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Extending Sonos without addn'l Connects?


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Hi,

 

I'm a reasonably capable Sonos user and sufficiently technical overall, and wanted to be sure I'm thinking the right away about the capabilities of gear I want to buy to extend my Sonos setup.

 

Basically, I want to try something like a pair of Apple Airport Expresses, to tunnel music from one 'master' Sonos zone, and create a slave' zone. The 'slave' zone will just mirror the first, and won't operate independently in any way.

 

I've noticed that a Sonos Connect outputs audio on the optical/SPDIF port at the same time it's outputting on the RCA analog output (somewhat obvious, but I verified just to be sure). I think this should let me use a pair of Apple Airport Expresses configured as pure 'audio bridges' - i.e. just tunneling the audio input from one Express, over regular home-network IP, to the other bridge, where it re-emerges via line-out as regular audio out. Can those devices operate that way?

 

I'm fairly sure they can be enabled to just 'tunnel' audio this way - but wonder if I'm missing something. The only real downside to this setup (vs. buying another Sonos Connect) is I'll control volume at the 'slave' zone via the amplifier - which is fine. (same with turning it on or off).

 

The basic idea is that I'd like to avoid or delay paying the $400/$500 for each outdoor area I want to enable, for each Connect or Connect:Amp that Sonos would prefer I buy. I have some existing old amplifiers that are unused and will drive my speakers just fine. And, I'm fine if all the outdoor areas are considered one zone: I don't have a need to play music separately in the 'slave' zone(s), and if I drive speakers with a discrete amp, I can turn those amps on or off to enable or disable them.

 

Anything I'm missing? Can Airport Expresses, or some other analog-audio-to-ethernet bridge pair, meet the need? I presume there's no conflicts using them this way on the same network -- I'll never control them in 'AirPlay' mode, I believe. Airport Expresses seem best for this since they're pretty well-tested and debugged at this point. D-Link has something similar, but looks dodgy and may be UK-only.

 

thoughts?

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