Sonos:Connect Delay Line-In

  • 16 February 2015
  • 22 replies
  • 4753 views

Hi all,

Any suggestions to over come my issue,
I use a connect, and connect a dj-mixer on line-in to play the sound to my Sonos system.

The problem is that the connect gives a quite big delay in the sound stream, that it not appreciated when being the house dj.

And the delay increases when I start to group different zones.

Any suggestions to minimize that delay ??

I can't understand the delay, due to when you have the playbar, sub and surround speakers, there is "no" delay (noticeable) in the sound stream from the TV (delay have not been adjusted in TV) . So obviously the equipment can handle it without that noticeable big delay...

Caio!
/B

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22 replies

I found a solution. You still need to use your old amp (that you replaced with the AMP or CONNECT AMP) along with this specialty switch (2 amplifiers into one speaker pair). You cant play to multiple rooms though, which wasn't a problem for me. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0796KGVXT/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza
I didn’t expect this from Sonos, who I feel have either mislead on what their product is capable of (why would you buy this to connect to an amp if there is a known lag?) or have simply failed to produce a seamless multi room/ multi connected experience.
Actually it's because Sonos wanted to produce a seamless multi room experience that there's a finite delay. In the absence of a small amount of buffering it would be impossible to maintain an audio stream without dropouts. Networking 101.
FWIW,

Some home theatre Amps and surrounds come with built-in lip sync delay features. One example that I use in one of my rooms at home, is an old Sony HT-AS5 5.1 Home Theatre System, which allows you to slow down its audio source to the HT system (eg. TV audio) in 10ms increments ... up to a maximum of 200ms delay .. I have found that I can get away with a 30ms delay on the HT audio in my case to the Home Theatre Speakers and also connect the HT system VIA a 3.5mm line-in on a stereo paired of Play-5 speakers, which in turn are grouped (via the Sonos App) with a stereo pair of Play-1 speakers and I do get great TV surround sound in excellent sync with the TV picture. The delays are obviously such that the picture to audio sync is unnoticeable.

Obviously the Sony HT takes over completely from the inbuilt TV Speakers... so there are no sync issues in that respect at all.

It’s s cheap way of getting TV (stereo) surround sound, albeit not in any strictest sense of the word, but it does work well enough. The audio out to the 5.1 Sony Speakers is sync'd brilliantly with my four Sonos speakers.

I have set the Sonos Settings to use uncompressec audio...and the line in in room settings source name is set to Home Theatre with a setting of Level 2 A/V component.

The other line in on my Play-5 in the stereo pair, is also in use with an Apple Airport Express device and that works well too with the audio set to uncompressed and the line in source name set to Satellite Receiver (which you can rename to something like Airplay etc.) with a setting of Level 4 (Airplay) and all that seems to work quite well for me too.

So it’s sometimes a case of trying to find a home theatre with a lip-sync built p-in delay capability and then messing around with the Sonos audio settings to get the best possible sync across the devices available.

But like Ratty says above in his post, Sonos is not a system that I see for DJ style queuing, but it is sometimes possible to get things in sync with a TV Home Theatre systems, but they really must have their own in built lip-sync features.

Just thought that these things were also perhaps worth sharing here.
I’m experiencing this also, it seems like a crazy issue for a high tech piece of kit that can run into £$£$. I bought a couple of Sonos one speakers and a connect to wire into my existing amp/cd set-up - but when I hit play there is a noticable (even at 70ms) delay between the Sonos speakers and hard wired speakers. I didn’t expect this from Sonos, who I feel have either mislead on what their product is capable of (why would you buy this to connect to an amp if there is a known lag?) or have simply failed to produce a seamless multi room/ multi connected experience. My fault for not checking these things before purchase I guess but really It didn’t cross my mind to be an issue from such a highly regarded company. Rant over.
Would be great to somehow eliminate the lag...
You can't I'm afraid. Yours is not an application which Sonos is designed for.
PLAYBAR's delay through its optical port is 30ms. Satellite speakers bonded to it for 5.1 (surrounds, SUB) obviously always play in sync. However any other rooms grouped with it are subject to the same 70ms delay as with a regular Line-In. In other words grouped rooms are out of sync with the PLAYBAR for TV.

There's no way to reduce these delays, though PLAYBAR has a lip-sync adjustment which can be used to increase its delay. The delays are due to network buffering, essential to maintain synced play without dropouts.

