The Amp announcement comes just more than a month after shipping Sonos Beam (with built-in voice capabilities), and will be Sonos’ third product announcement in the last 12 months. Amp is also just one of three updates Sonos announced in the same day, all aimed at integrating Sonos in the smart home and better enabling the brand's partners in the installed solutions channel to drive the best value for their business and continue to build the easy-to-use home sound system, whether using voice-enabled smart speakers or amps powering architectural speakers in smart homes. While voice can be a transformative way to control the Sonos system, it’s only one part of the equation. Amp can power virtually any smart home entertainment.
The all-new Sonos Amp is twice as powerful as its predecessor, Connect:Amp, supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 and more than 100 streaming services, and includes an HDMI Arc port for TVs. Launching globally in February 2019, the $599 Amp will be available to professional installers in the United States and Canada starting December 1, 2018 and will roll out globally in February 2019.
At the same time, Sonos and architectural audio specialist Sonance announced a collaboration 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. These products, which will be sold and marketed by Sonos, will launch in early 2019.
Starting in early September, Sonos will further evolve and open its developer platform to all potential partners and will also add a new set of Control APIs, making it easier than ever to integrate Sonos into the smart home. The platform will continue to expand with new APIs that allow partners to innovate on their integrations with Sonos. New Control APIs and features make the experience better for customers, especially those with integrated control systems, such as Control4 and Crestron.
These include line-in switching (for both analog and home theater), to allow for line-in components to be selected within the third-party control interface; Volume pass-through; The ability to add Sonos playlists within a third-party interface; And notifications and alerts from third-party devices. Sonos will invite partners to get certified and earn the “Works with Sonos” badge.
The new Amp
Amp is designed to fit perfectly into standard AV racks used by custom install professionals, and can power up to four speakers with 125 watts per channel — more than enough for even the most demanding set-ups. Onboard HDMI and line-in ports means TVs, turntables, CD changers, and other audio components can easily connect with Amp and become part of the Sonos system.
Amp’s hardware was built to power the Sonos software platform. New updates to the platform will make it easy for installers to incorporate Amp into integrated smart home set-ups, including smart lighting and centralized control systems. It is also AirPlay 2 compatible, meaning music and other audio from any iOS device can be played wirelessly through Amp. And when wirelessly connected to an Amazon Alexa-enabled device like a Sonos One or Beam, Amp is controllable with voice commands. Finally, like other Sonos devices, Amp will gain new features, services, and integrations over time through free software updates, ensuring customers will get the best from their set-up for years to come.
“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,” says Sonos CEO Patrick Spence. “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 center of the smart home sound experience.”
The new Sonos Amp has an HDMI ARC port and an input for an additional audio source. The Amp can be used to add stereo sound to a TV, add wireless rears to a Sonos home-theater setup or two Amps can be used for surround sound installations. Connections, apart from Wi-Fi, includes SPDIF optical and Ethernet. A pair of threaded connections for left and right channels guarantee high-quality performance, and can be removed for users who want to use their own banana plugs.