Connect:AMP digital input

  • 18 December 2013
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I do find it amazing the number of engineering/IT people that claim they can't make head nor tail of the system, as someone with an electronic engineering background now working in IT it all seems trivially simple to me, what exactly is the problem?.

I don't want to go too far off subject on this thread - I guess this is a subject in itself.


Yeah, but it's the internet, what's a little thread drift...

It is trivially simple to set up and use, but conceptually to someone who hasn't dealt with any streaming before, the 'what do I need to do what I want' is not obvious from the website - and there is a fair amount of similar comment on this subject when I started searching to find out for myself. I'm pleasantly surprised to find that the controller is fully usable on PCs - my initial impression was that it was aimed at IOS/Android, and I set it up on my iPad before adding various PCs into the mix.


Well, it's not so surprising when you realise that Sonos pre-dates the smartphone/tablet by a few years, so originally the only free controller was the PC software, with the hardware controller costing over £250.


Is the server wired or wireless? A wireless file server isn't officially supported by Sonos, it's an outside variable that they can't control. If it is wireless, try wiring it temporarily to see if that improves matters.

The server is wired to my wireless hub


Do you mean your router? That's fine then.

I'd expect Sonos to cope with the wireless connection from there.


Yes, although bear in mind that configuring Sonos to connect directly to your own wireless is a recent addition to the system and the preferred method is still to use Sonosnet, which requires one device to be wired. As you've only got the Playbar and Sub it probably won't make any difference but once you start expanding beyond a handful of units it may become relevant, particularly if you start placing units on the edge of your wifi's range.

I suspect the issue is with the server as a reboot has resolved the problem of tracks cutting halfway through (occurred twice so far). Server2012 streaming capability is limited to around 50000 tracks - I'm using MediaMonkey which seems to get round that limit. My Homeserver2011's streaming function does not have that limit. If it continues to occur I'll wire the PlayBar to the hub to see if it is wireless link - thanks for the suggestion. I'd also tried connecting to a music share but seemed to hit an index limit on the PlayBar library so reverted to streaming.


Yes, Sonos is limited to 65,000 tracks, however that's dependent on efficient tagging, if you have particularly long tags (ie for classical music for example) you may hit the limit a lot sooner. You could investigate Subsonic, I understand that's very popular with users with large collections (and you won't get any sort of answer out of Sonos on this issue).

Back to the first comment above, the Sonos website does not oversell the capabilities/technical aspects of the system - I guess that there is a fair amount of controller technology in the individual items. I only have the PlayBar and sub so far, and was waiting for the new Play:5 and possibly some Play:1s or 3s to scatter round the house - and the Connect for the HiFi. From the website I wasn't sure how the system worked - I knew it connected source to player/speaker but didn't expect to see a media library function on the PlayBar when I used the share as a source. It's intrigued me as to how its done. Do the speakers have the same functionality - is it shared/distributed between components, and how much of the controller function is duplicated (might explain the high costs)? It certainly works and produces excellent sound - which is why I've bought into it.


Every Sonos player is effectively the same in terms of the internal system, the only differences are the number of amps/speakers they contain (none for the Connect, multiple amps and speakers for the Play devices), they are all fully integrated music players in their own right, there is no central "brain", each unit stores its own copy of the music index and service information, every unit can operate independently of each other and indeed without any controller interaction at all, the controllers only issue commands, they don't actually do anything beyond that, save display the current status. Once playing the controller unit can be switched off and the Player will carry on regardless.

You seem to be a vehement supporter and multi-poster - are you in any way affiliated to Sonos, or just an enthusiastic enthusiast?


The latter, I bought into Sonos back in the ZP90/120 days, I was sold from the moment I realised it had taken me longer to get the gear out of the boxes than it did to set them up and playing (still does, the Play:1 box is a sod to get open!). I've literally never had a single issue since, despite an uncooperative house with thick stone walls that effectively block wifi signals completely but a couple of conveniently placed bridges looking through doorways gets around that issue (that's the beauty of using Sonosnet incidentally, the mesh network is very robust).

So yeah, I'm an enthusiast, I mainly just get annoyed when people steam in here mouthing off about how the system "just doesn't work" or it hasn't been properly developed. I've got about 8 years experience which says it DOES work and if you want to see not properly developed, buy one of the competitor products.
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PMGA - I have to disagree about the help desk. I have used both the Dutch and English language help desk and found them to be most knowledgeable and helpful and exceedingly patient in tracing and solving the problems that I have had. I don't know of any other hardware manufacturer that can match Sonos in this respect.
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Here is the problem. The Sonos forums have countless threads that all variants of this topic:

It Would Be Great If Sonos Had (pick one: DTS, Digital Inputs, Inputs on X, Outputs on Y, etc...)

