A Sonos sound system upgrade


In 1990 I bought a nice Denon stereo system with B&W speakers from Bay-Bloor Radio. It was my first serious investment in a sound system and I quite enjoyed it for many years.Some time in early 2001 the speakers told me they were getting tired and the amp was getting a little noisy. Plus it was a big system so it ended up in the basement, not ideal for enjoying music upstairs. For a while it got re-purposed to augment the TV as an early home theater setup.

In 2001 I got a new setup for the living-room with a stack of compact Teac & Yamaha components and Mission speakers. Again… nice rich sound highlighted by the crisp sounding bookshelf speakers. Some time back the CD changer decided to give up the ghost. This wasn’t really a big deal as by now we had adopted iTunes and were using various portable devices to stream music. And as the Internet continued to evolve and home networking became more integrated we got into some Bluetooth speakers and streaming Internet radio from these various devices. And at some point I realized we seldom used the stereo other than to play local radio. And I realized that the little Bluetooth speaker, while convenient, we really weren’t satisfied compared to the previous two systems.Perhaps I should say I wasn’t satisfied. I believe Andrea would have been happy to keep it the way it was. Not me though…

And so I began musing about getting something to integrate the streaming we do with the sound quality I look for; something Andrea picked up on.

So she went back to Bay-Bloor Radio and asked what they would recommend. And for Christmas there was this cute little white box with the name Sonos on it. It’s meant to connect all the streaming devices to the stereo and take advantage of the sound quality it delivers by using a wifi connection to the audio sources and connecting via a line in to the stereo. And it worked great for that!

Looking at their full line of products I started imagining extending the sound to other rooms. Starting with the kitchen. Andrea uses the small Bluetooth speaker when she;s cooking or baking so she doesn’t have to turn up the stereo. So I decided to add a wifi Sonos Play:3 speaker to the mix and be able to move the music or talk radio from room to room.

This presented a challenge though… it sounded ok as long as the audio source was coming from the Sonos Connect. If the stereo was the source and being fed into the Sonos the output was out of sync between the wired and wireless speakers. There are some ways to reduce the gap but I couldn’t eliminate it so after doing some more reading I decided to flip the model. The Connect got replaced with a Connect:Amp so it was the driver for all of the output. The big difference between the two devices is where the analog speakers get connected. Once the wired speakers were controlled by the Sonos amp everything synced up perfectly.

Sonos Connect:Amp on top of the 2001 Teac Amplifier
Sonos Play:3 speaker, wall mounted

You can probably guess where this goes…

Once I had that all working I decided my office could use some better speakers. So I added two of the smaller Play:1 speakers and configured them to be left & right channels. And then one last Play:1 to sit next to the bed. It’s configured as an alarm clock 🙂

Beside alarm & evening/morning entertainment
Two Sonos Play:1 sit on top of my desk-side cabinets

All in all… I’m very pleased with the setup. And three stereos in 26 years isn’t bad!


One Reply to “A Sonos sound system upgrade”

  1. Peter. You just may find that Sonos and Vanagons have something in common …. !

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