Why can't I just use you like any other speakers?

Userlevel 1
So it's Boxing day, and I've just received a lovely big SONOS Play:1 speaker for Christmas. I set the speakers up and try to find them on my system. Nothing.

I do some research, trying to figure out why I can only play through SONOS app and verified programmes approved through the SONOS app.

Why something which clearly cost more than a few pretty pennies is essentially useless for anything other than playing music.

No live sound, no video sync, nothing but music through SONOS.

So the decrepit old speakers I have had since 2000 are essentially doing a better job than the basic model of SONOS. Not only this but my cheap shower bluetooth speaker I bought for my boyfriend (£5.99) can do what this supposedly amazing modern and high quality technology cannot. Which is play ANY sound off of my computer or phone that I want it to.

How is this a complicated concept and why, after literally years and years of community comments and wailings and clearly strong customer dissatisfaction haven't you developed a simple software fix for this? What, you can play my music at the highest sound level ever but can't handle a simple YouTube video? What kind of operation are you running? Please for the love of all things good and pure and sound related, just fix this issue. I don't think I've ever had more issue with such a supposedly 'amazing' product before. If Bluetooth is such a low quality sound how come they can do what you can't?

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121 replies

Userlevel 3
jgatie : I think it's a bit cheap to take legitimate grievances of customers and just brush them off. "Dissing"? Grow up a little. I own a set of Sonos speakers ( I bought them for myself and they were not a gift) and I also recently purchased a Google Chromecast Audio.

I love Sonos hardware. My recent acquisition was 2 of their Play 1's. I love the sound that comes out of these speakers, for the size that they are. I also love their design. However, Sonos needs to wake up and smell the competition. I don't know how else to say this but: Sonos, your software absolutely sucks. It really does. Every single step of the way, you have decided to take more and more control away from the user. Equalizer control? Almost non-existent. Tone settings? Nope. Third party support or open source support? Nadda.

What makes me mad about the Play 1 in particular is not that you decided to not include 3.5mm Audio-In, but that you decided not to include it despite not offering any kind of official screen-cast capability. Why does this matter? Well if I wanted to play audio from an application or device that isn't supported by your streaming firmware, I could at least physically connect it to a 3.5mm and continue my listening but you decided not to. So I can't listen to apps you don't care enough to support. On speakers that I paid over $400. The cost of adding a line-in is trivial. What the hell?

Fine whatever, you don't want to add line in. At least add support for screen-casting like Google Chromecast Audio does. Open up your software. Or take the trouble to make it better.

With Google Chromecast Audio, I can cast whatever audio is streaming on my screen to whatever speaker I like in whatever room I would like to send it to. My favorite podcast application on Android is Pocketcasts. It's a great app, been using it for years. And yet Sonos can't play nice with it. Why? Because Pocketcasts stores its files in a certain sub-folder and the developers at Sonos can't be bothered to have the Sonos app set up to generate lists that include all sub-folders within a folder. You know what's even worse? I searched through and people have been complaining about this same exact problem for over a year! And your only response is to say Pocketcasts isn't compatible. Like, what? You're not capable of building something that can read sub-folders and your response is to just say, "Meh. It's somebody else's problem"? It's 2015 Sonos. Sub-folders are a thing. Surely you have the technology to populate lists from within sub-folders? And why do you not care about people asking you for this?

Some fans declare that Sonos is not meant for all-purpose usage. Instead that it's mostly for music-heavy use only. Well I'm one of those people that bought the Sonos for music only and I'm still disappointed. If sound is the most important thing that why is their so little control over sound settings or playlist management? I have 1 bar for base and 1 bar for treble and a button that says "Loud Mode"? Why?

