Sonos 5 (v1), 3 , Boost + Mac system sound (line in)


I know this is a touchy subject and I have searched this forum multiple times trying to find the best solution to meet my needs but most of the topics don't actually speak to my needs so I am finally starting a new one... Please no trolls about the push / pull systems or any of that garbage... I am just looking for a solution for my issue.

I NEED to play my mac audio through my Sonos system. I don't have a TV or Apple TV etc... and use my MacPro for all of my media needs. After buying my Sonos 5 and 3 (both v1) years ago I figured out a work around by plugging my Sonos 5 directly into my MacPro via the line out. I do watch a lot of movies ect on my rather large 4k monitor.

This works ok BUT when trying to play music through both my 5 (which is plugged in) and my 3 (which is not and can not) my 3 is constantly breaking up (despite living in a 1 bedroom open floor plan type apartment. This has rendered my 3 pretty much unless for me.

I was just given a Boost (which I have not plugged in as of yet) and was wondering what the proper way (if any) to keep playing my system sound through my 5 and still be able to use my 3 to mirror that system sound... I am hoping the Boost may help but honestly am not sure it will and also not sure the best way to set things up.

I have been hearing about SonoAir but last I read it still had a 4 second delay to it.

So to recap, I have v1's of the Sonos 5 & 3 players and now a Boost.
I want to play my system sound through both players and not have cut outs.

Any suggestions that don't tell me to go with another system are much appreciated.
Thanks!

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8 replies

I use a play 5 also. Connected to my TV with line-in. Stereo pair play 1's for audio. And the play 5 more like a sub. Works great. Until it doesn't. It just recently started breaking up when playing. Cutting out intermittently. It feels like this started happening after some updates. I re-paired the speakers and still issues. Normal service playback works perfectly. But line-in not. Sounds a bit like your issue. It SHOULD work fine. I think the playbar and base are fugly. And want this functioning again.
If your 5 is connected via Ethernet you should be using SonosNet, worth checking the channel it's using & that it's not the same as your Wifi Settings->Advanced Settings->SonosNet channel. Adding the Boost would help slightly, but it should be possible to get your existing setup working.

You could also try changing Settings->Advanced Settings->Audio Compression to Compressed instead of Automatic & see if things improve when you group your Play 5 & Play 3? Not sure if that will introduce a slight delay, but you can change it back easily.
Going to compressed will certainly increase the lag compared with uncompressed, although for music that doesn't really matter.

Alternatively set your line in device to be 'Airplay device' even though it isn't. This introduces a bit of extra buffering, which can help with slightly choppy sound.

Make sure that when you group speakers you start from the 5 - but I expect you do anyway.

If either of your speakers is already wired by Ethernet then the Boost is almost certainly redundant. If not, then wiring the Boost to put your speakers onto SonosNet may make the whole system more robust.

I don't think anyone on here who would talk of 'push' and 'pull' tech could ever be justifiably accused of trolling. Not to mention that I can't think of how that would be relevant to your problem anyway.

I hope that helps.
Incidentally, Airplay 2, when added, might give you a better solution, although you would almost certainly need to buy a more recent speaker such as a Sonos One to enable your system. Details as yet unknown.
Hey all! Thanks for the responses...
Right now I do not have the Play:5 connected via Ethernet. Just a mini-jack our of my MacPro to the mini-jack on the Player.
I was under the impression (possibly wrongly) that connecting the Play:5 via ethernet would not allow me to play my mac system sound directly. Is this not the case? OR can I (should I) have both the mini-jack and the Ethernet cables hooked up to the Play:5 therein enabling the Mac Audio Out and the "meshed Sonos Network?"

So just to make totally clear the most important thing to me is to not loose the ability to use my Sonos Play:5 as a player to watch video content via my MacPro. Ideally where I want to be is to use my Play:3 and Play:5 grouped to listen to music throughout the apartment... and ideally I would like to get a Play:1 or two but honestly been holding out until I have figured out a way to get these two players to behave the way I want :-)

So with what I have now... Play:5, Play:3 and a Boost... am I correct that a decent starting point would be to first try.

1. Plugging in all 3 devices.
2. Have the Boost plugged into the ethernet port on my router.
3. Have the line out on my MacPro plugged into my Play:5 (or not??)
4. Re-configure the system using BOOST Mode.

Or am I missing something?

Alternatively set your line in device to be 'Airplay device' even though it isn't. This introduces a bit of extra buffering, which can help with slightly choppy sound.


Would using Airplay allow for sync'd video / audio playback John?

If your 5 is connected via Ethernet you should be using SonosNet, worth checking the channel it's using & that it's not the same as your Wifi Settings->Advanced Settings->SonosNet channel. Adding the Boost would help slightly, but it should be possible to get your existing setup working. You could also try changing Settings->Advanced Settings->Audio Compression to Compressed instead .

I have tried that and it does lag too much when watching video content (but that is to say with my current possibly flawed setup... it may work better once I figure out the proper way to do things :-)

I don't think anyone on here who would talk of 'push' and 'pull' tech could ever be justifiably accused of trolling. I am sure you are right John B... I wrote this post after reading dozens of threads with some people responding to innocent "help" questions with a superior IT snark that served no one, least of all the community at as whole... I am thankful for threads such as this and also have a very real curiosity behind the technologies in play and why certain things are/are not possible within the scope of those technologies, I just wanted to avoid unhelpful feedback meant to make me or anyone else reading this thread in the future (to solve similar workflow issues) feel stupid.

Thanks for all your help thus far... it is very much appreciated!
In answer to your question about airplay. No you aren't using airplay and cannot - I was suggesting that you tell your Sonos system (in the line in settings) that the line in device is an Airplay device. This is purely a trick, because Sonos throws in half a second of extra buffering when it thinks the linein device is an Airplay device. That won't be ideal for video applications though.

The setup you propose is correct and for what you are trying to do you must keep the line-in from the Mac to the P;5. What is happening is that analog audio is going from your Mac to the P:5. The P:5 is turning it into digital data to be sent to the other speakers (where it gets turned back into analog audio again (i'e sound you can listen to.) The digital data makes its way round the system via wireless or along the Ethernet cables. Thus the Ethernet cable to the router cannot substitute for the line in, they perform totally different functions.

But also, by wiring any Sonos component you trigger SonosNet, which in many ways is a superior way to move data round the system.

Does that make sense?
Again thanks for the assistance... HOWEVER.
So I tried doing as listed above (plugging both the ethernet & the minijack into the P:5) but that resulted in serious delay when watching video (I tried it as you suggested with Airplay as a setting AND then switching from AirPlay to Mac Computer)

So when that didn't work I simply unplugged the ethernet and rebooted my mac and things seemed to be working fine... until they were not working well... the cut outs started happening after an hour or so... this time on both speakers (previously the cut out would only be on the P:3) As such I am inclined to believe that the boost maybe cutting out as that is the newest addition to the equation but as the audio is still being plugged into the P:5 from my mac why would that cut out? could the boost be interfering with the P:5 or is it something else?
Any delay has nothing to do with the Ethernet connection. The Boost is almost certainly not cutting out. I rather think you would be best advised to call Sonos Support so that they can take a direct look at your system and see if there are any interference or other network problems to be addressed.

You might first experiment with changing the channel used by SonosNet, which is under Advanced Settings in the app, but I doubt that will solve it.