Airplay and Sonos 1 - Not a good start at all... Quality issues - Not near Sonos quality


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I installed the latest updates and tried using AirPlay with a Sonos 1 today – The Sonos 1 is sitting about four feet from, and in direct line of sight to my iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 11.3.1, with no other applications running (I force-closed them all), using Amazon Music or Pandora. Eight Sonos devices in the house, grouped, or not grouped. Only the Sonos 1 supports Airplay.

1) Various dropouts: Fairly often – averaging more than once during each song, the music stops for less than a second, sometimes longer than a second, or several seconds, sometimes skipping early to a new song, and sometimes audio output simply shuts down completely, with the only restart being to go back to the app and re-connect.

2) Long connect times - Connect times are longer than anticipated, sometimes 10+ seconds.

3) Noisier than it should be: And when connecting and these stops and starts, the cut-off or “cut-on” isn’t always smooth, and is occasionally obnoxious. Not Sonos quality at all.

4) Manually pausing and resuming: When using the pause button icon on the iPhone, it pauses acceptably quickly. But I am surprised that the “un-pause” is longer than I think is reasonable. More than a full second.

5) Also, I suspect the quality of the audio via AirPlay is sub-standard and inferior to using the Sonos app directly, but I don’t have the ear or the vocabulary to describe my concerns. The Sonos quality just doesn’t seem to be as good as usual. Both more noise and inferior quality than the Sonos quality I have known and loved.

Any ideas on how to fix all of this? Or is AirPlay and Sonos just a kid's toy?

11 replies

Airplay 2 was released with 11.4, so I'd try updating your iPhone. It worked well for me, except I cannot add the Sonos One to the Home app to get Siri support.
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Since airplay works by streaming from the source to your phone and then from your phone to the speaker, it's essentially using double the bandwidth. I'm not an expert with networks, but given how airplay works and the description of your issues, I say it could improve by making changes on the network side. If you post a diagnostic here, someone on the staff may be able to tell where the issues are occurring. You can call tech support as well, but they are getting a lot of traffic right now so longer than normal waiting is possible.
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I updated from iOS 11.3.1 to iOS 11.4.1 as recommended by timshau above. I haven't had more that a half-hour yet. But EVERY point I previously mentioned has dramatically improved, and I have not had a SINGLE glitch yet. So, I am done, unless I come back again with new news.

Moral of the story: It was very bleak under iOS 11.3.1. You better upgrade to iOS 1.4 or better!
(I guess that I feel like Sonos should have either warned me or prohibited me from running under 11.3!)
That would be an Apple issue...I don't think there's any data in the AirPlay 2 stream that Sonos could interpret to get the version of iOS that is sending out a signal.
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I have had about 7 dropouts of all audio in the last 40 minutes of playing. from a second in duration to about 15-20 seconds. Much more refined than previously, but definitely still an issue.

I've upgraded to iOS 11.4.1 and things got much better. What are my next steps?
For some years I have read complaints on here about Sonos not supporting. Airplay. My answer was generally that Airplay was an inferior technology because it was 'though the device' and prone to dropouts, so Sonos was better off having nothing to do with it.

So I was surprised when Airplay 2 on Sonos was announced. I assumed it must be fundamentally different from and better than Airplay. We shall see.
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Seems to be mostly location of streaming telephone - so marginal cell signal
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John B - in my opinion, Sonos WiFi is better than AirPlay, and Sonos wired is best. But there are people and circumstances where Airplay id desired my the customer. Sonos had to play, or be called "inferior" or "limited".
925 wrote:

John B - in my opinion, Sonos WiFi is better than AirPlay, and Sonos wired is best. But there are people and circumstances where Airplay id desired my the customer. Sonos had to play, or be called "inferior" or "limited".

That's fair comment. I think my main point was that if Airplay 2 does turn out to be unreliable, it won't entirely surprise me.
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The best thing about Airplay on Sonos imo is when guests come over they can play music without having to download the Sonos app and accessing your account, along with Siri integration which is very helpful for Apple Music voice control. The iOS music app is also far less clunky with apple music than the sonos app which I find makes it quicker to start music.

I was never going to leave apple music for spotify as I am in the apple eco system. If you don't use Apple Music then Airplay probably doesn't mean much to you. I've actually used airplay on sonos a lot today and yesterday and outside of a problem airplaying from a computer on a vpn it has been rock solid.
melvimbe wrote:

Since airplay works by streaming from the source to your phone and then from your phone to the speaker, it's essentially using double the bandwidth.



I believe it’s worse than that. Source->phone->WiFi router->speaker, so 3X the bandwidth vs Sonos/Echo/Google Home. It’s a dreadful mess.

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