Sonos speaker systems are designed to work well with the Sonos Amp, but there are a few alternatives you can use with decent results. Keep in mind that you might need to use the Sonos Port to integrate a third-party amp into your existing Sonos system.
My name is Donovan, and I’m a musician, producer, and audio enthusiast. I have set up several Sonos systems recently and have first-hand experience dealing with Amp alternatives. I’ve also researched the best options out there.
This post will explore the best Sonos Amp alternatives. I’ll provide a handful of third-party amps you can integrate into your Sonos system. I’ll also highlight some important details you need to know about making this happen.
Let’s dive in.
- Key Takeaways
- Is There an Alternative to the Sonos Amp?
- Best Sonos Amp Alternatives
- Final Thoughts
- Sonos does not make things extremely easy to integrate third-party amps or other equipment into an existing system, but it is possible.
- You’ll need to use the Sonos Port or other Sonos products with a line-in to connect an Amp alternative.
- The Sonos Port can be used to transform an existing stereo system into one that works with Sonos speakers.
- If you use the Sonos Port, you can choose just about any third-party amp you want in your stereo or home theater.
Is There an Alternative to the Sonos Amp?
Before diving into the main topic of this article, it’s important to explore whether there even is an alternative to the Sonos amp. This is a question that comes up often for people using a Sonos system, and the answer can be a bit confusing.
There is not really a direct alternative to the Sonos amp. Sonos designed all of its products to work with one another in a seamless ecosystem, and the brand has intentionally made it challenging to introduce third-party options into that system.
But you still can use Amp alternatives with your Sonos system. You just need additional equipment to make this happen because you can’t just swap the Amp for a different brand or style of amplifier from another brand.
That said, some easy workarounds exist to integrate a Sonos Amp alternative into your Sonos system. But you will likely need to get another Sonos product, like the Port, which allows you to connect third-party equipment.
You can’t just swap one of the alternatives you see in the section below with the Sonos Amp because the amp is designed to work with the wireless capabilities of a Sonos system, and third-party options are not.
I want to mention this because it adds to the cost of your setup quite a bit. The Sonos Port is about as expensive as the Amp, and you still need to purchase another amp to make everything work if you go the alternate route.
Using an Amp alternative is not a budget choice, and that will make many of you hesitant to use one. To be honest, if you are going to set up a Sonos system, it’s probably best to stick with the Amp for seamless integration.
But if you are set on figuring out an alternative, there are plenty out there. Browse through the section below for some of the best.
Best Sonos Amp Alternatives
Here are some of the best Sonos Amp alternatives to choose from if you want to sub your Amp for a different amplifier. Remember that you’ll need to get the Sonos Port or a similar product to make this work, and you can’t just swap an alternative for the Amp directly.
1. NAD C 700
The NAD C 700 BluOS Streaming Amplifier is a top choice for the best alternative to the Sonos Amp. This is a very modern unit, with many features that rival or surpass the Amp, and it’s built to stream audio much in a similar way.
This amplifier looks and sounds excellent, with a sleek design that will fit in with any modern stereo or Sonos speaker setup. It’s easy to control with a touch-screen and gives you easy access to your music and sound quality.
This amp is designed to support high-res audio, so you can trust that you’ll get good playback and rich sound from your favorite music, movies, or shows. It also has all of the necessary inputs to connect to other audio devices you might have in your chain.
The big drawback of the C 700 is its price. This one is more expensive than the Sonos Amp. But if you want all the bells and whistles it has to offer and excellent wireless sound quality, it’s a choice that is hard to beat.
2. Yamaha WXA-50
The Yamaha WXA-50 is another solid alternative to the Sonos Amp. Yamaha is a trusted name in audio and electronics, and this sleek little amplifier has everything you need to power your Sonos speakers and get great sound along the way.
This option doesn’t have as many features and functions as some other alternatives on the list, but it still gets the job done. You can easily connect speakers to the amp and then wirelessly connect to a control device.
The WXA-50 also supports AirPlay and Bluetooth, so it has good connectivity for various platforms. That makes it easy to cue up all your favorite music or other audio and play it through your existing stereo system.
