Line In: New No Delay Local Mode

  • 14 February 2013
  • 38 replies
  • 25886 views

Userlevel 1
I'm using a Connect to switch between TV audio (line-in) and other traditional Sonos sources. I find the minimum 70ms delay on the line-in input to be maddening. While it occasionally works out that audio/video are reasonably sync'd, more times than not the Connect noticeably degrades A/V sync. Additionally, if other televisions are on in adjacent rooms (common occurrence) the delay in the Connect creates an obvious audio sync problem between devices. After having read the forums, etc. I understand some of the technical reasons for the delay; I’m not proposing we violate the laws of space/time. What I am proposing is a dual-mode line-in function. The primary mode would work exactly as it does now (ability to share Connect line-in with all Sonos components). The secondary mode would be a local only mode (no sharing) and would forgo the analog to digital conversion process and simply provide direct analog amplification for the line input. This would completely eliminate the line in delay problem! This may involve a hardware design modification in addition to a software change, but I consider it a must have. I'm fairly new to Sonos (2 months) and the system generally has exceeded my expectations. However, I consider the line-in delay issue a major shortcoming.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

38 replies

I'm not sure this is relevant to what you are saying, but I am using a Connect:Amp and a TV with no noticeable delay.  I watch TV, the TV audio goes to the Connect:Amp and out through speakers wired to the Amp.  The lips seem matched pretty well.  I did this by using the headphones jack on the TV to RCA cable, then plugged the RCA cables into the inputs on the Amp.  Since I never use the built-in TV speakers and I always use the wired speakers for sound, this works really well for me.

There's also the added bonus that I can control the volume by using the TV volume, since it's tied to the headphone jack.  I also have the Amp set the source input to the TV as soon as it detects a signal on the line-in.  So I can turn on the TV and watch it, and control volume without having to touch the Sonos app.

Like I said, this may be something totally different than what you are trying to do - if it helps, then excellent.
Userlevel 1
Badge
This Sonos speaker (play 5) sucks. I had a $30 speaker that performed perfectly with no delay connected to my sons drums before. It's impossible to keep the beat now that the drums are connected to the play5. Do I really need two speaker systems in his room?
Johan.  Anyone can design a single speaker system with no lag.  The lag is there to allow multiroom syncing for playing music.  The P:5 is an excellent speaker.  The line-in is a relatively incidental add-on (that Sonos haven't thought worth including on more recent speakers)
Userlevel 1
Badge
Exactly John B. Anyone but Sonos.
I wouldn't even have considered Sonos if it wasn't for the line in option. I'm just sad the Sonos team isn't good enough to program it so that when I'm not synching line in with other rooms, it will go straight through to the speaker without the delay. 
Who doesn't want synch between the video and audio on their TV? They even have a special TV speaker so don't say line in is just incidental. 
Complements HD television screens with richly textured HiFi sound.
The recent speaker (play1) is a small budget speaker, that's why it doesn't have line in (just like play3).
Exactly John B. Anyone but Sonos.
I wouldn't even have considered Sonos if it wasn't for the line in option. I'm just sad the Sonos team isn't good enough to program it so that when I'm not synching line in with other rooms, it will go straight through to the speaker without the delay. 
Who doesn't want synch between the video and audio on their TV? They even have a special TV speaker so don't say line in is just incidental. 
Complements HD television screens with richly textured HiFi sound.
The recent speaker (play1) is a small budget speaker, that's why it doesn't have line in (just like play3).


The Playbar's primary function is as a TV sound bar.  It cannot perform that function without a wired connection.  The comparison to the line-in on a Play:5 is entirely bogus.  You may choose to think of the Play:1 and Play:3 as "budget" speakers.  I see them as part of a range suited to different room sizes and types.  Let's agree to differ on that one.

You are perfectly entitled to lobby for any feature you like on Sonos.  My only objection to your original post was your conclusion that the Play:5 "sucks".  You have expressed your view and I have expressed mine.  Again, let's agree to differ.  Life is too short to spend any more time on this one. 
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
So you bought a multiroom network hifi system when you wanted something completely different?
Userlevel 1
Badge
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
John B, This thread is for wining about what Sonos easily could do (firmware update) but don't. It doesn't need a counter winer telling us it doesn't do what we want it to do.
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
Yeah John you smart a**, we paid a crazy amount for a simple speaker with at least the hope it was more flexible. I've been whining since 2009 for an alternate way to play music without the playlists (like every other app on the planet) and haven't been grwnt d that wish either so I'm not holding my breath.
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
Could you clarify what you mean by 'an alternate way to play music without the playlists'. I wasn't aware that Sonos could only play playlists so I must be misunderstanding something.
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
When I click on a song I want it to just continue playing out to the rest of the album. Currently you have to add the album or songs to the playlist the pick the song you want to listen to.
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
Thank you for clarification.  You mean the queue, not a playlist.  This thread may be of interest:

https://ask.sonos.com/sonos/topics/simply-want-it-to-play-next-track
The speaker is worthless for playing guitar out from an iPad which is what I'm trying to do. I would love to have my money back to have a cheaper solution.
Indeed I did. Thanks for the info.
I found a solution to this: simply set the Line-in to "uncompressed" in the line-in settings. It's the compression that is causing the delay.
I can tell you that I've tried with the compression settings on the Sonos units, and the direct vs. filtered sound on the home theater system (connected with Sonos Connect), and I can not get the Sonos components (Play 3/5) to play without an audible delay. This is really terrible. Looks like this feature has been requested for going on ten years!
SONOS was conceived as a robust whole house stereo system and it works very well for that purpose. So well, that the SONOS company now dominates this application. That 70ms delay is one of the reasons why SONOS works so well because it allows the players some time to work through the inevitable little day to day network issues. Eliminating the delay would result in a less robust system.

