How to add your existing speakers to a Sonos system

Your old dumb speakers can get in on the multi-room audio fun

How to add old speakers to Sonos
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You want in on the multi-room audio action but you're not keen on binning those still-perfectly-good-but-old hi-fi speakers that you paid a heck of a lot of money for back in 1997. We get it.

The good news is, if you're looking to go down the Sonos route, then it's super simple to get your old speakers in sync with the latest and greatest Sonos speakers. In fact, Sonos began life as a company that made devices (called Zoneplayers) to enable multi-room speaker setups; it didn't make speakers itself, at all, for years.

Missing manual: The essential Sonos guide

And, while we're massive fans of the Sonos range; audiophiles will argue long into the night about how the company specialises in mainstream (i.e. not 'high-end') audio quality. However, if you've got money to burn on some new super-expensive speakers then it's just as easy to get these included in a Sonos setup too.

The secret ingredient that makes this all possible? A Sonos Connect.

What is a Sonos Connect?

The easiest thing to do is to think of a Sonos Connect as a Sonos speaker that doesn't actually make any sound.

The Sonos Connect comes in two flavours – the regular Connect ($349) or the Connect:Amp ($499). It's the Connect:Amp in that main pic up top.

The Connect:Amp is basically an updated version of the original Sonos Zoneplayer and, you guessed it, packs in an amplifier. The amplifier inside the Connect:Amp is a 110-watt stereo one, capable of putting out 55 watts per channel at at 8 Ohms. You'll need one of these if you're looking at including non-amplified speakers to your Sonos system… you probably are.

However, the regular Connect can be used with a system that already features an amplifier, such as your old CD player. It's also useful when adding a record player to a Sonos system.

A replacement for the Connect:Amp, the $599 Sonos Amp (pictured below) has also just gone on sale and essentially does the same job, albeit while being twice as powerful as its predecessor, with support for up to four speakers with 125 watts per channel. It also supports AirPlay 2 and has Alexa baked in.

How to add existing speakers to a Sonos system

How to listen to music from Sonos on your old speakers

The first thing to do is to wire up the Sonos Connect, Connect:Amp or Amp to your existing speakers. This is super simple – you simply use the 'Analog audio out' ports on the back of the device and your existing speaker wires.

Each device is actually a bit different – and each has slightly different connectors. Either the speaker wires just slot into connection holes, or you can use banana plugs for a more reliable connection. We won't bore you with the details too much here as your specific device choice will affect how exactly you attach the wires, but rest assured it's all easily done.

As we said above, it's best to just consider the Sonos Connect, Connect:Amp or Amp as a speaker that doesn't make any sound. Give it a name, assign it to a room and treat it just like any other Sonos speaker.

For example, if you've wired up your old Denon tower speakers in the living room, add the Connect, Connect:Amp or Amp to your Sonos system through the app, and call it 'Living room'. Then, if you want to listen to something – Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes radio, your locally stored media… basically anything the Sonos app allows – then simply select 'Living room', browse, and push play.

Just like regular Sonos speakers, you can group this room with others to create multi-room audio. It really is that simple.

An added bonus is that the Sonos Connect, Connect:Amp or Amp all have line-in inputs too, so you can use them as drivers for your other Sonos speakers as well – eg by hooking up an old hi-fi or a record player – just choose 'Line-in' as the source in the Sonos app.

How to add existing speakers to a Sonos system

How many old speakers can you connect to a Sonos Connect / Amp?

This gets a bit technical and is totally dependent on how powerful your speakers are. The most straightforward setup is a two-speaker (L/R) setup – although you can 'officially' add up to four on both the Connect:Amp and the new Amp.

However, it is possible to add more – but you have to be very careful with overloading. You'll have to make use of impedance-matching volume controls to allow for on/off and level balancing. If you don't know what this means… leave it well alone. Don't be greedy.

Sonos provides a pretty good in-depth guide if you do want to dig a bit deeper.

Can you connect outdoor speakers to a Sonos Connect / Amp?

Sure you can – but obviously don't put the Connect or the Amp itself outside you absolute donut. And, as with all outdoor speakers, make sure you do your research with regards to the right type of speaker cable to lay.

Sonos is actually going to make this a bit easier in 2019, as it has teamed up with Sonance to deliver three 'architectural speakers'. These are basically speakers that can be installed in your wall, your ceiling or outdoors – and will be able to take advantage of Sonos’ TruePlayTuning software.

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