And why is your library management so piss poor? I have a huge collection of music, a lot of which comes from CDs that I bought and ripped and there's no way to arrange the library by folder and sub-folder? I have music apps on my smartphone that I've bought for $5 that give me more control over sound and better library support. Please take a look at PowerAmp on Android ($3.99) as an example of what a beautiful, powerful music application should be (I am not affiliated in any way) :

It really is a shame that you don't listen to your power-users and your customers with more common needs. I'll probably be leaving the Sonos bandwagon and switching to buying powered speakers and connecting to them through Chromecast Audio or similar streaming devices. There's lots of great speakers out there. I bought Sonos because I thought that you guys did the best job of integrating the whole experience. It's sad to see that you have stopped innovating and are falling behind.

I'm sure you made a killing over Christmas with all the people that bought your devices. But I think you will see a lot of returned merchandise and a lot of one-time customers that won't come back. The competition is growing and the future is coming. I will be making my own video review of the Sonos eco-system as it stands today.
Userlevel 1
LGs Music Flow uses wifi, they can also play music from portable devices via Bluetooth. They also use a mesh setup.

Bluetooth is as, if not more, reliable than wifi.
Bluetooth has AFH, to avoid congested channels by monitoring the RF spectrum.

"Unreliable Bluetooth to a single speaker is as good as it gets", Jgatie go look at the LG website,

Standard wIFI!, WIFI uses the ISM band just like Bluetooth and your microwave etc. I doubt Sonos have gone and setup their own ISM band RF communications mesh, this wouldn't sit nice with the rest of the kit people have in their homes.

Sonos have taken a gamble in that if they get their product out and force a standard then every body will follow suite. However if the likes of LG/Bose/Yamaha/SONY etc don't like it they can group together and produce a "standard" which may put Sonos on the back foot.

Unless it is the useless 5GHz which has trouble leaving a room.

The combination of Bluetooth for device discovery and features and wifi for data transfer is a good use of both technologies, BT 3.0 +HS spec.

Just been looking at the LG HS9 soundbar connectivity, if these options were on the Playbar trust me I'd have one.
Its Sonos' refusal to compromise that will put people off, everybody has an HDMI cable and has an idea what its for, very few people know about the optical cable. HDMI seemed a good way to standardise on digital media between devices.

My play 5s will probably be up for sale in the new year.
Userlevel 3
Nobody is talking about a universal audio protocol! What are you even talking about? This is not some abstract discussion about standards and protocols. I'm perfectly fine with Sonos using their own proprietary standard. I could care less! This is not about Apple VS Google either. You're just having an argument with yourself mate.

Let me put it simply :

1. Sonos has 1 official application for streaming. All your services and local media utilize this application.
2. If they made their 1 and only application amazing and paid attention to it, I would have no complaints.
3. If they chose not to make their official application powerful and useful I would be fine with it too, IF and only IF they made it possible for 3rd Party applications to tie into their streaming protocol.
4. You do not have to be open source in order for this to happen.
5. You do not have to be part of a universal protocol for this to happen.

Don't want to build a good application? Fine. Let other 3rd Party applications stream to your Sonos speakers. Let my favorite Android, iPhone and Windows Phone applications handle the User Interface and Library management for you and let them stream to your speakers.

And if you can't even be bothered to do that, at the very least, put a 3.5mm line-in on it!
Userlevel 3
Millions of satisfied customers are laughing heartily at Astral and his friends. Simple matter of checking the thousands of reviews on Amazon and Best Buy. The very few 1 and 2 star reviews get voted as "unhelpful" big time, as they are usually from clueless idiots who thought they were buying bluetooth speakers, lol.

Remember Squeezebox, Astral? Did much of what you're asking, but required a user-provided server. Pain in the butt, so it failed miserably, as have the vast majority of Sonos "killers". They simply aren't as easy to use, or as comprehensive a solution as Sonos, so they fail.

You are obviously blissfully unaware that any DLNA-capable app can use Sonos devices as renderers. Ever tried BubbleUPnP? C5? Plenty of others, as well, though none as capable by any stretch as the Sonos app. There are also apps that use the native Sonos protocol, just search the app stores for Sonos, they pop right up.

