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Is anyone able to play FLAC files across large numbers of grouped speakers?

  • 19 December 2019
  • 9 replies
  • 261 views

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I have a large Sonos install in my home with 17 total speakers:

-Four bedrooms, each with two Play:1’s as stereo pairs

-Three common rooms, each with two Play:5’s as stereo pairs, each with a Sub

-one speaker is wired, to create a SonosNet/Boost mode network

 

So in total, I have:

-7 rooms

-8 Play:1 speakers

-6  Play:5 speakers

-3 Subs

 

I play FLAC files from either an Android phone, a local NAS hosted library or through Plex from a local NAS hosted library. I also stream from SiriusXM

 

Playing FLAC in one or two rooms grouped together works fine. Going beyond that results in random speakers dropping out, pauses, skips, advancing to the next song. I can group all rooms together and stream from SiriusXM without issue.

 

I’ve been working through the issues with Sonos Tech Support, to limited success thus far. I added a Boost on their recommendation, altered WiFi settings, changed SonosNet and WiFi channels, wired 2 additional speakers, removed the powerline network (that wasn’t used by any of the wired speakers) and removed nodes from the Asus AiMesh WiFi network. So far, none of the recommendations have improved multi-room playback all that much. I will continue to work with Sonos Tech Support.

 

This leads to the obvious question; has anybody been able to play FLAC files across more than a handful of grouped speakers? If so, I would appreciate some insight into your setup. I’m starting to think that Sonos cannot handle the high bitrate of FLAC files across large numbers of speakers. This is disappointing as my 10 year plus old Squeezebox setup handled FLAC over a similar configuration without issue over 802.11g WiFi.

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Best answer by Stanley_4 20 December 2019, 09:17

I’d get the system to act up and within 10 minutes send in a diagnostic for Sonos staff to look at. You could post it here but tech support here is kinda thin, the contact page had some direct contact options, some 24x7 but for your situation if possible I’d say use the phone option. Check the numbers and hours for your country (the tiny flag option) to avoid expensive phone charges!

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9 replies

Hi.  Yes this gives me no problems.  My setup:

ISP router to which a Boost is wired.  No WiFi mesh or extenders.  Only the Boost is wired. 

Living Room: Stereo pair P:5s;

Playbar

Dining Room: Single P:5

Media Room: Beam; Sub; 2 x P:1

HiFi: Connect

Kitchen: Single P:1

Bedroom: Single P:5

I make that 7 rooms and 12 Sonos components including the Boost.

I play FLAC files from a NAS but also streamed Deezer FLAC in the past.  

I wouldn’t be surprised by FLAC files dropping when played from a phone.

 

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Good to know that it is possible. I'll keep working with Sonos Tech Support. 

 

I get the same level of dropouts no matter if the FLAC files stream from a phone, directly from a NAS or through Plex from a NAS, so I don't think that is the issue. Sonos Tech Support sees lots of wireless interference in the diagnostic. So far none of the recommendations have overcome that. I removed all sources of 2.4GHz noise and reduced the transmit power on 2.4 WiFi to the minium. I've also tried the Boost in different locations. Nothing makes a significant difference. 

Are you able to select the Wifi channels on your mesh?. 

Do all your speakers show WM:0 in About my System?

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Are you creating the group from the Sonos you have wired? That makes it the group coordinator and can reduce WiFi traffic.

Have you looked for non-WiFi devices clogging up the 2.4 GHz spectrum? I have found a couple devices that even with no radio made enough noise to mess up my SonosNet. A spectrum monitor (that looks at all RF, not just WiFi as many tablet/phone apps do) can be a big help here. I use the one built into my Ubiquity network gear and it is very helpful.

 

I’m playing my ripped CD FLAC Christmas music to 2 Beams, two 3s and two 1s with zero issues. I do have the Beams wired to Ethernet and started the group from one of them. I also have a wired Boost that is sometimes ignored by the unwired Sonos as they pick another wired Sonos with a better signal.

 

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All speakers report as WM:0. Working with Sonos Tech Support, I have tried all channel combinations:

  1. WiFi Channel 1, Sonos Channel 6
  2. WiFi Channel 1, Sonos Channel 11
  3. WiFi Channel 6, Sonos Channel 1
  4. WiFi Channel 6, Sonos Channel 11
  5. WiFi Channel 11, Sonos Channel 1
  6. WiFi Channel 11, Sonos Channel 6

All combinations resulted in dropped speakers, but WiFi Channel 11, Sonos Channel 6 performed somewhat better.

I have Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings home automation networks using 2.4Ghz ZigBee and Z Wave networks. I unplugged the hubs to no difference in Sonos performance. I’ll see if I can find a spectrum monitor as there could be an unexpected source of 2.4GHz noise. Maybe the ZigBee abd Z Wave devices (ex. light bulbs, light switches, plug-ins) are generating excessive noise even when the hubs are offline.

I tried using the wired speaker first and then adding in others. It makes no difference.

