Line-In Latency/Delay Disable PLAY:5

Show first post
This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

193 replies

A fully wired network with guaranteed bandwidth provision could in theory provide low and predictable latency. However Sonos is designed as a wireless system, where fading and interference can periodically push up latency quite substantially.

Reducing the buffering to a very low level for public address applications over a dedicated wired network could of course be an option, but it's not Sonos' market at all. In fact Line-In is to some degree a nice-to-have for connecting legacy audio kit (turntables, CD, a phone's 3.5mm, etc.). Sonos' market focus was recently restated as being primarily on online music services (Spotify, Deezer, Apple et al), and voice control.

And before anyone chips in with the 'well, it would only be a software tweak' observation I have two words: Opportunity Cost. 😉
You may be missing the point.

It doesn't matter how big the potential market is for large corporate public address systems (and by the way Sonos' internal architecture imposes a limit of 32 devices per system), this simply isn't where Sonos chooses to do business. To devote any attention whatsoever to that segment would divert resources from the market space where Sonos has made its name and strives to continue to be successful.

I'm no Sonos employee but, to be blunt, in my opinion your needs simply aren't going to be addressed by Sonos. I therefore suggest you focus your search for solutions on other potential suppliers.
Userlevel 2
I have already resolved he issue of 32 devices in a local environment through two subnets in the worst case scenario, that is not a hurdle, I am already reviewing others do not worry about that
For the record you'd not need two subnets, just more than one Sonos system ('household'). Multiple systems can occupy a single subnet.
Sonos will certainly lose some business by not meeting this need. Just as they lose some by not supporting Bluetooth. Or Airplay. Or hires audio.

But overall the company succeeds by focusing all its efforts on being best at what it does, I.e. being a network based, multiroom, multiroom source home audio system.

You are entitled to ask for the feature you want but I can't see it ever getting near the top of the priority list.
Sonos will certainly lose some business by not meeting this need.
Indeed. My point was that they'd stand to lose even more business by diverting their attention away from the needs of their target market.
Userlevel 2
Your point taken, John. I think there is a fine distinction in what is being requested. It is not to include every other feature under the Sun, but still maintain wired and wireless options only but broaden the market base. After all how much consumer market spread is possible unless it becomes accessible very cost effectively and internet really becomes cheap across the world, which is not the case.....
@iamryanparker. Duped by Sonos? I'm sorry but that is a nonsensical statement. Sonos has only ever promoted one product as suitable for TV audio - the Playbar. The line-in on the P:5 is a "bonus" that allows legacy audio devices to be incorporated.
Userlevel 1

My use case?  And when did I ever tell you my use case?

I was responding to the myriad mostly reasonable use cases stated before me.  And it’s not really your place nor Sonos’ to judge how I use a speaker.  You’re not my mother.

We paid for them, we’ll use em how we please thanks!

The idea that line in audio might need to be live because it’s associated with video is pretty common.  And that’s how audio always was before sonos.  You don’t get to just add a mis-feature and not acknowledge it on the box.  Most people at one time or another have hooked up speakers to a tv or computer, or watched a youtube video in a car from their phone.  Live is expected unless they call them “Sonos Non-Live Speakers” or “Sonos Premium Delay Speakers” or some nonsense.

Yet Sonos somehow has cornered the market on excuses to add latency.  Leave it to audiophiles to rationalize why audio lag is actually a good thing!   Bet its harder to notice with some nice sound rocks in the room too.  which color sounds better?

I objected, and still do, to your use of the word "duped", which implies a deliberate intention to mislead. The line in is a minor point in the way the Play:5 is marketed and it is not marketed at all as a TV speaker. Given that the line-in can be used for a TV, it's natural that the line-in guide should give what helpful advice there is. "Reduce" lip sync delay clearly implies does not eliminate lip sync delay.

It remains nonsensical to claim you were duped.

Leaving aside the hyperbolic verbiage, you implied a use case that required zero/low latency, otherwise why would you post on this thread? 

As for audio in conjunction with video, as has been pointed out countless times Sonos makes home theatre products for just such a purpose. 


We paid for them, we’ll use em how we please thanks!

Products are designed to do what they do. Caveat emptor.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

People stop feeding the troll.  

Resistance? Hardly.

First there are routinely statements to the effect that the system architecture is built around an assumption of multi-room operation. To engineer a 'direct path' for delay-sensitive content via Line-In played solely on a local device would be a significant distraction of effort for a limited use case. Moreover it has the potential to introduce regression problems in the players' existing audio pipelines.

