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Port and AV Sync -- any solutions other than direct mode?


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I understand that using a Port to stream music to non-Sonos speakers though an AV receiver works great.  But if you want to group your Port (room) with Sonos speakers in another room (I have Sonos Ones) there is a delay.  So it is out of sync.    One solution is to use direct mode (or similar modes) on the AV receiver, but that takes away the sub and room equalization, etc.   

So is anyone using the Port with an AV receiver, and has been able to use modes other than pure/direct (or whatever the AV receiver calls it) - and still have it sync with grouped Sonos speakers?  I would like to use All CH Stereo with my AV receiver (where all speakers play, including the sub).  But not sure if that is considered “processing” that will introduce delay.  At a minimum, I would like to use Stereo (which uses the sub and equalization).

 

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Best answer by ratty 17 June 2020, 15:37

No-one could really comment without knowing what AV receiver you’re using. Have you consulted the AVR’s user documentation to try and establish the All CH Stereo delay figure? 

There is no inbuilt Sonos solution to this issue. The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players; they can’t be moved ahead in time. 

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No-one could really comment without knowing what AV receiver you’re using. Have you consulted the AVR’s user documentation to try and establish the All CH Stereo delay figure? 

There is no inbuilt Sonos solution to this issue. The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players; they can’t be moved ahead in time. 

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No-one could really comment without knowing what AV receiver you’re using. Have you consulted the AVR’s user documentation to try and establish the All CH Stereo delay figure? 

There is no inbuilt Sonos solution to this issue. The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players; they can’t be moved ahead in time. 

 

I have an Onkyo TX-SR508  The manual doesn’t go into those specifics.  https://www.intl.onkyo.com/downloads/manuals/pdf/tx-sr508_manual_e.pdf   

I’m simply looking to connect the Port to the Onkyo with the digital coax output from the Port connected to the Onkyo.  So if I choose Port to stream music to my Onkyo receiver, and then group the Port with a Sonos One in say, the kitchen, it will be in sync, no matter what processing is applied by the Onkyo receiver to the streaming music?

So if I choose Port to stream music to my Onkyo receiver, and then group the Port with a Sonos One in say, the kitchen, it will be in sync, no matter what processing is applied by the Onkyo receiver to the streaming music?

No.

I said:

The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players

Clearly if the Onkyo introduces processing delays after those outputs it will throw the sound from its own speakers out of sync with the rest of the Sonos system.

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So if I choose Port to stream music to my Onkyo receiver, and then group the Port with a Sonos One in say, the kitchen, it will be in sync, no matter what processing is applied by the Onkyo receiver to the streaming music?

No.

I said:

The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players

Clearly if the Onkyo introduces processing delays after those outputs it will throw the sound from its own speakers out of sync with the rest of the Sonos system.

I would think just about every A/V receiver out there would then introduce delay (other than a direct or pure mode) -- which isn’t ideal in a more than a stereo speaker setup.  I suppose the Port was not designed with Sonos grouping in mind for use with an A/V receiver -- but mainly to simply get streaming of digital music to play through your A/V receiver?  

So if I choose Port to stream music to my Onkyo receiver, and then group the Port with a Sonos One in say, the kitchen, it will be in sync, no matter what processing is applied by the Onkyo receiver to the streaming music?

No.

I said:

The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players

Clearly if the Onkyo introduces processing delays after those outputs it will throw the sound from its own speakers out of sync with the rest of the Sonos system.

I would think just about every A/V receiver out there would then introduce delay (other than a direct or pure mode) -- which isn’t ideal in a more than a stereo speaker setup.  I suppose the Port was not designed with Sonos grouping in mind for use with an A/V receiver -- but mainly to simply get streaming of digital music to play through your A/V receiver?  

The Port is designed for stereo music, for which ‘direct’ mode is the natural choice on an AV receiver.  (An even more natural choice is a hifi amp.) There is absolutely nothing Sonos can do about processing downstream of its control.  As @ratty said, the Port syncs perfectly within the Sonos system, and most AV receivers will have a direct mode that allows grouping to work fine.

This issue has come up again and again, pretty much ever since the first ancestor of the Port (the ZP80) was introduced 14 years ago.

