Sonos Version 6.4 Now in Public Beta



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I haven't tried the beta yet, but I really think there should be a classic mode setting for people who don't like the iTunes style playback.

I don't think the new Sonos beta is like the current iTunes style of playback. I use iTunes, Apple Music etc. and I can't see anywhere that Apple add an entire album to a 'now playing' queue when you choose to play a single track from an album...(just as an example).

If anything, I'm told this beta is a lot more closer to how 'Spotify' and 'Google Play' work.
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Just installed the beta and here are some initial opinions:

1) The loading of the cover art seems extra slow and sluggish following the update. Cover art loading has always been sluggish in Sonos but this update seems to have made things worse. Other apps are great visually with much quicker loading of cover art. This is an area that really needs to be improved in the Sonos app. Sometimes the cover art fails to load, other times it loads and then subsequently disappears.

2) My initial thoughts are that I like the new playback options. It used to infuriate me that if I had been listening to say a playlist on shuffle and I went to an album with the intention of listening from start to finish (as the artist intended), a replace queue would start the album playing in shuffle mode. You would have to stop the music playing, go into the queue, turn off the shuffle and then tap the first track. Very long winded and cumbersome. This new update makes things a lot simpler. Just a simple tap of either "Play All" or "Shuffle" and you get what you want.

3) When in an album view there is a "..." icon in the very top right hand corner of the cover art for the old style options. I think this is a bit hidden away and I think it would be more logical to have this to the right of the "Play All" and "Shuffle All" button and in-line with the same icon next to each track. It would be a more consistent layout in my opinion.

Initial thoughts are that this is a good update, but I can understand why some people might not like it, as it's very different to what long time users of Sonos have got used to. I'm glad that we now have easier playback whilst still retaining the benefits of the queue.

I'm sure I'll have more views as I continue to use the new version.
In fact looking at this post https://en.community.sonos.com/controllers-software-228995/updating-shuffle-and-the-queue-6738344?postid=16020678, it seems nicka99, who is clearly a Spotify user, has got quite a few things that he had previously wished for in this new Sonos beta.

Having said that though, there are some things that appear in all the major streaming services today and that is to 'play' and 'shuffle' playlists directly across to a 'now playing' queue and I guess Sonos are just catching up with the 'common' functionality of all the main services to make things more standardised for the end-user, no matter which Music Service they choose to subscribe to.

I don't think the new Sonos beta is like the current iTunes style of playback. I use iTunes, Apple Music etc. and I can't see anywhere that Apple add an entire album to a 'now playing' queue when you choose to play a single track from an album...(just as an example).

If anything, I'm told this beta is a lot more closer to how 'Spotify' and 'Google Play' work.


It's not exactly like iTunes, it is a hybrid that attempts to placate the iTunes people who don't like the queue. It's the worst of both worlds.
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I haven't tried the beta yet, but I really think there should be a classic mode setting for people who don't like the iTunes style playback.

I don't think the new Sonos beta is like the current iTunes style of playback. I use iTunes, Apple Music etc. and I can't see anywhere that Apple add an entire album to a 'now playing' queue when you choose to play a single track from an album...(just as an example).

If anything, I'm told this beta is a lot more closer to how 'Spotify' and 'Google Play' work.


By iTunes style I meant double clicking on a track and the album playing from that point onwards automatically. After an initial play I can see that it's more like Google Play.

I must admit I have never really been a big user of the queue for building up a playlist. Any playlists that I intend to keep, I create in the music service and then load these into the queue. My wife has traditionally been a much bigger user of the queue building up playlists on the fly. This frustrates me as I can then only save the playlist as a Sonos queue which I try to avoid. I can't then choose to listen to that playlist on my mobile device for example. The list of tracks is tied into the Sonos eco system. If only there was a way of converting a queue of tracks from a single music service into a native playlist for that music service. For the vast majority of users who only use a single music service or source this would be hugely beneficial.
Jgatie,

I don't regularly use iTunes on my PC's very much (for music playback) these days, but I do use the linked 'Apple Music' app on various iOS devices (see screenshots) which has its own queue that you can show/hide. There are some differences with the way the Sonos beta operates, but I really think that all the different Music Services are converging to bring a 'similar' experience to the end user.