The sad part is, Sonos doesn't care, not even one little bit. They are marching down their own road which seems to dedicate all their resources toward software (which they do quite well). If you are waiting for hardware, interface, speaker quality, or just about any other tangible improvement, you are going to be really disappointed.

The good part is, for what they do, they do it really well (better than anyone else).

The part I cannot understand (and I see this with companies everywhere) why would you leave so much money on the table? For the cost of a few inputs, outputs, and licenses (most of which can be passed onto the customer at 500% margin and still not raise the price that much), why wouldn't you? Is there literally a person at Sonos who's job it is to say, "No, the we don't want DTS, I don't care if we can make money at it, and all of our users want it, No. And the same goes for digital inputs on Connect! We are even sure if this digital audio thing is going to catch on..."

I just boggles the mind.
It doesn't boggle the mind. There are a few very vocal people voicing their ire in multiple threads. A loud and angry mob is still just a mob, and is not the market Sonos is aimed at. The market Sonos is aimed at is the market that makes them the top selling multi-room system at Amazon, with every item, including Playbar, rating over 4 stars in customer reviews. A rating achieved despite a movement to slag those reviews by the same vocal few you find here.

Some folks get bogged down in technical specs and esoteric functionality, others just want it to work. And aside from DTS on the Playbar, it just works. Unlike the competition.
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It doesn't boggle the mind. There are a few very vocal people voicing their ire in multiple threads. A loud and angry mob is still just a mob, and is not the market Sonos is aimed at. The market Sonos is aimed at is the market that makes them the top selling multi-room system at Amazon, with every item, including Playbay, rating over 4 stars in customer reviews. A rating achieved despite a movement to slag those reviews by the same vocal few you find here.

Some folks get bogged down in technical specs and esoteric functionality, others just want it to work. And aside from DTS on the Playbar, it just works. Unlike the competition.


Yup, aside from DTS, for you. All I am saying is that there are quite a few /aside/ froms with this product. And, if he multi room music market does not encompass integration with other I/O then they should drop the connection and connect amp.

And yes, I just want it to work. I would love to go to BB and pick up an optical cable and connect (hmmm....) my TV to my Connect. Nope. Just Work = 0. Where are those converts again? Just hang that down there, or tie wrap it up there and...

Too many companies reach the pinnacle of their market and start to believe their own press about how good they are and how they define and drive the market, and then develop sense that they are bullet proof.

To me, Sonos is in the whole house music business. Do they want me buying other companies products in their market to fill holes in their lines product lines? If they have a Connect then they want to input/output from other things (unless I read the manual wrong that came with my connect), yet it does not have digital inputs. There are many things like that in their product lines, that just don't make sense to me. I guess they don't have to. They are No. 1 in their market and so they ... (again, boggles my mine).

And, don't get me wrong. Like I said, Sonos is hands down the best at while house music. Right now it is not even close. I lead with Sonos for almost 100% of the the systems that I build, even with its short comings. No other product can handle both the TV surround and rest of the house from a single pane of glass.
The Connect inputs were made for legacy analog equipment; radios before all stations were online, turntables, etc. I imagine the thought was if it's digital, why in Hell would one not rip it to a file and have it at your fingertips. Why would one want to play CDs the old fashioned way once they can play it on Sonos? And your TV? Sonos makes a unit for your tv. You complain about no DTS and in the same breath you wonder why you can't have a digital connection from your tv to a two channel amp that won't do DD? That makes no sense. Sonos stated years ago that the analog line-in was the least used source on their system. It's a niche item. How much more niche would a digital in be? Well, I suspect this question is best answered by looking at this two year old thread which hasn't gone beyond two pages of posts, at least half of which were an off topic discussion.
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@jgatie, I hope the Connect is just for analog, because if its not, they really missed the mark (i.e. its pretty obvious looking at the back that it only connects to analog inputs).

Another way to look at it, is that back in the analog days, when you infer the Connect was conceived, the Connect was a way to expand the systems I/O capabilities the things around it. Now, things are shifting to a little more digital era, and the back panel of the Connect should reflect that.

