Sonos Connect is missing digital audio input

  • 25 November 2012
  • 63 replies
  • 16605 views

Why doesn't the Sonos Connect support digital input so that you can use it to attach e.g. Play-3 speakers and the SUB to a TV? Every modern TV utilizes HDMI and Optical Output and you can find less and less dual RCA cable output. Yes, the Sonos Connect has a simple mini jack to dual RCA which I could use but I really don't want to try to watch movies that way. I am willing put put the money down for a good solution but it appears that there is none. I fear I have to take back the SUB and the connect. Do you know of any solution to this? Thanks!

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63 replies

+1 for a digital input for the next generation Connect and Connect Amp or similar product. This is very very important!!!!! Also to use such product to make a 5.1 set with only Play5 (3 or 1) and Sub without Soundbase! We have 2018 guys. Come on!
This is interesting A wireless system in an age of internet streaming has to evolve by adding more physical wired connections?
Ha "wireless" - that's a joke in my case. I have to have them wired together to get stability.

10 foot of single-skin internal brick wall at an extremely acute angle, plus Wii controllers in the vicinity, break the wireless mesh. Been wired for years and utterly stable - and thus no need to change.

And another thing: Sonos has evolved - the Playbar is wired and stuck under your telly - and in this instance has nothing to do with "wireless" nor "streaming".

I was a Sonos reseller for several years and not one potential customer asked about line in or ever returned an item for any reason... certainly not for lack of physical connections.
Probably because most people don't realise the limitations until they get home and either put up or sell it. Have a look on the web at the number being sold because the product (sadly) wasn't right for them. Why can I not (the last time I looked) "stream" any and all audio from a mobile phone to the Sonos? [That could have changed recently, I guess, but that's not how I use it.]

This forum is a place for people with grievances to congregate, and is entirely unrepresentative of the user population as a whole.
And you know this - how? Everyone has a limited view. If everyone comes here that has grievances THEN there are people who DO have issues with Sonos and are NOT happy with it - so guess what ... it doesn't suit their needs. And the people to fix it are Sonos.

I shan't waste time reading any further replies on this thread.
Your choice, not mine. I thought that perhaps with a little clear explanation you might be able to appreciate other people's needs - but it turns out not. The Sonos ecosystem is damned good, but not perfect.

Oh, just noticed: 13469 views on this thread - a lot of people are interested in a topic named "Sonos Connect is missing digital audio input". I wonder - is that an important feature missing from Sonos, or are most of them simply misguided...
This is interesting A wireless system in an age of internet streaming has to evolve by adding more physical wired connections?

I was a Sonos reseller for several years and not one potential customer asked about line in or ever returned an item for any reason... certainly not for lack of physical connections. This forum is a place for people with grievances to congregate, and is entirely unrepresentative of the user population as a whole.

I shan't waste time reading any further replies on this thread.
Amusingly, a 100% predictable answer.

I commend you on your unerring focus on history, endless justification for its deficiencies, and what could be seen to be continuous blindness to other people's use cases.

Streaming media players are an increasingly commonplace commodity. Multi-room audio products are not unique to Sonos. My fear is that Sonos could do a Nokia if it doesn't evolve the way that people want.

I think that Sonos is rather like Apple: it has polished, desirable, simple products - but irritatingly deficient.

Be under no illusion, Sonos made a TV product to make more money. AV equipment has digital outputs (for good reason), so they had to make digital inputs. Their hand was forced, pure and simple.

CD Players - your stated reason for the inclusion of the analogue input - have had digital outputs for as many years as they have existed (leastwise as far as I can recall). It was a very poor decision not to provide a premium commonplace input technology into what Sonos would want us to perceive to be a premium audio ecosystem.

Sonos - by not providing adequate connectivity - have not taken money from me for at least three more systems. It is a loss for them, and a loss for me ... as I do really like their products because they are easy to use, sound good and look good.

The solution to my needs - sigh again - is to go elsewhere. I'll get a nice dandy little USB-DAC + optical + analogue amp and then plug the digital-out from the Sonos Connect in the next room, into the digital-in on the little amp. Hopefully mentioning other companies' names is not forbidden, but have a look at the connectivity of the stylish Denon PMA-60 or the slightly natty-looking Cambridge Audio One ... both of which are in a comparable price bracket.

There is a world outside of Sonos - please stop forcing me to look elsewhere for what I, and clearly many others, would like.

Can anyone from Sonos stand up and stick their oar into this unholy mess of a debate?

P.S. I never described the lack of a digital input on the Sonos as 'bananas'. Going D to A, then A to D is 'bananas'.
I shall try to be a bit less patronising this time but.....

The Connect was designed to turn a conventional hifi into a Sonos player. The line in was a subsidiary feature for those wedded to CD players and turntables. The Connect is not fundamentally an input device.

The Sonos system as a whole was designed to be a multiroom hifi system. Not for TV, not for computers, not for gaming. And I hope Sonos keeps its focus on being what it is but doing it better and better.

