AirPlay 2 with Sonos PlayBar 5.1 and two Sonos One's as surrounds


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I keep hearing different things on this. If I have a PlayBar with two Sonos One's as surrounds, will the group be AirPlay 2 enabled?

The official blog post (https://blog.sonos.com/en/airplay2-coming/) says that "When you group one of these Airplay-enabled speakers with older Sonos devices, you can bring AirPlay capabilities to your entire Sonos system."

However, I keep hearing that since the PlayBar is the master in the 5.1, that the Sonos One's set as surrounds lose their AirPlay ability. Why would these be handled differently than another group? Is there a way to overcome this?

Could someone please confirm if this is the case?

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Fortunately, this issue may have just become far less important. Amazon has announced that Alexa will support Apple Music from the week of 17 December 2018. Presumably, although it is not yet completely confirmed, I will be able to ask Alexa on my Sonos Ones to play tunes from Apple Music. https://blog.aboutamazon.com/devices/alexa-play-bebe-rexha-on-apple-music
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So just to be clear, since others seem to be in a similar position. I have a playbar connected to my TV, which is bonded in a surrround sound system with two Sonos Ones and a sub. If I buy an extra Sonos One (which I would put in an adjacent room) and group that with the surround system, then I can AirPlay 2 to the group?

Yes, once you group it with the extra One it would enable airplay for the group
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So just to be clear, since others seem to be in a similar position. I have a playbar connected to my TV, which is bonded in a surrround sound system with two Sonos Ones and a sub. If I buy an extra Sonos One (which I would put in an adjacent room) and group that with the surround system, then I can AirPlay 2 to the group?
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The Sonos Ones do support airplay on their own, however they are no longer stand alone speakers and are now tied to the playbar as part of a surround setup. All content is sent to the bar and then out to the Ones and since the bar doesn't support airplay you cannot use it.

That is purely based on a hardware limitation, which the play one also shares.

In order to enable airplay with your current setup you would need to unbond the Ones each time (plus trueplay).

So the more practical option would be to have a separate Sonos one, which you could group with that setup to enable airplay when you are listening to music.

If you specifically stated that you were connecting to a playbar and were still told it was compatible then that is misinformation and you should file a complaint. I always recommend doing ones own research as sales people often don't give accurate information.
The same limitation applies. Because no matter the source, the Playbar is the master unit because it is the only one capable of decoding and distributing individual channels to each surround and the Sub. The One(s) would still have to decode the stream and send it to the Playbar, while simultaneously playing the stream sent back.

Plus, one must ask: If it were possible, what would Sonos' motivation be to not allow it? It isn't to drive sales for the Beam, because they enabled Airplay 2 on the Playbase, which has been out for a couple years.
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I can begrudgingly accept that there might be technical limitations to preventing you using airplay and actually getting surround sound.

But at least allow me to play music to that setup, even if its not in surround sound. I bought these speakers because the people in the store told me they were airplay 2 compatible. That is now turning out to be a gross misrepresentation.

I mean, I'd even be fine if I could just use airplay 2 to play to a single one of the Sonos ones, but it sounds like I would have to pair and de-pair each time to do that?
Yes, that is the case. It is due to the architecture of the 5.1 setup. When they are set up as surrounds, there is no way for the One(s) to decode the Airplay and send it to the Playbar, and still be able to play the single stream surround channel coming back to them after the Playbar decodes the 5.1.
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So which one do I do to be able to use airplay with my current speaker setup ( 2 Ones, 1 Playbar, 1 Sub)


You can't, unless you un-bond the surrounds from the Playbar and group one (or both) of them with the Playbar/Sub.


Thats crazy. So I bought something that is supposed to be AirPlay 2 compatible (the Sonos Ones), but now they are not compatible because I have them paired with another device that isn't?


So which one do I do to be able to use airplay with my current speaker setup ( 2 Ones, 1 Playbar, 1 Sub)


You can't, unless you un-bond the surrounds from the Playbar and group one (or both) of them with the Playbar/Sub.
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So there's no way to create a 2nd group that has one of the existing sonos ones with the play bar?

If I buy a third one, can the play bar belong to two separate groups? When I create a group, how do I choose the Sonos One as the primary speaker?


"Group" has a very specific meaning the Sonos context, which can be confusing when used as a generic term. These are the ways Sonos speakers can be combined:

Grouping: Non-permanent joining of two or more rooms to play the same source in sync. Grouping/ungrouping is a simple menu choice, and is meant to be fluid. Each room plays all channels of the source.

Pairing: Pairing the the semi-permanent connection of two like-model speakers to form a single room as a stereo pair. The speakers will play the left and right channels individually, giving superior stereo separation which is not possible with a single unit. Unpairing is not trivial, and all Truplay information is lost when you unpair.

Bonding: Bonding is like pairing, except you bond a Sub to other speakers, or a surround pair to a Playbar/Playbase/Beam. Like pairing, bonding is semi-permanent and not trivial to undo.


So which one do I do to be able to use airplay with my current speaker setup ( 2 Ones, 1 Playbar, 1 Sub)


So there's no way to create a 2nd group that has one of the existing sonos ones with the play bar?

If I buy a third one, can the play bar belong to two separate groups? When I create a group, how do I choose the Sonos One as the primary speaker?


