Originally Posted by beastaudio
This is what I went sonos for basically. Two zones outside on a multi-zone amp. The only manual part is I have to select which zones I want playing (which is 90% of the time both), but the volume is controlled through the zone2 of my theater AVP, which grants me separate volume control over the main zone (theater room). it is quite nice when sitting outside to be able to volume control the outdoor speakers via an iphone app, and not have anything change inside
Having wall mounted volume controls is a nice backup in case you don't have your phone/tablet on you, but I would much rather have independent volume control for each zone thru an app than be forced to get up and turn the volume up/down in the room I am in without it impacting the volume in another room.
For example. Let's say that I am in the garage listening to music and my wife is in the kitchen listening to the same thing. Her phone rings. Is she really going to walk over to the wall-mounted controls to turn the volume down or is she just going to turn it down in the app and then answer the call? If the speakers in the garage and kitchen are fed by the same Connect:Amp then any change she makes in the Sonos app is going to affect the volume in the garage.
If she wants to talk on the phone for an hour am I just going to listen to nothing the whole time? Naturally, I would want to turn the volume up again, but I can't use the app because that would turn the volume up in both rooms again. And if she turned the volume all the way down in the app then adjusting the wall-mounted volume control in the garage will do nothing. So, I would have to go in the kitchen and turn the volume down there, so that I can turn it back up in the app, allowing me to hear something in the garage again without disturbing her.
Let's say that she only turned it down most of the way in the app. Technically, I could just turn the volume up on the wall-mounted controls in the garage. But then, when my wife gets off of the phone, she may decide to turn the volume back up in the kitchen, using the app. Suddenly, the volume level in the garage goes from something comfortable to blaringly loud. So, I have to stop what I am doing again to go turn the volume down in the garage, using the wall-mounted controls.
Pretty soon my wife and I would have to make an agreement never to use the Sonos app to control the volume unless the wall-mounted volume controls in the other room are set to "off".
Using a separate Sonos device in each zone gives you the most flexibility. But, if you want music in 4 or more rooms, using in-ceiling/in-wall speakers and don't want to spend the money on 4 Connect:Amps up front then I would strongly recommend one of the following options...
1) buy Play 1's to use as a temporary solution in 2 or 3 of the zones so that you don't have the same Connect:Amp powering speakers in two different rooms. 1 Connect:Amp + 3 Play 1's would run you about $1,100. You can always repurpose the Play 1's in the future if you decide to buy another Connect:Amp to power another one of the rooms.
2) buy a Connect instead of a Connect:Amp and then run the output of the Connect into a 4 zone, 4 source amplifier that can be controlled via app. This would give you the independent volume control via app that was missing. And you can always add more Connects in the future if you want more than a single Sonos source. In the mean time, you can connect a CD player or something else you already own to use as a 2nd/3rd/4th source. A 4 zone, 4 source amplifier + 1 Connect shouldn't cost more than $1,500, which is still cheaper than 4 Connect:Amps. In fact you should be able to swing a 4 zone, 4 source amp and 2 Connects for less than the price of 4 Connect:Amps. The only way it would cost you more in the long run is if you eventually decided to buy 3 or 4 Connects. At $150 price difference between a Connect and a Connect:Amp, the Connect:Amp is a good bargain if you don't already have an external amp or if you are only planning to do 3 zones at most (you can't get a 3 zone, 3 source amp for $450). But once, you get to 4 zones, there are options for external amplification that are competitive with regards to price, as long as you can run wires from a single location (where you keep the amp) to all of the speakers.