Sonos also provides an API that any streaming provider can use to enable their service in Sonos. It's why Sonos supports 60+ services, while its competition, what's left of it, supports 3, 4, maybe 6 at the most. No competition at all, really, is it?

Oh, and show me another wireless, multiroom-capable speaker that can tune itself to the room, very easily...

This is the kind of response that I love about the Sonos community. Truly delusional and fanboy-ish in nature. You remind of the Apple-mania that swept across years ago where any criticism of a company lead to a completely knee-jerk response from devoted followers of the cult. Much like Apple, Sonos seems to depend on customers that have bought a product that gives them some kind of sense of social standing or superiority. Your product purchase defines you as a person. ALL HAIL THE ONE TRUE GOD.

Millions of satisfied customers are laughing heartily at Astral and his friends"

Uh, ok? Do you actually feel like this is US vs THEM. Or are you actually sitting there imagining millions of devoted cult followers are sitting by there computers following this thread laughing because their consumer electronics choices are what defines their existence.

The very few 1 and 2 star reviews get voted as "unhelpful" big time, as they are usually from clueless idiots who thought they were buying bluetooth speakers, lol.

"Clueless idiots, lol?" How old are you, 14?

Criticizing Sonos' truly horrible software management, user interface and refusal to listen to repeated user complaints over the years is I guess pointless when the community is just a bunch of fan boys that think they're all rooting for a sports team rather than consumers of a product that deserves some basic improvements to make it useful for those of us that love music and need a basic level of library and DSP support.

Just taking a quick glance through the forums you see things that would otherwise be shameful for a company that claims to provide a great experience. People actually having to find work arounds to listen to one podcast at-a-time. In 2015. Can you believe that? One lousy podcast. That's one file. That's one syndicated feed.

And it's shameful that the community is such a bunch of shills. If your responses weren't so childish I would accuse you of being paid employees masquerading as genuine consumers but sadly your immaturity fails to convince me that you're capable of that.

Sonos is now the Audio equivalent of buying Apple products is for some people : just some kind of over priced status symbol that has an unquestioning user base that's convinced they're the best and unwilling to criticize their prized purchases. Sure they made some great innovations years ago, but now it's just a matter of marketing superiority and packaging innovations of other companies as their very own. Everything is revolutionary and everything is innovation. Even though it isn't.

Sonos as a company won't listen because it has people like you devoted to buying products for the sake of buying products.

In some ways it's worse than being a bad product, because if it was just a bad product I'd dump it and move on. But it's a beautiful piece of hardware, with an easy to use, easy to set up and solid wireless mesh that's let down by truly crappy software and a lack of interest on the part of the company to listen to user complaints an problems. But I guess it has people like you to thank for that.

I'll end my rant with one word that I think sums up my Sonos experience :

Userlevel 3
I changed my mind. Sonos is beautiful and amazing and perfect. How could I have been so wrong.
Userlevel 1
LG and Bose do it via Bluetooth to only one speaker with no multi-room. Fact is, the app manufacturers have never standardized on a multi-room, Ethernet based casting architecture, never mind a standard protocol. Unreliable Bluetooth to a single speaker is as good as it gets. So Dec, with your effort to disparage Sonos,you actually came up with a very good description of the shortcomings of your "preferred" systems, in that they have to use inferior synching, standard WiFi, and Bluetooth to mimic a cheaper, unreliable feature set, something which Sonos refuses to compromise.

jgatie, I don't really think it's fair to sat they are uncompromising when they clearly know it's possible to play music sound live but won't make any changes to make computer audio workable. And I may have to see if I can return it. But I still think it's ridiculous that I should have to replace it because it doesn't do something so incredibly simple and obvious that one assumes it of course would work and also overtly omits from its description on the website and many reviews.
Yes I will, My Jabra soulmate works well in the bathroom, no problems at all, phone stays in the bedroom.
I could do this with a play1 perhaps, oh hold no power in the bathroom, try better Sonos.