The configuration as reported through the Sonos app is:

Associated Product: 192.168.50.201
---------------------------------
Play:5: Basement (L) - ***Wired***
Serial Number: 5C-AA-FD-06-D4-32:B
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.13.1.7-1
Series ID: C100
IP Address: 192.168.50.201
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Sub: Basement
Serial Number: 94-9F-3E-92-D5-B4:6
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.8.6.6-1
Series ID: A101
IP Address: 192.168.50.203
WM: 0
OTP: 
---------------------------------
Play:5: Basement (R)
Serial Number: 5C-AA-FD-04-FA-FA:9
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.13.1.7-1
Series ID: C100
IP Address: 192.168.50.202
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Bedroom 1 (L)
Serial Number: 78-28-CA-99-45-26:3
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.214
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Bedroom 1 (R)
Serial Number: 78-28-CA-99-44-96:C
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.215
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Bedroom 2 (L)
Serial Number: 34-7E-5C-15-DC-C6:4
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.216
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Bedroom 2 (R)
Serial Number: 34-7E-5C-15-DC-90:1
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.217
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Bedroom Basement (L)
Serial Number: 34-7E-5C-14-E8-CA:2
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.204
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Bedroom Basement (R)
Serial Number: 34-7E-5C-14-E8-BC:5
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.205
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:5: Bonus Room (L)
Serial Number: 94-9F-3E-56-56-A4:7
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.13.1.9-1
Series ID: C201
IP Address: 192.168.50.209
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:5: Bonus Room (R)
Serial Number: 94-9F-3E-56-57-9C:0
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.13.1.9-1
Series ID: C201
IP Address: 192.168.50.210
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Sub: Bonus Room
Serial Number: 94-9F-3E-91-89-52:1
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.8.6.6-1
Series ID: A101
IP Address: 192.168.50.211
WM: 0
OTP: 
---------------------------------
Boost: Boost
Serial Number: 78-28-CA-75-10-14:F
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.12.1.2-1
Series ID: A100
IP Address: 192.168.50.200
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:5: Kitchen (L)
Serial Number: 5C-AA-FD-F5-9D-02:B
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.13.1.8-1
Series ID: C200
IP Address: 192.168.50.206
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:5: Kitchen (R)
Serial Number: 5C-AA-FD-F5-93-22:G
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.13.1.8-1
Series ID: C200
IP Address: 192.168.50.207
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Sub: Kitchen
Serial Number: 48-A6-B8-C0-0F-CE:2
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.8.6.6-1
Series ID: A101
IP Address: 192.168.50.208
WM: 0
OTP: 
---------------------------------
Play:1: Master Bedroom (L)
Serial Number: 34-7E-5C-14-E6-CC:2
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.212
WM: 0
---------------------------------
Play:1: Master Bedroom (R)
Serial Number: 34-7E-5C-14-E6-C8:F
Version: 10.6 (build 54272031)
Hardware Version: 1.20.1.6-1
Series ID: A200
IP Address: 192.168.50.213
WM: 0

Hue lighting has certainly been known to cause problems but I have them with no issues. 

Is your wired speaker at least 3 feet from the router?

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Wired speaker is a long distance from router 

Userlevel 7
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I’d get the system to act up and within 10 minutes send in a diagnostic for Sonos staff to look at. You could post it here but tech support here is kinda thin, the contact page had some direct contact options, some 24x7 but for your situation if possible I’d say use the phone option. Check the numbers and hours for your country (the tiny flag option) to avoid expensive phone charges!

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I created several topics a few months back and went back and forth with Sonos tech support. After considerable trial and error, I have achieved reliable playback of FLAC files across multiple rooms! 

17 speakers spread across 7 rooms. One Play:5 speaker hardwired and other 16 speakers connected via SonisNet. Could play SiriusXM and Amazon Music to all speakers without issue. If playing FLAC files from NAS to more than about 6 speakers, random drop outs would occur.

 

Hardwired 3 more speakers with incremental improvement. Changed SonosNet to channel 1 and WiFi to channel 11 to additional improvement. Hardwired 3 more speakers using Powerline Ethernet which Sonos does not support, also to small improvement. Biggest change came from moving Boost to the second floor as that is where most of the speakers reside. The former location of the Boost was near other 2.4 GHz interference from WiFi access point, Smartthings Hub and Philips Hue Hub. 

 

Final solution which works flawlessly:

-basement: 2 X Play:5 wired, 1 Sub wired

-basement bedroom: 2 X Play:1 SonosNet

-main floor kitchen: 2 X Play:5 SonosNet, 1 Sub wired

-upstairs living room: 2 X Play:5 wired Powerline Ethernet, 1 Sub wired Powerline Ethernet, Boost wired Powerline Ethernet 

-master bedroom: 2 X Play:1 SonosNet

-bedroom 1: 2 X Play:1 SonosNet

-bedroom 2: 2 X Play:1 SonosNet