The Sonos Amp wants to bring your TV and Hi-Fi into the multi-room age
Just revealed at IFA 2018, the Sonos Amp promises to be the audio hub of your house, linking your legacy Hi-Fi equipment and your TV into one big ecosystem that works with smart speakers and soundbars.
The idea isn’t entirely new – Sonos already has the Connect:Amp – but that’s a few years old and ripe for an update. The Sonos Amp is twice as powerful as its predecessor, packing 125 watts per channel, which means (on paper at least least) it’s more than capable of powering even the most demanding speakers. Better still, you can now power up to four speakers instead of two.
Connectivity is also fully refreshed. The Sonos Amp supports Apple AirPlay 2 to send sound from your iPhone or iPad to any connected speaker, plus you’ll be able to use Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal – Sonos’ ecosystem now supports over 100 streaming services.
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The Sonos Amp even has love for your TV. It features the same HDMI ARC module used on the Sonos Beam. The idea is that you can use the Sonos ecosystem to drive your movie sound, and maybe even pair a couple of Sonos One units as surround speakers. Or you can set up a Sonos Beam at the front of the room, and use the Sonos Amp to drive your own in-wall loudspeakers at the back.
A set of RCA analogue inputs is ideal for adding your old turntable to the mix. There’s also a subwoofer output, and you’re able to manually adjust the crossover frequency to determine how much bass is sent to the sub.
Th speaker terminals are very neat. For those not particularly dextrous, or for those who just don’t want to spend time digging around the back of the AV rack, the speaker terminals are removable. You can pull them out as easily as an RCA plug, install your speaker wiring, and them put them back in. What an ingenious idea.
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The system is designed to work wirelessly, but you can’t beat wired connections for reliability. To that end, Sonos has added not one but two Ethernet sockets.
Sonos has also paid a lot of attention to the chassis. There’s a centralised heatsink with a chimney-like heat management system, and there’s a screw mount at the bottom, designed to let you stick the Sonos Amp on the wall.
Oh, and Sonos tells me the Amp has been through thorough drop-testing, because they had clumsy people in mind. It certainly feels like it – the box is dense.
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The bad news? The Sonos Amp won’t be released until February 2019, when it will be priced at $599 in the US and €699 in the EMEA region, so you’ll have to find another snazzy bit of Sonos kit for under the Christmas tree this year.
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