But more fundamentally, Sonos have already addressed the requirement for low latency with TV sound, in the shape of the purpose-designed PLAYBAR. Modern TVs often no longer offer analog outputs anyway, only optical.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
Perfect if the 5 were a standalone speaker. But it is not. The delay is to allow the speaker to communicate with other speakers.
I see it as an "operates as designed" and ease of use issue. It isn't marketed as a stand alone computer speaker, and nobody wants to keep switching between buffered and non-buffered output according to how one is using it. It is what it is, and isn't what it isn't, and allowing it to be what it isn't is both costly in engineering and confusing to the consumer.

ETA: As ratty says, it is most certainly a hardware difference that allows the Playbar to pass audio more real-time. The Playbar uses the 5 GHz band to send audio to the Sub/surrounds in the same room. Unfortunately, the 5 GHz band was found to be unreliable outside of the Sub/Surrounds, because passing through walls and floors proved to be too much for the faster, yet weaker 5 GHz signal. Therefore, for synchronized music* which must go between rooms, Sonos has to buffer the 2.4 GHz, and thus the delay on the line-in for music.

*Note, even the TV source, which is low latency at the Playbar/Sub/surrounds, is delayed a bit when playing in other rooms due to this buffering.

Good grief! :rolling_eyes:

Moreover it has the potential to introduce regression problems in the players' existing audio pipelines.

No one has asked what exactly the above means; for sure this requested feature will add a lot of noise of complaints from people that have inadvertently selected it to the effect that Sonos multi room is playing music out of sync.

But the quoted seems to be much more than just that, I am guessing.
Yes, but what when someone tries to group it without remembering or knowing about changing the no sync feature?

More important is the ratty caution I quoted.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
The latency issue on the line in is just ridiculous, I am absolutely gutted after buying my play 5 purely for the line in (a feature bizarrely missing from the play 3), I am now unable to use my turntables which was the whole reason I bought this setup. Surely there must be a way to disable this when in standalone mode :-(

You're going to have to explain how a latency of even 10 seconds is remotely a problem when playing an LP through a single Play 5?
Yep that one has me baffled too. The delay is an issue for AV applications, for which the line in was never intended. But music???
It isn't designed for mixing. It is a multiroom home hifi system. How much it costs is irrelevant. In a much used analogy on here, the fact that a Ferrari is useless off road doesn't make it a bad car, overpriced, or lacking a feature it should have.
I bought a Sonos Play 5 with the sole purpose of connecting it to my tv (I'm using the headset line out), I was a bit worried about this issue but thought I would take a risk and try, pleased to report it works perfectly and no one in the household can notice any lag. Very happy with the purchase.
If it would be practical to eliminate the delay for an isolated PLAY:5, the very next request would be to add a stereo paired speaker or more speakers to cover larger areas. And, since it is a “wireless” speaker, this should be done wirelessly. This will require reliable communication between units and this was the original reason for incorporating the 70 ms latency.

Personally, I always purchase tools designed for the purpose. I pay more for my tools than a friend who always buys the cheap tool. My friend is always struggling with the tool that almost works, then breaks. My tools are initially more expensive, but do a great job and last for decades. We were recently working on a project and he demanded that we use the cheap tool. The tool broke halfway through the project. He relented and we replaced it with a better tool. It was smooth sailing from that point and we could work faster.

In my opinion, SONOS is not the appropriate tool for DJ work.

I will also note that a professional, DJ who works in large spaces, must learn to deal with echos in the space. If the space has a 35 foot dimension, there will be an echo at 70ms because sound travels approximately one foot per millisecond.

In my opinion, SONOS is not the appropriate tool for DJ work.

Whilst I agree in its current form the Play eco system is not appropriate for DJ work, I would argue that your "correct Tool for the job" analogy is slightly contentious. One of the key use cases of a multi room hifi system would be to proivide full audio coverage during parties. Therefore one would assume that Sonos would be an appropriate "Tool" for that job.

Sonos themselves are actively advertising their Play Eco system as a "Tool" to accomodate Parties. When in a large proportion of use cases that simply isn't possible. The majority of the house parties I've attended since the 90's have some kind of rudamentory DJ set-up. So one could argue that that Sonos should try to accomodate this key use case, or at least be clearer in their media campaigns by removing any potentially misleading advertising that indicates otherwise. My example of Sonos using DJ A-Trak is a prime case where some non technical people could be caught out by the way the advert is worded and claim to have felt mislead.

