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post #1 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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WHA - converting to Sonos - advice

Currently I have a Monoprice six-amp controller wired to six zones. 4 of those zones are older Sonance ceiling speakers and 2 are outdoor speakers. It's just ok. I can control the monoprice amp and I can control music but it's a multi-step process involving multiple apps. Also, the sound quality coming from the ceiling speakers is fine for background music but it could be better. Finally, with only six zones I do have some dead spots in my house. Perhaps ironically, I'm using a Sonos 1 in one of those zones.

I currently own a couple Sonos devices, a playbar and sub, the aforementioned Sonos 1, and a first generation Amp. I didn't go with Sonos originally because it was expensive and I had grand ideas that a matrix switch would be better because I could use any type of input. The reality is 95% of our listening is Spotify. The remaining 5% is tv audio or Pandora. I never got around to setting up Bluetooth receivers or figuring out how to get our legacy "hosted" music into it. I had great plans to build my own control interface and spent way too much time messing around with various setups. That was two years ago.

My plan is to convert everything to Sonos. I have three thoughts. None seem great.

1. Buy 5 amps (for a total of 6) and feed the monoprice zones into the input side of the amps. Buy a couple Play 3, Play 5 where sound is more important to me. I guess technically I could buy Connects if I don't need the power from the Amps.
- pros: more flexibility of sources, all speakers could be grouped/used
- cons: it feels wrong, I'm putting a matrix in front of a matrix.

2. Leave the monoprice and the ceiling speakers alone. Buy separate Sonos equipment for all my rooms.
- pros: I could still use the one system for background music, didn't waste all the time and money, running the system.
- cons: I will never use the old system

3. Rip out the old system, put it all on ebay, patch my holes, drink, etc
- pros: I acknowledge my initial failure and that makes me a better person
- cons: My wife acknowledges my initial failure. Never stops mentioning that she can see where the holes were in the ceiling no matter how well it's patched.
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post #2 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 03:45 PM
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There is a simple solution really.

Buy 6 chromecast audios and plug into your monoprice amp.

Each chromecast can be used as a seperate zone and works flawlessly with spotify.

Whatever the case is I wouldn't rip out your speakers to replace them with sonos.

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post #3 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 04:02 PM
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Another solution is to buy 6 echo dots with line outs and name them for each of your zones (living room, patio etc.). Buy echos for locations you want control and just tell Alexa to play my release radar playlist from Spotify in the living room or play U2 radio on Pandora on the patio. Brag to your wife how you now have voice controlled music in reach of your zones. You can also control the volume and group zones easily with your voice.


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post #4 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 06:50 PM
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Why not just rip out the monoprice stuff and use the Sonos Amps connected directly to the speakers?
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewaves View Post
Why not just rip out the monoprice stuff and use the Sonos Amps connected directly to the speakers?
I agree. I had to read number 1 many times to understand it...your controller becomes the Sonos app. Speakers stay controller goes.

The new Sonos amps are pricey but great. Perhaps you were thinking of the old Sonos connect.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I had used both Alexa and Chromecasts. Several months ago I bought several Chromecast audios for this purpose. Two problems. 1) I still had to deal with powering on the zone and selecting the source before I could cast music. I setup some automations in node-red that kind of got around this but it still felt hacked together. 2) I had a ground loop buzz on one zone that was caused by the Chromecasts. I could have figured that out; I think it was because I had the Chromecasts plugged into a USB block for power. It was always just ok from both an implementation perspective as well as a sound perspective.

Driving the ceiling speakers with the Sonos amps was my option 3 more or less. Frankly, I'm just not sure I'm going to be happy with the sound quality/staging of ceiling speakers. Throwing expensive amps at it isn't (likely) going to change that. WHA with ceiling speakers seemed like something I just had to do when I built my house. If it were a dentist office or I was really into throwing parties then it would probably be ok. I'm sure if I were selling the next person would think it was awesome, at least at first.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 08:49 PM
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I would ditch the Monoprice amp, and get some Sonos amps. Even the older models would be fine. (less power, but still sound great -- you arent trying to run Tower Speakers)

You can find them used, if you are on a budget, but feel this is the best way too go, since you aleady have some sonos in the house and are familiar with the app.
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyOnTheWall View Post
I would ditch the Monoprice amp, and get some Sonos amps. Even the older models would be fine. (less power, but still sound great -- you arent trying to run Tower Speakers)



You can find them used, if you are on a budget, but feel this is the best way too go, since you aleady have some sonos in the house and are familiar with the app.
This would be equally as good as my first option. A little more expensive but would be a robust solution and keep your current in ceiling speakers.

