Sonos HD Radio Canceled (One last troubleshooting attempt)

  • 13 February 2021
  • 7 replies

So I canceled my subscription and it will be fully dead end of the month so I thought I’d see if there were any fresh ideas out there. 

Only Sonos HD Radio has issues. It simply cuts in and out randomly. It’s like the buffer in the speakers isn’t big enough for the payload Sonos HD radio is sending. Anyway, I have 18 speakers around the house. I have one wired in that is always at the top of the group list so he’s always the group coordinator. The wired speaker has far less issues but the WiFi speakers just cut in and out ever 10 to 15 seconds. Some speakers are on the same level as the wired. 

I’ve test wireless interference, internet speed and latency. Even logged in with a friends Amazon account that has HD music and that worked.


I really like the Sonos stations so I figured why not ask again…. ideas on cut in and out issues or is this just the way it goes when you have a lot of speakers?


Best answer by Corry P 8 March 2021, 12:52

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7 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +15

Hi @Churchill7, thanks for reaching out to the Sonos Community!

Certainly sounds like the system could be struggling with getting the music everywhere - does this occur when you’re using larger groups? If you use a smaller group of speakers is there any improvement?

It may also be worth connecting an additional Sonos speaker to the network if you are able to, this should reduce the load on the current wired speaker.

Getting network cabling to the speakers is unrealistic so I have not considered it. 

To the group question … yes, reducing the number to 3 speakers and two are the closest to the one that is wired works. Using any other speaks that are further doesn’t work well even in small groups. I’d point at WiFi interference but as I said I can stream other HD services just fine. 

I think that Sonos simply didn’t completely think through the HD Radio and didn’t test on multiple speakers that are separated by floors. 

It stinks because the stations are really good.  

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

Yup, we had to cancel Sonos HD Radio as well.  After working with some wonderful top-tier Sonos support engineers it was determined that even with a newly refreshed S2 compatible system, fastest ISP service, mostly wired cat-6, 16-Sonos component system (where ALL other WiFi/wired devices in the home work perfectly including 4K TV and Amazon HD on PC/iPads), Sonos HD radio won’t work. 

Seems too much for just a few S2 components to handle the traffic/HD signals and that degrades the whole system. 

We won’t try again (after days/weeks/many hours of trouble shooting) until engineering can fully guarantee that HD radio works on every single Sonos S2 compatible device. 

Sounds like I am not the only one. Oh well…. I guess I am in a wait and see pattern too.

Too bad I can’t opt in for standard def =*)

Userlevel 7
Badge +4

There are some really cool stations, and I think Sonos will address this (I hope soon).  We’ll re-subscribe as soon as they do. 

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @Churchill7 

Are you still having this problem? 

The 2.4GHz band which Sonos uses is limited in bandwidth - once you ask a unit to broadcast a comparatively high bitrate stream to multiple destinations, the bandwidth is taken up. The fix for this, as @Xander P suggested, is to wire more Sonos products to your network to share the load.

However, there may be something else at work, like interference. I recommend you get in touch with our technical support team, who have tools at their disposal that will allow them to give you advice specific to your Sonos system.

Well, I don’t have the problem any more because I canceled the service. Sonos standard def works great and could be the best collection of stations since XM radio started.

I can assure you there is no interference aside from normal spectrum signal devices that use the 2.4 range. Among other things I’m a network engineer and have a spectrum analyzer which comes in handy troubleshooting WiFi problems =*)

Anyway, I suspect the issue does stem from the 2.4ghz adapters that the speakers use. It is limited in what it can do. When I would start one speaker it would be fine. When I’d join in two more it took a few minutes to work it out but would stabilize. When I hit the third pair it all fell apart. Using a WiFi sniffer I was able to see that the 2.4ghz range between the GC speaker and the others was topping out at around 300mb which is well under the limitations of 2.4gb. I am fairly certain that with that level of transfer and on the 2.4ghz range there are hard limits to the number of speakers and limits on distance. Just before the subscription ended I got curious and put three more sets of speakers in the same room (1 play 5, 1 sub and 6 S One total)… It didn’t start cutting out until all 6 of the S Ones were in. 

I did also give support their chance. He saw no issues and had the same suggestion. Wire everything. 

All data points to a hardware limitation in streaming lossless audio. Honestly, I can’t really hear the difference between SD and HD on these speakers because they are so good at producing audio in general. Besides, if I am going to listen to lossless audio I’ll listen to Vinyl. That is about as HD as you can get. =*)

Lastly, I understand that wiring speakers is a solution, however, I’m not spending the time and money to add drops to the areas where speakers are for one set on radio stations. Not exactly money well spent and removes the flexibility of WiFi.

Customers just need to be made aware of the limitations so it’s not a surprise when the HD radio doesn’t work.

I’m a big fan of Sonos and will continue to be.