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A Sonos One (Gen 2) sounds deeper, better and more punchy than my KEF R11

JorisCeoen

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Get this… two years ago, I bought:
- KEF R11
- Yamaha A-S1100 (integrated amp)
- Yamaha RX-A4A (receiver/streamer)
- R3’s + R2C for surround supplementation

I’ve been listening stereo for my whole life, and now surround for two years. For surround, I’m very happy (even without subwoofer yet).

However, no matter how many times I try to convince myself my system must be really really good, I can’t help but feel that every time I enter a coffee shop or any other business that has the Sonos One (Gen 2) or similar type of speaker, the bass response (among other things) is insanely better.

Like, literally, it goes much deeper, seems to be more in balance, and most of all it feels like a full-range speaker despite being so incredibly tiny. Just one such speaker in most rooms sounds like there’s a massive subwoofer attached to it (even though I can’t see any except that small box attached on the ceiling in a corner most of the time).

Am I crazy, or did I buy hard into audiophile foolery?? My system (with everything together) costs shortly over €10k, and a Sonos One (Gen 2) costs around €550.

I know room acoustics are in play, but I recently switched the system over to the wall that had the best in-room response, and yet it’s not even halfway close to the punch, power and deepness of the bass of the Sonos, AT ALL.

Everything is wired correctly, and I even use Room-correction on the Receiver. I have bass boost and bass itself upped a bit, and it’s still not the same.

Can someone help me out? Two pictures to clarify what I feel should make a difference but instead seems to be the world upside-down (my KEF R11’s and then the Sonos in a coffee shop I’m talking about sounds way better).

I realize a subwoofer could/should help out, but how in the world do my speakers not even come close even without a subwoofer?
 

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Ellebob

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Sonos has a lot of smart programming for its sound signature. For instance your Kef speakers are reasonably neutral, however at low to moderate volumes we don't prefer neutral. We prefer a little bass boost and research backs this dating back to the 1930s. That's because our hearing is not as sensitive to bass at lower to mid volume. If you listen louder than we prefer a more neutral sound. Sonos knows this and applies some bass boost when playing at lower volumes and as the volume goes higher they cut back on the bass to not damage the speaker. Obviously, the Sonos can't play as loud as your Kefs. If listening at lower volume try increasing the bass on your integrated amp. In the A4A you can use Yamaha volume to do something similar for low volume.
 

thewas

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Sonos are very good at what they do…there was a similar thread a while ago. I could probably live happily with a Sonos setup if I was less of a gearhead, lol.
So true, if I was brave enough I would test and admit that with a SOTA Samsung soundbar I could have a more joyful experience than with my old school stereo system (A/B comparison stats at 4:15):


In the end thanks to the Harman research we know how important the bass is for the preference and typical loudspeakers without subs placed usually too far from the the front wall* suffer from a midbass dip which takes the fun out of much music, so such a little Sonos or subwoofer placed directly at the wall has an advantage there.

monitorplacement_wall-distance.jpg

monitorplacement_wall-distance2.jpg

monitorplacement_subwooferbackwall.jpg

Source and more of above images: https://www.genelec.com/monitor-placement

* According to the photos of the topic creator it doesn't seem to be the case, still Allison effect plays its role in all 3 dimensions.
 
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GD Fan

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Are you 100% sure that the coffee shop doesn't have the Sonos sub hidden somewhere out of the customer's view?
We had a setup of two Sonos Three speakers in stereo and found it really, really needed the sub.

Also, I personally find Sonos speakers sound unpleasant at higher SPLs.
 

Ellebob

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The Sonos speakers using small drivers are simply not capable of higher SPLs. Using a sub would help but still nowhere near what a basic bookshelf with a 6" woofer could do for SPL.
 

test1223

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Everything is wired correctly, and I even use Room-correction on the Receiver. I have bass boost and bass itself upped a bit, and it’s still not the same.
The Sonos has most likely a good loudness algorithm.

The typical hi-fi system didn't provide such a function and therefore the tonality is always wrong, with the exception of the volume at with the recording was mastered.
 
OP
J

JorisCeoen

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Are you 100% sure that the coffee shop doesn't have the Sonos sub hidden somewhere out of the customer's view?
Not sure. I only saw three of these small boxes hanging upside down. The one in the picture was the only one in that room, the other two were in the room with the bar.

Would one subwoofer be capable of providing the bass for the whole of the shop? The bass felt much louder in the room we were in than at the other end of the shop. If hidden, I wouldn’t know exactly where, but I’ll try to look for it next time. Is there a typical place it would be put in for such situations?