This amp will not directly swap out with the Sonos Amp, so you’ll need to use the Sonos Port or a similar device to get things dialed in. That will increase the cost of your setup, but the WCA-50 on its own is relatively affordable.
3. Bluesound Powernode
If you want another great alternative to the Sonos amp that delivers many of the same features and much more, check out the Bluesound Powernode. This sweet little amplifier gets the job done and has wireless connectivity and solid audio quality.
This one is hyped as “h-fi amp reinvented for the streaming age.” That’s a pretty good description from the brand, and I think the amp lives up to the distinction. It works well with many modern stereo setups and will get you solid connectivity and audio playback.
It features a small but mighty design that can easily blend in with your existing setup. You won’t need much space to sneak the Powernode in, which is great if you are swapping for the Sonos Amp, which is also small in size.
This one has so many features and functions that it can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never used a modern amp before. Be sure to learn everything it’s capable of, so you can take full advantage of your system.
4. Naim Uniti Atom
The Naim Uniti Atom is another top contender for the best Sonos Amp alternative. If you like features and modern design, this amp comes with a lot of both. It’s an easy-to-use yet still fully capable option that will have your stereo bumping in a hurry.
This also gets high marks for its durability. I haven’t heard of many problems on the consumer side, and the Uniti Atom will deliver reliable playback and connectivity for years. It’s not cheap, but it’s built to last, making it a solid all-around value.
This is one of the only amps on the list that comes with a remote control, which is a nice feature if you plan on using it with your home theater system. You can control everything and make changes without getting up, which ups the ease of use factor to another degree.
The biggest downside to this option is its price. But as long as you aren’t on a budget, I highly recommend it as a good alternative. It has a lot of inputs and connectivity, so it is also good if you have an extensive existing setup.
5. Cambridge Audio CXN V2
Rounding out this list is the Cambridge Audio CXN V2. This is a small but ready-for-anything type of amp that makes a good alternative to work with your Sonos system. It’s not as flashy as some other options, but it has everything you need for good audio and connectivity.
It has many built-in connectivity options with your favorite streaming audio services, making it simple to get set up and rolling once you integrate it into your system. It also has its own app, which is easy to use and very functional.
The Dual Wolfson WM8740 24-bit DACs give you excellent audio quality, while a 2-pole dual differential Bessel analog filter takes things to another level. The controls are also easy to navigate, so you can quickly get everything dialed in and ready for action.
I don’t think this is the best sound quality option on the list, but that doesn’t mean it sounds bad. If you are an audiophile like me, you probably aren’t using a Sonos system anyways. And this unit will mix right in with whatever setup you are working with.
Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to the best Sonos Amp alternatives.
Who are the competitors of Sonos?
There are a few competitors that offer similar performance and products to Sonos. These include Devialet, Harman International, Apple, Bluesound, and Amazon. Sonos is generally known as the top wireless speaker setup, but the competition is worth checking out.
Are Sonos better than Bose?
Sonos has a better wireless system than Bose. But Bose has been in the audio industry and offers many more products than Sonos. Which brand is better depends on your needs and preferences as a consumer and the type of setup you are looking for.
What competes with the Sonos Port?
There are a few competing products to the Sonos Port, with the Wiim Pro being one of the top options. The Wiim Pro has all of the same features as the Port and serves essentially the same purpose, although it won’t give you seamless integration into your Sonos system.
What do audiophiles think of Sonos?
Generally speaking, audiophiles prefer wired speaker systems over wireless options, which means that Sonos is not a top choice for audio enthusiasts. This is because a wireless speaker connection cannot produce as good of audio quality as wired systems.
Is Sonos obsolete?
Sonos has discontinued some of its legacy products, but this is because of the brand’s advancements in wireless technology and not because the entire company is becoming obsolete. However, some older Sonos products are now close to obsolete.
Any of the Sonos Amp alternatives listed here can work with your existing Sonos setup. But remember, you’ll need to get more Sonos products to integrate an alternate amp into the mix. You can’t just swap one for another because Sonos wants to keep you in its ecosystem.
If you are looking for good alternatives to the Amp, I suggest that you also check out alternatives to Sonos altogether. You might find something that meets your needs, and you won’t need to purchase extra products for proper integration.
Do you know of any other good Sonos Amp alternatives I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments below.