Audio delays on external amplifiers - a stupid solution that works

  • 10 October 2017
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By now we are probably all familiar with the fact that some external receivers impart a noticeable delay in their audio processing, which means your sound from from your CONNECT+amplifier might be 5 to 20ms behind the rest of your Sonos system.

The typical solution for this is to put your amplifier/receiver in a "no-processing" mode ("Straight", "Pure Direct", or the myriad of other names that manufacturers choose for these). As the owner of an older Yamaha sound bar that has no such option--even the analog ins incur some delay--I figured I'd just have to live with this until Sonos could be convinced to put an audio delay setting in their CONNECT, but I am pretty sure that will happen "never". Sonos wants to sell you PLAY speakers, not CONNECTs.

And then I tried a stupid idea that works. Warning: this is really stupid.

I took the outputs of my CONNECT, and connected them to both to my external speakers (via digital audio) and a SONOS PLAY:5 via the analog line in. Then I have the PLAY:5 autoplay the line input source (volume muted), select my play source on the CONNECT, and set the rest of the house to play the line-in source of the PLAY:5. Like so:

Yamaha sound bar <----- CONNECT -----> PLAY:5 (line in) =====> rest of house

And voila: now the rest of the house is 6ms behind my Yamaha sound bar instead of the other way around, and I can put an audio delay in the Yamaha sound bar to synchronize it. Because unlike Sonos they are kind enough to provide such a feature. With a 6ms delay set on the sound bar, the entire house is synchronized.

Obviously this is stupid. It requires an extra Sonos component to act as nothing more than an expensive relay, and playing music around the house is no longer as simple as it should be. Ideally you'd do it with two CONNECTs wired together rather than a CONNECT and a PLAY:5 (it saves you $150, as you don't need sound on the line-in source), but I had a spare PLAY:5 that is temperamental so it wasn't being used---it made a good guinea pig.

Again. This is dumb. It costs $350 (for a 2nd CONNECT) to solve a problem that can be implemented in software.

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