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Frustrated with Sonos – Seeking Reliable Alternatives


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Hi everyone,

I'm reaching out to this community because I'm at my wit's end with my Sonos system. When it works, it's absolutely amazing – the sound quality is top-notch, and I've invested in quite a few of their products over the years. However, the reliability issues have become unbearable.

For the past few months, even before the recent app update, I've been experiencing constant problems. Music often won't stream at all, it stops mid-play, some speakers refuse to connect, and sometimes I can't connect at all. These issues are making the system practically unusable, which is incredibly frustrating given the amount of money and effort I've put into it.

I'm now considering alternatives to Sonos. Can anyone recommend a different setup that offers similar sound quality but with better reliability? I'm open to all suggestions, whether it's another multi-room system or even a different approach to home audio.

Thanks in advance for your help!!!!

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Best answer by Airgetlam 2 June 2024, 19:27

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My personal workaround is using the spotify app directly connected to the sonos speaker.  This offers less comfort but it works fine .

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Thanks. I have tried that but it does not appear to show all the speakers ( I have 2x Play 1, 1x Play 3, 1x Playbase, 1x Roam, 1x Arc & 1x Play:One). I was not sure if it is the older speakers perhaps causing a problem and not supported?!?  
 

I have connected one of the speakers to my PC in an effort to try and create a more stable network, in case it was my WiFi, but no bloody joy! 
 

 

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Many manufacturers are now making multi room systems.  Denon for example.

Depends on whether you just want speakers or hifi component feeding an amp etc.

Look at Roon, they are high end and have better quality audio.  Their systems are superb.

Sonos still the most comprehensive and, if it actually worked and was easy to use, would be the best all rounder.  But I feel for years since they bricked the old hardware that they just don’t care.  Market dominance then do what you like.  It will take a long time for people to leave.

Problem is that they have a closed system and sooner or later a more open system will take them out because of poor customer relations.   I hope the investors are looking at this forum!

 

 

There are several alternatives, but as discussion on this topic is a grey area for this forum, I'll limit what I can say to generalities.

First, given your description, my first thought would be to question the stability and structure of your home network.  Are your speakers spread out over a large area?  Are you using a mesh type network?   

Anyhow, let's assume that your network is stable.  There are essentially two 'alternative' paths. 

The first would be replace the Sonos control infrastructure with something like Roon or LMS (LYRION Music Server). Both require another server pc to provide the control architecture.   Both require a small amount of technical knowledge to install and configure.

The second route is to replace with an alternative system.  Here, you have to decide whether you want free standing speaker devices, or whether you want wired speakers (or Bluetooth) each set driven by an amplifier/streamer.   

In the first, the sound quality will be similar using something like Bluesound, Denon HEOS, Naim muso qb2 devices, Kef, etc. The price can escalate quickly depending on what you choose.  Additionally, each system will have its own interface.  Most are less flexible and offer far fewer music services than Sonos. If you are an Internet radio fan, then Sonos is difficult to better.

Like it or not, especially given the current update fiasco, it's difficult to find a comparable system at equivalent price points. 

The route with individual streamer amplifiers is much more complex, since there are so many competing products, many are overpriced, and while technically excellent, most are under specified with music services.  This route is complicated by the fact you have to provide speakers for each amp streamer. More choices and expense.  Medium cost but good specifications for this kind of system would be the Wiim range (as long as you like black). Speakers is another consumer choice minefield both in quality and price.  I couldn't suggest anything, I'm afraid. 

So, in summary: the quality, versatility and value for money of Sonos systems is difficult to beat.  They are not 'audiophile' standard and are often maligned by 'experts', but for most users they are more than adequate.

My final advice before you decide to jump ship would be to investigate if possible the structure and stability of your home network setup. 

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Speaking for myself, I have a rock solid but complex for a home setup.  Ultra broadband, hub, fast central intelligent switch, multiple sub switches, two WiFi networks.

 

Using the Sonos company sponsored forum seems like an odd choice for this. I’d recommend looking at other forums, such as the AVS forum, or the Home Theater forum. 

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They have ruined a good system with this update

Support do nothing 😠 

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I have two properties with different use cases...so sharing my thinking in case it helps

House 1 has a lot of personal music library playing and radio streaming - including custom URL stations

House 2 has TV soundbars, and radio streaming (inlcuding the custom URLs) , but no library

 

I have cleared Sonos out of House 1. It shows no material signs of improvement

I looked at Roon. But was not jazzed by the UI. It also does not support custom URL radio. Being a subscription didnt help either

I’m auditioning a Wiim Pro Plus. Set up was not quite as simple as Sonos used to be - but certainly not hard. It has some kinks on album art yet to be worked through. The ios app is decent, although I miss the A..Z fast navigation for the music library. Here are the real findings so far:

It sounds better than Sonos - especially after adjusting the rather nice EQ

It works way faster than Sonos ever did

 

For House 2. I’m sticking with Sonos for the time being. Until the units age out or Sonos has another brainwave that bricks them even more. But have resolved never to buy any more

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Maybe Apple is thinking of buying them and junking their software team?  If I had Apples money I would.  Sadly I don’t.

