are going to be using Sonos equipment just contact their support and let them know what you are connecting things to.
I didn't know how helpful they'd be, but ill be sure to get in touch with them.

Are Sonos the best option? Is there a cheaper solution?

I was hoping someone with experience of another smart multi-home audio system like BluOS would chip in. Im looking for the best value as all of those Amps seem pricey.
 
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hang-the-9

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I didn't know how helpful they'd be, but ill be sure to get in touch with them.

Are Sonos the best option? Is there a cheaper solution?

I was hoping someone with experience of another smart multi-home audio system like BluOS would chip in. Im looking for the best value as all of those Amps seem pricey.
There are cheaper solutions than Sonos, like there are cheaper solutions than Apple laptops/phones, they are simply a good all-in-one setup with good features but at a cost. Basically Sonos is the Apple or Bose of multi-room audio, you get a good setup that is easier to setup and use than building one from different sources but at a cost and less flexibility with hardware you can use. A simple multi-room amp connected to the speakers at a central point would work along with a media player run to it. How much it costs depends on how easy to use and automated you want the system to be. Multi-room programming can be a good part of an A/V setup (meaning a good part of the cost).

Crutchfield tends to have good guides for things https://www.crutchfield.com/S-QBjt9fFvEJy/m_196150/Multi-room-Audio.html

Can also do a web search for multi room speaker setups and see how things were done.
 
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Rogue Leader

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I actually have a lot of SONOS equipment, and IMO you need to make some decisions here.

If you want each room to be individual its hard to get out of having a LOT of equipment, but you can minimize some things. For example buy a 12 or 16 channel amp instead of SONOS AMP devices, and then use SONOS Connect devices instead. There really is no cheaper alternative when it comes to ecosystem, you're just not going to get that type of app control. There are bluetooth devices that do it, but the sound is lower quality, the range is limited, and they are tied to your specific phone.

But back to decision points. For example, do you REALLY need each room to be independent or can you combine rooms? Everything you combine saves you a device.

In my old house I had a 12 channel amp, and 3 SONOS Connect devices. The basement had 4 speakers, that went to 2 channels of the amp and 1 Connect. The First floor had 8 speakers. 4 went to the amp/another Sonos Connect, and 4 were connected to a surround sound amp for my TV and I used a splitter to also pump that floor's connect through it as well if I wanted. Then the top floor had 4 speakers and so to the amp and 1 connect. So basically each floor was independent, and then the TV area was manually controlled.

In the new house I used the same hardware however there are no speakers in the basement, and the second floor is not wired to where the first floor is wired so I have nothing there for now. Using the same amp I have 2 speakers in the family room, 2 in the living room, 2 in the kitchen, 2 in the dining room, and 2 out on the porch. I combined the Living room and family room to 1 Connect, and Kitchen and Dining room to another, and then the porch is on its own. Combining those is best and saves quite a bit of money. Upstairs there are 2 speakers on the landing, 2 in the master bedroom and 2 in the master bath. I will likely get a 6 channel amp and 2 connects, will control the landing, and the other for both the master bedroom and bath.

Either way combing rooms saves quite a bit of money, but also wiring them to a central location so you can use a large amp vs using amplified SONOS devices also saves money.

example

https://smile.amazon.com/Dayton-Audio-MA1240a-Multi-Zone-Amplifier/dp/B003DKVZHQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=4ULJLWF4CKOK&dchild=1&keywords=12+channel+amplifier&qid=1612808876&sprefix=12+channel+amp,aps,210&sr=8-3
 
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chetmaster12

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I'm not familiar with how the Sonos system works, but it sounds to me like what you're looking for is a less expensive amplifier solution.

There are companies (like QSC) that make 4-channel and 8-channel amplifiers. New they are quite expensive, but on eBay they're all over the place. You should be able to pick up a CX108 or a pair of CX204s for under $600 if you shop around.

As a note, MC2 audio in the UK makes an amplifier called the Delta 20, which is a 4-channel 1u rack-mount Class D amplifier (with a setting that makes the fans almost silent under no load) for about $1900, and it is a considerably better amplifier than the QSC. MC2 also has a 4-channel amp in the T-series (T4-250), though it is considerably less efficient than the Delta. They can be purchased from Group1Limited (no affiliations). The Delta 20 and the T4-250 will also handle load impedances down to 2.7 ohms, so you could parallel some of the speakers if they don't need to be independently controlled. The MC2 stuff is really well built- I still have MC2 amps from 1995 in use that have been running continuously since new.

Since Sonos is a consumer product I can't imagine it works with Dante, but if it does then that's a bonus since the Delta 20 has Dante networking built-in (Plus traditional analog XLR inputs).
 
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A1exander

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Thanks for all your suggestions guys, I'm learning more and more!

