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Unexpected delay in wired setup

  • 7 October 2018
  • 10 replies
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I'm using an up-to-date Sonos One as speaker for my Macbook Air (also up to latest Mac OS X version "Mojave"), connected only via GbE cables with a 1000Mbps switch in between.

The first odd thing is that the link speed on the Sonos One side is only 100Mbps (odd, I would expect 1000 from such a high-end device, but whatever, compressed sound is only tenths of Kbps anyway, and uncompressed just above three hundred at worst).

What actually disappointed me is the lag in various scenarios:

* Control actions (play, pause, volume change) take 1-2 seconds since commanded from say, iTunes
* In most video applications and websites the audio lag (always behind video) is just brutal (seconds)

Is this normal? Am I doing perhaps something wrong regarding network setup?

PS: my local wired network runs just fine, with consistent speeds nearing 1000Mbps.
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Best answer by ratty 8 October 2018, 10:37

The original complaints were two-fold:

* Control actions (play, pause, volume change) take 1-2 seconds since commanded from say, iTunesThis is iTunes/Apple/Airplay-related. Control actions from a Sonos controller take a fraction of a second to have effect (not including any delay to start a stream, which depends on external factors).

* In most video applications and websites the audio lag (always behind video) is just brutal (seconds)As already explained, this is in Apple's court for Airplay. If you wanted to have near-instantaneous response from Sonos you'd need to hardwire the computer to a Line-In jack (on Play:5, Connect, Connect:Amp and shortly Amp). There'd still be a small (~75ms) network latency but for many it's acceptable.
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10 replies

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A GB Ethernet connection to your Sonos would be only cosmetic and the only impact it would have is changing the link status light on your router from yellow to green. The Sonos devices just don't need that level of data throughput. Raspberry Pi folks had the same complaint so they changed and put a GB port on the new Pi, it does give a tiny improvement in speed but it has made the customers happy (including silly me) to have the router's link light change color.

With the newer versions of the Sonos software I'm seeing similar delays in some operations, it is a bit frustrating for the mute/pause to be so slow to react. I'm not sure if it is related to the controller forgetting which room it was supposed to be connected to or not.

I thought it might be related to my tablets going into sleep mode so I have hooked power to a couple of them and let them go to the screensaver instead of sleeping. That has made no difference in the forgetting the room or the delays in passing commands.

On the off chance you have another issue causing this get it to happen again and send Sonos a diagnostic and post the number here so they can look at it.
I'm using an up-to-date Sonos One as speaker for my Macbook Air
Using Airplay? It doesn't matter how fast the wired connection is, there'll be network buffering which will introduce significant latency.
Aren't all ethernet ports in Sonos equipment 10/100, and not Gigabit capable anyway?
Userlevel 7
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ratty, I feel like the delay has gotten worse over the last few updates, of course since I wasn't expecting it I have no way to confirm that.

Airgetlam, Everything I have is 100 and the catalog pages show 10/100 for the ones I just checked. The new Sonos Amp just days dual Ethernet, no speed given.

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/amp.html
Stanley_4, I'm not really concerned with cosmetics or light colours. The RB Pi is a very different kind of product, a way more generic/DIY one, and it is easy to imagine use cases where a 1000Mbps link would be beneficial (say, a file storage server hooked to high-capacity drives via USB). In any case, I understand and respect Sonos choice, they know better no doubt, just wanted to point it out in case it could be relevant in diagnosing the problem's root cause.

ratty, thanks for confirming this kind of buffering is "normal". Still, I believe control operations (such as play/pause or volume) are instantaneous to send/process, no reason to buffer those for up to two seconds. Also, that kind of audio buffering is also questionable IMHO, given link speeds and audio compression capabilities of modern machines... and up right unacceptable for AV media consumption (ever watched a movie with a few hundred milliseconds of A/V delay?, well, try up to 2 seconds).
Buffering is relevant for syncing purposes; and Sonos isn't responsible for Airplay, you should take your concerns to Apple. I think Macs still use Airplay1 (with the exception of iTunes).
Yes, a certain degree of buffering is always needed, but let's not confuse means and ends. Buffering is a mean, synced/responsive playback is the end. I don't care how much buffering there is, as long as everything works smoothly, which doesn't.

I also understand AirPlay is an Apple technology, but certainly Sonos integrates with it and might have something to say. Perhaps Sonos could have some control over how much buffering/delay MacOS introduces, perhaps not.
The original complaints were two-fold:

* Control actions (play, pause, volume change) take 1-2 seconds since commanded from say, iTunesThis is iTunes/Apple/Airplay-related. Control actions from a Sonos controller take a fraction of a second to have effect (not including any delay to start a stream, which depends on external factors).

* In most video applications and websites the audio lag (always behind video) is just brutal (seconds)As already explained, this is in Apple's court for Airplay. If you wanted to have near-instantaneous response from Sonos you'd need to hardwire the computer to a Line-In jack (on Play:5, Connect, Connect:Amp and shortly Amp). There'd still be a small (~75ms) network latency but for many it's acceptable.
Thanks ratty for your clear and direct answers. I'll see whether I can get any improvement on the OS/AirPlay side of things.
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I've noticed that when playing Netflix or Youtube on my macbook and streaming audio to my Sonos One via Airplay (through 5 GHz WiFi), the video 'adjusts' itself to match the audio latency.
For example I hit play on the video and it waits for the audio to kick in before actually playing the video. I find it to be pretty convenient.