And since you brought it up, yes I agree, there should be more than two channels on the back of the connect 🙂

But, for me, two channels would be fine for now. I just hate it when I have to stop and go get a converter, when the Connect should do that for me. It should, how does that go? Just work.

And, BTW, it was not me that said "And aside from DTS on the Playbar, it just works." I did not complain about it... I simply used it in an example of the things Sonos refuses to redress.

And, I came across this 2 year old post doing a simple google search on "sonos connect optical input". There are oodles of other threads on the same topic.

My point is still the same. Sonos does not seem to care about keeping up with much more than software. On the other hand, that software rocks. It makes their OK hardware really attractive.
I never inferred the Connect was conceived way back in the analog era; it a freaking digital streamer, I'd have to be stupid to infer that. What I said is the analog line-in was a nod to legacy formats that are not easily converted to digital. Whereas a digital input in an already digital streamer which is able to access ripped CDs in an instant is quite redundant. Who needs to get up and change a CD when you can have instant access to your entire library (or millions of tracks online) in your pocket. That's silly.

As to your evaluation of Sonos' strengths and weaknesses: It's funny. I can find you "oodles" of threads specifically complaining about Sonos software, especially when compared to native apps, which go on to praise the hardware as being the best there is. It's all subjective, and the wants and needs of the few do not override the wants and needs of the many in a capitalistic company. I'm sure Sonos has 1000 times the true marketing data than you or I, and no matter how many emotionally subjective threads you or I post here, nothing trumps those numbers. And the numbers are pretty good for Sonos against some pretty huge companies with almost unlimited budgets.
If you are waiting for hardware, interface, speaker quality, or just about any other tangible improvement, you are going to be really disappointed.
Hmm. So PLAY:5 Gen2 and Trueplay must have been just a dream then.
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All Sonos needs to do is make an in/out optical interface
such that ican use it for sound from my Sony flat panel,
as i have 2 Play3 units each side of my Sony TV.
I know this would take focus from Sonos Playbar
but i would never buy one,dont like playbars.
So Sonos please make an digital in/out interface to
your sound system, that would make your Sonos
system much more flexible, and would a great
sales argument.
A digital Line-In would suffer the same network latency as an analog Line-In. It's there to provide sufficient buffering to maintain the stability of the network stream. Many could find that the 70ms delay is too much for TV lip-sync.
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Where did you get the 70ms from?
most well designed networks have
a lot less.
I worked with Axia IP audio systems
for radio studio's where microphone
to headphone delay was 5ms.
Normaly a delay of 20ms or under
is not a problem, also there is a delay
of about 5ms per meter from the
loadspeaker to listner.
Where did you get the 70ms from?
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1966/~/grouping,-pairing,-and-bonding-players
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If you are waiting for hardware, interface, speaker quality, or just about any other tangible improvement, you are going to be really disappointed.
Hmm. So PLAY:5 Gen2 and Trueplay must have been just a dream then.


Its just that they come sooooo sloooowly... I have a Denon 3808 that I bought almost 10 years ago. It had microphone for audio setup. Did they really need 10 years? And yes, the play:5s sound great. They are the first great sounding speaker that I have from Sonos. I would like to see more. But, it just takes sooooo long for them to step up.
. Sonos does not seem to care about keeping up with much more than software. On the other hand, that software rocks. It makes their OK hardware really attractive.
For a completely different opinion - that hardware rocks and software sucks, see this!:
https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/5-star-play1-review-stunning-photos-6734713/index1.html#post15992359
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I can see the analogue inputing left/right into the Sonos
system could give this delay 70ms.
But what i am sying is a well designed
optical input into the system with a 30ms
delay or under would work very well from
a TV.
So my question to Sonos is please make
this very simple interface unit.
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. Sonos does not seem to care about keeping up with much more than software. On the other hand, that software rocks. It makes their OK hardware really attractive.
For a completely different opinion - that hardware rocks and software sucks, see this!:
https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/5-star-play1-review-stunning-photos-6734713/index1.html#post15992359


I actually really love it 🙂 It goes to show just how much opinions can differ while still be valid. Nice!

For me, its Sonos's software that sells the product. I just had to put a system in a houseboat. 7 TVs, top deck sound system, owner wanted everything everywhere/anywhere/nowhere/all the time/never / you name it. He tried combinations of 7.1, 11.1, 2 zone, 3 zone, the whole amp market. I put in 2 playbars, 2 subs, 4 play:5s and 2 connects and poof, done. One app and everything is everywhere, and all his existing amps are leveraged with the Connects. He cannot believe it.
I can see the analogue inputing left/right into the Sonos
system could give this delay 70ms.
But what i am sying is a well designed
optical input into the system with a 30ms
delay or under would work very well from
a TV.