When Sonos produced a TV audio product they used a digital input because TVs have a digital output and it minimises latency.

Finally, Sonos' stated direction of travel is towards streaming media.

Some sort of Sonos device with more connectivity options may come along and I am sure some users would find it helpful if it did. But you are plain wrong to describe the lack of a digital input as 'bananas'. There are both historical and current reasons why this has so far been way down Sonos' priority list.
+1 @jgatiie in response to a post that displays a complete lack of understanding of the purpose and history of the Connect and Connect:Amp.

Oh my goodness - how patronising can one be?

I have had several pieces of Sonos kit for several years - and it has annoyed me that the input options are so limited. As much as I like my Sonos system, I find it impossible to recommend it as a basis for a one-size-fits-all solution.

If (some) Sonos components are equipped with an analogue input, and indeed Sonos can muster the desire to have an optical digital input on the Playbar, there is NO REASON AT ALL why the other Sonos components cannot also be designed to have a digital input (where appropriate).

I am currently sitting in a room with a Sonos S5 and a computer. I listen to the Sonos ... and sometimes I'd rather like to listen to the computer as well. So Sonos comes to my aid as the S5 has an audio jack input ... but actually I'd rather have a ZP120 (or descendant) with attached speakers AND have a digital link into the Sonos ecosystem from the computer.

I have a son who is deeply into classical music - and who ALSO likes to play games on his laptop. Try as I might, Sonos just does not come to the rescue. It's bananas using 'cheap' DACs in laptops to get analogue out, only for the Sonos to re-digitise for transmission around its ecosystem. It's bananas getting an external DAC so he can get digital out of the computer into a nicer DAC ... to get analogue out, only for the Sonos to re-digitise for transmission around its ecosystem.

I can't see why it is such a difficult concept ... especially when Sonos accepted that they needed to 'accept external high quality digital audio inputs' with the advent of the Playbar.

To survive, one has to evolve... it was originally a streaming media player. It could, if it tried a little bit harder, be just that little bit more useful to a large number of us who have been pretty vocal over the years. Just look at the reasons why people return Sonos kit - by observation, the failings are down to its limited connectivity.

We want to stick as many sources of sound into our Sonos systems with the minimum of fuss and unnecessary restrictions.
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+1 @jgatiie in response to a post that displays a complete lack of understanding of the purpose and history of the Connect and Connect:Amp.

I fully understand the history intended purpose of the Connect and Connect:AMP. What does that have to do with wanting an update? The historic purpose is more or less obsolete these days, as proven by the poor sales numbers of these devices. Sonos created those devices at the time to appease the people that wouldn't want to jump into the ecosystem because they have expensive legacy equipment that they wouldn't be able to use. Many years later now though, turns out that was a fairly small market... Or another way to look at it is that maybe the existance of these Connect and Connect:AMP devices was enough to convince those people to try Sonos, and once they tried it, they realized they don't need to hold on to their legacy gear, and could just replace everything with native Sonos, in which case the devices were a huge success, even if they didn't sell well.

In any case, all I'm saying is that there would be a much bigger real market for a Connect unit that played well with current needs of today's house holds. All Sonos customers probably have at least one or two TVs... Being able to connect these to existing Sonos speakers that we have in our house sounds like a good idea, don't you think? A Playbar costs a lot of money, and not everyone wants a Playbar.
+1 @jgatiie in response to a post that displays a complete lack of understanding of the purpose and history of the Connect and Connect:Amp.
Actually, they expect you to buy the Sonos units designed for TV.
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Almost 2018 and still no new Connect with digital inputs? ... This is really idiotic... Sonos speakers are great... but it's this stuff that makes me constantly look for alternatives.

How can you have a Connect device, that takes analogue RCA in and has Optical out? Do you expect me to take my headphone out from my TV and feed it in to this? Or you expect me to buy a separate external DAC to convert my TV optical to RCA just to be converted to digital again? That's two unnecessary conversions and an extra device in the chain. And if you buy a cheap Fiio D3 optical to RCA converter, you're adding a really poor quality component in the middle, which adds noise, can cut out, adds latency, needs extra cables and power...

The whole point of Sonos is to have minimalistic dead easy to use systems. Hacking together custom components and addapters is exactly what Sonos users don't want...

Get your **** together and release a proper DAC Connect with one or two optical inputs.. I've stopped buying Sonos gear for two years because of this.
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Auch...

I guess my posts here might seem as if I'm a 'dreamer', but you see, I had some basic electronics school classes back on my youth, and was taught there that every single electronic device made by man has the most basic capabilities for one to (simply put) 'hack it'...

The question here is: Would one get a professional level result or an amateur result?

That would matter, of course, but as we all are Sonos loving users, I believe that every single one of us here would love to have the Connect units to be able to be used with living room TVs and/or LCD projectors... Yes I do!

