Now Playing Trueplay - Your Impressions

  • 10 November 2015
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Trueplay is now available for the world to try and we’d love to hear what you think about the tuning. Have you noticed a change in your home? What are your impressions?

Personally, I first set up Trueplay in the worst possible situation I had at home, an original PLAY:5 sitting half behind a hollowed out speaker tower speaker which was used as a table for a record player (it’s a long story). The room has stone floors, high ceilings, and a few couches. The difference was immense.

After my dance around the room the PLAY:5 sounded like a completely different speaker. The highs were much clearer, and the lows resonated better throughout the room. Friends in the house couldn’t believe the difference either.

The next room I tested was much better off. The PLAY:3 in there was in a better place already, sitting toward the corner of the room, on top of a table. Wood floors, much smaller room, lower ceilings. There was still a noticeable change, as Trueplay really does help out the PLAY:3, but it wasn’t as big as with that first room.

Let us know how it goes! We recommend testing out 5 tracks that you know very well and seeing the difference. What rooms did you try it out in? What did you notice? What are your experiences? Share your stories here.

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94 replies

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Thank you Kumar for your input. I’ve been testing trueplay and I do prefer the One without it. I honestly believe it modifies the original sound way too much. I am not expecting a hifi sound either, but trueplay drastically changes the “spirit” of some songs. Good thing we have the toggle! I love the One as it is!
What we think matters a lot less; what sounds better to you IS better for you.

As to the sound of the original recording, no one outside the recording studio knows what that is, and even not many there do. The mastering process involves many recording engineer decisions of what he/she thinks the music should sound like, taking into account what most people find pleasing.

Which gets us back to - whatever that sounds more pleasing to your ears is the way to listen to music. Trueplay is the Sonos version of what the recording engineer does, with the EQ sliders there for you to customise that to your tastes if felt necessary. And, a Trueplay toggle to turn it off if you still can't come to agreement with this Sonos opinion.
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Hi, new Sonos One owner here and very happy with it. It lives in my bedroom and now I am experimenting with trueplay. I think it brings more clarity to the sound, but at the expense of less defined mids and high bass. At least that’s how I perceive it. Whether I like it more when enabled or not, it depends on the song. Now, my question to the forum is, do you think trueplay makes the music closer to the original recording? Or does it just make it more pleasant to the average ear? I am comparing how different songs sound with and without trueplay, having as a reference a pair of decent headphones (Senn’s HD650) with a decent portable dac/amplifier (dragonfly red). The sound of the Sennheiser’s is usually described as warm, smooth, with great imaging and soundstage. So to answer my own question, I don’t think trueplay makes the music sound closer to the original recording, but just clearer in a given room. Which of course, it may sound “better” depending on your preferences. But this is just my opinion; what do you guys think?
Except that those reasons don't make any sense from a software development perspective. Each individual apple model would have known microphone characteristics, with a known reference source (a sonos speaker) you could definitely figure out the equivalent for any android device.

If you google microphone calibration poeple manually do this all the time, there are plenty of papers written on it..

I just wanted to provide a slightly more technical perspective on how they could calibrate microphones across devices as someone who works as a software developer.

Purely from a usually logical layman's perspective - and one that is not a developer:
With mics and their responses differing across even iPhone models to, saying for example, three, Sonos would need to take the three different mic characteristics into account in the tuning process. I suppose the controller app would be able to inform Sonos what mic of three is being used for every tuning. So what is being heard by the listener representative - the mic - is correctly understood by the room response DSP.

But if there are say, thirteen or even perhaps thirty different mic models in use in a continuously changing universe of phone models, capturing that becomes a task that is a lot more difficult - no?

Perhaps Sonos should sell a cheap, third party mic it has standardised on in a wand meant for all users, and sell it for ten bucks - it just has to be consistent more than highly accurate. Assuming of course that the iPhone today does nothing more than be an expensive mic in the process. But, and thinking on the fly here - how will the tuning process be conducted with just a dumb mic without any UI interface to the process?
Except that those reasons don't make any sense from a software development perspective. Each individual apple model would have known microphone characteristics, with a known reference source (a sonos speaker) you could definitely figure out the equivalent for any android device.

If you google microphone calibration poeple manually do this all the time, there are plenty of papers written on it..

I just wanted to provide a slightly more technical perspective on how they could calibrate microphones across devices as someone who works as a software developer.

Thanks for the informed and constructive feedback though.


So tell us, why do you think they are withholding this feature from Android users? Do you have any answer that doesn't involve a conspiracy?


Dude that is not a conspiracy.