If "no delay" is a requirement for your application, then SONOS is not the system for you. For example, SONOS would be a poor choice for use as a guitar amplifier or PA system. Except when used in conjunction with PLAYBAR, one should not attempt to use SONOS components in a surround sound application.

True, "anyone" can build an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker, but this is not a practical whole house approach. Bluetooth is optimal for short range, very low power communication -- perfect for handset to ear microphones and such or single room, portable wireless speakers, but not for covering a whole house.
If "no delay" is a requirement for your application, then SONOS is not the system for you. For example, SONOS would be a poor choice for use as a guitar amplifier or PA system. Except when used in conjunction with PLAYBAR, one should not attempt to use SONOS components in a surround sound application.

This statement would be fine if there was anything in the SONOS specs to warn you of the delay, but as there is no information suggesting such a delay exists there is no way of making this choice before you buy it. I love the Play 5 anyway, but I had hoped that I would be able to use it to double as a PA system. The delay makes this impossible.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
If "no delay" is a requirement for your application, then SONOS is not the system for you. For example, SONOS would be a poor choice for use as a guitar amplifier or PA system. Except when used in conjunction with PLAYBAR, one should not attempt to use SONOS components in a surround sound application.

This statement would be fine if there was anything in the SONOS specs to warn you of the delay, but as there is no information suggesting such a delay exists there is no way of making this choice before you buy it. I love the Play 5 anyway, but I had hoped that I would be able to use it to double as a PA system. The delay makes this impossible.


Oh come on! If you're going to make that statement I'll point out there is NOTHING in the Sonos advertising or marketing output that suggests Sonos is a great PA system, karaoke system, DJ deck or guitar AMP.

Besides, Sonos offer a very generous money back no questions asked if you buy from them.
.... there is no way of making this choice before you buy it. I love the Play 5 anyway, but I had hoped that I would be able to use it to double as a PA system. The delay makes this impossible.

Um, they give you a 45 day trial period:

"Products purchased directly from Sonos or from an authorized Sonos dealer may be returned under the following circumstances:

Within 1 year of the date of original shipment for a defect ; or
Within 45 days of the date of original shipment for any reason "

http://www.sonos.com/support/policies
Just discovering how much of a nuisance this line-in delay is. Tried plugging a DJ mixer into my Connect, and the delay between headphones (connected to the mixer) and speakers is literally impossible to work with. Bit of a bummer, but at least I can still bypass my Connect and plug the mixer directly into my amplifier. If I want audio to other rooms, I suppose I could always plug line out from my amplifier into the Connect...
Badge
I'm tossing my hat into the ring on this as well Was really hoping that the 75ms delay when using uncompressed audio would work with recording my piano with some audio software but the lag is just too much. I don't need to stream the audio to any of my other systems - I just need it for the speaker that it's plugged into. But no go. Now I'm trying to rationalize keeping it for another room or just sending it back. The simplicity of design and great sound would have made this a perfect fit for my music room, but in the end - I need as close to zero latency as possible to make it work.
I gave up well over a year ago. Replaced my AMP that amplified the TV as well with a NAD amp and a Connect. It sat me back €1000 but the delay was driving me insane.
IMO sonos should fix that delay problem when the room is not streaming to other rooms.
I'm hoping for a new AMP in the near feature with 2 line connections and 1 digital (optical?) and no more delay!
Fixed, I started with issues with aux on my play five tv started lagging, turned out to be audio compression settings I changed these and it was sorted.
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
It would be a really easy firmware upgrade option to add a toggle switch that said "No delay for plugging in mics, instruments, TVs, DJ mixers. Yes/No"

Then a warning that simply says "Please be aware that while in No Delay Mode you can't sync your music with your other Sonos devices".


Adding these features are free and adds something to the system, there is no negative.
A Connect (without the Amp) essentially converts audio to digital to send over WiFi ... and when it arrives at the remote Sonos speaker end, plays the digital WiFi signal transmitted via Connect through the Sonos speaker. While this audi/digital conversion is likely very fast, there will always be some latency as the audio is buffered/converted and sent in digital blocks via WiFi and the reassembled at the remote speaker end. And thus, the inevitable delay (75ms in the case of Sonos with compression turned-off). If want to have live sync audio (e.g., guitar, piano playing, singing), you must plug directly into an Amp without then sending off to wireless speakers (I don't care who's wireless speakers you use). If you are watching a video (TV, DVD) then the audio delay can sometimes be compensated for via settings on your AV receiver or the way your system is setup (e.g., Audio-in to Connect directly from the source (DVD, Cable Box) meanwhile have the video pass through an intermediate A/V receiver/amp on it's way to a TV and or projector wherein there is likely some modest delay. If you connect your audio source directly to line into a Connect:AMP with speakers directly connected to the AMP, then there should be no delay, otherwise, yes, I agree that Sonos should fix this. Ditto for connecting directly to a line-in on any other Sonos speaker (or PlayBar if you have an optical out from your audio source) as long as no other remote Sonos speakers are included in the mix.