Question

Workaround to extend life of v4.2?

  • 10 January 2018
  • 6 replies
  • 178 views

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I've been on the forum a couple of times. A couple years ago to figure out whether I could find an old speaker at retail that was still at v4.2 (so I could add a speaker)…a quest that was not successful (oldest I found was v4.3), although establishing that the approach might have worked. And last year checking into whether any of the changes made by v5.0 had been mitigated, in case something I was running 4.2 on died (answer then was "no").

So my 5 year old phone, which I use as my primary controller, finally needed to be replaced. I thought I would check in on any improvements…and it appears that SONOS has continued to work against the interests of someone primarily using a music server, listening to classical music, etc. (See my old threads for my details, the forum is well documented with the specific issues as well) as well as new issues. So I will continue to try to protect my investment by sticking with 4.2. And for now, my old cellphone can still act as a primary controller…so I have that going for me!

My question is…is there a way to port a version of v4.2 onto my new phone to buy me potentially additional time? I can see a couple paths: 1) copying a file from the old phone to new phone, or 2) downloading from a site like APKMirror (which unfortunately specifically doesn't go back earlier than v5.2 as far as I know). In theory download, get the router off the internet, set up and activate, then get the router back onto the internet. Is a workaround of this sort possible? Details? Risks?

(BTW 4.2 works perfectly for me, I would be happy sticking with it for years. Not interested in an update and have no interest engaging that discussion.)

6 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi, M_3. Thanks for your post. Just as a preemptive statement, my apologies in advance, I can't directly answer your question. I just wanted to respond to gather some of your thoughts. Specifically regarding this statement:

…and it appears that SONOS has continued to work against the interests of someone primarily using a music server, listening to classical music, etc.

From what I gather, our development team could, theoretically, introduce changes that would make a current incarnation of the controller more user-friendly for customers in your situation. Would that be correct? I read your previous posts with interest and it seems the rolling song title function (paraphrasing) is one of your desired implementations; what else is there that you can think of? I would like to forward this as customer feedback. I realise you have made this statement before but we have changed the way in which we deal with critique from our users, so I am hoping we can get some attention placed on this. Thanks in advance.
...what else is there that you can think of? I would like to forward this as customer feedback.
PMFJI, but as another user who feels that your software has only deteriorated since v4.3 (apart from Trueplay), I'd like to add a couple of points. I'm currently on v7.1 - I never automatically upgrade as I feel that each version is worse than the last.

i) I don't particularly argue against the limited view on a phone, but find the 'current' version very lacking on a tablet, particularly a 10" tablet. v4.x was very similar to the PC version, so was very usable and well laid out, making effective use of the available space.
ii) colour schemes - 4.x was subtle and a joy to use, even in a very dark room. This won't be the first complaint you've heard about the searing brightness of the selection screens in the later versions. I used to be able to pick up a tablet, easily do what I wanted and put it down again without anyone really noticing - now it lights up the room and is actually painful to use, as your eyes have already adjusted to the dim, peaceful experience and you're in a nice relaxed mood - until then. I understand from complaints here that v8.x is even worse in this regard.
iii) track count - like the PC version, 4.x used to show where you were in the queue - e.g. 115/2043 - this is very useful for me in order to be able to switch between classical and contemporary genres. I would have the two genres on different shares, but Sonos takes so long to switch between the shares (as it doesn't save the index) that it just isn't practical.
iv) composer tag - the one thing that I am asked when a piece of classical music is playing, is who the composer is, which is something that the software (even 4.x) doesn't display anywhere, AFAICS. You can search by composer, so the tag must be stored, so why not display it?
v) user choice - most software that I use lets me change which menu options are displayed and to change the basic colour schemes to my own taste.
vi) available space in the index - classical music listeners usually want more information about the music and performance. Although I only have about 36k tracks, I'm running too near max (for my taste) due to the amount of store taken up by the tags.I appreciate that this is a hardware limitation, so unlikely to be addressed, but it is a downside to Sonos for anyone who has a medium to large music library. The Plex implementation for Sonos is pathetic, so is not a viable alternative.
....what else is there that you can think of?

