Question

How do I play audio from my iMac through Sonos?

  • 30 November 2013
  • 53 replies
  • 71029 views

Userlevel 1
How do I play audio (e.g. soundtracks for movies and TV in iTunes) or stream internet content (e.g. netflx or iPlayer) from my iMac through my Sonos system? I've tried a phono lead out from the headphone socket on the Mac into a Sonos bridge "line in", but the sound was poor and very quiet. My music library is on my iMac, and that works fine.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

53 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +10
So, I think what everyone is attempting to say is, we would like Sonos to provision their app to allow the PC/Mac computer to inject the sounds/music being heard on the computer into the Sonos system just as if if we're a radio station from I heart or accu radio.Yes I need this feature as well and I can't understand why it can't be incorporated by Sonos with a simple software/app update

Oh you and many others have said this, but this is fundamentally not "a simple software/app update."

The entire methodology employed by the Sonos system is that these are independent wireless devices that retrieve their audio based on commands issued by a controller. It can retrieve audio from a radio "station" streaming off the internet as it goes to get it on its own... not because a computer "pushes" the audio to it.

You could physically connect a P5 to your computer... since it allows you to tell it - "play whatever sound comes in the jack".. but to ask it to do this wirelessly would require MUCH more than a simple update. The network bandwidth involved would, I'm certain, generate substantial challenges (a computer streaming down a wireless connection YouTube video... and then pushing that audio back out the same wifi router to eventually be received by Sonos device, processed and played.... yeah.. I don't see it.) If there were a way to send directly to the SonosNet... but that would require another dedicated radio....


Going to put an idea for a SOnos Radio device in another thread for discussion...
@jonf1965. A simple software update? That fundamentally changes the entire nature of the Sonos system design? Give me strength........
A couple of things -
To plug anything additionally into your sonos seems to defeat the purpose of it being "wireless"....
Secondly If both the Sonos and the Mac are on the same wireless network, it doesn't seem unreasonably to expect they would link to each other.

So I agree with the above - disappointing this is not possible.
A couple of things -
To plug anything additionally into your sonos seems to defeat the purpose of it being "wireless"....
Secondly If both the Sonos and the Mac are on the same wireless network, it doesn't seem unreasonably to expect they would link to each other.

So I agree with the above - disappointing this is not possible.
Sorry but there is linking and there is linking. The fact that there is an network connection does not mean any audio can be sent and played anywhere. You are entitled to your opinion but you need to be aware that it is based on a total lack of understanding of digital audio, networking and Sonos' system architecture.
Fair enough - my point of view was more from a customer perspective than from an understanding of digital audio. In future I will bear in mind I need to understand Sonos system architecture before I have any other expectations.
Wow ! Ok, I wasn't attempting to discredit the Sonos system so let me lay out my infrastructure.First and foremost the Sonos is on its own dedicated wireless network using the Boost, I have 26 speakers in my system and I use Connect to put analog audio ( from studio mixer board ) onto the Sonos network via a Wired LAN connection.The system works perfectly and flawlessly, hasn't skipped a beat since installation and I can patch anything audio connected to the mixer from my studio right through the entire complex.The problem is the Mac in the studio which is connected to the studio mixing board,which is connected to the Sonos Connect using the headphone jack on the Mac.Problem is when you plug into the headphone jack it kills all sound to the Mac's internal speakers,so, if I don't have the mixer powered up the Mac sounds and music are not heard.Being is Sonos developed the Connect I just assumed the framework for getting live analog audio is already built and therefor could be incorporated into the software as a internal device input saving me from having to use the following work around.Problem: Mac when using the headphone jack,disables internal speakers.Work Around: configure a Bluetooth speaker connection to the Mac using the midi utility to combine the internal speakers and the Bluetooth connected speaker, this allows you to leave the headphone jack plugged into the Mac and connected to the Sonos Connect.Now it makes no difference if I have the mixer powered up or even the Sonos system functional,I still get the sounds and music from the Mac through the little Bluetooth speaker and want I want or need full body fidelity I just reach over and flip on the mixer. SOLVED:D
The only problem with the solution is, you lose the ability to adjust the volume using the Mac keyboard 😞
OK - and I apologise if I overreacted it's just that I've heard the "this would be a simple software change" for dozens of feature requests where it either evidently or presumably isn't straightforward.
The bit I didn't understand in your description was "I use Connect to put analog audio ( from studio mixer board ) onto the Sonos network via a Wired LAN connection". Did you just mean that the Connect is wired, or more than that?

