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Meet Sonos Roam, the ultra-portable smart speaker

Meet Sonos Roam, the ultra-portable smart speaker

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I suspect if you pair multiple devices it will pair up with whichever device it ‘sees’ first.  When I got my first Roam I tried Bluetooth pairing with my phone and then my laptop. It seemed to want to automatically connect to whichever it saw first. I had to temporarily disable Bluetooth on one device to get it to switch.  Then I deleted the pairing on my phone. I forgot I had left a pairing on the laptop. When I got my second Roam a couple of days later I set the pair up as stereo on Wi-Fi. The next two days I had trouble with the stereo pair going back to individual speakers each morning. Turns out I had left the laptop BT pairing enabled. When I turned the laptop on each morning the one speaker went back to Bluetooth mode. Was very confusing until I realized what had happened.

I suspect if you pair multiple devices it will pair up with whichever device it ‘sees’ first.  When I got my first Roam I tried Bluetooth pairing with my phone and then my laptop. It seemed to want to automatically connect to whichever it saw first. I had to temporarily disable Bluetooth on one device to get it to switch.  Then I deleted the pairing on my phone. I forgot I had left a pairing on the laptop. When I got my second Roam a couple of days later I set the pair up as stereo on Wi-Fi. The next two days I had trouble with the stereo pair going back to individual speakers each morning. Turns out I had left the laptop BT pairing enabled. When I turned the laptop on each morning the one speaker went back to Bluetooth mode. Was very confusing until I realized what had happened.

You’re on the right track with that assumption. Roam will actually automatically pair back to the device that it was connected to most recently. So if you have 2 devices in range of Roam when switching to Bluetooth it will establish the connection with the device it was last connected to. If that device isn’t in range, it will check through its connection table (list of up to 8 devices it’s connected to previously) to see if any are in range.

Is the pull much stronger with the Sonos charger?   I wished I had paid more attention in physics...wondering if a thicker/bigger piece of metal than the fridge will hold it better.  Wondering if that’s why the charger works better, or perhaps the charger has a magnet with the opposite charge.

Yeah, the pull is much stronger with the Sonos charger, I can get mine to snap together by moving them around ¾” apart (horizontally) which leads me to believe that the charger also has magnets inside (still waiting on an answer for that from the product team).

 

Not because I don’t trust you, but I had to test the refrigerator myself.  I didn’t really notice anything.  Tried the refrigerator magnets as well...nothing.  It didn’t really stick to metal either, so I would guess there is a corresponding magnet in the charger to make it work.  And I suspect that there is maybe a magnet on each of the 3 sides, so that it aligns properly.  And for that reason, I don’t think other chargers will work right, even if the polarity matches up.

You’re on the right track with that assumption. Roam will actually automatically pair back to the device that it was connected to most recently. So if you have 2 devices in range of Roam when switching to Bluetooth it will establish the connection with the device it was last connected to. If that device isn’t in range, it will check through its connection table (list of up to 8 devices it’s connected to previously) to see if any are in range.

 

For some reason, I always thought that the sending device determines the automatic connection.  I am looking at my phone settings, and although I can manually select which devices to connect to, I don’t see any auto connection option.  This is unlike WiFi, where I can set the phone to automatically connect when a WiFi network is present.

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You’re on the right track with that assumption. Roam will actually automatically pair back to the device that it was connected to most recently. So if you have 2 devices in range of Roam when switching to Bluetooth it will establish the connection with the device it was last connected to. If that device isn’t in range, it will check through its connection table (list of up to 8 devices it’s connected to previously) to see if any are in range.

 

For some reason, I always thought that the sending device determines the automatic connection.  I am looking at my phone settings, and although I can manually select which devices to connect to, I don’t see any auto connection option.  This is unlike WiFi, where I can set the phone to automatically connect when a WiFi network is present.

I have blue tooth headphones and speakers.   When I turn them on they automatically connect with whatever I had then paired with before (phone or laptop).  The bluetooth in my car connects with whatever phone it paired with last time (if it is there) or whatever paired phone it sees.  So if my wife used my car last time and we both are in the car when I start it I think it will connect to her phone.  My laptop will connect with the bluetooth mouse as soon as I turn it, or the mouse on.

Wifi is a different kind of animal.  With wifi you are joining an existing network with any number of devices using the wifi at the same time.  Bluetooth devices are typically a one-to-one connection.  My Bose headphones seem to connect to both my phone and my laptop.  But I am only able to listen to one or the other at any given time.

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Ever since we connected the roam to our system we have had endless problems with the app on various devices including i phone and i pad becoming un responsive. Constantly having to reset the router. Never had this issue before.

When we open the app the browse section just flashes numerous times and nothing happens

Anybody able to help with this issue 

Hi @Phoebebus

 

What kind of router do you have? Is it a BT Smart Hub 2? If so, have a read of this article and let me know how you get on.

