(Pocket-lint) - Sonos is best known for its multi-room audio speakers, but one of the company's devices isn't a speaker. Instead it is a device that powers your existing hi-fi speakers or audio components, bringing them into your Sonos system.
If you're a little confused about what the Sonos Amp is, what is does and whether you should or need to buy one, you've come to the right place. This feature explains everything you need to know about the Sonos Amp.
What is the Sonos Amp and what does it do?
- HDMI ARC and line-in ports
- 125W per channel
- Up to four speakers
The Sonos Amp is an amplifier - given away by its name. It will power traditional wired speakers, whether bookshelf, floor-standing, in-wall, in-ceiling or outdoor, and integrate them into the Sonos wireless system.
This means you'll be able to control those speakers through the Sonos app, whilst also giving them access to the features available through the Sonos system - more on those in a minute.
There are also HDMI ARC and line-in ports, meaning you can connect TVs, turntables, CD changers and other audio components to it, enabling them to become part of a Sonos system too. For home theatre setups, one Sonos Amp can add stereo sound to your TV with wireless rears using a Sonos home-theatre setup, while two Sonos Amps will allow for surround sound.
The Sonos Amp offers twice the power of its predecessor - the Connect Amp - and it is capable of powering up to four speakers, offering 125-watts per channel. The Connect Amp could only power two speakers and only offered 55-watts per channel by comparison.
What features does the Sonos Amp offer?
- Apple AirPlay 2 support
- Access to over 100 streaming services
- Trueplay tuning
Sonos itself offers numerous features as a platform, many of which the Amp delivers to the speakers connected to it.
These features include access to over 100 streaming services, from music and podcasts to radio and audiobooks. Users can also play any music stored on a local device, whether a computer or phone, through a Sonos system.
Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice control are also supported by Sonos, either through the Sonos One, Sonos Beam, or Sonos Arc, all of which are Alexa and Google Assistant enabled, through Amazon Echo or via a third-party Alexa-enabled device, or Google Home, Nest speakers or a Google Assistant-enabled devices, respectively.
Those with an Alexa-enabled or Google Assistant-enabled device can ask Alexa or Google to play music to any of the speakers connected to the Sonos Amp, as well as any other speakers in the Sonos system, providing voice control to your traditional wired speakers.
There's also Trueplay. Trueplay is a software feature Sonos launched in 2015, allowing users to tune speakers to their surroundings using the Sonos app. The Sonos In-Wall by Sonance and Sonos In-Ceiling by Sonance can both benefit from the tuning software when connected to the Sonos Amp. Tower speakers aren't Trueplay compatible, nor are the Sonos Outdoor by Sonance speakers.
Apple AirPlay 2 is also supported by newer newer Sonos devices, including the Sonos Amp, meaning iOS users can send the sound from their iPhone or iPad to their Sonos system, including any speakers connected via the Sonos Amp.
The Sonos Amp has been designed to fit into standard AV racks used by custom installers and the Amp can be incorporated into smart home setups too thanks to improved APIs and deeper integrations with Sonos platform partners, like Creston. This means a single button could control smart lights and music from a Sonos system, if you have a seamless smart home setup like those provided by companies like Creston.
In terms of other features, the Sonos Amp can be setup to deliver stereo and dual mono sound and it offers a pair of threaded connections for left and right channels. These connections are standard diameters so they can be removed and replaced with banana plugs.
The Sonos app also offers the option to switch off Wi-Fi if users are connecting their Sonos Amp directly to an ethernet cable.
Why would you need to buy the Sonos Amp?
- Link audio components to Sonos platform
The Sonos Amp is for those who want to connect their turntable, traditional wired speakers, or another compatible audio device to the Sonos system for easy control and access to all the features Sonos offers.
For example, you might have a pair of Bowers and Wilkins tower speakers that you want to work with a Sonos One in a multi-room setup. The Sonos Amp would allow for this, enabling you to group the B&W tower speakers with the Sonos One for seamless multi-room audio.
You might have a couple of in-wall speakers you want to be able to control through the Sonos app for example, allowing for Trueplay tuning and multi-room audio with other Sonos speakers.
Perhaps you have a turntable you want to link up to an existing Sonos system to enjoy vinyl records alongside streaming services or music on a local device. Or you may have a outdoor speakers, such a pair of Sonos Outdoor by Sonance speakers, which bring Sonos multi-room capabilities to your garden when connected to a Sonos Amp.
These would all be reasons for considering the Sonos Amp.
How much does the Sonos Amp cost and where can I buy it?
The Sonos Amp is available in the US and UK and can be bought through Sonos.com, among other retailers. Colour options are black only.