Tho yes I did posit that there may not be a huge commercial incentive to build this feature as it is technically more difficult to implement that in the Apple ecosystem. I'm just saying it is technically possible. Please don't get upset, you are not Sonos.
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Android actually has more features where applicable like ability to connect to sonosnet direct. To imply Sonos doesn’t care to support android fully is without any merit.
Except that those reasons don't make any sense from a software development perspective. Each individual apple model would have known microphone characteristics, with a known reference source (a sonos speaker) you could definitely figure out the equivalent for any android device.

If you google microphone calibration poeple manually do this all the time, there are plenty of papers written on it..

I just wanted to provide a slightly more technical perspective on how they could calibrate microphones across devices as someone who works as a software developer.

Thanks for the informed and constructive feedback though.


So tell us, why do you think they are withholding this feature from Android users? Do you have any answer that doesn't involve a conspiracy?
I have recently moved some of my play 1 units and Sub around and retuned them. I found differences in tuning in the play 1 units that are a lot more perceptible now than before, if I toggle Trueplay ON/OFF on the tuned units. No change in how the Sub is dealt with. Unfortunately the comparison baseline is not solid, but I suspect that the tuning algorithms have been changed over the years.

For what this feedback is worth, the change after tuning now is more to my liking while it was imperceptible in the tuning done two years ago.
Except that those reasons don't make any sense from a software development perspective. Each individual apple model would have known microphone characteristics, with a known reference source (a sonos speaker) you could definitely figure out the equivalent for any android device.

If you google microphone calibration poeple manually do this all the time, there are plenty of papers written on it..

I just wanted to provide a slightly more technical perspective on how they could calibrate microphones across devices as someone who works as a software developer.

Thanks for the informed and constructive feedback though.
Sonos has said time and time again that androids are produced with too many varied parts within models to support properly. They tested. They reviewed. Wouldn’t work. I’m not sure why a hypothetical debate on that fact.

Because the real reason is they hate Android and are wthholding features they could easily implement because they are giving a big nanny nanny boo boo to non-Apple people!
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Sonos has said time and time again that androids are produced with too many varied parts within models to support properly. They tested. They reviewed. Wouldn’t work. I’m not sure why a hypothetical debate on that fact.
I'm not sure about that as a reason for not providing an Android tool.

Sonos control their speaker production and would have on hand the performance curves of anything played from their speaker models.

This means they could play a set of reference tones that any mobile device could record and compare it to what they know their speaker is generating.

They can then easily fit the variance between what the phone records and the known output of the sonos speaker to a curve that can be used to adjust anything recorded by the android device. This is second/third year engineering or stats kind of stuff ...

This kind of stuff is not ridiculously hard to do in a generalised way, a bit of cynicism here but I would suggest it is more that there is not huge commercial need for them to provide this app to Android users as they are already leaders in the market and the consumer segment that Apple users sit within is probably closer aligned to the kind of people who buy high grade boutique audio equipment.

NB: This could depend on the data format that reaches the SW stack from the android microphone interface, if it is lossy then this approach may not work.

Any truplay hope on the horizon for those of us who don't drink the apple juice?

The issue is, Apple has a limited number of devices, so it’s very easy to calobrate for the microphones (though, even between “identical microphones, there will be variation). Android, on the othe rhand, has hundreds of devices, with very different hardware, often just for a single manufcaturer. Multiply that by hundreds of manufacturers... It’s impossible to calibrate for all devices.

The ideal solution, would be a USB/line level condensor mic, sold as a “Sonos Trueplay calibraiton mic”, that can then be sold for any Android device (probably could have one for Apple, too), for, say, $50, or $100... It would go a long way to making all customers happy on the Trueplay front.

Personally, I have a “Mini DSP” USB callibraiton mic, have downloaded the mic specific calibration files from the company that sells them, and it compares very well to my *much* more expensive condesnor mic that I used to use (near identical, in fact). It was about $80, and connects via USB. I’m sure Sonos could find a device like that, rebrand/adjust firmware to suit, job done. Add a nic emarkup, because, a business needs to make money, and everyone is happy.

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thanks Chris & Kumar, i wasnt expecting a massive difference with the 5 as i had read it seemed to be the 1s that change more, thought this might have been the case for me as one of them is in a long narrow kitchen & the other on a tv cabinet shelf in a living room with a wooden floor.
The effect of the toggle is perhaps a second or two later, but while in the menu. In well placed speakers, there is often no audible effect of Trueplay.
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I don’t notice a huge difference in the play:5. It depends on the room conditions. In all cases my Play:1 trueplay tuning is noticeably different.
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Just bought a Play5 this week in addtion to two 1's which i have had for 2&3 years now, I did do trueplay when it 1st came out but haven't had it for a while since either a firmware update or moving the speakers lost the tune.

