Question

Group - ungroup - group - ungroup.....

  • 30 October 2019
  • 14 replies
  • 205 views

I started using a Sonos speaker as an alarm.  Fine, but I would like the radio to play only in my bedroom when the alarm starts.  So that’s how I have set the alarm.  My day now starts with this speaker ungrouped because that’s what the alarm does.

Then when I am up and about, I like to play the same radio downstairs too.  

So now I have to create a group every morning and set volumes for each speaker (4 speaker system).  If I don’t, I can hear the radio out of sync in different rooms.  Like most people who spend all this money on Sonos, it is to have the benefit of a multi-room system - I like to be able to walk around the house and hear the radio in sync throughout.

It is so cumbersome and frustrating.  My experience with Sonos is that I have some amazing hardware with software that seems to stand in the way of how I want to live.

Solutions that would be terrific are:

  • I have tried IFTTT automation but it doesn’t control grouping (yet?)
  • why does Sonos need groups?  Surely it would be easy to design the controller to sync automatically any speakers that are using the same music source.  If you play the same source through 2+ speakers, why wouldn’t you want them in sync?   Why does it require the user to put speakers in groups manually?

Has anyone found a work-around to help avoid the constant process of adding speakers to a group after setting an alarm? 

 


14 replies

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  • why does Sonos need groups?  Surely it would be easy to design the controller to sync automatically any speakers that are using the same music source.  If you play the same source through 2+ speakers, why wouldn’t you want them in sync?   Why does it require the user to put speakers in groups manually?

 

 

Radio station playback might be the only case where you could actually initiate the same audio on different players.  If you started the same pandora station on two different rooms for example, the system would be playing two different songs.  It would not know that you intended to play the exact same audio in both rooms without the ability to group rooms.

 

Personally, I don’t think grouping speakers together is more cumbersome then initiating 4 separate streams of the same radio station.  As for volume, each room will be at the volume it was last set at.

 

 

Has anyone found a work-around to help avoid the constant process of adding speakers to a group after setting an alarm? 

 

 

I don’t use Sonos alarms and am not up to speed with current functionality.  I have a routine set in the Lutron app that will turn on specific lights around the house as well as play a Pandora station in 3 different rooms at specified volumes.  I have a second routine to turn it all off about 20 minutes after I typically leave for work.  I don’t have it operating right now, I have had a 3rd routine in the middle of all this to change up the music and play in different rooms.

Thanks for your reply, Danny.  After researching Lutron I found an app called ‘HomeSense’.  It does the job in controlling sound levels and I can set ‘scenes’ with volumes preset in various rooms which I can activate at different times of day.  

Sonos seems obsessed with what you play - playlists, sources, etc - rather than where you play it and how to move around your home.  HomeSense might fill that gap - although I need to live with it for a bit to see if it really makes the difference.

Of course life is never simple - HomeSense seems a good app but scheduling doesn’t work yet, which means no simple way to use it as an alarm…..

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Sonos seems obsessed with what you play - playlists, sources, etc - rather than where you play it and how to move around your home.

 

I’m not exactly following what you’re getting at here.  Are you mostly referring to setting up scenes and automation?

 

It’s just my opinion, but I really don’t want Sonos spending a lot of time building up that functionality, because from an overall home control design it doesn’t below there.  I would rather use a third party tool to do automatons because I can bring lights and every other smart thing in my home into it.  I’d rather Sonos have more flexible APIs and IFTTT stuff available so that you can do exactly what you want without having to use several different means of control.

 

Technically, even using lutron for control isn’t ideal, it just does a lot of what I want to do well.  I use Amazon routines for other stuff, and some smartthings.  It would be great if I had one hub to rule them all. 

Well I am only talking about setting up scenes and automation because I think the Sonos app is so clunky.

If you mainly use a Sonos group for normal listening, it is frustrating that setting an alarm on one of the speakers means you have to re-establish the group every morning after the alarm.  Either that or have the alarm blaring out throughout the house.

I am only resorting to other apps to get round this.

-- and taking your point about having Sonos allow other apps to handle control, that’s when I find everything has a shortcoming.  For example, IFTTT can’t set up a group….

Radio station playback might be the only case where you could actually initiate the same audio on different players.  If you started the same pandora station on two different rooms for example, the system would be playing two different songs.  It would not know that you intended to play the exact same audio in both rooms without the ability to group rooms.

 

Personally, I don’t think grouping speakers together is more cumbersome then initiating 4 separate streams of the same radio station.  As for volume, each room will be at the volume it was last set at.

 

 

If I play the same radio stream through 4 speakers that are not grouped, they are not in sync - so I hear a jumble through my house

Also I find that if I set an alarm, I have to preset the volume and can only do that for one speaker or a group of speakers together.  I end up with one speaker which breaks up the group.

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If I play the same radio stream through 4 speakers that are not grouped, they are not in sync - so I hear a jumble through my house

 

I still don’t get why you think Sonos should auto-group rooms that happen to be playing the same radio stream.  As I said before, this auto-grouping only makes sense when playing a radio station, it would not work for other streaming services, aux input, or local library since it would be impossible to get two virtually identical streams.  So this auto-group function would have a rather limit usefulness. 

 

Even then  there would be cases where you wanted the rooms to be two different streams intentionally.  If for example, a user in one of the rooms wanted to pause the stream, or temporarily switch to a different station, without interrupting the user in the first station.