 

And if it isn’t a BT Smart Hub 2, perhaps more information might be helpful to allow folks to understand and make a better analysis of what might be going on. Particulars, such as what software version your Sonos is on, S1 or S2, and which controller you’re using. What device you’re running the controller on, and what OS that device is running. What Sonos devices you have beyond just the Roam? How your Sonos is connected to your network, is it wired or wireless? Do you have a BOOST or BRIDGE? 

 

Edit: Forgot to ask about what kind of network you have, too. Is it a mesh, or a single point router? If it is a mesh, what brand is it, as it does make a difference as to figuring out what might be going on. 

Thank you so much I do have a smart hub 2 hopefully BT will sort it soon 

thanks for your help

 

When the Roam or Move powers on this way and is not targeted for playback, it will be in a low power state, so battery drain will be kept to a minimum. Rest assured, you shouldn’t see any negative effects from the Roam waking like this.

Well this design does not appear to be working. I’m seeing rapid battery drain. What is the point of having a power button if you can never really turn the speaker off?

 

When the Roam or Move powers on this way and is not targeted for playback, it will be in a low power state, so battery drain will be kept to a minimum. Rest assured, you shouldn’t see any negative effects from the Roam waking like this.

Well this design does not appear to be working. I’m seeing rapid battery drain. What is the point of having a power button if you can never really turn the speaker off?

You can turn the speaker off. You’re probably confusing sleep mode with off. Pressing the button once for a short time will put the Roam to sleep. This allows it to be woken by the app or by another short button press. Holding the power button for 7 seconds will power the Roam off completely. You will need to hold the power button for at least 1 second to turn it back on. 

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You will need to hold the power button for at least 1 second to turn it back on. 

Interesting, mine turns on with the briefest press I can manage.  This is from off and not standby.

Has anyone managed to use “Switch Account” with Alexa on their Roam?

There’s two people in the house and we have our own Spotify accounts tied to our own Alexa profiles in one Amazon Household. I have the Sonos account so it defaults to my Alexa profile, which means that if we want to use Spotify on Roam other people (okay, my mum) has to AirPlay from her phone, and she’s in a very learned pattern of walking in and asking Alexa to play. 

I’ve tried disabling the Alexa Sonos Skill, and adding it to my mum’s Alexa account in the household. Switching accounts works perfectly on my Sonos Beam so I don’t think there’s an issue with the Alexa integration. Asking the Roam to Switch Account, it replies “I’m sorry, I can’t switch accounts right now”. All other Alexa functionality works, albeit from my profile.

 

Edited to highlight the use of Amazon Household Profiles

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I don’t think you can have multiple Alexa profiles on Sonos, at least you couldn’t when I last checked.

 

You can use the Sonos App to use multiple Accounts for the streaming service such as Spotify, but from a voice activation perspective it is always through the one Alexa account…. So will always be played on the Spotify account registered with Alexa.

 

unless things have changed since I last looked at this use case.

@BMF sorry I mixed my terminology, there’s one Voice account (mine) that has household profiles. It works on the Beam (i.e. “Alexa Switch accounts” works as intended), but not on the Roam

@BMF sorry I mixed my terminology, there’s one Voice account (mine) that has household profiles. It works on the Beam (i.e. “Alexa Switch accounts” works as intended), but not on the Roam

Yes, it seems that switching profiles isn’t available on the Roam at the moment. I also see that the Alexa component on Roam cannot be used to control/enable groups in the Amazon Alexa App too. Hope these things get sorted. 

@BMF sorry I mixed my terminology, there’s one Voice account (mine) that has household profiles. It works on the Beam (i.e. “Alexa Switch accounts” works as intended), but not on the Roam

Yes, it seems that switching profiles isn’t available on the Roam at the moment. I also see that the Alexa component on Roam cannot be used to control/enable groups in the Amazon Alexa App too. Hope these things get sorted. 

Interesting, I can’t think of it being a hardware issue seeing as it’s capable of handoff etcetera. Must have been a feature that didn’t make the launch software release or the day1 software release. Glad it’s not me; I still love it, I’ll just train my mum to use her phone/iPad more… or fork out for Apple Music; seeing as I already have to share with my cat who has his own mid-day siesta playlist!

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Hi @melvimbe,

 

I’ve checked with our engineering team, and they’ve confirmed that this is expected behaviour. Roam Stereo Pairs can be relatively fragile and are more susceptible to be being broken than that of stereo pairs of other players. Additionally, Roam Stereo pairs don't automatically recreate after being broken.

There are three main reasons why a stereo pair of Roams can be broken:

  • If one targets a member of a Roam stereo pair via bluetooth it will break the pair
  • If one member of the Roam stereo pair is physically moved elsewhere it will break the pair
  • If one member of the Roam stereo pair runs out of battery it will break the stereo pair

It seems like you’re hitting point number 2 which explains what you’ve written above. Currently, when a Roam stereo pair is broken, it has to be manually recreated in app. I understand that’s not the experience you’re looking for, and I’ve fed this back to the Product Development team for future consideration. If you have any other questions let me know.