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I have two properties with different use cases...so sharing my thinking in case it helps

House 1 has a lot of personal music library playing and radio streaming - including custom URL stations

House 2 has TV soundbars, and radio streaming (inlcuding the custom URLs) , but no library

 

I have cleared Sonos out of House 1. It shows no material signs of improvement

I looked at Roon. But was not jazzed by the UI. It also does not support custom URL radio. Being a subscription didnt help either

I’m auditioning a Wiim Pro Plus. Set up was not quite as simple as Sonos used to be - but certainly not hard. It has some kinks on album art yet to be worked through. The ios app is decent, although I miss the A..Z fast navigation for the music library. Here are the real findings so far:

It sounds better than Sonos - especially after adjusting the rather nice EQ

It works way faster than Sonos ever did

 

For House 2. I’m sticking with Sonos for the time being. Until the units age out or Sonos has another brainwave that bricks them even more. But have resolved never to buy any more

I would have voted this as the best answer.  Same thought process I’m going through.  And apparently going to Roon doesn’t mean trashing Sonos gear as Roon is supposed to work with Sonos...at least for now.

I have managed to get our system working using a combination of the desktop app and SonoPhone app.  I still get “Zombie Zones” that stop playing even though the controller says they are playing.  Ungrouping them and regrouping them gets playback back.  Some Firmware bug they have introduced.  The Plex server Sonos has suggested to mitigate loss of music library search on the new app is flakey - better to use the desktop app or SonoPhone app.

 

It is a bummer - we have this stuff all over the house now with 12 various components.  It used to be a joy and we were so happy with it.  But apparently, I/we belong to a small group of screaming banshees and most customers are overjoyed with the new app and SONOS support.  That’s what I hear anyway. 😐🙄

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I second the SonoPhone route. This is what I’m using in House 2. It’s quicker, more reliable and has managed to keep all my favorites intact

I agree.  The latest software update has been a total disaster. Very frustrating!  I have tried all the tried and true fixes and none seem to work.  Too bad.  I have a big investment in Sonos.  I think it sucjs tgat they don’t even acknowledge the problem much less fix it.

Agreed it’s very disheartening. I have over $7500 in Sonos equipment which is painful to use now. Why Sonos?? Why destroy yourself???

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Myself, I’m on my way off the Sonos train, and I’m expecting a delivery of Bluesound equipment next week. Nevertheless, I like drop a tip about Sonos.

I learnt just a few days ago - after that I had placed by Bluesound order - that these days Sonos can have both a wired and a wireless setup. The wired setup is the classic one. You connect one speaker to the network with a cable, and the speakers then set up their secret SonosNet between them. In the wireless setup, no speaker is connected to the network, and they use the local WiFi to communicate, and no proprietary network.

Myself, I have a wired setup, and I have a feeling that some of the problems that has irritated me over the years lies in the SonosNet setup. With that setup it difficult to ensure that speakers in remote locations gets good connection. With a wireless setup, you deal with that with your WiFi routers. And the WiFi routers are probably better at this than Sonos.

Switching to wireless setup is too late for me; I’ve some older players for which you need to do a factory reset to make this change, and it’s not worth the effort.

But for others who experience problems with Sonos, you may want to try this, to see if it helps.

I’m too lazy to drop the links, but just search Sonos support pages for “wireless setup” and “wired setup”.

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Thanks. I have tried that but it does not appear to show all the speakers ( I have 2x Play 1, 1x Play 3, 1x Playbase, 1x Roam, 1x Arc & 1x Play:One). I was not sure if it is the older speakers perhaps causing a problem and not supported?!?  
 

I have connected one of the speakers to my PC in an effort to try and create a more stable network, in case it was my WiFi, but no bloody joy! 
 

 

When their incompetence hits the Sonos stock price, they may sit up and listen

My personal workaround is using the spotify app directly connected to the sonos speaker.  This offers less comfort but it works fine .

It doesn’t work for me. Nothing seems to recognise Sonos products any more where no issues in the past

Thanks. I have tried that but it does not appear to show all the speakers ( I have 2x Play 1, 1x Play 3, 1x Playbase, 1x Roam, 1x Arc & 1x Play:One). I was not sure if it is the older speakers perhaps causing a problem and not supported?!?  
 

I have connected one of the speakers to my PC in an effort to try and create a more stable network, in case it was my WiFi, but no bloody joy! 
 

 

When their incompetence hits the Sonos stock price, they may sit up and listen

They risk becoming the Boeing of their business

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