At least that means the end users can easily switch their services if they want to and know straight away how everything works. That can't be a bad thing for the majority, or for a competitive market place, but there will always be those who will not like some things, particularly if they have got used to operating things in a different way.
DarrenLink,

I was not being critical of your earlier comment about iTunes Style, in fact I see the new Sonos beta as perhaps trying to spread itself across all the functionality of the major online streaming music services, which as I said above, in reply to jgatie, that I think are converging to bring a similar experience to the end-user.

I really do see your last few posts here as being extremely 'fair' and 'well balanced'. They provide good 'constructive' feedback to Sonos. as they show your initial reaction to the beta and you highlight both the negatives and positives.

I'm sure the Sonos developers are happy to receive such type of feedback in this balanced way. There is nothing worse that to work hard on a particular project, to then have people tell you all the bad things about it, without ever mentioning the good bits. It's surprising how many people do that and don't realise the demoralising effect it can have.

I thought your posts were well presented. I certainly was not trying to be personally critical of your iTunes Style comment.
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I really do see your last few posts here as being extremely 'fair' and 'well balanced'. They provide good 'constructive' feedback to Sonos. as they show your initial reaction to the beta and you highlight both the negatives and positives.

I'm sure the Sonos developers are happy to receive such type of feedback in this balanced way. There is nothing worse that to work hard on a particular project, to then have people tell you all the bad things about it, without ever mentioning the good bits. It's surprising how many people do that and don't realise the demoralising effect it can have.

I thought your posts were well presented. I certainly was not trying to be personally critical of your iTunes Style comment.


Agreed, thanks for the feedback Darren!
You can 'play next' or simply 'add to end of queue' using a long press on a track or by selecting the elipsis (...) and then go to queue itself and play the track without replacing the queue, but these things are not a single step as Mike rightly says. However there are lots of other benefits in the beta. I try to look for a glass that is 'half full', rather than it being 'half empty'.

I like the few improvements, but it is poor that they also removed longstanding facilities, needlessly IMO. This doesn't make me a glass half empty person.

The general aim of the upgrade seems to getting the music pumping with reduced clicks. The opposite happens where the queue is exhausted, but you want to retain the current contents of the queue.

You now need to:
* long press
* "Add to End of Queue"
* open the queue
* scroll down to find the new entry
* do it very carefully, so that you don't accidentally start something else playing
* tap on the 1st track of the new entry

I really hate this, as this is my new routine for almost everything that I play. There is no other way around this if you want to retain the day's queue.

It could be avoided in either of two ways:

1. adding a third button to the "Queue Has Been Edited" confirmation dialogue box. This third button would add the track or album to the bottom of the queue, and where the queue is populated, but currently idle, it would start playing from the new item(s) immediately

2. Or add a new configuration option to the vanishingly few already available. Something affecting the interaction between the Play button and the Queue, ie. Replace|Destroy the queue, versus Add to the queue and start playing from this new item(s) if the queue is currently idle.

Maybe the reason that these options weren't implemented is because they add complexity? However I think that they deluding themselves if they think that the new behaviours themselves are intuitive.

What is intuitive about "Play" also selecting the remainder of items in the album or playlist, where-as the other options in that menu, such as Play Next etc, just select the one track?

How is it it intuitive that if I place a checkbox alongside just one track in an album, and then press Play, it queues and plays multiple tracks?

How is it intuitive that if I add a single track to an empty queue, and then add another, the queue is protected (aka "edited"), but if I add a whole album, or a bunch of tracks via the new Play behaviour, to an empty queue, the queue is not protected?
Haha, can't believe you don't know about the dropout issue that is actually there mate. Sonos admits this, soooo!! That's why I'm awaiting in excitement, cause it's annoying as heck when watching movies and listening to music 😉 My network connection is btw most excellent.

AmigosDK,

I haven't seen anywhere that Sonos admits any dropout issue with the Play-5 speaker. You mention it like it is a very common problem, but it's not something I have encountered with my own equipment.

