Line-In Latency/Delay Disable PLAY:5


Userlevel 3
Hey Sonos Engineers!

I know this has been touched upon. I previously submitted this request to support and they encouraged me to share here to keep the conversation going.

Is there any chance we could implement a soft switch for line-in audio to bypass the computer for "delay disable" functionality.

I understand and appreciate the reason for the delay.

However, I'm running turntables through a mixer and into the line-in of the PLAY:5. Can't teach my son to mix records with that delay, and since we're set-up in a communal space, my wife is not too keen on bringing out the old mix monitors. Can you dig it?

Can we figure out a way to manually disable the delay on an individual speaker basis?

Otherwise love the gear!

Thanks!

Here's quote from customer support. Hope it isn't too heavy handed or out of school to post:

"I'm not on the development team, but I personally think that it wouldn't be too hard to implement some kind of soft switch to bypass the computer altogether and pipe line-in audio directly to the amplifiers (something like a computer-controlled solid state IC relay network)."

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193 replies

Badge +17

Hey folks,

 

This is a 5-year-old topic that’s been discussed at length, and not just here. There’s plenty of information about the merits and demerits of line-in latency on Sonos products on previous pages with many users chiming in on their experiences. I’m going to close this topic for further responses as it feels like this thread has run its course.

Yep! Totally correct Ratty, thanks! The design flaw is in the communications design. That is, none of us here knew that this ‘feature’ would disable needed functionality at purchase. That means it is a design flaw since it is not clearly stated, and a design flaw in that it is unnecessary for standalone speaker setups with line in being used. 

 

 

You’re changing your argument.  No where in your previous post did you imply that the issue was with communicating product features.  And referring to communication as a ‘design’ is just trying to bridge the gap from your old argument to the new.

While I understand that people want to know everything that a product does or does not do before purchase, it’s not exactly fair to expect a company to provide a list of everything that their product doesn’t do.  Even if they did provide such an extensive list, people would still complain that the company should have done a better job of dispelling their assumption.

There also the fact that communication is marketing, which should be about putting your product in a positive light, rather than highlighting everything the product can’t do.  I personally would be turned off by an extensive list of things a product can’t do, even if it wasn’t a feature I don’t need.  I end up playing the ‘what if’ game, when reality is that I really don’t care about latency issues in 99% of my uses...like 99% of other customers (not real statistics here).

If you spend any amount of time on here, you will see that people make assumption about what Sonos, as well as other AV equipment, can and cannot do, often highly inaccurate.  The good news is that we live in an age where you can easily do some research and ask questions through the internet before making a purchase rather than relying on assumptions or what’s printed on the box. 

And absolutely, make suggestions on product improvements.  There is a big difference between wanted a new feature and demanding it and claiming it’s a design flaw with nothing to back your assertion.

As I see it, Sonos needs to own this ‘feature’ and state it clearly, or fix it for a substantial number of users. In that sense, it is a design issue. At the very least, it needs to design its communications to serve its users. 

I never would have purchased my sonos 5  (nor perhaps would many on this thread, I assume) had I known of this design ‘feature’. 

 

 

So why didn’t you return it?

 


I have checked the product FAQ here, and nowhere does it state Aux line in has latency. Confusingly, it does state it for TV. https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/five.html

What Sonos could do is simply change their FAQ. Or perhaps fix the issue. Sorry if the above was confusing. 