 

And seriously, within the app, it’s not that hard to start a station in one room then add a second (or more) room to the group...or the same two steps in reverse.  It’s certainly easier then initiating streaming in 2 or more rooms individually.  

 

I  want to step back my previous comment about 3rd party tool preference a bit.  I do think it would be rather helpful to have scenes in Sonos.  By that I mean named Groups at preset initial volumes.  I don’t think it’s needed for scheduled routines and such, but for adhoc requests, being able to select a group/volume with one press would be nice.

I agree about having named groups - that would make a lot of difference.

However I think I have found a solution by using the HomeSense app.  If I set a ‘scene’ in HomeSense I can trigger the same radio station to play in selected speakers each at a preset volume - and they start sufficiently in sync not to need to be in the same group.  I guess because the app triggers everything at roughly the same time.  No more groups - hurray!

If I set individual speakers to play the same radio station using the Sonos app, they are way out of sync - I guess pressing several buttons in sequence is the difference.

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It is not the alarm that is “un-grouping” your speakers. This is caused by either your TV, if this is connected, or by a user action prior to the alarm going off.
The alarm will keep the existing group and start on the pre-defined sound level provided that 1) your speakers are already grouped when the alarm is set and 2) that you have enabled the “keep group feature” in the alarm settings.
Therefore, you can group your speakers before going to sleep to avoid having to adjust the volume rather than doing it on the morning.
Make sure that your bedroom is the “main” alarm room, if your frequently forget to regroup in the evening.

And I agree, Sonos should have an auto-group feature connected to the alarm setting. This has been brought up a million times.

Thanks for the advice.  I’ll have another go.  I thought that enabling the ‘keep group’ feature would mean the alarm plays on all the grouped speakers, but you have made me think I must be wrong….

I have now set up the open-source Home Assistant and find that an excellent way of controlling my Sonos system - for example setting a sleep timer or grouping speakers with a single button press.  Setting it up is not the faint hearted but the results are worthwhile.

If the Alarm is playing a radio station in the bedroom and you want it in perfect sync in any other room, you can just press the play/pause button on any other speaker and keep it pressed until it pulls the playing audio through to the room. That seems the easiest way, or obviously for those who use Amazon Alexa, they could set all their Sonos speakers as ‘preferred’ in an Alexa group and use a group ‘enabling’ Alexa device (like an Echo Dot, or Sonos One for example)  to play their chosen radio station to all the groups 'preferred' rooms. Alexa will Group the rooms automatically behind the scenes.

One further way, is with a Logitech Harmony Hub, or remote, which works with the Harmony App. The Logitech App can create “activities” that can group Sonos rooms. The activity can be assigned to a button on their remote, or you can issue an Alexa or Google voice command if using their Hub, to run the Activity.. you can set a chosen (saved favourite) radio station to play post-grouping and preset each of the speakers (Sonos Rooms) at independently chosen volumes. So this method is very flexible for this purpose, but obviously requires buying a Logitech remote.

If using Alexa, it might also be worth seeing if the yonomi smart-home skill can perhaps do these things too?? (I don’t use it, personally speaking, but I think it’s a possibility that it might work).

Hi Ken - I didn’t know about keeping a Sonos button pressed to pull audio through.  Will give that a go.  Thanks for ideas about Logitech and Yonomi.  As I mentioned, I am now using Home Assistant - a home automation system that runs on a cheap raspberry pi.  (Having spent all my money on expensive Sonos units, I wanted to keep further investment as low as possible…)  

Hi Ken - I didn’t know about keeping a Sonos button pressed to pull audio through.  Will give that a go.  Thanks for ideas about Logitech and Yonomi.  As I mentioned, I am now using Home Assistant - a home automation system that runs on a cheap raspberry pi.  (Having spent all my money on expensive Sonos units, I wanted to keep further investment as low as possible…)  

Yes of course makes complete sense. The push/hold play/pause button is not a widely known feature, although it is publicised by Sonos... the way it works, briefly, is like this…

  • Press/hold the play/pause button and it will find the first playing audio source on another Sonos Room and you then release the button to play the audio in sync on that local speaker. 
  • If you have more than one existing playing audio source (on other Sonos rooms), if you once again press/hold the play/pause button, it will find the second playing audio source and you then release the button to play it on that speaker… and you can continue to cycle through any other playing rooms using this method. 
  • Once you have cycled through all the playing rooms by pressing/releasing the play/pause button in this way,, it will just return back to not playing and you can then go through the cycling process again, or just leave it not playing.

Hope you find that useful.👍

 

 

It is not the alarm that is “un-grouping” your speakers. This is caused by either your TV, if this is connected, or by a user action prior to the alarm going off.
The alarm will keep the existing group and start on the pre-defined sound level provided that 1) your speakers are already grouped when the alarm is set and 2) that you have enabled the “keep group feature” in the alarm settings.
Therefore, you can group your speakers before going to sleep to avoid having to adjust the volume rather than doing it on the morning.
Make sure that your bedroom is the “main” alarm room, if your frequently forget to regroup in the evening.

And I agree, Sonos should have an auto-group feature connected to the alarm setting. This has been brought up a million times.

I checked this.  If I keep the alarm speakers grouped in the alarm option, all the speakers in my house play the alarm and I can only pre-set the volume for the alarm for all speakers together.  

Never mind.  My Home Assistant setup allows me to reset my whole-house configuration in the morning with one button.

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