Sonos releases new amp, partners with Sonance on speaker range

Sonos has levelled its sights firmly at the CI market with a completely new amplifier launch. Available globally from February 2019, the standalone amp offers full flexibility for installers and users to bring almost any source or speaker into a Sonos wireless home system.

sonos 2019 amp outputs and input view from rearTo complement Sonos Amp, Sonos has also said it will fully open its developer platform and add new control APIs.

The launch means that traditional wired speakers can now be brought into Sonos’ wireless home sound system. The $599 amp is also twice as powerful as the company’s last launch into this space – it can power up to four speakers with 125 watts per channel. Furthermore, it supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 and more than 100 streaming services and includes an HDMI Arc port for TVs. 

CI friendly features include a rack mountable form factor. On-board HDMI and line-in ports connect TVs, turntables, CD changers and other audio components, bringing them into a wider Sonos system.

Updates to the platform are designed to make it easy for installers to incorporate Amp into integrated smart home set-ups, including smart lighting and centralised control systems. It can be controlled by voice if it is wireless connected to an Amazon Alexa-enabled device.

In a press release, Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, said: “The growth of the Sonic Internet – the convergence of paid streaming, the smart home, and artificial intelligence through voice technologies drives everything we do at Sonos.

“While plug-and-play options like Sonos Beam and Sonos One are an important part of the equation, architectural sound and making it even easier to integrate with lighting and home control are equally as important. We’ve listened to custom installers and dealers to create Amp, a versatile product designed to be at the centre of the smart home sound experience.”

And a partnership

Sonos has also collaborated with architectural audio company Sonance to deliver a series of three architectural speakers - in-wall, in-ceiling and outdoor - that gain additional functionality through software when paired with the new Sonos Amp.

This collaboration will provide a complete offering for professionally installed architectural sound, enabling Sonos’ Trueplay tuning capabilities. The products, which will be sold and marketed by Sonos, will launch in early 2019.

Open developer platform and new control APIs 

From early September, Sonos will open up its developer platform to all potential partners and add a new set of control APIs, with more promised for the future.

Control APIs include line-in switching (for both analogue and home theatre), to allow for line-in components to be selected within the third-party control interface; volume pass-through for easier and more predictable volume control; the ability to add Sonos playlists within a third-party interface and, in an early preview phase, capabilities to provide notifications and alerts from third-party devices, like a doorbell, through Sonos speakers.

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