When connected to a traditional amplifier, even via an outboard DAC, the sound from such a streamer will usually emerge from the amp’s passive speakers in sync with other Sonos units in the system. Introduce sound-field processing in an AVR and the sound is typically no longer in sync, which is why “direct” or “pure” modes are recommended.

Depending on the audibility of the sound from different rooms a slight loss of sync may or may not be an issue. Don’t forget that simple distance introduces a loss of sync -- 1 millisecond per 1 foot in air -- so the sound from transducers in one room heard in another will be out of step with the local transducers even if both are theoretically in perfect sync.

The only possible “cure” for the fact that an AVR adds processing delay would be to somehow delay the sound from all the other Sonos players in the group by the exact same amount. A nightmare to implement, and prone to discontinuities as players are added to and dropped from the group. This scheme also falls apart if there happen to be two AVRs in the group, with different processing delays.

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So if I choose Port to stream music to my Onkyo receiver, and then group the Port with a Sonos One in say, the kitchen, it will be in sync, no matter what processing is applied by the Onkyo receiver to the streaming music?

No.

I said:

The Port’s outputs will be in sync with the other Sonos players

Clearly if the Onkyo introduces processing delays after those outputs it will throw the sound from its own speakers out of sync with the rest of the Sonos system.

I would think just about every A/V receiver out there would then introduce delay (other than a direct or pure mode) -- which isn’t ideal in a more than a stereo speaker setup.  I suppose the Port was not designed with Sonos grouping in mind for use with an A/V receiver -- but mainly to simply get streaming of digital music to play through your A/V receiver?  

The Port is designed for stereo music, for which ‘direct’ mode is the natural choice on an AV receiver.  (An even more natural choice is a hifi amp.) There is absolutely nothing Sonos can do about processing downstream of its control.  As @ratty said, the Port syncs perfectly within the Sonos system, and most AV receivers will have a direct mode that allows grouping to work fine.

So most A/V receivers are attached to a 5.1 system.   If I use “direct mode” the sub is out of the mix, and then things are out of whack, based on the initial calibration settings, cross-over settings, etc.   While I suppose I could use direct mode -- it is not ideal under the circumstances, I think it sounds worse than regular “stereo” which includes the sub - but the best sound (at least on my 5.1 system) for streaming music has always been All CH Stereo.  

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It turns out my fears of the Port (connected to my A/V receiver, running 5.1 speakers) not being in synch with my other Sonos speakers, were unfounded.   I received and set up the Port today.  I’m able to use stereo or all ch stereo with the Port (those modes engage my subwoofer and room equalization).   All Sonos speakers I can hear are in synch when grouped.  I have the Port in the family room and Sonos Ones on the same floor in my home office and in the kitchen.   

I have an Onkyo TX-SR508 , and I have their Audyssey EQ, including Audssey Dynamic EQ engaged.  I do NOT need to run “direct mode” to stay in synch (which disengages the Sub and Audyssey EQ.   Note that I’m connected to my A/V receiver via the Coaxial/digital out from the Port.   

:sunglasses:

  

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Sonos seems unwilling to fix this. I encountered the same problem, but my solution was to return my Sonos Port and use an AppleTV with my receiver. The AppleTV has a feature that sends audio tones though the AVR and uses that to calculate the delay for the overall AirPlay network, now all my speakers are in perfect sync, though I am limited to using AirPlay 2/Apple Music, and not Spotify or any of the other Sonos sources. I also think Sonos’ lack of support for the AVR use case is completely unacceptable, especially for a device that costs this much. This is clearly technically possible, and it’s a requirement for many speaker layouts that use an AVR, not just for the room acoustics correction (Audyssey/Driac/MCACC/YPAO etc.), but also many speaker layouts send the lower frequencies to a subwoofer. It seems crazy that they would sell a product that’s specifically intended to be hooked up to external equipment, but doesn’t let it work with the main feature of the product ecosystem: synchronized multi-room playback.

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It turns out my fears of the Port (connected to my A/V receiver, running 5.1 speakers) not being in synch with my other Sonos speakers, were unfounded.   I received and set up the Port today.  I’m able to use stereo or all ch stereo with the Port (those modes engage my subwoofer and room equalization).   All Sonos speakers I can hear are in synch when grouped.  I have the Port in the family room and Sonos Ones on the same floor in my home office and in the kitchen.   

