Introduction: Cheap(er) Sonos Architectural With IKEA
Since the start of Sonos many have bemoaned the high prices of their speakers and particularly the prices of their Connect devices which offer line out for use with your own speakers. The Connect devices also lack many features of the standalone speakers such as AirPlay and are generally older hardware. The newer Sonos Port adds AirPlay support but lacks Truplay room correction which is a standout feature offered only with their standalone speakers or with the Sonos Amp paired with expensive Sonance architectural speakers.
Now there are lower cost Sonos speakers sold by IKEA which have lower quality drivers but which contain the same digital hardware as the much more expensive Sonos speakers. They support AirPlay, Truplay tuning, and are generally more reliable than the Connect. (Note that they are mono so for stereo you would need to purchase two.)
This hack has allowed me to fill my house with jaw dropping sound with in ceiling speakers tuned to each room for a fifth of the cost I would have paid using Sonance speakers and Sonos Amps!
- An IKEA Symphonisk shelf speaker
- A female RCA connector
- Thin gauge solid core wire
- Solder and flux
- Hot glue
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Step 1: Front Panel Disassembly
Unplug the speaker. Know that even when unplugged there is still a danger of being shocked by capacitors on the board.
Remove the front fabric by pulling on the logo tag. The easiest way I have found to remove the ten rubber fasteners is by partially inserting a screw and then pulling. Remove the ten housing screws underneath the rubber fasteners. There is a fragile ribbon connector attached to the front panel so do not pull it more than an inch away from the housing. Carefully remove the front panel by gripping the raised button area and wiggling. Disconnect the ribbon cable from the buttons by lifting the black lever away from the board. Note the colors of the speaker connectors so you can reattach them if desired. Detach the speakers by pressing on the metal latch in the center of the connector using a fingernail or screwdriver. The front should now be detached from the body. Set it aside.
Step 2: Logic Board Removal
Remove the two screws for the plastic cable support. Remove the speaker cable from the board by pressing on the latch and pulling on the cable. Remove the two screws attaching the power connector to the housing. Leave the power cable attached to the board for now. Unstick the ribbon cable from the housing. Remove the six black Phillips screws from the board. Carefully remove the antenna connectors glued to the board. These connectors are very fragile and bend easily. Be careful not to touch the bottom of the board as the capacitors may shock you. Place the board on a non conductive surface. Tilt the board to remove it from the housing. Remove the three screws from the heatsink and tilt it to remove it from the housing. Depending on what tools you have to hold the circuit board you may find it easier to reattach the heatsink while you work on it. (It will need to be removed again to put everything back in the housing.)
Step 3: Solder to Board
The Symphonisk uses two unbalanced outputs from the DAC. One for the low frequency driver and one for the high/mid driver. We will combine these outputs, relying on the existing resistors to create a passive summing mixer circuit. The software crossover will be adjusted by the Truplay tuning to fix the frequency response to match the new speakers.
You will need to solder wires to the DAC outputs after the resistors and before the capacitors for both channels. A third wire must be soldered to any ground. I recommend using fine gauge solid core wire. I used some 24AWG “wire wrapping wire”. You could desolder the capacitors which may make this easier. (I haven’t tried this however so YMMV.)
Solder wires to the negative (black) sides on both of the capacitors as shown in the picture. Solder a grounding wire to any ground on the board. I used a ground near the corner with the WiFi module. You may want to leave enough wire to reach out of the case and then some to ease assembly as the connector will be attached to the housing before the board is inserted.
Step 4: Solder Connector
Solder the ground from the board to the ground of the female RCA connector. Connect the two remaining wires to the positive end of the RCA connector. You may want to twist the wires together in several places to make them easier to manage.
Step 5: Secure Connections
You may want to hot glue the connections on the board to relive strain. This is especially recommended if you ever intend to use the inbuilt speaker again as the vibrations could cause the connections to fail over time.
You must insulate the connections to the RCA jack to avoid shorting out with the power connector. You can use heat shrink, electrical tape, or hot glue.
Step 6: Mount Connector
Drill a hole in the back of the case for the RCA jack. You should not drill in the center as I did because the power cable is right angled and that makes it difficult to plug in. Instead I recommend drilling a hole in the center but slightly closer to the plastic post which held the speaker cable bracket. (See the later photos for an idea of the clearances. Stay out of the path of the WiFi antenna wires as they aren’t very flexible once connected.)
Do a test fit to ensure there is enough clearance on all sides to fully connect the RCA cable. Hot glue the connector in place.
Step 7: Reassembly
Attach the heatsink to the housing. Attach the power socket to the housing. Reconnect the ribbon cable. Leave the speaker cable out as we won’t need it. Attach the board to the heatsink and housing. Connect the power socket to the board. Carefully attach the WiFi antennas. I removed the factory glue from mine to make this easier. See the picture for which color wire goes where. They are very fragile and must be lined up precisely. You should feel them snap in to place. You may want to hot glue them again.
I chose to remove the speakers from the front cover as I am placing them in a rack and I didn’t want unnecessary magnets near my hard drives. In theory this should also make up for some of the cooling lost from the movement of the speakers but I’m not sure that matters much.
Attach the ribbon cable to the front buttons. Screw the front plate to the housing. (I chose to use only two screws as there are now no vibrations from speakers to worry about.) Insert some or all of the rubber fasteners. (I chose to insert them only where I did not put screws to make disassembly easier.) Replace the front fabric cover.
Step 8: Connecting and Tuning
Connect the speakers to an amplifier. The output volume may be a bit lower than other sources due to the resistors used in the passive summing mixer. Use the Sonos app to perform Truplay tuning in order to fix the crossover.
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