Did trueplay on all 3 speakers yesterday & there was no noticeable difference to me when I toggled the trueplay on & off- does it switch on & off as soon as the toggle button is pressed or only when you come out of the menu in ios? I did do both to check but asking for future reference as I will keep trying it due to many good comments here regarding trueplay- having said that i'm happy with the sound quality i'm getting but as with most things there is always room for improvement.
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Any truplay hope on the horizon for those of us who don't drink the apple juice?

The issue is, Apple has a limited number of devices, so it’s very easy to calobrate for the microphones (though, even between “identical microphones, there will be variation). Android, on the othe rhand, has hundreds of devices, with very different hardware, often just for a single manufcaturer. Multiply that by hundreds of manufacturers... It’s impossible to calibrate for all devices.

The ideal solution, would be a USB/line level condensor mic, sold as a “Sonos Trueplay calibraiton mic”, that can then be sold for any Android device (probably could have one for Apple, too), for, say, $50, or $100... It would go a long way to making all customers happy on the Trueplay front.

Personally, I have a “Mini DSP” USB callibraiton mic, have downloaded the mic specific calibration files from the company that sells them, and it compares very well to my *much* more expensive condesnor mic that I used to use (near identical, in fact). It was about $80, and connects via USB. I’m sure Sonos could find a device like that, rebrand/adjust firmware to suit, job done. Add a nic emarkup, because, a business needs to make money, and everyone is happy.

Z...
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Personally, I like the Trueplay concept, my only issue, as with a lot of these “auto-tuning” things, is that it doesn’t allow for the room where you are just sitting in just a single seat. Ie - I shouldn’t have to walk around my bedroom waving my phone around, when I am tuning my bedroom speakers (Playbar, 2 x Play 3 and Sub), when there are only two very distinct “seating” positions, very close otgether, where my partner and I lie when we watch our TV shows an dmovies a tnight.

Would be nic eto have a “localised” or “single location” tuning option. WOnderful for th elount or sitting room, where it’s an open area and people could be just about anywhere, though.

Mind you, seeing as I actually do high end home theatre tuning, with calibrated microphones and stupidly expensive software via my laptop, I also know that it’s all a big compromise. Having said that, for the general user, I think it’s of great benefit, as otherwise, there would be no tuning at all, which likely would sound much worse than a compromised tuning for a room.

Z...
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BTW, my TV source is an LG OLED optical in PCM mode.
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Here's my Playbase experience with Trueplay. Following the instructions for mic position I got a bit more thump out of the bass but voices take on a kind of hollow sound - kind of like they are out of phase. Anyone familiar with what adjustments Trueplay makes? Both amplitude and phase at the various frequencies? Not so noticeable on rock music but the dialog in TV source mode can be like voices from a bottom of a barrel. Choosing to leave Trueplay off for now.
Troykm
Kumar can you remember how to see the difference metric for trueplay? I’ve forgotten.

You can't anymore; Sonos has taken away access to that information in the matrix. Among many other bits of information, for alleged security reasons.
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Interesting question chicks?

They have been a little slow to verify and do update allowing iPhone 8 and iPhone X to work with Trueplay ... I wonder if that team has been busy with a new more complicated project??
Now that the Ones have multiple microphones, and given that the upcoming Apple widget will supposedly use its mics to self-tune to the room it's in, I wonder what plans are in Sonos' room-tuning future?
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Loudness setting doesn't matter. And after relocating a play 1 after a year, my retune showed a bigger difference, with a slightly stronger bass line as compared to Trueplay left off in the new space; last year, there wasn't any noticeable difference. So if an iPhone is handy, it is worth the 5 minutes of quiet it takes to retune with no downside to it.

Kumar can you remember how to see the difference metric for trueplay? I’ve forgotten.

Interestingly while on phone to support I did a before and after diagnostic on two of my speakers and the kitchen play 1 had a massive change in the trueplay result going from 12 to 8. Also we learned that the iPhone produced a wildly different result to the iPad, something that should not be the case according to support so they were interested in that too
Loudness setting doesn't matter. And after relocating a play 1 after a year, my retune showed a bigger difference, with a slightly stronger bass line as compared to Trueplay left off in the new space; last year, there wasn't any noticeable difference. So if an iPhone is handy, it is worth the 5 minutes of quiet it takes to retune with no downside to it.