I too, watch movies regularly via Netflix etc. and I also listen to streaming music via Apple Music and Google Play subscriptions all the time (well, most days) aswell as playing songs stored on my local NAS and I cannot recall a Sonos wireless speaker ever dropping out like you describe here. It sounds like you must have a local fault somewhere?

Can you kindly point to where Sonos admits this is a problem?


I would love to do that, but kind of hard as it was two different guys from their support team whom I was on the phone with last week a couple of times. They both told me about the issue and admitted they had an issue and yes it happens while having play 5 gen 2 as surrounds 😉 But I'm glad to hear that it's resolved in the next update cause it's killin me atm. Common fault or not, depends on ones own opinion, but I have a few friends and family who share the same problem since they have the same setup up. So for me, that makes it pretty common! Luckily enough the support team ruled out everything else, no interference, no bad wiring etc. so I'm looking forward to the update 😉
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@BarryM

I agree - whilst the new features do improve things, they seem not fully though out and there is definitely room for more gains !

What is perhaps more concerning is that the release has got this far (public beta) without these issues being addressed which probably means they wont be before general release. Sonos uses public betas for identification of bugs/glitches by a wider audience rather than a general assessment of the usability of the changes themselves and the possibility to alter them before general release.

I really miss is the ability to add tracks/albums/playlists to an existing queue (without destroying) and play them immediately. This could be inserting at the 'now playing' position in the queue or at the end. There exists already (in 6.4) the ability to add to the end of the queue but not simultaneously play it leading to the tedious path mentioned previously. Adding to the queue in the current position and playing immediately is something new (doesnt exist in 6.3) and is a welcome addition in 6.4 BUT it only works when you add a single song via the universal search. I dont know why there is different behaviour according to how you navigate to a track. Search the track by name and click on it from the results and it is inserted into the current position in the queue and plays immediately OR navigate to the same track via an album or playlist and you only have the choice of 'Play Next' or 'Add to End of Queue' OR blow the queue away and add the whole album/playlist from that track onwards (with a warning in case the queue is edited). Very inconsistent behaviour.

so IMO extra options should be
- add a "Play Now in Queue" to the '...' menu of track/playlist/album - this will insert the track/playlist/album (however you got to it) into the current queue position and play it
- add a "Play Now at End of Queue" to '...' menu of track/playlist/album - this will insert the track/playlist/album (however you got to it) to the end of the queue and play it
- add both the above options also to the 'This Queue has been edited' dialog (make 2 rows of buttons). Only 'Play Anyway' will destroy the queue and replace it.
- keep Play Next, Add to End of Queue, Replace queue as they are on the '...' menu.
- as per DarrenLink above, move the '...' menu in the top right of album/playlist to be more prominent and aligned to the right of the 'Play All' and 'Shuffle' and make it bigger.

just my 2 pence worth 😉
I like the few improvements, but it is poor that they also removed longstanding facilities, needlessly IMO. This doesn't make me a glass half empty person.

The general aim of the upgrade seems to getting the music pumping with reduced clicks. The opposite happens where the queue is exhausted, but you want to retain the current contents of the queue.

You now need to:
* long press
* "Add to End of Queue"
* open the queue
* scroll down to find the new entry
* do it very carefully, so that you don't accidentally start something else playing
* tap on the 1st track of the new entry

I really hate this, as this is my new routine for almost everything that I play. There is no other way around this if you want to retain the day's queue.

Yes it seems they have tried to make the beta work like other music service apps. This is where many folk seem to have raised a gripe. Perhaps another menu option that says 'Add & Play' or just 'Play' could be (re)considered. I'm not so sure about adding further options to the ’Queue has been Edited’ warning dialog box is the way to go, but I would need to think about that some more.

I personally do not save many playlists and my queue is rarely more than 30 tracks, so I tend to 'play next', 'add to end of queue' and just wait until the song comes around, or occasionally I will 'replace the queue'. It's not so bad if you value your playlists more than the queue and/or don't mind waiting, but I see there are many that value their queue more, which is fair enough.

