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Sonos Connect:Amp Review

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The Sonos Connect:Amp came out as a highly compact and convenient classic, originally by the name of Sonos Zone Player 120

It was renamed with the release of Sonos Play:3. The product was initially proposed as part of the BU250 Bundle, but this isn’t the case anymore. Sonos offers free applications for Android as well as iOS with easy control features which are functional with nearly all smartphones, tablets and PCs.

And although not many changes have been made to the app since its launch, the number of services being offered on the platform has increased significantly.

Before Zone Player 120, came the non-amplified Zone Player 90, now known as Sonos Connect and unlike the ZP 120, the latter requires an external amplifier to be connected to it.

This advancement is one of the many reasons for audiophiles to consider upgrading their existing music systems using the Sonos Zone Player 120, also known as the Sonos Connect:Amp.

The device allows you to play music in any room, wirelessly. You just need to arrange a pair of speakers and you’ll be good to go.

You may use your own curated playlist from your smartphone’s or tablet’s storage or any of the many supported online music streaming services. All you have to do is add the username and password for your subscribed music service’s account to the Sonos controller app.

After the verification of your credentials, the music service will become easily accessible from the Sonos app itself. Also, in some countries, there is a provision for free music services trials.

You may avail this by clicking on the ‘More Music’ tab in the app. You may also connect an Apple AirPlay music source using the in-built line-in feature.

With the ability to play music from small as well as large speakers with 55W per channel, the Sonos Connect:Amp is unquestionably a high performing, energy efficient, state of the art amplifier that allows you to experience good music in great style.

The Connect:Amp gives its users the power to optimize sound performance in individual rooms as per your will by controlling zone-specific equalizer attributes like bass, treble, etc.

You may even choose to play different songs from different sources in different locations of your house, or play the same song throughout with zero echoes and delays.

The scheduler option enables you to enjoy your music during specific hours of the day – a feature which can prove to be useful by creating personalized activity-specific playlists.

Sonos releases regular software updates for continuous improvement of its products due to which, the performance of the Connect:Amp is sure to get better with time.

The Sonos Connect:Amp is a complete package for music enthusiasts and allows its users to build a music system laced with numerous high-end features available at a viable price. It can power both small and large speakers for the ultimate audio experience and that too in the location of your preference.

Sonos Connect:Amp Pros & Cons

One of the biggest advantages of Sonos Connect:Amp is its compatibility with almost all available cloud music services (Amazon, Pandora, Spotify, Stitcher, Last.fm, Slacker, Mog, Rhapsody, etc.).

It works with both Android and iOS devices and features line-in functionality for connecting external devices such as a TV, a radio, a record player, a CD or DVD player, etc. The line-in encoding decides how Sonos encodes the incoming data from an external device.

It works as an amplifier as well as an audio streaming device and requires negligible technical know-how for the initial setup. In short, the Sonos Connect:Amp is a well-equipped and highly convenient digital audio system with a plethora of features to offer its users.

The only notable drawback is the need for separate speakers along with a smartphone to be used as a remote.

So in case you do not own external speakers already, you may have to extend your budget. And while you’re at it, you may go for the Sonos Speakers and spread your music system in different rooms too.

However, if you happen to have a pair of speakers simply lying around your house, the Sonos Connect:Amp might just prove to be a good investment for you!

Using this Sonos device, you can easily create a great music system without any significant effort. It can work wonders for both casual listeners as well as dedicated audiophiles.

Sonos Connect:Amp Specifications

The Sonos Connect:Amp is a beautifully designed music system with an impressively strong build.

It consists of a bright white base along with an anodized precision machined extrusion aluminum case body resting on top of it. The aluminum casing helps cool down the amplifier and gives the product a praiseworthy appearance.

The absence of an exhaust fan eliminates unwanted noise so that the only audible sound is that of good music. The volume controls have been provided in the very front for ease of access. LEDs are used to indicate the Sonos component status and mute status.

Status Indicator

White light is flashed when the Connect:Amp powers up or tries to connect to your Sonos system. A solid white light is shown when the latter is done powering up and has successfully connected to your Sonos system. Amber light is flashed in case a fault occurs.

Mute Indicator

Solid green light is shown when the Connect:Amp has been muted. Green light is flashed aggressively right before the entire house system is about to be muted or unmuted. Green light is flashed at a slow rate when your Sonos component has successfully connected to your music system.

The Sonos Connect:Amp is 3.5 inches tall, 7.28 inches wide, 8.15 inches deep, and weighs approximately 5.1 pounds. It requires a 100-120/220-240 V, 50 Hz AC universal input and contains two 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports to connect to your wired home network.

While connecting external speakers, remember that the minimum power rating for an 8 ohm speaker is 75W and that for a 4 ohm speaker is 150W.

When you buy the Sonos Connect:Amp, it comes with a power cord, a flat Ethernet cable, a Sonos Quick-Start Guide and Legal/Warranty information.