I have an Onkyo TX-SR508 , and I have their Audyssey EQ, including Audssey Dynamic EQ engaged.  I do NOT need to run “direct mode” to stay in synch (which disengages the Sub and Audyssey EQ.   Note that I’m connected to my A/V receiver via the Coaxial/digital out from the Port.   

:sunglasses:

As another datapoint, the same is true for my AV amp -- a (now somewhat elderly) Yamaha AX757SE. It doesn’t add discernible downstream processing delay when used in 2/7-Channel stereo mode, so it plays in sync with other Sonos speakers.

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It turns out my fears of the Port (connected to my A/V receiver, running 5.1 speakers) not being in synch with my other Sonos speakers, were unfounded.   I received and set up the Port today.  I’m able to use stereo or all ch stereo with the Port (those modes engage my subwoofer and room equalization).   All Sonos speakers I can hear are in synch when grouped.  I have the Port in the family room and Sonos Ones on the same floor in my home office and in the kitchen.   

I have an Onkyo TX-SR508 , and I have their Audyssey EQ, including Audssey Dynamic EQ engaged.  I do NOT need to run “direct mode” to stay in synch (which disengages the Sub and Audyssey EQ.   Note that I’m connected to my A/V receiver via the Coaxial/digital out from the Port.   

:sunglasses:

As another datapoint, the same is true for my AV amp -- a (now somewhat elderly) Yamaha AX757SE. It doesn’t add discernible downstream processing delay when used in 2/7-Channel stereo mode, so it plays in sync with other Sonos speakers.

 

So it may just be simply specific A/V model or amp/receiver related.  I guess some AVs add more processing or do it better than others.  Frankly, I’m shocked, but happy, my Onkyo (which is adding Audyssey processing), adds no delay.  

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So it may just be simply specific A/V model of amp/receiver related.  I guess some AVs add more processing or do it better than others.  Frankly, I’m shocked, but happy, my Onkyo (which is adding Audyssey processing), adds no delay.  

Yes, this is absolutely correct, I had a Denon AVR that had no perceivable delay with Audyssey on, a Pioneer AVR that had a delay with room correction on, but none with it off, and a Yamaha that has delay even in “Pure Direct”.

Unfortunately pure direct (on the AV receiver) is the only way at least for some receiver models (not all). The Marantz 1710 and 1510 I previously owned would introduce a small (yet perceptible) delay even with the pure direct enabled. It resulted in a small echo when I grouped the sonos connect with a play 1. A solution to this is indeed feasible but it would require a software tweak to enable a user to adjust grouped sonos sync. Some audio platforms allow for this but sadly not helpful in the context of sonos limitations: Google chromecast advanced settings offer this and so does Roon (but again not for sonos). In the case of Sonos, trying pure direct is the only option. Some older receivers that do not digitise the input will work perfectly in sync. There is another option but it is super clunky and introduces additional equipment: Adding a stereo integrated amplifier alongside the AV receiver. The AV receiver would need to feed the power amp section (av bypass) and the sonos connect would feed one of the integrated amplifier’s line inputs. This would ensure no delay for the sonos port / connect and may also give you a different sound flavour to play with. 

Being able to use the sonos port / connect in conjunction with an AV receivers DSP and room correction would be fantastic in my opinion. Most living rooms and the way many of us have to position speakers is… compromised to say the least :-). The sonos bass / treble eq is rather limited unfortunately. Unfortunately the lack of group sync adjustment option excludes this use case unless if you never group with other sonos speakers. 

I had a delay with my port connected to my Yamaha RXV-485 compared to the other Sonos speakers grouped in nearby rooms. I connected wired Ethernet and disabled WiFi for the Port. I  also switched from digital coax to analog connection. The receiver is set to “Direct” and it drives my front L/R speakers as well as the sub with no delay.  I tried some of the other options like 5-channel stereo but it just doesn’t sound right. Note I tried just analog with Direct previously and it still had lag.  Wired Ethernet seemed to be the key change for me. 

Wired Ethernet seemed to be the key change for me. 

Pure coincidence, unless your wireless connection was so choked as to be struggling to maintain adequate bandwidth. Propagation times across the network are otherwise irrelevant. Sonos players each contain playout buffers. Music data is clocked out of the buffers in sync by means of regularly exchanged timing information. 

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