Maybe the reason that these options weren't implemented is because they add complexity? However I think that they deluding themselves if they think that the new behaviours themselves are intuitive.
Yes I think it would add more complexity like you say and perhaps the Sonos developers intend to do that later, but wanted to keep things simple for now and ease the end-user into these changes gently, so as not to confuse them. Time will tell if that is the case.

How is it intuitive that if I add a single track to an empty queue, and then add another, the queue is protected (aka "edited"), but if I add a whole album, or a bunch of tracks via the new Play behaviour, to an empty queue, the queue is not protected?
That's because you have not actually changed what was originally in the queue, you only have to alter the sort order by moving/removing/adding one track and the queue is no longer the original one. It therefore sees the queue as being personal to the end-user and so invites it to be saved before replacing it with another selected playlist.

One feature I do quite like, personally speaking, is the beta now adds the entire album/playlist to a queue when only one of the tracks is chosen, so you can go onto listen to some more tracks if you want to and it 'keeps the music playing'... I know this isn't for everyone, but I think it is how Spotify works and it shows that things are moving on from playing 'single tracks' and encouraging us all to play (wider) 'playlists' instead and listen to even more music. I don't find that a bad thing.
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You can 'play next' or simply 'add to end of queue' using a long press on a track or by selecting the elipsis (...) and then go to queue itself and play the track without replacing the queue, but these things are not a single step as Mike rightly says. However there are lots of other benefits in the beta. I try to look for a glass that is 'half full', rather than it being 'half empty'.

I like the few improvements, but it is poor that they also removed longstanding facilities, needlessly IMO. This doesn't make me a glass half empty person.

The general aim of the upgrade seems to getting the music pumping with reduced clicks. The opposite happens where the queue is exhausted, but you want to retain the current contents of the queue.

You now need to:
* long press
* "Add to End of Queue"
* open the queue
* scroll down to find the new entry
* do it very carefully, so that you don't accidentally start something else playing
* tap on the 1st track of the new entry

I really hate this, as this is my new routine for almost everything that I play. There is no other way around this if you want to retain the day's queue.

It could be avoided in either of two ways:

1. adding a third button to the "Queue Has Been Edited" confirmation dialogue box. This third button would add the track or album to the bottom of the queue, and where the queue is populated, but currently idle, it would start playing from the new item(s) immediately

2. Or add a new configuration option to the vanishingly few already available. Something affecting the interaction between the Play button and the Queue, ie. Replace|Destroy the queue, versus Add to the queue and start playing from this new item(s) if the queue is currently idle.

Maybe the reason that these options weren't implemented is because they add complexity? However I think that they deluding themselves if they think that the new behaviours themselves are intuitive.

What is intuitive about "Play" also selecting the remainder of items in the album or playlist, where-as the other options in that menu, such as Play Next etc, just select the one track?

How is it it intuitive that if I place a checkbox alongside just one track in an album, and then press Play, it queues and plays multiple tracks?

How is it intuitive that if I add a single track to an empty queue, and then add another, the queue is protected (aka "edited"), but if I add a whole album, or a bunch of tracks via the new Play behaviour, to an empty queue, the queue is not protected?


Barry M,

For the scenario you have described I think an option of "Add to End of Queue (Play Now)" wherever "Add to End of Queue" appears would be a great addition. I've played with it more this morning and really love the simplicity - all the benefits of fast music playback but retaining the ability to build up a queue of albums/tracks on the fly. This is a great update in my opinion and I've had Sonos since the very beginning. Hopefully with a few tweaks it can be perfected whilst retaining the simplicity and flexibility.
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Just had an alternative thought regarding my previous post. Perhaps wherever "Add to End of Queue" appears replace with "Add to End of Queue (Play Now)" with the "Play Now" part appearing a bit like a hyperlink (or alternative style / colour). If the user taps the "Add to End of Queue" part it would add it to the end without playing but if you tap the "Play Now" area it would do the same but play immediately. It wouldn't take up any extra vertical screen space but would give the user both options in one - Just a thought.
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I think the beta is a great improvement.
I would like to see the below functionality added...