You mean the Play:1 which occupies the top 4 spots of top selling multi-room speakers on Amazon, both pairs, singles, and colors, whereas the competition offers only a single unit in a single color is 7th? The Play:1 that sits next to my sink in my bathroom? That Play:1?

Look, I understand you are disappointed because you made foolish assumptions about your purchase. Your are in the minority, and to keep bashing here puts you in the annoying minority. Fine if that's what you want to be, but know the sales figures and reviews are decidedly against you. Sell your stuff and go be happy.
Userlevel 5
Badge +11
Sonos is not a computer speaker
Jabra Solemate is not a multi-room system

Get what you want/need

Userlevel 3

It really is a shame that you don't listen to your power-users and your customers with more common needs. I'll probably be leaving the Sonos bandwagon and switching to buying powered speakers and connecting to them through Chromecast Audio or similar streaming devices. There's lots of great speakers out there. I bought Sonos because I thought that you guys did the best job of integrating the whole experience. It's sad to see that you have stopped innovating and are falling behind.

One reason why Sonos is the best out there in its addressed market is precisely because it chooses not to be the solution for everyone out there. Jack of all trades and all that...

Your CC approach is a valid option, but not for the reasons you want addressed. CC is for either a low cost front end, or for using much better sound quality but no WiFi active speakers than what Sonos offers, without at the same time also spending money on the Sonos connect. Or if you must have the native music apps.

I have played around with CC and it is a very interesting option for sure. But it isn't for me because its user interface to music play is nowhere as slick/stable as it is for Sonos. YMMV, and if so, you aren't part of the market that Sonos addresses, which by the way, is quite large going by Sonos revenue volume and growth numbers. Recognise that and move on.

I find Sonos is neither a Jack of all trades (which is fine) but it definitely isn't a master of audio thanks to it's poor library management and lack of any real control over sound quality or processing.

I also find it funny that any criticism of Sonos is met with "well, they make a lot of money and ship a lot of units so you must be wrong". The consumer audio equivalent of saying Brittany Spears sold more records than Led Zeppelin so that must clearly be better. Sonos had no real competition until recently. And it's this kind of response that brings down products.

" If we've sold a shit load of them, why make anything better! "
Userlevel 3
Case in point, I was complaining earlier about how Sonos can't be bothered to let the user pick a folder and/or folders for Sonos to search populate a Podcast list. This has been going on for over a year. And as of 3 days ago, there's people asking how to get individual podcasts to play friendly with the Sonos application.

To put this into perspective, this would be like calling your TV manufacturer and asking him how you can get 'Family Guy' to work on your TV.
The correct answer being that you shouldn't have to struggle to make TV shows work one-by-one. If your TV works, you get all the shows. Done. Simple.

So Sonos isn't the master of Audio. With Chromecast Audio, LG's WiFi multiroom system and Bose following up, Sonos isn't the master of multi-room wireless either. And evidently they aren't the master of software integration either. So what is Sonos good at?

I find it appalling that the Sonos support team finds it respectable to actually tell people work-arounds on a per-app basis. It's a bit shameful that it's 2015 and you have to download a podcast through one app, run through the loops and then use the Sonos app to make it all work. For a podcast. A simple audio file.

And I'd like hear something other than, " they're making a ton of revenue, so whatever ".
Userlevel 1
How do they continue to innovate? It's like you guys have exactly one setting: defend SONOS no matter how many complaints appear. Do you work for the company? That would explain a lot. Even if you did though, surely the company should recognise that this is a prevalent problem that is not overtly stated and deliberately omitted from their marketing and website, and as someone who works in sales it is extremely poor customer service for anyone to defend a company's choice again and again to say 'If you don't like it don't get it.' But then how do we know we don't like it until it's too late? I'm not an unreasonable person, but this doesn't seem that complicated to me. Clearly it's possible for other platforms. There's no reason why it shouldn't work on this one.
Userlevel 3
The other thing is that Sonos continues to innovate, but what does it say to you if that isn't in the direction you would like it to?

