When Sonos launched its revamped speaker amplifier, the Sonos Amp, it hinted that we would soon see a new line of wired speakers designed specifically to work with the Amp. Those speakers are now here and they’re called Sonos Architectural by Sonance. It’s not just one product; Sonos Architectural speakers are an entirely new line of products, and the company is launching the collection with three new models: Sonos In-Wall by Sonance ($599 per pair), Sonos In-Ceiling by Sonance ($599 per pair), and Sonos Outdoor by Sonance ($799 per pair).
All three models are designed to be wired directly into the Sonos Amp, which can automatically detect their presence. It does this using by sending a sine wave over the speaker cables and can then read the unique impedance values at specific frequencies that the Architectural speakers generate. Once detected, the Sonos Amp applies the correct DSP for the number and type of speakers connected. From there, both the in-wall and in-ceiling the speakers can be tuned by Sonos’s Trueplay feature using the Sonos app on a smartphone or tablet. It’s the first time that Trueplay tuning has been compatible with wired speakers. There are two caveats, however: The outdoor speakers are not Trueplay compatible (presumably because of the difficulty of using Trueplay in a non-quiet environment), and if you connect your own wired subwoofer (instead of using Sonos’s Sub, or no sub at all), Trueplay won’t be available with the in-wall or in-ceiling models either.
No special speaker cables are required, though Sonos recommends using wires that are 16 gauge or larger, and rated for in-wall or outdoor use as appropriate for the install.
The three models in the Sonos Architectural series share similar specs: Two drivers (1-inch tweeter, 6.5-inch woofer), 8 ohms, 130 watts maximum power, and 89dB SPL sensitivity. The only difference is in frequency response; the two indoor models can handle from 44Hz to 20kHz, while the outdoor model has a slightly smaller range at 55Hz to 20kHz. Up to three pairs can be powered by a single Sonos Amp.
The in-ceiling speakers will come with round, paintable grilles, with the option of installing square grilles. The in-wall models also have paintable grilles, though you only get square-shaped ones. The outdoor speakers are meant to withstand humidity, water, salt spray, heat, UV rays, and freezing temperatures. It’s also apparent from the photos that the outdoor speakers have been designed consistently with a monochromatic approach that the company has used on all of its recent products.
“Our goal was to create a solution optimized for installers, bringing the Sonos experience to architectural speakers for the first time,” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said in a press release. “Sonance was the natural partner, sharing our passion for high quality, reliable sound solutions inside and outside the home.”
It’s interesting to watch Sonos’s continuing evolution as an audio company. On the one hand, it appears determined to make its products available to a mainstream audience, as evidenced by its partnership with Ikea. On the other hand, the combo of the Sonos Amp and the Sonos Architectural by Sonance line demonstrates that it also has a deep commitment to the much higher-end custom installer market. It’s a two-pronged approach that much older companies like Pioneer and Yamaha have pursued for decades, so in some ways, it’s the obvious path for Sonos to take as well. We’re also curious whether the company’s willingness to make a wired product when it matters (for custom installations) will extend into other products like home theatre speakers, given the growing presence of wireless home theater tech like Wisa.
The Sonos In-Wall and In-Ceiling speakers will be available for pre-order on the Sonos website, with general availability beginning on February 26; general availability for the Outdoor speakers will follow in April, though no word yet on when they’ll be up for pre-order. Along with this announcement, Sonos said it is starting expand availability of the Sonos Amp beyond its website, into retail locations.
Updated to clarify how TruePlay works with the new Architectural speakers.
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