When you have built your queue I then find it long winded to reorganise it if you want.
You have to click edit and then drag the tracks one by one to the new order. It would be great if you could click on a track and theb to have the options of 'play next' then 'play 3rd' then 'play 4th' etc moving the track at the same time.
The current way is especially annoying if you have a long queue and you have to drag and drop for ages and then you have to try and find the place you dragged it from to carry on!
Userlevel 2
I am using the Beta and the changes don't impact me all that much, especially since there is no change to the ios app for now. Still trying to see what all has changed. The queue option has always been a bit too wonky to enjoy. I am hoping to find that these updates change that. With my wife and 3 kids all playing music the queue ends up a mess with songs on there 3, 4 or 5 times. I just end up clearing the queue and starting fresh all the time.

I am messing around with the room settings and i don't see what has changed. I have 3 rooms and everything seems to be acting the same as before I had this Beta. Am i missing something?

The big thing I see still missing in this Beta is the ability on a PC to search across all my music options (local, Spotify, Pandora, Prime, etc). in a single search. I can do that on the phone and that's the main reason I used the phone more than the PC interface. What is preventing this functionality on the PC?

**Getting away from the blue PC interface would be nice too but that's just cosmetic.

Love my Sonos and cant wait to add other rooms to the mix.

Matt
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The only changes are when playing songs. Picking a song now plays from that point forward in album or playlist. Queue functions are now a ... menu on right of song. Prior to this update all queue functions appeared when clicking on song.

PC will not have universal search until point it is completely overhauled. And I do. It believe they have plan for an overhaul there (actually many have asked for it not to. E modernized).
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Overall I really like the new system, it feels much more logical and quicker to play and hear what i want to hear. Big thumbs up from me.

The suggestion made by others to enable a way to add to queue and play at the same time seems a good idea.

I find it tiresome to hear the same gripe by certain regulars that playing in this way is to please iTunes users and is a poor system. I don't use iTunes but I have used streaming services and they all work this way (the ones I've used anyway). Before streaming services, I used CDs (remember them) and my CD player would play the track I select and then continue to play the remaining tracks on the CD without me telling it to do so. I suspect that the majority of users find this way more logical and many of these same users didn't use iTunes. I appreciate that everyone has their own preferences and some may prefer the old way but please don't keep assuming that everyone else used iTunes and wishes sonos to behave like iTunes.
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I agree it more of a way a lot of services work. My issue with current beta is that in the process there is functionality taken away for people who purchased Sonos because it's not like other services. They just need some tweaking to make it more friendly to queue users who don't want to play from here.

-queue options in queue is in use dialog
-play now option for single song when queue not in use
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For the scenario you have described I think an option of "Add to End of Queue (Play Now)" wherever "Add to End of Queue" appears would be a great addition. I've played with it more this morning and really love the simplicity - all the benefits of fast music playback but retaining the ability to build up a queue of albums/tracks on the fly. This is a great update in my opinion and I've had Sonos since the very beginning. Hopefully with a few tweaks it can be perfected whilst retaining the simplicity and flexibility.


Agreed on all points
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How about clicking on song is play from here. The ... menu is queue only. So when click on ... first option if queue not in use can be play this song only (start queue). Once queue started then clicking on song says queue is in use and gives you queue options instead of a fairly worthless "queue has been edited dialog" that is a dead end.
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Just some simple tweets needed to make it still easily usable for those still wanting to use queue.
If I select a single track it's because I want to listen to that track and nothing else. If I wanted to listen to the whole album I'd have added the whole damn album, that's logical, anyone who can't get their head around that shouldn't be using expensive devices like this. I don't want Sonos to second guess what I want, I want it to do exactly what I damn well told it to do, which is what it has always done. Until now. This is the first time in nearly ten years of ownership that I've been actively disappointed in anything Sonos has done and having had the same amount of time listening to other people whinge about trivialities you can be damn sure you lot are going to hear a lot from me about this from me! This is horrible.
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I wish Sonos would just have given us a toggle switch to turn play from here on and off... don't know why they dislike customization so much
I wish Sonos would just have given us a toggle switch to turn play from here on and off... don't know why they dislike customization so much

I'd go along with that.