 

Just for reference here are some other common incorrect assumptions that are made:

  • Sonos can play in sync with Amazon, Google, or any other smart speaker products
  • Because Sonos has WiFi, and so is your PC, Sonos can play any audio on your PC
  • You can pair different speaker models to form a stereo pair (example - Sonos Five and Sonos One)
  • You can use a Soundbar as a center channel and add speaker to the front left and right.
  • You can do 7.1 or 9.1 home theatre audio
  • Sonos can play any home theatre codec
  • When you connect  2 pairs of speakers to the Amp and they will play 4 different audio channels.
  • All Sonos speakers have bluetooth, because bluetooth = wireless
  • Other speaker makers support their products forever.
  • Sonos voice assistant (Alexa and Google) has all the features of echo and minis
  • The Sonos app plays the audio and sends it your speakers.
  • The hardware on old Sonos speakers is irrelevant, because all the processing can be done on your phone or other speaker.
  • Sonos decides what features are available for streaming services in the Sonos app, not the streaming service provider.
  • Surround sound is the same audio coming from the front and the rear.
  • HDMI and HDMI ARC/eARC are the same thing.
  • You can stereo pair Move and Roam over bluetooth

 

I do not fully understand why line-in would require latency. 

I really do suggest you read the thread from the top.

@ ratty 
Thanks for that, yep, as I mentioned, TV is not line in specific in the FAQ. 

This is what is written for Line in:
Will Five connect to my turntable?
Yes, you can connect your turntable to Five using the line-in port and an auxiliary cable.
https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/five.html

This is the issue for DJs, live performers and others. I understand that Sonos has TV specific products with 30ms latency. The use cases on this thread are often performer specific, where latency is an issue. All, including myself, understand this is likely an edge case for most sonos users. Still, would be nice to communicate in the above 

@john. You are totally right! I don’t understand! As a note, I am a working professional sound designer who has 20+ years experience. I have built DACs, speakers, and sound systems for professional environments. I have had Sonos as my client multiple times, and have worked with their teams over the years in various capacities.
But it is true! I do not fully understand why line-in would require latency. So to your point, thanks for clarifying. Maybe you have some insights? I would assume that with your enthusiasm that you may at least have contacts there? Maybe you can ask them directly?

I’d like to understand more, so that’s why I am calling. Seems like a pretty good idea to ask, but again, it seems that my curiosity has somehow sparked some feelings, so @john, I’ll be sure to add the caveat that I know nothing about Sonos when I report back. 

thanks!

Also, John B, 

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and Ratty. 

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I see that I am dealing with some serious Sonos fans. Sorry to wade into that, I’ll certainly learn to keep my opinions to myself, leave it to the authorities here. thanks y’all. 

Ah we are on familiar territory here.  DFTT.

@n-ron .  I am entirely happy for you to express your opinion.  Allow me to express my opinion that you understand nothing about the Sonos system.  Just out of curiosity, what use do you want to make of the speaker which is impacted by the latency?

I have checked the product FAQ here, and nowhere does it state Aux line in has latency. Confusingly, it does state it for TV. https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/five.html

I followed your link, and opened the FAQ section. It says:

The line-in isn't designed for use with a TV and will result in some latency or lip sync issues while the audio is converted from analog to digital.

The latency applies to all Sonos sources, not specifically the line-in.  And it doesn’t matter for listening to music, on one speaker or 20.  It only matters when it is noticeable because referenced to something it was never designed for - like to sync with a TV picture, or as a musical instrument speaker.

If all you are doing with your Play:5 is listening to music, the latency ia completely irrelevant.

Also, John B, 

  • 16129 replies

and Ratty. 

  • 27907 replies

I see that I am dealing with some serious Sonos fans. Sorry to wade into that, I’ll certainly learn to keep my opinions to myself, leave it to the authorities here. thanks y’all. 

Yep! Totally correct Ratty, thanks! The design flaw is in the communications design. That is, none of us here knew that this ‘feature’ would disable needed functionality at purchase. That means it is a design flaw since it is not clearly stated, and a design flaw in that it is unnecessary for standalone speaker setups with line in being used. 

As I see it, Sonos needs to own this ‘feature’ and state it clearly, or fix it for a substantial number of users. In that sense, it is a design issue. At the very least, it needs to design its communications to serve its users. 

I never would have purchased my sonos 5  (nor perhaps would many on this thread, I assume) had I known of this design ‘feature’. 