 

Thanks for this James.  That’s a good comprehensive answer.   I think I’ve experienced points 1 and 2.  It also seems like just powering off a speaker breaks the pair, but I suspect perhaps that’s a part of point 2 (or 3).  The result is that one of the speakers just isn’t ‘there’ to pair with, and therefore, the pair is broken.  I would like for the pair to reform when the missing speaker returns, but I can also see why that would be somewhat confusing since that’s not an option for point 1 (bluetooth).  I would guess that in normal everyday use, point 1 is what will break a pair most often...my random testing doesn’t reflect typical use.

While I’m talking about negatives, I also can’t seem to get the speaker swap function to work.  This is most likely is user error, as I’m not sure I’m holding and releasing the play/pause button with the right timing.  I personally would rather have an additional button for speaker swapping, rather than reusing the same buttons.  Same goes for the power/bluetooth mode button.

I really am pretty impressed with the sound quality.  It’s great for small spaces, and I don’t really feel like the bass is missing or doesn’t get loud enough.  Also tried it on my android with both speakers connected via bluetooth (mono) and thought it was pretty impressive,   And I am surprised how much I like it in lunar white.

 

 

 

 

 

Having the paring break because one of the Roam’s battery runs down first is very annoying.  To the casual consumer they didn’t do anything wrong yet their setup keeps getting FUBAR’d.

It would be extremely valuable to have an advanced setting to force the pairing to be restored / never break.  The default could stay as is, but with an advanced setting, everyone could have what they want.

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Seeing tremendous battery drain with both of my Roam’s.  If I set them down and come back to them a few days later, they are both 0%.

I have tracked this down to the poor UI/UX of the power/wake/sleep button and modes.

If the Roam is not plugged into USB-C, and not sitting on the wireless charger base, it will keep waking up and the battery will discharge.

I have also found the single button being used for power on, power off, sleep mode, bluetooth mode, and full reboot differing only in duration of press and mode of when pressed (different functions based on whether pressed from power off, power on, etc.) it appears flaky and unreliable to consumers, not power users.

Most other portable speakers have at least two buttons - one for power modes, and a second dedicated only to Bluetooth pairing.

Don’t see a quick fix for that, but for the battery discharge problems, I would strongly request that the sleep mode be changed either as a default or with an advanced setting that allows the user to specify that after the Roam goes to sleep, it should then proceed to full power off after xx time (minutes or hours) and not power on again until the power button is pressed.

This should apply if not plugged in to USB-C or sitting on wireless charger. This will then function as users expect - go to sleep if briefly inactive, but go to full power down if not used within a reasonable time of going to sleep.  Roam’s would then not run down their batteries and have a nasty surprise when you “grab and go” a few days later.

 

Except when you use Google Assistant it would shout at you like crazy and there is no option to put down the assistant volume while keeping the main volume up (because you are playing some Netflix movies which are many times very quiet). Sonos promised change 2 years ago (and it is very simple software adjustment) but delivered nothing.

Just received my Sonos roam. It’s broken such that the sound crackles and suggests it’s blown. I sat on the phone waiting for Sonos for 10 minutes. They asked for a video and said they would send me a case number to upload it. Instead, I received an email that says they are unable to continue, and there is no option given to continue other than starting over with another phone call. So, I have to start the process all over. This is unacceptable customer service and quickly becoming a waste of my time. I am ready to send this broken product back. It’s unreasonable for me to receive a broken product and then have to do all the legwork on my side to get a replacement or a refund. Let’s see if my follow up yields a better customer service result.

3rd party measurements on ASR. 
 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sonos-roam-spinorama-and-measurements-more-proof-mainstream-speakers-can-be-real-good.23433/

Returning my Sonos Roam today. Google Assistant is shouting like crazy and it is impossible to lower it’s volume and keep volume of movies or music up. AirPlay from Macbook just doesn’t work. It takes few seconds to start playing (very annoying, because movie is already running), when you pause for like 5 minutes, it won’t start playing at all and you have to switch to internal speakers and back to Sonos. If you play from VLC, many videos will completely loss sync between video and audio. Useless. 

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AirPlay from Macbook just doesn’t work. It takes few seconds to start playing (very annoying, because movie is already running), when you pause for like 5 minutes, it won’t start playing at all and you have to switch to internal speakers and back to Sonos. If you play from VLC, many videos will completely loss sync between video and audio.

I think that is more of an issue with airplay on the MacOS end rather than the Sonos end.

 

I had exactly the same issue when trying to use AirPlay on a different speaker too.

 

I gave up with AirPlay for this scenario.

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