... and it now sounds as if you've removed useful diagnostic info, so that people can't even check the track status themselves.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
From what I heard the track status and various URL information was removed as a part of overhaul because of some security concerns some users had been complaining about. There was a thread on it.

I was never a fan of 5.0 - 7.0 versions. I think the 8.0 version (which is currently bad) with tweaks will be a natural progression from 4.3. Once we see their tweaks it may be one to check out.
From what I heard the track status and various URL information was removed as a part of overhaul because of some security concerns some users had been complaining about. There was a thread on it.
Yes, I heard something similar...

I was never a fan of 5.0 - 7.0 versions. I think the 8.0 version (which is currently bad) with tweaks will be a natural progression from 4.3. Once we see their tweaks it may be one to check out.
As always, I sincerely hope that it is an improvement - but on past experience I won't be an early adopter 😃
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Edward, ask and you shall receive . Yes, much of this I have covered before, but perhaps providing it in one place may help the responsiveness of SONOS PD team. So here goes...

Usage profile: 3 speakers (would have bought 2 more, except the software changes has frozen any new SONOS purchases). Controlled by smartphone (usually), computer (often) and ipad (rarely). As noted before, system is frozen by my choice at 4.2. About 11000 tracks, estimate about 70% jazz / 25% classical / 5% other. Many of the recordings are out of print (many of them for decades), and many others are non-commercial recordings - and together probably represent 50%+ of my listening, therefore listening to online services don't fulfill my needs.

I may have dozens of recordings of any given jazz song by different artists...and often a jazz tune might be recorded many times by the same artist (care to guess how many times Duke Ellington recorded Take the 'A Train?, sounding different every time?). Similarly I have many recordings of classical pieces...which to be defined need to ID the composer of the piece (first and last as there there are multiple Bachs, etc.), name of the piece (symphony, concerto, etc), the movement (depending on piece may include a name, a movement #, and/or a tempo descriptor), and probably the conductor or symphony (whichever one is not shown as ARTIST) to get to the right one.

What would help? The key is easy access to music stored on a music server along a variety of axes (song title, album, artist, etc.) and easy differentiation of songs that may have multiple versions, even by the same artists. So my 1st pass definition of your PD (product development) goal for this project would be "to provide users that search their music servers via artist, album, or track selection screens the ability to quickly and easily identify a single unique recording even with multiple versions of a song title (sometimes by the same artist)." A couple nuances within that: 1) can be multiple skins so that there might be a choice of a graphics heavy or text heavy option for display, 2) can be a display option within a given skin, etc. So, to answer your question, rolling captions (4.2 will sequentially roll title, artist, and album on some screens) would be a helpful solution. But there are others as well (touch to expand, for instance) and I'd prefer not limiting options that would achieve the goal. When I queried a year ago (see my "Still at 4.2" query), my take at that point was that showing the album pix instead of textual information at the album select screen was the largest pain point, as well as reduced font size.

Other thoughts, secondary to the primary issue (from the context of 4.2) include 1) prefer the color scheme of 4.X to 8.X, 2) greater utilization of composer would be very helpful.

One final observation. Logging into type this, I read your new announcement for v8.3. The now playing screen showed almost 50% of the space taken by a pix of the album cover. I realize that perhaps a majority of your users (especially of pop music) probably prefer that look, but for a significant segment, that would represent wasted space preventing the access of additional information...(and annoy me to no end). Imagine if the setup included a choice between "Album view" and "Info view", with the info view using the 4.2 look and feel, limited (if any) display of album art, and enhanced information? You could even probably freeze feature creep on the info view (avail if you switch to album view) to manage the maintenance of dual visuals. Just a thought.

And hope this all helps!
M

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