I have checked the product FAQ here, and nowhere does it state Aux line in has latency. Confusingly, it does state it for TV. https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/five.html

What Sonos could do is simply change their FAQ. Or perhaps fix the issue. Sorry if the above was confusing. 

 

‘Design flaw’?  Bug?  It is absolutely key to the design of the Sonos system.  I imagine you only have Sonos in one room?  If you are going to be calling the helpdesk frequently about this, prepare yourself for repeated disappointment.

 

.. I think we all understand 'why' Sonos has latency, your point has been mentioned many times throughout this thread, the point is understood and valid only from the use of wanting to sync to other speakers.

Surely playing multi room in perfect sync is the entire point of the Sonos system… That’s what is was designed for and it’s how it’s sold. Anyone who thinks differently clearly didn’t do enough research before they bought it.

Some here and myself are not interested in always syncing music, but using the speaker as a simple standalone speaker via the line in.

So buy something more appropriate to your needs…

 

We're asking for the option to reduce or remove the latency simply and purely for direct local use of the speaker (musicians use).

As far as I’m aware, Sonos kit has never been advertised as suitable for studio use

Personally, I have no strong feelings about it, and certainly don’t object to it being made available, but criticising Sonos for not doing something that they never, ever said that it  could do is unreasonable.

In my opinion, this latency is a design flaw. I assume it is a defect unless responded to by a Sonos help team. I would like to add that the logic behind Sonos’ decision here is not clear to us.

I suggest you read the thread. The design principles have been gone over multiple times. 

Sonos is a multi-room wireless networked audio system. This requires a modicum of buffering to sync reliably, hence the delay.

In my opinion, this latency is a design flaw. I assume it is a defect unless responded to by a Sonos help team. I would like to add that the logic behind Sonos’ decision here is not clear to us.

What might be beneficial is to raise it, collectively, as a bug or ticket. 

I will be calling their helpdesk frequently, as this design flaw has rendered my setup almost useless. For those so inclined, the number Call Us at (800) 680-2345

I realize complaining in a forum is both deeply satisfying (heck, I’m doing it right now!) and builds a sense of community. I think both are super valid and this is a great place to share progress. I will be reporting back with any updates. 

And yes, I am not expecting much to happen. But at the very least a response from Sonos on policy could be some progress.
Just thinking maybe if we do act together through their helpdesk channel, it possibly could make a difference...
 

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I too had purchased Sonos products with the specific intent of playing records and making music assuming it would be in real time or at least in a way that would not obstruct performance.

After discovering the latency I realized that going forward I couldn’t scratch, mix records or make beats.

While we may not be a large enough contingent to approve a feature implementation it should be noted that there are multiple threads regarding this issue and many of us are professional DJs, producers and audiophiles who are simply looking to monitor music the old fashioned way (I for one am willing to have a dedicated, hard-lined input if necessary) forgoing the internet and it’s networks to do so.

We will still use the Sonos system to stream the ever growing sources of online services, it would be ideal if the controller software also allowed for certain products to be a standalone amp or powered speaker if offered as an option.

Warning: Crunchy, raw, unboned real dead frog”

Userlevel 7
Badge +22

I think Sonos should just add a disclaimer to their marketing pages that says “Sonos do not recommend use for live music sources such as DJ or karaoke, or with projectors that lack eARC” which would save us all a lot of time here on the forums reading through enormous threads like this that will never change anything.

Another vote here for the zero latency line-in when playing to local speaker feature. Bought myself a DJ controller and you’d think the £500+ Amp you got for the living room would be able to handle playing it without a delay huh?

 

Standard disclaimer: I know the delay is there for a reason for all the regular out of the box users and 95% of use cases. All we’re asking for is an advanced option squirrelled away in the settings area where only the most determined will find it to cut out the delay. After all Sonos is for music lovers right… and who loves music more than a DJ?

