Question

Can I group a Play:1 and a Sonos One SL in the same room?

  • 13 September 2019
  • 8 replies
  • 536 views

Hi Community,
I'm thinking of expanding my Sonos collection with one or two Sonos One SL, but I'm not fully sure what the capabilities/interoperabilities of these devices are.

In my living room, I have two Play:1's as a stereo pair. That is the extent of my Sonos products.

1.) Can I add a Sonos One SL to this group to get fuller music in the living room? Will the music optimization take all three speakers into account to make the music as good as it can be? Would it be better if I had 4 total (e.g. two L and two R)?

1b) If I can't add it to the group _per se_ can I create a new group "livingroom2" and play synchronized music to both zones at once?

2.) Is the above the same as adding it to a stereo pair? If it is not, is it possible to make a stereo pair with Play:1 and a Sonos One SL? (I believe it wasn't possible with Play:1 and Sonos One.)

3.) If I buy a Sonos One SL, that has Airplay support, and it is in a group with the two Play:1's, can I airplay to all three?

3b) If I buy a Sonos One SL, that has Airplay support, and it is in a *different* group than the two Play:1's, can I airplay to just the Play:1's?

Thanks for your help,
Steve

8 replies

1.) Can I add a Sonos One SL to this group to get fuller music in the living room? Will the music optimization take all three speakers into account to make the music as good as it can be? Would it be better if I had 4 total (e.g. two L and two R)?

Yes, the group, not paired. Not particularly. Maybe, but it would likely make the "sweet spot" much smaller/harder to be in.

1b) If I can't add it to the group _per se_ can I create a new group "livingroom2" and play synchronized music to both zones at once?

Yes, of course. You can put as many speakers/rooms as the Sonos system allows in the same room and group them so they play in sync.


2.) Is the above the same as adding it to a stereo pair? If it is not, is it possible to make a stereo pair with Play:1 and a Sonos One SL? (I believe it wasn't possible with Play:1 and Sonos One.)

No, it's adding another room. The Sonos software doesn't know where the speakers are physically, the room name is just for you to be able to know which is which. Sonos SLs can be paired with Sonos Ones, but not with PLAY:1s. Think of the Sonos SL to be a Sonos One that has had the microphones removed, other than that they're the same speaker. Much different than a PLAY:1, despite the similarity in size.

3.) If I buy a Sonos One SL, that has Airplay support, and it is in a group with the two Play:1's, can I airplay to all three?

Yes. Technically, you'd be sending the AirPlay 2 signal to the Sonos SL, and have the PLAY:1s grouped with it. Once the AirPlay 2 signal is in the Sonos ecosystem, you can group it with any other Sonos speaker.

3b) If I buy a Sonos One SL, that has Airplay support, and it is in a *different* group than the two Play:1's, can I airplay to just the Play:1's?

No. The PLAY:1s still don't have an antenna and processor that can handle the AirPlay 2 signal. In your scenario, that heavy lifting is being done by the Sonos SL, and then you can play it on any grouped speaker.

Hope that covers it 🙂
Thanks Bruce,

That's about what I expected (though not what I hoped).

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It's a bit disappointing about the Airplay. I understand that the older devices can't receive the stream themselves, but it's a shame that the newer devices handle the Airplay protocol and stream to the older ones.

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I also feel that while music is in stereo, I don't see why we have to dedicate an L and R speaker. I don't see why we can't just put "some number" of sonos devices around a room and have Sonos decide how to decode the music to make the best 3D sound it can out of it. It's not all that processing-intensive because it's still just originating with Stereo sound so in the end it's just got a %left channel + %right channel for each speaker (with possible delay factors) and those are constant throughout playback.

Steve
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@Wizzzard

Airgetlam answered your questions. I just want to add this...

You could theoretically at one or two Sonos One SL to your living room. In the end what you would achieve is the same sound coming from multiple directions. Also just adding a single One SL in your living room would make things sound a bit off if you leave the Play:1 's as a stereo pair. In that instance I would recommend setting all 3 as stand-a-lones.

However, I digress from my intended point...If you really want to improve the sound of the living room you need to add a sub to the Play:1's. You'd be amazed at the improved acoustics. I know a sub at $699 is not cheap. However, IMO it's the only option to really enhance and/or improve the sound (or whatever descriptive adjective you care to use) of the existing Play:1's. Just my two cents ☺

Cheers!
I'm neither an audio engineer, nor a code engineer, so I have absolutely no clue as to how difficult it would be to add what you suggest to the Sonos code base.

I'd imagine that if it made sense, from a ease of implementation, and interest as evidenced by their marketing surveys showing a market for it, they would do that.

However, I'd remind you of the "quadrophonic" experiment back in the early 70, and the success that it had, as a good starting point. When's the last time you saw a standard receiver that uses that codec, or even a CD or downloadable track in "quad"?

My perception is that most people (and hence the market I perceive Sonos to be interested in) prefer at most a stereo system for music, and a 5.1 system for video. And consequently, Sonos provides both of those.

My perception is that Sonos is much interested in chasing the wider market, and leaves it to others to do innovation and attempts to enter in new markets. Instead, I think they see where the market is the greatest, and attempt to do the best thing possible in that space. I happen to think that they're pretty damn successful at that.
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@Airgetlam

Quadrophonic...really!! I thought I was old. I even had a Quad 8 track in my 77 T-Bird back in the day. LOL.

l doubt that @Wizzzard was born then😎

Cheers!
I had a friend who has quad. I remember listening to some Pink Floyd in quad. Even then (this would have been '72ish?) there just wasn't a lot of music out there in quad, at least in any of the record stores I visited.

I managed not to get an 8-track, but I had plenty of exposure to it. I always hated that ka-chunk in the middle of a track.
Ha ha @AjTrek1, we did not have an 8-track in the family Datsun, but yes I did grow up with them around.

I wasn't suggesting that Sonos innovate with polyphonic sound. I was just suggesting that installation could consist of "Put as many Sonoses around the room wherever you want (and do not assign any Left/Right or anything) and run TruePlay and we'll make the group of speakers create a good stereo sound".
And they could do the same thing with surround sound for TV as well.

Anyway, I guess what I had not realized is that you really can only group 2 speakers in a room for L+R. I had kind of assumed that you could have as many as you want.
You're correct that you can group 2 speakers (left and right) in a Sonos "room", which is a logical construction for the purposes of the software. However, you can choose to put as many "rooms" as you want into a single physical room. So you could have a stereo pair playing as Living Room, and also have a third speaker playing as Living Room 2, and have both be in sync. Sonos really doesn't know (or care) where you put your speakers.

I think your main concern is around the TruePlay process. You would certainly be able to TruePlay the Living Room in my example, followed by the Living Room 2, but you just wouldn't be able to do both rooms at the same time. I do think you'd get a good sound out of it, but for me, losing the sweet spot out of the stereo pair due to the added mono source would be an issue.

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