There used to be a FAQ explaining all this, but for some reason it seems to have been pulled.

Frankly, Sonos is not for you if you need to do split-second DJ style cueing.


To be honest, I'm having issues with the latency listening from only one deck at a not-too-low volume. I can hear the needle playing before I hear it in the speakers. Would be great to somehow eliminate the lag...
PLAYBAR's delay through its optical port is 30ms. Satellite speakers bonded to it for 5.1 (surrounds, SUB) obviously always play in sync. However any other rooms grouped with it are subject to the same 70ms delay as with a regular Line-In. In other words grouped rooms are out of sync with the PLAYBAR for TV.

There's no way to reduce these delays, though PLAYBAR has a lip-sync adjustment which can be used to increase its delay. The delays are due to network buffering, essential to maintain synced play without dropouts.

There used to be a FAQ explaining all this, but for some reason it seems to have been pulled.

Frankly, Sonos is not for you if you need to do split-second DJ style cueing.
I've stumbled across this and other threads on this issue - had I known, I'd have never bought my connect amp. I too want to be able to run my decks, etc. via the line-in, and the delay makes it exceptionally difficult to mix (speaking as a former professional DJ of 25 years in clubs!)

Can someone (ideally Sonos staff) confirm that the playbar reduces the delay - or better still, allows you to adjust it manually

Finally, any other fellow DJs tried the playbar to do the same
So there's no confusion: analog-to-digital or digital-to-analog conversion is virtually instantaneous. The inbuilt delay is to allow for synchronised playback across an asynchronous packet network. Sufficient buffering must be provided at the receiver to cater for the expected variation in transit times across the network, i.e. the packet jitter.
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So if bonded to the Playbar, can the 1, 3, or 5 still be grouped with any other speakers? Seems like the word "bonded" is distinct from simply "grouped". As is creating a stereo pair, I'd guess. In other words, if you bond a speaker into a surround system, you make it unavailable for the rest of the Sonos network? True?

True, "bonding" is a term which means those players are part of the room named after the PLAYBAR. They act only with the PLAYBAR unless un-bonded and operate as surround speakers.

And then, looping back to the original question-- it sounds like, if you're a DJ, you could get your latency down to 30ms minimum if you had an analog-to-digital converter (assuming it does not introduce a delay of its own) to go from your mixer (unless it's an all-digital mixer) and then into your Playbar, then create a surround sound bond with other speakers you want to be part of your PA. You would just have to accept that 30ms delay between your headphones & speakers.

Worth experimenting?


Also correct, with assumptions that is 🙂
So if bonded to the Playbar, can the 1, 3, or 5 still be grouped with any other speakers? Seems like the word "bonded" is distinct from simply "grouped". As is creating a stereo pair, I'd guess. In other words, if you bond a speaker into a surround system, you make it unavailable for the rest of the Sonos network? True?

And then, looping back to the original question-- it sounds like, if you're a DJ, you could get your latency down to 30ms minimum if you had an analog-to-digital converter (assuming it does not introduce a delay of its own) to go from your mixer (unless it's an all-digital mixer) and then into your Playbar, then create a surround sound bond with other speakers you want to be part of your PA. You would just have to accept that 30ms delay between your headphones & speakers.

Worth experimenting?
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A pair of PLAY:1, PLAY:3 or PLAY:5 gen2 speakers can be bonded as surround with the PLAYBAR. It will also be able to group with the others to send that audio coming in over the optical (music or otherwise) across your network.
Thank you Ryan for your reply. So I'll take that as a no, then.

Different than the DJ issue: I have Airplay connected to the Playbar, and it works to throw music from iTunes to the rest of the house. The other speakers are upstairs so the delay is not noticeable.

Can any of the speakers (1, 3, 5) be bonded to the Airplay for surround sound? Could you just play music through it that way (not from the TV)? I use an AppleTV as the Airplay source going into the Playbar.
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The PLAYBAR will get the digital signal and convert it to play itself with minimal delay. It's designed to be used with TVs, so the conversion is meant to be in sync with the video. Generally this is around a 30ms delay which isn't noticeable when it comes to syncing with video.