Hi all,

I’ve just learnt the hard way about the line-in audio delay for the Sonos 5 and I’m surprised and more then a little annoyed with Sonos. I’ve just renovated my office and I’ve chosen the Play 5 (overkill for the room size) solely for the line-in so I can use it for online meetings with my computer.  I replaced a perfectly good Bose setup to standardise on Sonos and I’m regretting that decision now. I shelled out for the overpriced Flexson wall mount which I won’t be able to return. 

I’m leaving this here to add my voice to the group of people asking Sonos to listen and get the zero latency line-in option available!!!
Thanks
Anthony

You stated this “good article” has “knowledgeable input” on the latency of the line-in.  He got even the very basics of the line-in latency wrong.  I don’t call that “good” or “knowledgeable” at all.  

And we know what you are asking for.  People have been asking for it for 16 years, and it hasn’t come to pass.  TIme to move on. 

A good article here, knowledgeable input on the subject of unfortunate latency on the Sonos 5's. 

https://darko.audio/2021/03/3-more-thoughts-on-the-sonos-five-vs-kef-lsx/

 

 

Not knowledgeable at all.  The delay is not due to any DSP.  It is due to the need to buffer the input for multi-room sync.  Sonos needs to build up a buffer before playing, so that any timing issues have a buffer to work with in case of signal errors or dropouts.  The buffer allows each unit to re-request any bad packets before the buffer runs out, thus not affecting the stream and keeping the units in sync.  

 

.. I think we all understand 'why' Sonos has latency, your point has been mentioned many times throughout this thread, the point is understood and valid only from the use of wanting to sync to other speakers.

 

Some here and myself are not interested in always syncing music, but using the speaker as a simple standalone speaker via the line in.

 

We're asking for the option to reduce or remove the latency simply and purely for direct local use of the speaker (musicians use). The article makes a point not made here yet, some knowledgeable info, in that in his experience of latency, it needs to be below 40ms for it to be unnoticeable and or useable as a direct source of sound. Knowing this makes it surely an even easier job for Sonos to allow a lower latency option in the app (albeit with a  dropout warning) for those who still try to sync at that (unreccomended) lower level.

 

It looks like he was as surprised as I was, that the speaker isn't without latency when simply using line in (no syncing necessary), which is why he had to return to add this oversight to his article.

 

This is his l video review here, prior to his redactions that I posted, I stand by it really is a good review.

https://darko.audio/2021/03/a-short-film-about-the-sonos-five-vs-kef-lsx/

A good article here, knowledgeable input on the subject of unfortunate latency on the Sonos 5's. 

https://darko.audio/2021/03/3-more-thoughts-on-the-sonos-five-vs-kef-lsx/

 

 

Not knowledgeable at all.  The delay is not due to any DSP.  It is due to the need to buffer the input for multi-room sync.  Sonos needs to build up a buffer before playing, so that any timing issues have a buffer to work with in case of signal errors or dropouts.  The buffer allows each unit to re-request any bad packets before the buffer runs out, thus not affecting the stream and keeping the units in sync.  

 

A good article here, knowledgeable input on the subject of unfortunate latency on the Sonos 5's. 

https://darko.audio/2021/03/3-more-thoughts-on-the-sonos-five-vs-kef-lsx/

 

 

 

Adding my support for no latency option on the 5's. However this could be possible, I was so surprised to hear there was a delay when using the line in. I had incorrectly assumed sync wouldn't be an option when using line in, but that they would be just bypassing the sync software.

 

If this feature removes the ability to sync that's the price you pay for no latency, fine by me or if there is a delay on other speakers also fine by me, or if it's advised against due to stuttering then let users decide, but do allow the speaker to be a simple speaker in line in mode if... possible.

 

The option to use the 5's as standalone speakers will appeal to more than just those willing to post here, many musicians for instance.

 

For now I've got two 5's as my surround speakers, and two other brand simple monitor speakers on top for my decks, piano and computer sequencing!

 

Userlevel 1

OK, y’all have made your points, you’re not making any progress here. Accept that there might be someone wrong on the internet. The thread would be more fruitful if it’s just a space for people to post their support for low-latency line-in and how they’d like to use it.