You also said "being as Sonos developed the Connect". The Connect's primary purpose is to turn a traditional hifi into a Sonos player. The line-in is very much a subsidiary feature, intended to allow those who could not bear to part with legacy equipment like CDs players to continue to use them. The Connect is not designed to be some sort of general connection hub. Maybe it is the name that is creating this increasingly common misconception. It was one of Sonos' earliest products and originally known as the "ZonePlayer 80 (ZP80)".
And before someone suggests (again) that with "a few lines of code" the Sonos Mac controller could stream audio, it's a controller not a media player. It never touches any of the audio. It just tells the players what to do.
OK - and I apologise if I overreacted it's just that I've heard the "this would be a simple software change" for dozens of feature requests where it either evidently or presumably isn't straightforward.
The bit I didn't understand in your description was "I use Connect to put analog audio ( from studio mixer board ) onto the Sonos network via a Wired LAN connection". Did you just mean that the Connect is wired, or more than that?
.

Yes I meant the Connect is wired via Cat6 1gig networked on the same network switch as the Boost which is also wired.
And before someone suggests (again) that with "a few lines of code" the Sonos Mac controller could stream audio, it's a controller not a media player. It never touches any of the audio. It just tells the players what to do.
Hmmmm, so your opinion is the Mac software is just a controller and not a player? If that be the case then please tell us how this configuration works.
1 Mac, 1 Sonos Mac controller software,1 Play 5 speakers.All connected to the same WiFi connection and worked perfectly.What player was being used if the Mac Sonos Controller is not a player ??
By the way, the above listed items was my very first setup ( the test bed ) before I installed the entire 28 speaker system which included 2 surround sound n Subs systems and multiple 2 channel separated stereo setups in 6 different rooms,2 Play 5's on the patio and 1 play 1 in each bathroom n powder room
The audio possibilities are endless with my Sonos setup & completely changeable to meet whatever function I have going on.Now I just have to catch up the video
OK - and I apologise if I overreacted it's just that I've heard the "this would be a simple software change" for dozens of feature requests where it either evidently or presumably isn't straightforward.
The bit I didn't understand in your description was "I use Connect to put analog audio ( from studio mixer board ) onto the Sonos network via a Wired LAN connection". Did you just mean that the Connect is wired, or more than that?
.

Yes I meant the Connect is wired via Cat6 1gig networked on the same network switch as the Boost which is also wired.


So the end result in my configuration is the analog signal is received by the Connect, moved to the Boost via the Cat6 wired network, then wirelessly transmitted to the Sonos speakers......seems effiecient however I was asked by a visitor why I didn't place the 2 center bars on the Wired network being I had the Cat6 right there for the media players, my response was " didn't have too Sonos proprietary wireless is holding up just fine with 28 speakers " Perhaps after I add 4 more maxing out the system, I might have to move the sound bars off the wireless and wire them in.Oh darn, that means build 2 more cat6 cables and loop threw to the media player....emmmm 30 minutes of my time, yeah I would be ok with that, just like it would be great for the software to play a " little nicer " with the Mac ?
Just sayin
And before someone suggests (again) that with "a few lines of code" the Sonos Mac controller could stream audio, it's a controller not a media player. It never touches any of the audio. It just tells the players what to do.
Hmmmm, so your opinion is the Mac software is just a controller and not a player?

It's not an opinion. It's blindingly obvious fact.

If that be the case then please tell us how this configuration works.
1 Mac, 1 Sonos Mac controller software,1 Play 5 speakers.All connected to the same WiFi connection and worked perfectly.What player was being used if the Mac Sonos Controller is not a player ??

Again, the controller is a controller. The players are players. The controller tells the players what music data to fetch and how to play it. It couldn't be simpler.

Let's try an analogy: the Sonos Controller is no more a player than your central heating thermostat is a boiler/furnace.
And before someone suggests (again) that with "a few lines of code" the Sonos Mac controller could stream audio, it's a controller not a media player. It never touches any of the audio. It just tells the players what to do.
Hmmmm, so your opinion is the Mac software is just a controller and not a player?

It's not an opinion. It's blindingly obvious fact.