"Group" has a very specific meaning in the Sonos context, which can be confusing when used as a generic term. These are the ways Sonos speakers can be combined:

Grouping: Non-permanent joining of two or more rooms to play the same source in sync. Grouping/ungrouping is a simple menu choice, and is meant to be fluid. Each room plays all channels of the source.

Pairing: Pairing the the semi-permanent connection of two like-model speakers to form a single room as a stereo pair. The speakers will play the left and right channels individually, giving superior stereo separation which is not possible with a single unit. Unpairing is not trivial, and all Truplay information is lost when you unpair.

Bonding: Bonding is like pairing, except you bond a Sub to other speakers, or a surround pair to a Playbar/Playbase/Beam. Like pairing, bonding is semi-permanent and not trivial to undo.
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I own two Sonos Ones already. What specifically does it mean to group it?

They are currently set up to be the rear speakers of the surround sound system. Thanks!


You would need a third, standalone one. The problem is you need an Airplay 2 capable unit as the primary speaker in the room. The Playbar is the primary speaker in your Playbar/surrounds setup and it is not Airplay 2 capable. So if you had a single One separate from your Playbar/surrounds, using the Sonos group feature, you could group the Playbar/surrounds with that single Sonos one. That way, you can send the Airplay 2 stream to the single Sonos One, and it will play on the grouped Playbar/surrounds.

You could also replace the Playbar with a Beam.


So there's no way to create a 2nd group that has one of the existing sonos ones with the play bar?

If I buy a third one, can the play bar belong to two separate groups? When I create a group, how do I choose the Sonos One as the primary speaker?
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Only the Sonos One and Beam will work. If you own other speaker they will not work.


Wrong. Perhaps you're thinking of speakers with built in voice assistants? Sonos One, Beam, playbase, and Play 5 (2nd gen) are all compatible with airplay 2. As jgatie said, you can then group these speakers (or the room in which they are the primary speaker) with other rooms that are not airplay 2 compatible.

https://support.sonos.com/s/article/1230?language=en_US


Grouping means that the Beam and the Sonos One speakers can simulate 5.1.


No it doesn't. In Sonos terms, you are describing 'bonding'. Grouping is temporarily playing one room to play audio in sync with other room(s).
I own two Sonos Ones already. What specifically does it mean to group it?

They are currently set up to be the rear speakers of the surround sound system. Thanks!


You would need a third, standalone one. The problem is you need an Airplay 2 capable unit as the primary speaker in the room. The Playbar is the primary speaker in your Playbar/surrounds setup and it is not Airplay 2 capable. So if you had a single One separate from your Playbar/surrounds, using the Sonos group feature, you could group the Playbar/surrounds with that single Sonos one. That way, you can send the Airplay 2 stream to the single Sonos One, and it will play on the grouped Playbar/surrounds.

You could also replace the Playbar with a Beam.
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Only the Sonos One and Beam will work. If you own other speaker they will not work.

Grouping means that the Beam and the Sonos One speakers can simulate 5.1. If you have a Playbar it will simulate 5.1 but not as Airplay2 (Only in the Sonos format)
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I own two Sonos Ones already. What specifically does it mean to group it?

They are currently set up to be the rear speakers of the surround sound system. Thanks!
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Jgatie meant that you can purchase a Sonos One, then group it with your playbar room

Yes, if you want a working Playbar. The Sonos one will always work properly. I am glad I help off on the Playbar until they get this figured out. The only thing I do not like about Airplay 2 is that I spend most of my time on the 5G network and I need to be on the 2.4 GH network to get it to work. I also had to unplug the ethernet on my apple TV and move over to 2.4 GHz wireless to use the Connect to mix in my high end home theater system.
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Jgatie meant that you can purchase a Sonos One, then group it with your playbar room
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I have two Sonos Ones ones. Are you saying I need to get rid of the Playbar and replace it with a Beam? Is that my only option?
I'm in the same boat. I bought the Playbar and the Sonos Ones and I saw that Airplay 2 was coming.... then I saw the beam come out.... Super frustrating.

What is my cheapest move to be able to get airplay 2 working? I'm paticularly interested in just being able to play from the podcast app on an iPhone to my sonos system. I hate navigating through the sonos app to find a podcast.


Purchase a Sonos One, group it with the Beam room.
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If setting up with tv and surrounds. ... beam

Just stand alone speaker Sonos One
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I'm in the same boat. I bought the Playbar and the Sonos Ones and I saw that Airplay 2 was coming.... then I saw the beam come out.... Super frustrating.

What is my cheapest move to be able to get airplay 2 working? I'm paticularly interested in just being able to play from the podcast app on an iPhone to my sonos system. I hate navigating through the sonos app to find a podcast.
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I need two playbars badly but wont buy them until this issue is resolved. I can feel everyones pain here and these speakers are not cheap.
What a ripoff! How disingenuous. I literally sold two Play:1 I had as sureounds and replaced with Ones based on your BS marketing statements. You really expected consumers to parse this and differentiate the technical differences between pairing, grouping, adding, etc? What a waste of time. I feel like an idiot for having you in every room of my house including bathrooms. That’s about to change. Better options for TVs anyway.
Right. As soon as I thought about it, it became obvious that it wasn’t the case that AirPlay would work the same as streaming music to the surround sound combo. Unfortunately, it just hadn’t occurred to me to question my assumptions. I’m not blaming the company either, and in the scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. Just means I’ve got some choices to make about whether to upgrade to play bases or think about other AirPlay 2 compatible options.