The use case for a single speaker to be placed in audio cut through / direct mode would essentially be to act as a monitor for DJ or person mixing in multi speaker set up. Delays around the rest of the rooms would not be an issue for a good DJ. However, in small home venues a single Play 5 should be a perfectly adequate "Tool" to use as a single source for all use case scenario's. In this case it clearly isn't, So Sonos need to be clearer about that.
AUX input lag/latency had been issue to at least some in the past and now including me and for sure some more in the future. It is easy to attribute Wireless/multi-room speaker system are built such that this is unavoidable. Well, by the virtue of design it makes sense the latency/delay is needed for syncing multiple devices wirelessly; however, I still did not agree or convinced me why we cannot have it optional feature as opener of this thread stated. So rather than simply giving up, I ended doing extensive online search and physical testing of certain devices on my own across different vendors. Four major players of wireless multi-room speaker I gathered/I got interested in were SONOS, Bose, Denon HEOS, and Bluesound.

SONOS is out as we all know based on this thread and others. Bose have similar thread on their official forum, so based on it I assume they are in the same situation/stance as SONOS. Two I could not tell were HEOS and Bluesound. When I asked Bluesound forum, rep made it sound like there is no delay if direct AUX input was utilized without other speaker linking. HEOS does not have official forum, but they have FAQ section talked about delay and says just play locally and should take away the delay. So I ended up testing two on my own.

The way I tested was using Japanese Karaoke game software on PS4 and Nintendo Switch. Both provides latency check feature from Microphone input. PS4 gives absolute value in milli-seconds; whereas, Nintendo Switch gives category (low, medium or high).

PS4 has only optical output for direct audio line, which we all know is not as fast as AUX line due to associated time for digital to analog conversion. Regardless, the result was as following:

HEOS Soundbar - 79-81 ms
SONOS Playbar - 84-90 ms
Bluesound Pulse 2 - 90+ ms
Edifier S2000Pro - 41 ms

Note here, Edifier has multiple input options including AUX, Optical and Bluetooth but it is not Wireless Multiroom speaker. I used this as a basis how fast thing can get. Also, Bluesound Pulse 2 is Play 5 equivalent i.e. not a sounder like HEOS or SONOS but those are what I had. Basically, other than Edifier (non-wifi speaker), optical line delay was considered significant and these are indeed perceivable.

With PS4, I could not do real AUX line testing as PS4 does not have the option. So best I could do is connect PS4 by HDMI to my TV and use TV's AUX out, but TV direct out had already 90ms delay. So these results were all slower than PS4 direct optical connection.

Now I switched to Nintendo Switch for the best/least lag testing. This is because Nintendo Switch has AUX output. I wish they had numerical delay measure like PS4, but again here it is just category.

HEOS Soundbar - Medium
HEOS 5 (gen 2) - Low
Bluesound Pulse 2 - Medium
Edifier S2000Pro - Low

Since I first got HEOS 5 gen 2 and seeing low latency, and supported by subjective test as well, I was excited and ended up ordering HEOS Soundbar. So it was a bit disappointment and surprise, HEOS Soundbar still had delay. This becomes noticeable especially turning on Voice emphasizing feature, but even turning those digital processing feature off, it is still medium and still noticeable.

Edifier S2000Pro is essentially unnoticeable. HEOS 5 gen 2 is acceptable for me, but when you have it next to Edifier S2000Pro, subtle lag may be noted if singing fast paced songs. Another disappointment to me is Bluesound Pulse 2. I really liked their software and sound, but lag is just same as SONOS. Despite both medium category, HEOSBar with all DSP turned off is better than Pulse 2 on delay.

So in summary, anyone who says all Wifi multi-room speakers MUST have AUX input delay/lag is partly correct but not entirely true statement and I can assure you most of those who make these statement had never tested. Basically, HEOS has far better lag/latency than others and it is acceptable range for my Karaoke use. So if one company can do it, why can't others? Well, I think that's by design and company's stance, which we all need to respect. But anyone in the future like myself who need an option of minimum latency/lag free speaker option in their multi-room wireless speaker system, I'd recommend checking out HEOS. In fact, it is the only valid option for now, and probably any perceivable future as this feature has not been addressed by other companies including SONOS for years, it is simply not an interest/priority for other companies.