If that be the case then please tell us how this configuration works.
1 Mac, 1 Sonos Mac controller software,1 Play 5 speakers.All connected to the same WiFi connection and worked perfectly.What player was being used if the Mac Sonos Controller is not a player ??

Again, the controller is a controller. The players are players. The controller tells the players what music data to fetch and how to play it. It couldn't be simpler.
.


I think we all understand players are players and controllers are controllers.So, please tell us 1 more time for the record, what " player " was being used in the simple 3 piece configuration listed above ? A.K.A. My test bed
The controller is NOT a player. The analog computer audio from your Mac cannot be getting to the Connect over the CAT6, it must be going over the line-in. The Connect converts it to digital. The Mac Contoller tells the Sonos system which speakers are to play that audio. As for playing music files stored on the Mac, or any other source, the controller tells the speakers to fetch the music file from the source (which may happen to be a folder on your Mac), and play them. The music does not go through the Mac controller or any other controller. You could control all this from a Sonos mobile app instead of the Mac controller.
So, please tell us 1 more time for the record, what " player " was being used in the simple 3 piece configuration listed above ? A.K.A. My test bed
The PLAY:5 obviously. It's the only player.
The crucial thing to grasp is that no Sonos controller, whether on a Mac or a mobile device, processes audio. It issues instructions. The players (speakers) get the audio direct from the source, as instructed. Even if the controller happens to be on the Mac and the music files happen to be on the Mac, the controller is still not "playing" the music.

For the analog audio sent out to a line-in, your Mac is providing the source via its sound card - it still isn't the Sonos controller app that is processing the audio,
To add to my previous comment, this is SO fundamental to the way Sonos works (multiroom, multi-source, multicontroller, not through the device) and is SO fundamentally different from technologies like Airplay and Bluetooth, that when you have grasped it is blindingly obvious why it isn't a simple software tweak to play computer audio wirelessly.

I think we all understand players are players and controllers are controllers.So, please tell us 1 more time for the record, what " player " was being used in the simple 3 piece configuration listed above ? A.K.A. My test bed


Actually, it seems you do not understand at all. In your test bed, the Play:5 is the player. Period. It is the only unit of the entire Sonos chain which fetches, receives, processes and outputs the audio stream. No audio stream passes through the Mac or the Sonos controller at all. None, zero, nada. There is no capability for the Controller on the Mac to play, decode, process, push out, pass through, or even recognize what the audio stream is, outside of the Play:5 sending the track meta-data back to the controller.

So now do you "understand" why switching from a simple controller with smart players that fetch audio to a smart controller that processes audio to "push" to a player that simply plays an audio stream is much more than just a "few lines of code"? If you do not, then I don't know what to say to clarify any more.
Umm... Wow ! I'm glad I purchased and thourly tested a test bed before making the substatantial investment required to install this system.Had I depended on the forums I certainly may have reconsidered and perhaps even seeked another solution, non the less,so to be very clear,I choose to use my Sonos speakers simple as designed to be used, an amplified speaker, simple as that.The Sonos app and its " as you all position limited capabilities " is of very little use to me personally as a music service system.I think one might find it very difficult to push/route data to 28 separate players and have them all stay in perfect sync.
Sorry I wasted your time expressing my stupidity,ignorance,or there lack of.
The Sonos system actually syncs music perfectly with up to 32 players. Part of that perfect sync is the design architecture which fetches music from the source, instead of it being pushed from a computer or device.

And if you are simply looking for an amplified speaker, then you picked the wrong product. There are plenty of standalone amplified speakers that will fill your needs.
Yes, it has been a waste of time, clearly, and I shan't be wasting any more here. But @jgatie - @jonf1965 says he already has a substantial Sonos system. He just doesn't understand it. I no longer care, and maybe none of us should.
I'm also bemused. With 28 players this must surely be a (mostly) happy Sonos customer. It just seems there's a gulf between how he thinks the system works and how it actually does so.
I'm also bemused. With 28 players this must surely be a (mostly) happy Sonos customer. It just seems there's a gulf between how he thinks the system works and how it actually does so.

I don't think he has 28 players. I'm pretty sure he was testing out the Play:5 and the "28 players" was either his plans for the future, or yet another "I would have bought $10,000.00 of Sonos stuff it it only did this! Sonos is losing my money!" posts.