What if i used an AV reciever, like the Pioneer VSX 934 for the TV/living room/kitchen area? From my understanding, I should be able to plug in a turntable, LG CX TV, a PS5, a Sonos ARC, two L/R ceiling speakers for the TV area (zone 1), then add 2 other ceiling speakers in the living room/kitchen as a zone 2. It also has Sonos App connectivity, so I should be able to play both zones on the sonos app, and only pay about £400 for the receiver, instead of over £1000 for two Sonos Amps for the two zones? Saving £600

I could then have Sonos Amps on the other rooms to have a whole ecosystem? Thoughts?
 

Rogue Leader

It's a trap!
Moderator
Thanks for all your suggestions guys, I'm learning more and more!

What if i used an AV reciever, like the Pioneer VSX 934 for the TV/living room/kitchen area? From my understanding, I should be able to plug in a turntable, LG CX TV, a PS5, a Sonos ARC, two L/R ceiling speakers for the TV area (zone 1), then add 2 other ceiling speakers in the living room/kitchen as a zone 2. It also has Sonos App connectivity, so I should be able to play both zones on the sonos app, and only pay about £400 for the receiver, instead of over £1000 for two Sonos Amps for the two zones? Saving £600

I could then have Sonos Amps on the other rooms to have a whole ecosystem? Thoughts?
I'm a little confused as if you bought a surround sound receiver why would you need a SONOS ARC?
That receiver you would want to run 5 surround speakers, and a sub, and then the powered zone 2 you could run 2 additional speakers. The Sonos ARC is a self contained unit, there is no reason to connect it to an amplifier, and it doesn't need any other SONOS products or an amp to work.

Also that receiver will still need a SONOS Connect unit to work in the SONOS ecosystem, it doesn't behave as its own unit (see manual page 68). Also it looks like its single source, meaning you can't do separate SONOS streams on the main zone and zone 2, if thats what you were looking to do, they would need to play the same thing.
 
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A1exander

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Apologies, shows my lack of knowledge.
I thought that an AC receiver with "Sonos compatibility" and 2 Zones function would behave almost like 2x Sonos Amps, without the need to buy those Amps.

I wanted a Sonos ARC as a soundbar for the LG CX TV, in combination with two l/r ceiling speakers, as a home cinema area (I figured you'd need a Sonos Amp for the ARC and two l/r ceilings speakers to make a 5.0.2 TV zone setup). Then a separate living room/kitchen zone with two stereo ceiling speakers.

So there really is no way around it. I'd need a seperate Amp for the TV area, and another AMpfor the kitchen living room area, in order to get the ability to have two zones and use each as and when needed, instead of everything playing together. Damn.
 
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Rogue Leader

It's a trap!
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Apologies, shows my lack of knowledge.
I thought that an AC receiver with "Sonos compatibility" and 2 Zones function would behave almost like 2x Sonos Amps, without the need to buy those Amps.

I wanted a Sonos ARC as a soundbar for the LG CX TV, in combination with two l/r ceiling speakers, as a home cinema area (I figured you'd need a Sonos Amp for the ARC and two l/r ceilings speakers to make a 5.0.2 TV zone setup). Then a separate living room/kitchen zone with two stereo ceiling speakers.

So there really is no way around it. I'd need a seperate Amp for the TV area, and another AMpfor the kitchen living room area, in order to get the ability to have two zones and use each as and when needed, instead of everything playing together. Damn.
Yeah basically. Any "zone" you want to have, and by zone I mean independent SONOS stream needs to have its own device, whether that be a Connect, a Connect AMP, or an ARC, or whatever else.

Incidentally if you want to use the ARC as a full room surround setup they do offer rear speakers for it, but again its all considered one SONOS device.

I wish someone would come out with a competitor that had the same type of app capability but it just doesn't exist, and SONOS knows it and charges for it.

Side note, you may want to consider the used route, I mean these things are dead reliable, maybe hit up eBay?
 
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A1exander

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Yeah basically. Any "zone" you want to have, and by zone I mean independent SONOS stream needs to have its own device, whether that be a Connect, a Connect AMP, or an ARC, or whatever else.

Incidentally if you want to use the ARC as a full room surround setup they do offer rear speakers for it, but again its all considered one SONOS device.

I wish someone would come out with a competitor that had the same type of app capability but it just doesn't exist, and SONOS knows it and charges for it.

Side note, you may want to consider the used route, I mean these things are dead reliable, maybe hit up eBay?
Thanks again.

As for the Used route, I've looked, but it seems that not many are for sale in Europe... everyone seems to be getting rid of their S1 compatable Sonos gear only. I'll make it my mission to try and snap them up whenever they arise.
 

Rogue Leader

It's a trap!
Moderator
Thanks again.

As for the Used route, I've looked, but it seems that not many are for sale in Europe... everyone seems to be getting rid of their S1 compatable Sonos gear only. I'll make it my mission to try and snap them up whenever they arise.
Ah didn't realize you were in Europe. Yeah all my stuff is S1, and while SONOS tried to weasel their way out of maintaining compatibility, they have since backed off of that. Nothing like telling people that their audio device they they paid $500 for a few years ago is now not supported but hey you can get a 10% discount on a new one! That went over like a lead balloon.

Meanwhile I still have perfectly working amplifiers that are 40+ years old.
 

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