(please, excuse my English, as I'm a foreign English speaker. 😉 )
Would there be a device that could add a delay to the video sent by, let's say, a DVD player to a TV set? (that would solve the problem. 😉 )
I think you'll find they're professional devices, costing thousands of dollars.
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That would just be great: To have a TV set where one could adjust the VIDEO delay, setting it to show picture with a 70ms delay...
Then, that would correct the delay that the Sonos system adds to the sound...

Would there be a device that could add a delay to the video sent by, let's say, a DVD player to a TV set? (that would solve the problem. 😉 )
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You should be able to adjust the audio delay in your TV settings. This may, or not, solve the problem.
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I dunno. I'm doing 2ch stereo audio (temporary solution while I'm in a transitional living space) using a TV optical,out, a Best Buy cheapie DAC, and a ZP80 connected to a pair of good computer speakers, plus a Play:3 grouped in to improve the bass. I don't get bothered by the delay. But since I have two play:3s in the group, I get an occasional dropout. Still a work in progress.
Regarding the delay, please, let me ask you this: when you are watching a movie on TV and if there is, let's say, a blast, or some sudden situation that's quite instantaneous or really quick to happen, would'n that make you feel uncomfortable, if the sound comes a bit later than what you just saw in the movie?

( I put this question here as I've just ordered one more Play:3 speaker and a Connect for my living room and kept the thought that it would be enough to get a decent basic stereo setup to get the sound from the TV, but then I red about the delay... 😕 )
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I dunno. I'm doing 2ch stereo audio (temporary solution while I'm in a transitional living space) using a TV optical,out, a Best Buy cheapie DAC, and a ZP80 connected to a pair of good computer speakers, plus a Play:3 grouped in to improve the bass. I don't get bothered by the delay. But since I have two play:3s in the group, I get an occasional dropout. Still a work in progress.
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Ok... I'm starting to get it.

That would be the main reason why Sonos would not want to introduce a digital input in it's Connect devices...

This might seem like a really bad news situation for myself, as I was supposing not to invest on the Playbar, at least, in the next 6 months...

This might seem to be very bad news for my pocket... 😕
The PLAYBAR has a 30ms latency for the optical input. Because it maintains point-to-point links with its surrounds/SUB -- via 5GHz wireless or Ethernet -- it can afford to reduce the amount of buffering.

When other players are grouped with a PLAYBAR they must use the standard 70ms buffer, which is why they don't play in sync for the TV source.
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Humm... So how does it works with the playbars?

No problems with latency there?

(Or is it that the soundbars do have the 70ms latency to?)

(I'm sorry, but I don't know much about the playbars that well...)
A simple stereo digital (coaxial) input would be very welcome and really precious on the Connect unit.
At least, the 70 milisecond latency delay would forever gone for good, and watching TV while listening the sound on a pair of play3 speakers would be the best experience possible.

The 70ms latency has nothing to do with AD (or DA) conversion. It's due to the provision of sufficient network buffering to enable synced play. Transit times across the local network vary. Without a buffer at the receiving device it would periodically starve of data and drop the audio.
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A simple stereo digital (coaxial) input would be very welcome and really precious on the Connect unit.
At least, the 70 milisecond latency delay would forever gone for good, and watching TV while listening the sound on a pair of play3 speakers would be the best experience possible.
So after considering the problem and reviewing the only current digital in solution, the playbar, I think I understand why Sonos hasn't gone down this road. Digital audio standards are complicated, ever changing and pretty hard to debug for end users. Sonos products are built to be future proof and last for an extended period of time. The hardware cost of a general purpose CPU that could allow for updates to how new digital formats are handled, combined with the development and support costs of such a solution seem pretty problematic. I also don't see an abundance of scenarios where digital in is used for non-video related audio streams. If you really want to take an audio stream from your cable box, blueray player, whatever, you are better off feeding it to a receiver, and then sending to a second zone and then sending it back to the connect that way.Now a days the receiver companies are being forced to support longer upgrade cycles that include firmware updates for digital standards. I spent all weekend doing choirs while listening to football in my entire house, all by feeding my sonos connect. from the second zone of my av receiver.

Anyhow, that's my two cents.
Call it what you want, but a connect with optical in, out and tv learning ir. Bluesound makes it, Node 2, but I prefer the Sonos ecosystem.

The Node 2 is not a surround processor, it's stereo only and I'm pretty sure it doesn't have learning IR.
Call it what you want, but a connect with optical in, out and tv learning ir. Bluesound makes it, Node 2, but I prefer the Sonos ecosystem.
+1. And IR remote learning functionality, basically a Sonos connect for TVs. Or a soundbar without the speaker for those of us who already have a set of good speakers near the TV.

A soundbar without speakers? NOBODY makes that. Why would Sonos want to take sales away from their own Playbar by introducing this?

I CAN see the use of a digital input for the Connect and Connect:Amp but not for surround purposes.