Why Can’t Sonos Make a Universal Controller

  • 11 March 2023
  • 3 replies

A question for Sonos.  Why can’t you make a combined S1 and S2 universal controller?  Can’t your software be smart enough to identify and combine all of your speakers?  I get the hardware is different, but if S1 controls old hardware, and S2 new hardware, why not a S Universal that is smart enough to combine and control it all?  Or is this a way to force the sale of upgraded hardware?


Best answer by Corry P 14 March 2023, 12:07

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3 replies

It's got nothing to do with the controller, the limitation is the firmware which runs on the Sonos hardware.  There's not enough resources on the older hardware to run the newer firmware.  Matter of fact, there's not enough resources to even recognize the newer devices, which is required for Sonos devices to communicate with each other, and if they can't communicate, they can't be used together in the same system.

There are some fundamental hardware differences and some S2 features are not available on S1 players. Some obvious controls, such as Play, Pause, Volume would be straight forward to deal with. In fact, there is a free API that could be used to develop a 3rd party controller to implement these simple functions. However, in some cases the user might be playing music in a mixed Group of S1 and S2 players and stumble over an audio format that is not supported on the S1 players. How should this situation be handled? It’s likely that SONOS support and this Community would be deluged with complaints about “track XYZ won’t play in the kitchen”.

I expect that, going forward, there will be additional feature divergence.

I know that this split seems counter productive to audio types who tend to have a “buy once, use forever” mindset, but we have come to terms with technology creep in other areas. How many 15 year old phones are viable? How would you feel about purchasing a new phone was trapped supporting only features that were available 15 years ago? Would you ever purchase that brand? I had to dispose of a perfectly functional phone because the cell network no longer connects with it. Annoying as it is for audio types, I think that the SONOS approach is reasonable, but I do wish that it was not so aggressively steering users toward the upgrade. It’s too easy for a kid or ‘expert’ friend to initiate an S2 update to an S1 system that has some incompatible S1 units. I know that these ‘experts’ are only trying to help, but this easily leads to a mess that the ‘expert’ may not be able to deal with and has a high risk of trashing music service registrations and carefully constructed SONOS Playlists.

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Hi @Benet123 

Welcome to the Sonos Community!

It seems your question has been answered, but I have tagged this thread as a feature request nontheless - it will be seen by the relevant teams for consideration.