It would essentially make a lot more sense if it did have a sub hidden because I was flabbergasted at the deepness and punch it had.
 

Penelinfi

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Lie your KEF on the floor near the wall aimed at you. Add a little loudness curve. Report back ;-)
 

holdingpants01

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I would guess bigger room and off axis listening is a deciding factor, just buy one or two and try them at your place. Best case scenario you'll end up with sonos atmos setup and some pocket money, worst case you'll return them. Also distance from the speakers is crucial, if you sit too close it will always sound small
 
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Soniclife

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I would guess bigger room and off axis listening is a deciding factor, just buy one or two and try them at your place. Best case scenario you'll end up with sonos atmos setup and some pocket money, worst case you'll return them
This, plus ask in the coffee shop if they have a sub.
 

mj30250

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This is one reason why even for strictly music systems, I always try to use at least one sub along with a loudness curve. If the latter is not practical / easily available, then I'll make a "brute force" effort via dialing up the bass and knocking down the peaks via sub placement and EQ. For me, I'll take some excess bass energy over not enough any day. There's not much that can ruin an otherwise robust pair of speakers more than locating them in the most practical / aesthetically pleasing location and then realizing that said location is fatal to bass performance.
 

bo_knows

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You need a professional acoustician to provide the answer to your question.
I could tell you this much, your speaker in the right room with the correct bass treatments will have a tremendous kick. Guaranteed 100%. The restaurant/coffee shop is probably way larger space than your space which will help in modes distribution. From the picture, one of your speakers is placed right in the corner, I doubt that is the best place acoustically for it.
 

MarkS

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Your R11s look to be too close to the wall. KEF recommends a minimum distance of 9 inches. Closer than that could result in reduced output from the ports.

 

napilopez

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I'd also note, as someone who has a yamaha reciever, that Yamaha's room correction isn't exactly known to be remarkable. I think it got better with the latest gen, but I wouldn't be confident it addressed potential room issues.

I recommend you measure, or even try messing with EQ manually. Start with one filter and add like 2 or 3 dB around 100hz and then move it around a bit. That's where Harman often puts puts its bass bump on bookshelf speakers to give them more "kick" (see, Revel M16, JBL L82)

By the way, it's possible the coffee shops have a sonos sub somewhere. I don't know how likely, but possible. I don't konw if the shops normally set up the coffee systems themselves or have someone else do it for them.

That said, Sonos know what they're doing. Here are some in-room measurements of a single not-that-much larger Sonos Move at 130cm (note I chopped off below 34hz and above 18 khz for some reason). This was in the center of my old apartment, as far from walls as possible.

index.php


A very hard limiter, but I was getting about 85db @1.3m around 40hz with barely any room reinforcement on a single speaker. Multiple speakers could go louder. Doubtless there's a a good amount of distortion but you're not gonna care in a coffee shop.
 

alanca3

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Screenshot 2024-03-08 at 11.58.09 AM.png
The woofer is always working hard, even at low volume. There is also a large bass boost at lower volumes.


Here’s my Sonos One at four different levels between minimum and maximum output. Measured in a random spot in my room (SPL not calibrated).


They’re using what is effectively a multiband compressor to keep the driver near its maximum capacity
 
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darakon

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@ alanca:
wow, thats a strong loudness effect.

@JorisCeoen:
just try it in your own room. get a pair of sonos.
Would be interesting to read here about your impressions.
 

napilopez

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View attachment 355057The woofer is always working hard, even at low volume. There is also a large bass boost at lower volumes.


Here’s my Sonos One at four different levels between minimum and maximum output. Measured in a random spot in my room (SPL not calibrated).


They’re using what is effectively a multiband compressor to keep the driver near its maximum capacity
Do you have the loudness EQ on? I don't remember my previous Sonos speakers doing this unless I had that setting on. It's off on my measurements of the Move above.

Mind you, I think loudness EQ is a good thing and it seems sonos does it the correct way (not altering treble much if at all). I can't remember if it's the default behavior though.
 

alanca3

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Do you have the loudness EQ on? I don't remember my previous Sonos speakers doing this unless I had that setting on. It's off on my measurements of the Move above. Mind you, I think loudness EQ is a good thing and it seems sonos does it the correct way (not altering treble much if at all).
I should have clarified, yes loudness EQ is set to on. I left everything at its default settings.


I presume they chose this voicing for the wow factor. Like OP said, it sounds impressive walking into a coffee shop and seeing a tiny speaker that sounds much larger than it is.


Also I agree with you on their Loudness EQ and limiting setup. It sounds pretty natural in use.
 
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