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post #9 of 12 Old 12-02-2019, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Heavner View Post
I had used both Alexa and Chromecasts. Several months ago I bought several Chromecast audios for this purpose. Two problems. 1) I still had to deal with powering on the zone and selecting the source before I could cast music. I setup some automations in node-red that kind of got around this but it still felt hacked together. 2) I had a ground loop buzz on one zone that was caused by the Chromecasts. I could have figured that out; I think it was because I had the Chromecasts plugged into a USB block for power. It was always just ok from both an implementation perspective as well as a sound perspective.



Driving the ceiling speakers with the Sonos amps was my option 3 more or less. Frankly, I'm just not sure I'm going to be happy with the sound quality/staging of ceiling speakers. Throwing expensive amps at it isn't (likely) going to change that. WHA with ceiling speakers seemed like something I just had to do when I built my house. If it were a dentist office or I was really into throwing parties then it would probably be ok. I'm sure if I were selling the next person would think it was awesome, at least at first.
The right amplifier will have auto-on with input signal detection. I use a sonance but monoprice and dayton audio (parts express) have similar options.

You likely had your Chromecasts setup poorly which is why you had a negative experience. The way i have them setup I can simply open spotify and play music of choice to any zone from anywhere.( or i can use google home to do the same with voice activation). The zone on the amplifier automatically turns on when the music is detected from the chromecast. I have ceiling speakers in each room and sound quality is very good. There is always going to be a tradeoff for sound quality vs pragmatics but a full set of tower speakers in every room is just not practical.

The OP already has (sonance) ceiling speakers installed which are quality speakers. Keeping these is a good option but determining the way to control them is open to debate. I'd vote for chromecast audios or sonos amps and let budget determine the winner.

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post #10 of 12 Old 12-03-2019, 07:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruach View Post
The right amplifier will have auto-on with input signal detection. I use a sonance but monoprice and dayton audio (parts express) have similar options.

You likely had your Chromecasts setup poorly which is why you had a negative experience. The way i have them setup I can simply open spotify and play music of choice to any zone from anywhere.( or i can use google home to do the same with voice activation). The zone on the amplifier automatically turns on when the music is detected from the chromecast. I have ceiling speakers in each room and sound quality is very good. There is always going to be a tradeoff for sound quality vs pragmatics but a full set of tower speakers in every room is just not practical.

The OP already has (sonance) ceiling speakers installed which are quality speakers. Keeping these is a good option but determining the way to control them is open to debate. I'd vote for chromecast audios or sonos amps and let budget determine the winner.

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This is my current setup. I can control the Chromecasts fine but the Monoprice amp has to be powered on and the source selected. This amp doesn't have auto-on. I could have used 12v triggers and software but I took a more ghetto route. I polled Spotify's API and if I saw Spotify playing on that Chromecast I would power on the zone and set the source. The problem was it was only about 85% reliable and it took time (10-15 seconds to realize the chromecast was playing). Either scenario meant managing and patching a device on my network to run the control software. Chromecasts are also finicky about being discovered for casting from an automation standpoint. Yes, they are visible from a phone but Spotify's API cannot see them unless they are playing.
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post #11 of 12 Old Yesterday, 08:01 AM
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I thought Chromecast Audio had been discontinued a while ago. I was considering using them for a cheaper whole-home audio solution at one time, bought one just to play around with, and the product was discontinued shortly after. Are they still readily available somewhere?
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post #12 of 12 Old Yesterday, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flvinny521 View Post
I thought Chromecast Audio had been discontinued a while ago. I was considering using them for a cheaper whole-home audio solution at one time, bought one just to play around with, and the product was discontinued shortly after. Are they still readily available somewhere?
ebay

maybe used on CL
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