Beam and Audio Lag

  • 10 June 2018
  • 4 replies

A couple of "hands-on" reviews of the new Beam mention a slight audio lag in the video demos of the product. The demonstrators said it could be addressed by adjusting the controls with the app. In reading more about audio lag and lip sync issues with Sonos soundbars, it seems that the one sure way to eliminate the lag is by switching from Dolby Digital to PCM stereo.

If I'm going to use the Beam on its own without a sub or rear speakers, will I lose much by doing this switch?

In other words, with this simple set up is PCM stereo enough to provide high quality sound from an Apple TV 4K connected to a TV with the Beam connected to the TV through an HDMI ARC port?

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4 replies

I suspect there could be some setup issues and/or confusion with those reviews.

All Sonos HT units -- PLAYBAR & PLAYBASE being the historical examples -- are designed to have minimal latency, and in practice it can be quite hard to notice a loss of lip-sync. Where an audio lag is noticeable is if other rooms are grouped with the HT player for TV sound. This is because the grouped players require more network buffering to avoid dropouts.

As for PCM vs DD5.1 in my experience there's no difference in latency. But, to your question, in practice a PCM stereo signal will sound pretty much the same as a DD5.1 one when played through a 3.0 HT unit.
Thanks for your feedback.
I have recently purchased the beam, it is my sole speaker and only connected to my TV.
Sadly with 5.1 I have this lag and it is at times unbearable, literally a word out of sync, PCM does indeed 'fix' this problem but then I can never upgrade to rear speakers nor am I getting what I paid for.
Having said this I've not noticed a discernible difference between stereo and Dolby, as my first Sonos device though I am disappointed.
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I had the same problem, and like many others resorted to feeding the beam with optical inputs via an optical switch. This gives you 5.1 and eliminates any lip sync issues. Unfortunately the lag is caused by the TVs internal processing and not the Beam.