Sonos has made one of its rare range expansions with the announcement of new architectural speakers for inside and outside the home. Up to three pairs of the new ‘Sonos Architectural’ models can be powered by one of the new Sonos Amps, which is also now available after being announced last year. The speakers will be available from February 26 in Australia.
The new speakers have been developed with architectural speaker specialist Sonance to work specifically with the Sonos Amp, and Sonance has done well to persuade Sonos to title them ‘Sonos In-Wall by Sonance’ and ‘Sonos In-Ceiling by Sonance’.
When paired with a Sonos Amp, the In-Ceiling and In-Wall speakers allow Trueplay tuning, where you wave a smart device slowly around the room to apply a certain level of room EQ to account for the size, construction, and furnishings of the room where the speakers are placed.
Both In-wall and in-Ceiling models are available with round, or optional square, grilles which can be painted to match the ceiling.
The Outdoor speaker (on the right in the image above) is the first Sonos speaker designed for outdoor use, with a weatherproof design “engineered to withstand humidity, water, salt spray, heat, UV rays, and freezing temperatures”.
The speakers themselves are not active, and do not create in themselves a Sonos zone; a Sonos Amp is required to bring them under the control of the Sonos app, and we repsume, therefore, that cabling will be required between the Sonos Amp and the speakers. While up to three pairs of the new ‘Sonos Architectural’ models can be powered by one of the new Sonos Amps, it seems that this will deliver sound as a single zone, at a single volume level. We await more information and full specifications, including driver sizes and mounting systems.
Interestingly, Sonos is on record as saying these are not intended as consumer items, and were designed with the installation channel in mind.
“Our goal isn’t to get these into a bunch of consumer hands,” said Sonos director of business development Ryan Taylor was reported as saying by CEPro during a press preview last year. “We’re not trying to drive direct sales of in-ceiling speakers.” Nevertheless, ""People will look for them" at Sonos.com... "We don't want to stop them from buying them."
So if, as we suspect, the speakers require hard-wiring from the Sonos Amp, then it may provide a good opportunity for Sonos dealers to get into the homes of their customers and help out. CE Pro notes that some dealers in the US may do installation for free, possibly subsidised by Sonos.
Prices in Australia will be $899 a pair for the In-Ceiling and In-Wall models, and $1199 a pair for the Outdoor model.
The Sonos Amp retails at $999, adding significantly more power over the continuing Connect:Amp, along with AirPlay 2 compatibility and an input for TV audio via HDMI ARC.
More info: www.sonos.com/en-au
A smart hi-fi warning
We will here make our usual warning for all products which live by an app — they might also one day also die by their app. Certain Spotify Connect products last year ceased to get Spotify Connect, likely their raison d’etre for many users, and if a brand disappears or even stops supporting a certain age of product, you can be left with a defunct product, or one with reduced abilities, as in this recent example when AirPlay 2 came out. One of our team recently contacted Sonos, for example, in an attempt to obtain the software capable of running one of the second gen Sonos Controllers on the Sonos dedicated mesh network in an area where Wi-Fi is not available.“Once an update has been performed it is impossible to "downgrade" software. We do not offer older versions.” was the reply. You have been warned! For some smart hi-fi, we may be facing lifecycles more akin to that of a computer than of traditional hi-fi, which used to be passed down between generations…