This is when playing to the PLAYBAR itself, or to bonded surround speakers and SUB. When you group the PLAYBAR with other players, a delay is added while that signal gets repackaged and sent to wireless players. The PLAYBAR will still be around 30ms from the source, but the grouped rooms would be around 70ms or slower depending on the network connection.
I am struggling with this same issue, and have all but resigned to returning my Play 5 because it cannot be used in a traditional DJ performance environment, due to the 70ms latency.

One last-ditch question and I'll put this to bed forever: Since the Playbar has less delay, could that be the answer? If you added an analog-to-digital converter box that does not have a delay, and patched it between the DJ mixer and the Digital Optical Line-in of the Playbar, would the Playbar still try to convert the signal again (is there any way it will recognize the signal is already digital, and eliminate the delay)? Basically I want to pre-process the signal so Playbar doesn't have to, but I don't know if the speaker works that way.

I know it's an unlikely long shot but I thought I'd ask.
I noticed that since the last update (6) the delay is noticeable longer than 70ms, more like half a second, which totally breaks my airplay setup when watching video on my devices. when using compressed audio the delay is even worse of course, like 4-5 seconds.. Please fix this, I am really relying on it for my airplay set up and I purchased all the expensive gear (airport express and sonos connect) which you recommended!
Nothing's changed. Selecting Airplay Device as Line-In device type has always boosted the buffering from 70ms to 500ms. Sonos did this to improve resilience while still keeping the stream uncompressed.

If the latency bothers you, change the Line-In device type to something different.
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does setting the line in to uncompressed make a difference? Ive not tried it yet but that delay is a lot more that 70ms
Yes. The uncompressed delay is around 70ms. The compressed delay is a couple of seconds. By default the system chooses which to use based on network conditions, but you can force it either way. Look under Advanced Settings.


I noticed that since the last update (6) the delay is noticeable longer than 70ms, more like half a second, which totally breaks my airplay setup when watching video on my devices. when using compressed audio the delay is even worse of course, like 4-5 seconds.. Please fix this, I am really relying on it for my airplay set up and I purchased all the expensive gear (airport express and sonos connect) which you recommended!
does setting the line in to uncompressed make a difference? Ive not tried it yet but that delay is a lot more that 70ms
Yes. The uncompressed delay is around 70ms. The compressed delay is a couple of seconds. By default the system chooses which to use based on network conditions, but you can force it either way. Look under Advanced Settings.
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Thanks ratty, does setting the line in to uncompressed make a difference? Ive not tried it yet but that delay is a lot more that 70ms
My question(s) are, does the line in still use the network? i.e. Is the signal sent to the connect amp > sonos network > back to amp? Is there any way that I can just play direct through the line in on the connect amp as I don't need to hear this anywhere else in the house?
A Line-In playing on the same Player doesn't go out to the network and back, but it does use the same internal audio pipeline. That pipeline is geared for multiroom play, which requires a certain amount of buffering to allow for variations in the network transit time, hence the ~70ms delay.

There's no "direct mode" which bypasses the standard audio pipeline, so there's no way to circumvent the delay.
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Last night I experienced a very similar problem.

I recently purchased a connectamp for our kitchen hifi set up, I also have/had a DJ controller in there. I plugged into the line in and accessed this on the controller. There is a noticeable delay in what I hear through my headphones connected to my controller and what comes out of the speakers.

I have since changed the kitchen (connect amp) settings to "autoplay"

I have a connect in the dining room too, both run off a dedicated songs bridge network.

My question(s) are, does the line in still use the network? i.e. Is the signal sent to the connect amp > sonos network > back to amp? Is there any way that I can just play direct through the line in on the connect amp as I don't need to hear this anywhere else in the house?

Thanks in advance

Paul
Welcome to the forums.

Some delay is inevitable, and piping audio through Sonos tends to be incompatible with the accurate timing needed for DJ cueing.

Sonos packetises the digitised Line-In data and sends it over a local network that exhibits variable transmission delay. To enable Sonos to 'ride out the bumps' a 70 ms buffer is introduced for the Uncompressed mode.

This 70 ms is the same whether or not zones are grouped together. If your Line-In setting is Automatic then it could be that your Sonos is switching to Compressed mode when you group a number of zones. It does this when wireless conditions are marginal. Compressed mode increases the delay.

As far as PLAYBAR is concerned, the tighter coupling between PLAYBAR and its SUB/surrounds allows it to reduce its internal delay to 30 ms. There's a FAQ which explains some of this.