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Old Jan 14th, 2013, 01:47 PM
Humbermart Humbermart is offline
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Default Just joined the Sonos set

So after 40 or so years of buying (budget)hifi gear and swearing I'd never go for streaming, I bought a Sonos Connect at the weekend, having bought an Arcam rPAC the previous weekend, and subscribed to Spotify premium.

I had lots of problem trying to get the rDAC to run reliably from my desktop, and ended up solving the issue by installing an internally powered USB 3 card. Bought some Grado SR80i's and now have a decent PC/Laptop streaming/Spotify capability, though not yet sure about the Grado's. It was a wrench to pay for them considering the cheap plastic feel, next to the AKG 550 that look and feel superb, but I convinced myself the AKG's sounded a little harsh on demo.

Now at home and the Grado's sound harsh, and questionably any better than my old £20 Sennheisers. Hopefully they'll improve with some miles under their belt.

So once sold on streaming, I then wanted to have the facility through a main system. I thought about the Onkyo 755 mini (as this does Spotify) or changing my Yamaha 371 surround amp for a network capable Onkyo.

The guy at Richersounds convinced me that my Yamaha 371 was still better than any budget Onkyo, and the way to do it was add a Sonos Connect. The fact that there were on offer at £239 seemed to clinch a quick sale, before I realised that I could have had an Onkyo 755 for the same price!

Anyway, like most Sonos virgins, I took it home and was blown away by the functionality and first impressions of performance.

Now I didn't bother to try it with the Yamaha AV set up, but set up my old Cambridge Azur 540A and Q Acoustics 1050 floor standers, that I'd pensioned off after the Cambridge 640 CD started to drop sound on a regular basis. Plus the fact that the large beech coloured speakers didn't fit well in the new house. (according to the wife!).

No digital input on the amp, so using the analogues, and with the Sonos software on the 10" tablet, set up with Spotify, I was reliving my uni days when I set up my first Trio/Rotel/Celestion set up in 1976, but 21st Century version!

I'm fond of Piano Jazz and the piano sounded like it was live in the lounge. Superb sound and superb ease of use.

So I've yet to try and see if I can get the old Cambridge CD to play long enough to compare like-for-like, or indeed try the Arcam rDAC/PC vs the Sonos, whilst running from the same stream - time will tell.

But I'm already thinking about sourcing a new amp, ideally with a digital input, to see if I can enhance the results over the Azur 540A, in hopefully a smaller package with the option of an alternate DAC, or simply getting an Onkyo or Denon (or Marantz 603) mini system to use as an amp, and at least then having the back up of a working CD player - just for old times sake. But I'm not sure if I would actually gain any audio quality benefits over the Azur 540A and Sonos DAC. I may also have to consider some Q Acoustics 2020i's or Dali Zenzors etc. to please the wife.

Any thoughts on potential add-ons, or am I just swapping budget level stuff for similar, and won't see any benefits?
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  #2  
Old Jan 14th, 2013, 05:24 PM
Kumar Kumar is offline
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Originally Posted by Humbermart View Post
to see if I can enhance the results over the Azur 540A, in hopefully a smaller package with the option of an alternate DAC, or simply getting an Onkyo or Denon (or Marantz 603) mini system to use as an amp, and at least then having the back up of a working CD player - just for old times sake. But I'm not sure if I would actually gain any audio quality benefits over the Azur 540A and Sonos DAC. I may also have to consider some Q Acoustics 2020i's or Dali Zenzors etc. to please the wife.

Any thoughts on potential add-ons, or am I just swapping budget level stuff for similar, and won't see any benefits?
You got the last part right. The 540A is good enough. Speaker upgrades, correctly done will have an audible impact, so I would look there, but you say that you have good sound from your speakers already.

A mini system like the Denon 39 has the advantage of providing built in CD back up, but you could also get that by adding a budget CDP to feed the 540A. The advantage of the 39 is one box of a much smaller footprint. You want to be sure that the 30wpc is enough to drive the speakers well.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 03:50 AM
Humbermart Humbermart is offline
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Thanks Kumar, and I'm sure you're right. If I did want to spend any more cash, it would probably be better directed at another Sonos piece.

If I had a grand to blow, I think I'd go for a pair of Play 3's with the sub, more more likely I'll pick up a single Play 5 and hope that keeps me happy until next Christmas!
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 03:59 AM
ullum ullum is offline
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He he, pair of 5 with sub
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Ullum

2 Play:5
2 Connect:amp
1 Matte Sub
1 Connect
2 Play:1
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  #5  
Old Jan 16th, 2013, 12:11 AM
Kumar Kumar is offline
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If I had a grand to blow, I think I'd go for a pair of Play 3's with the sub, more more likely I'll pick up a single Play 5 and hope that keeps me happy until next Christmas!
If you plan to add a Sub in the future, I would start with a play 3 just now. Add another sometime later, and in paired stereo mode this will sound better than a single play 5.

Adding a Sub to play 3 pair is more value for money that adding it to a play 5 pair, because with the Sub added, the play 5 subwoofers are disabled. Not so in the case of the play 3, which doesn't have subwoofers.
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