At this point I'm not even asking for innovation. Clearly they had the head start with wireless audio and have done nothing much since. But I could care less. All I'm asking for is to be able listen to a lousy podcast without having to wonder if it'll show up or whether I'm allowed to use a certain application to do it because Sonos doesn't understand what a sub-folder is. I'm asking for a lousy line-in because Sonos can't be bothered to fulfill their promise of "stream anywhere". I'm asking for a little control over audio, because y'know a bit of Hi-Fi technology from the 1960's would be kinda cool, right?

That's not innovation, that's not being demanding, that's just called good customer support and providing a product that does what it says on the box. Especially when your customers have invested a reasonable amount of money expecting you to deliver.

Screw innovation. At this point I'm not really hoping for cutting edge anymore.
I'll stop contributing to it by simply saying that I find my Sonos setup to be my most enjoyable tech purchase in many many years.
+1 to that and only because it has me listening to a lot more excellent sounding music, owned and net streamed, than at any time before I bought Sonos. Nothing to do with "pride of ownership" - much of the hifi kit I went through for the 15 years before Sonos contained components that had much more of that psychological factor than what Sonos offers.

With a combination of Connect/Connect Amp/Play Units/Sub, I still have to come across any system that will meet my needs better than what Sonos does, at any price point. I don't care for TV beyond a bare minimum, so I can't speak to TV centric applications.
I'll end this thread with one word that sums up my opinion of Astra9's opinion.


Or is it . . . blech?

6 of one . . .
Userlevel 3
I'm still here bitching, so I'll give you that. But there's only so much you can do from an airport terminal.
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
Another un-happy sonos soundbar customer. However you cut it, that is bad news for sonos, probably put him off, he sells, puts off anybody he knows, even shop sales staff don't understand limitations.
It does seem an unfair mess to me. Buyer beware!! is no way to sustain a good name.
Glad I went for a proper a/v surround amp and hifi speakers first.
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
Will play music, will play stereo from your 5.1 television, will not play from most other components without audio drop outs that includes but not limited to dvd players, many cable companies 5.1, direct tv sat top boxes, dish sat top boxes many assorted audio receivers and a lot of other video components. Google this subject.
I know I shouldn't wade into this battle, but surely when are people going to realise the basic facts here:

AirPlay over wireless and compressed ’limited-distance audio' over Bluetooth, are each designed for single speaker use only... Yes there are workarounds for multi-room/speaker setup for AirPlay, but both technologies are now somewhat dated and not really practical for use all around the family home, or office.

And syncing video to go with this type of audio is another thing entirely.

You will NEVER, for example, find a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound system made up of Bluetooth or AirPlay speakers... and that's a fact!

Sonos on the other hand, are utterly and completely different. They are a wireless multi-room, multi-speaker company. You can have upto 32 speakers controlled by a single central controller, that can all play the same audio, or different audio (at the same time), on every single (or group(s)) of speakers ... and they each can operate in perfect sync without any user intervention.

The Sonos speakers can be set up to work individually (like Bluetooth or AirPlay) or two of the speakers can be put together into a separated stereo pair ... That's something you cannot do with Bluetooth or AirPlay. I tend to think of the latter therefore as listening to things in the old 'mono' format.

Sonos devices can also be put together to create 5.1 channel separated sound .. Let's just take the .1 (point 1) side of that setup, which is the bass or LFE (low frequency effects) channel... Sonos produce a mighty fine sub to deal with that channel. So what is out there on the market from Airpmay or Bluetooth to compete with that ?.. The simple answer is nothing!

Sonos has its niche in the market place and AirPlay and Bluetooth each have theirs ... and never the twain shall meet.