Sonos Connect:Amp Functionality

In order to control the Sonos Connect:Amp, all you have to do is download the Sonos application available for both Android and iOS, following which you may stream music directly from your smartphone’s storage, or from a local network share, or using any of the cloud music services.

The Sonos Connect:Amp supports most audio formats (MP3, FLAC, WMA, WAV, AAC+, AIFF, Apple Lossless, etc.) All Sonos products utilize a wireless mesh network system, called SonosNet 2.0, to connect to one another and are not limited by your conventional Wi-Fi network, which makes them much more dependable.

Ergo, Wi-Fi fallouts will no longer be a hindrance to your music experience. However, it requires minimum one wired connection between a Sonos device and your home network.

With the rollout of SonosNet 2.0, Sonos now claims that this device is equipped with a wide wireless range, capable of covering your entire house, which makes controlling the Connect:Amp easier and reliable even from comparatively distant locations from the source, and ensures a synchronized audio playback.

Presence of other wireless sources or walls, doors, and windows might cause slight obstruction to the controlling network. Bluetooth feature is absent.

The Sonos Connect:Amp music system is inherently designed to stay on at all times. However, the energy consumption is minimal, especially when no music is being played. If you wish to stop music completely in all your rooms, you may use the ‘Pause All’ feature available in the Sonos controller app.

It comes with two pairs of solid spring-loaded connecting jacks for external speakers and is compatible with bare wires and banana plugs. This allows you to connect up to four speakers at once to the Sonos Connect:Amp and enjoy an unprecedented music experience.

A subwoofer-out has been provided for connecting a third-party subwoofer, or you may simply use the wireless Sonos Sub instead.

Any powered subwoofer can be connected using a standard RCA cable. Also, remember to disconnect your subwoofer’s cable when you disconnect the subwoofer.

The Connect:Amp features a class-D digital amplifier system which can supply up to 55W per channel of power with a THD+N (Total Harmonic Distortion & Noise) of less than 0.02% for providing high-quality sound to your speakers.

You may even adjust various equalizer attributes (Bass, Balance, Treble, etc.) as per your requirement for enhancing the sound performance.

But, alas, the Sonos Connect:Amp cannot possibly deliver a flawless performance all by itself. The sound output quality largely depends on the external speakers that you connect to the Sonos device. Opting for Sonos Speakers can prove to be a good decision if you look forward to purchasing new speakers for your music system.

Sonos Connect:Amp System Setup

The Sonos Connect:Amp is highly convenient to install. It consists of a multi-port Ethernet switch that allows the users to directly connect computers, routers, and other Sonos devices.

The Connect:Amp also consists of analog audio inputs with digital encoding, thereby enabling you to connect a music source to the latter and play music using all interlinked Sonos components.

You may use a standard RCA audio cable for this purpose. Following is a summarized version of the steps that you may follow for setting up your Sonos system.

In case you own multiple Sonos products (Connect:Amp, Play:3, Bridge, etc), then you will have to connect any one of them to your main broadband using the supplied Ethernet cable.

The rest can be interlinked using Sonos’ wireless mesh network (SonosNet). You may place different Sonos products in different rooms based on your choice.

Next, you’ll need to install the Sonos software and follow the guiding prompts in order to add your various Sonos components. Lastly, equip your audio system with the Sonos controller app.

The Quick Start Guide included with your Sonos Connect:Amp contains measures for ensuring that your home network is prepared for Sonos along with detailed installation steps. Other Sonos products can be easily added once you’ve successfully installed your Sonos music system.

Sometimes, you might face difficulty while connecting a Sonos device to your Sonos system due to a network error or a firewall issue. If you’ve been trying to pair up the device using a wireless connection, consider switching to a wired one and check if the problem still persists.

If it does, it may be safe to assume that the firewall software installed on your PC is hindering the ports used by Sonos for establishing its connections. You could try checking your router as well if you think a router configuration issue might be the source of the problem.

In order to play music using any of the compatible online streaming services, and for receiving regular Sonos software updates, you must own a modem-router combination device.

If your modem can not simultaneously act as a router, you will have to install one separately. A wireless router will be required for using the Sonos controller application on Android and iOS.

As mentioned before, it is important to connect at least one Sonos device, preferably the Sonos Connect:Amp, to your wireless router using an Ethernet cable.

For superior audio experience, it is advisable to connect your PC or NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive with your personal music collection to the router. The Sonos controller app displays your music library in the form of various classifications (tracks, albums, artists, genres, etc.)

Conclusion

The Sonos Connect:Amp offers a variety of features suitable for both casual music enthusiasts and professional audiophiles.

With the company promising to roll out regular software updates, this product can actually prove to be a pretty good investment for some.The SonosNet also adds up as quite the charm when it comes to experiencing uninterrupted synchronized music throughout your house.

The seemingly high cost of the Connect:Amp ($499) could pose as an obstacle for some people, however, you may consider purchasing a second-hand set.

As discussed earlier, the advantages of this Sonos device are many, and the only main disadvantage is more of a conditional hiccup, subject to the users’ perspective.

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