Considering it doesn't have the same level of power and money as the likes of Google, APple, Samsung, or whomevery else wants to dominated the home audio market these days, Sonos has done pretty well for itself. Apparently seven million people have Sonos products in their homes, which isn't too shabby. Naturally, with IFA kicking off in Berlin the company had some announcements to make - the principle one being that it's launching a brand new amp designed to act as a hub for all your AV equipment.
It's called the Sonos Amp, which is rather, erm, inventive. It makes me wonder why Sonos didn't use this name for the last amp it made. Oh well.
The idea behind the Sonos Amp is the ability to connect all your various bits of AV equipment together, using it as the central hub. It doesn't matter whether it's digital, analogue, streaming, or whatever, because the Amp seems to have room for everything. I'm not joking, because the back of the thing has two ethernet ports, RCA, line-in ports, and HMDI Arc for hooking it up to your TV. There's also twice as much power inside, compared to the Connect:Amp, support for AirPlay 2, compatibility with over 100 streaming services, and enough juice to power up to four speakers with 125 watts per channel. The last one only had enough for two, so that's a big improvement.
Smaller things to mention are playback controls on the front of the amp, the standard Sonos status light, an IR receiver, app controls, a centralised heatsink to keep things from overheating, and custom detachable speaker connectors that can be replaced if the need arises. Or you can just use your own, if you have some banana plugs that you're really quite attached to.
Basically the idea behind the Sonos Amp is to make sure you have a way of getting your sound into the Sonos system, regardless of where it's coming from. Sonos has name dropped turntables, CD changers, and other older devices to show that it's not just about the new hi-tech audio. That said it recognises that habits change, and the Amp can integrate with smart home systems. Not only is there Alexa voice control built in (as is the case with other Sonos devices), it's also developed new control APIs to better integrate itself into the smart home ecosystem.
Details are a little scarce there, but the company did confirm that it was opening up its platform for developers from next week. That means they can develop their own Sonos apps, which could prove useful if you're already a hardcore fan of the service. It's certainly comforting to know that the killer feature you've been waiting for might arrive thanks to a third-party developer, rather than being added to the long list of future Sonos updates.
Sonos also took the opportunity to announce a partnership with Sonance, a company responsible for architectural speakers in ceilings, walls, and outdoors. So if you have enough money to own your own house, you're going to have the option to install Sonance equipment and integrate it into your Sonos sound network.
The Sonos Amp is set to be released next February, and it'll set you back £599. Oh, and it's only available in black.