Google and its Chromecast technology is attempting to 'fit in-between' these technologies by allowing some apps to 'cast' or stream sound DIRECT to one or more speakers from remote sources, but that too (at the moment) does not provide 2ch stereo or 5.1 DD channel separation.

Sound quality and separation is also developing and improving alongside all the hardware.

As it stands now, a lot of people show up here in the community forum and shout and bang their drum and complain that their Sonos product doesn't do what their cheaper rechargeable Bluetooth speaker can do ... And the answer to that is simple... Of course it can't, their products were never designed to do that!

If your personal 'needs' are what Bluetooth/AirPlay or Chromecast 'mono' speakers were designed to do.. Then go out and buy those.

However if you want a multi-room, multi-speaker wireless system (including 2ch stereo or 5.1 sound surround) then Sonos is possibly the product for you.

Finally ... The thing that is evident on this forum, is that today's audio/video customer-needs are evolving and evolving fast. We all want the hardware to do all things for all men (er... and women), but the truth is that no single company, or manufacturer can provide that to us at this moment in time.

I'm sure that Sonos research labs and those at Bose, Apple, Google, Sony, Samsung etc.. are all very hard at work, as we speak, to address our future needs and demands.

I reckon the race is on and we should be patient and see what happens next. Meanwhile I see no harm in mixing and matching the Sonos products with AirPlay Bluetooth and Chromecast products.

All I can say is thank goodness for product interim 'workarounds' until the next generation of things arrives in the marketplace.

I'm sure if people understood these things a bit better and where we are in terms of development, they might consider the things that they say about the Sonos product.

"Methinks thou dost protest too much" ... William Shakespeare.

Ken Griffiths
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
Ken have 5 sonos speakers do not ever use anything but soundbar and woofer for television because of the delay problem, I just want television audio without sound drop outs, to many components are not able to do this, sonos has been blameing everybody else. PCM is not an option for $1500 out the door for a woofer and soundbar. I hardly think the top 3 television companies whose televisions output 5.1 dolby and almost all the cable companies set top boxes and the 2 primary satellite companies are all wrong which are dish and direct tv. Sonos has no solution because the claim all their signals are not up to spec. Time for a solution its ben at least 2 years. Thanks for your concern.
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
Ken google sonos player drop outs!
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
Ken google sonos playerbar drop outs, oh Im sorry I'm on the wrong forum.
Userlevel 5
Badge +4
If you have 9743 replies and you don't work for sonos I feel like you need to look for a job, good luck this is not Facebook.
Userlevel 1
PaperDandilion, Just take it back and get LG,BOSE, etc SONOS aren't going to fit your requirements.
They have a very narrow technology view/product, it does work well within a narrow band of requirements but these days there are no reasons for it to do better just as other manufacturers do.
It doesn't do it because it isn't possible, except for Bluetooth, which Sonos predates. Sonos devices don't even have Bluetooth chips. When Apple, Google and Microsoft sit down and agree on a standard WiFi based streaming architecture and protocol, you may see it happen. The problem is, Apple and Google seek to monetize their Airplay/Chromecast technologies, so they freeze the other out, with Sonos caught in the middle.

And by the way, you shouldn't assume anything. Sonos has never claimed to do what you assume it should do. Your assumptions are your fault, not theirs. Good luck with an inferior competitor. Be careful what you wish for applies.
And yet Sonos still owns the multi room streamer market, claiming the vast majority of top selling spots on, with LG and Denon not even in the top 15, and Bose not cracking the top 5 which are all Sonos. Seems Sonos is doing just fine. The fact it doesn't fit well for folks who have different assumptions and/or expectations doesn't change that.

I'm sure you will get top dollar for your Sonos gear, and whoever buys it will probably go on to purchase even more from Sonos. It's a win win for you and Sonos. Enjoy your Bluetooth speakers! 🙂