You've misunderstood the problem. An ADC adds virtually nothing to the delay. The delay is there to provide enough buffering to deal with packet jitter over an asynchronous multi-hop wireless mesh network. Insufficient buffering and the stream drops out.

PLAYBAR itself can sail closer to the wind, with a 30ms delay for TV sound, because it's the centre of a local hub/spoke configuration over 5GHz to its own satellites. Indeed if you read the FAQ you'll see that 2.4GHz players grouped with the PLAYBAR are out of sync with it for TV. They lag behind because they need the full 70ms buffering delay.

I actually really love it 🙂 It goes to show just how much opinions can differ while still be valid. Nice!

For me, its Sonos's software that sells the product. I just had to put a system in a houseboat. 7 TVs, top deck sound system, owner wanted everything everywhere/anywhere/nowhere/all the time/never / you name it. He tried combinations of 7.1, 11.1, 2 zone, 3 zone, the whole amp market. I put in 2 playbars, 2 subs, 4 play:5s and 2 connects and poof, done. One app and everything is everywhere, and all his existing amps are leveraged with the Connects. He cannot believe it.


I assure you the breadth and length of complaints over the software far outdistance the complaints over the hardware. And all of those far outdistance the complaints from installers who want Sonos to put niche functionality into their units that does not apply to 99.9% of their customers, but will make life a little easier for someone making a lot of money for "custom" installing hardware which is sold at Target.
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Does this mean the Play3 only have 2,4Ghz and not 5Ghz
network, but how would it work if you hard wired the in/out
optical unit,Sonos bridge and Play3 units.
How would the latency be.
Userlevel 4
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I can see the analogue inputing left/right into the Sonos
system could give this delay 70ms.
But what i am sying is a well designed
optical input into the system with a 30ms
delay or under would work very well from
a TV.

You've misunderstood the problem. An ADC adds virtually nothing to the delay. The delay is there to provide enough buffering to deal with packet jitter over an asynchronous multi-hop wireless mesh network. Insufficient buffering and the stream drops out.

PLAYBAR itself can sail closer to the wind, with a 30ms delay for TV sound, because it's the centre of a local hub/spoke configuration over 5GHz to its own satellites. Indeed if you read the FAQ you'll see that 2.4GHz players grouped with the PLAYBAR are out of sync with it for TV. They lag behind because they need the full 70ms buffering delay.

Yes i can see the problems with a optical in/out interface to the Sonos system
adding TV sound via wifi giveing latency.
Of course the Sonos playbar has direct optical input from the TV and no delay.
Yes i can see the problems with a optical in/out interface to the Sonos system
adding TV sound via wifi giveing latency.
Of course the Sonos playbar has direct optical input from the TV and no delay.


Actually, the Playbar lack of delay is only to the 5GHz units that it is bonded with. Other speakers still experience a delay when grouped with the Playbar, illustrating the delay inherent to the Sonos system ratty has described.
Does this mean the Play3 only have 2,4Ghz and not 5Ghz
network, but how would it work if you hard wired the in/out
optical unit,Sonos bridge and Play3 units.
How would the latency be.


Sonos has found the reduced range of the 5 GHz band makes it less useful for multi-room streaming and thus it is only used for bonding units at short distances within the same room. Latency can be overcome by hard wiring, but at what point does one allow a niche functionality to negate the major selling point of a truly "wireless" system?
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Of course the wireless will always be best.
But i was trying to see if you could use the
Sonos system for sound on a Flat panrl TV
i can now see that a wifi solution with slow
wifi networks and buffering would be a challenge.
I built an IP system for a FM radio station supplying IP streams over
the internet with Qos from the studio to the transmitter site,
we used 200 ms buffering for a 256Kbs stereo signal,
this was over 100km.
Lets see if the wifi technology will be faster in the near
future, but then we need new Sonos models?
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Would a "simple" stereo digital input onto the sonos connect (either 'normal' and amp) be difficult to implement?

I believe it wouldn't. As a manner of fact, I believe that the point where the digital audio signal would have to enter the unit, is already there "waiting" for us to inject the signal.

Why do I say this? Well, if the analog audio that one can input on the RCA plugs (that are already available on all units) needs to be converted into digital, then there is a point where one could connect the wires in order to inject digital signal into the device.

Doesn't this makes good sense?