Changing "Music Playback" from Full to Ambient in 5.1 setup

  • 9 September 2018
  • 10 replies
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Userlevel 2
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Sonos makes a fantastic 5.1 setup which, in my case, is actually 5.0: a Sonos Beam and two Sonos Ones for the surrounds.

I just wish the surround Music Playback mode is easier to change.

Sometimes, I listen to music while sitting on the sofa with the surrounds behind me. In this case, I set Music Playback to "Ambient" mode so the Beam plays the loudest and the Ones, about 2 feet from my ears, aren't overwhelming. When I'm not sitting on the sofa, I set Music Playback to "Full" mode so it plays delightfully throughout my suite.

Here's how you currently change this setting, which I do about 3-5 times a day.
1. Open Sonos app
2. Press Settings
3. Press Room Settings
4. Open your Room (Sonos +LS+RS in my case)
5. Scroll down to Advanced Audio
6. Press Surround Settings
7. Press Music Playback
8. Set the Music Playback mode

That's eight steps just to change the mode. I'm not here to prescribe a specific solution, although I'll happily suggest ideas, but I wish Sonos made this easier.

Note: if you're an owner of the Sonos Beam and Ones in a 5.1 configuration, and you don't like how Sonos disables Alexa on the Ones when used as surrounds, add your comments to these threads. It's another big area where I think Sonos could improve the surround functionality.
https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/how-to-activate-alexa-mics-on-sonos-one-surrounds-6810000.
https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/how-to-activate-alexa-mics-on-sonos-one-surrounds-6810000



-Thanks

10 replies

I thought it was Airplay 2 that could not be used with surrounds, not Alexa? Perhaps I am mistaken, as not relevant to my setup.

Looks like I am mistaken! But is that not just with the Beam?
Userlevel 2
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Hi John, it's best to move your question to one of the other threads that I linked above, since this one is about the Music Playback Setting. I can answer your question there.

- Cheers, Dan
Hi Dan.
On your main issue I think this is an (extreme) example of the audio settings being a bit buried in the menus, which has cropped up a few times on the forum. I have wondered about a direct link on the Now Playing screen to the EQ settings for the current room. But the Now Playing screen is already rather cluttered, what happens for grouped rooms etc. As you say, it's more about raising the issue than suggesting a solution. I have some sympathy for your case, and there is definitely room for improvement, but I don't know if it is likely to figure high up Sonos' priority list.
Userlevel 2
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@John, I completely agree with you. One challenge with complex, highly configurable products is the sheer amount of settings they need to cram into a UI. Smart companies will bubble up or bury features and settings based on how frequently they need to be accessed and how important they are to the overall experience. For 5.1 users, this is an important feature. For others it may not be, although there are ways to show or hide features based on the setup.

Sonos appears to be a very market focused company. They focus on the biggest need and these forums provide them data the data to determine that. I suggest we keep the discussion alive, and if it's enough of a problem for enough people I'm sure Sonos will take notice.
Userlevel 7
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If you have an iPhone then check out sonosequencr app. You can add a macro to switch to full or ambient with a single press using ‘surround music playback’ command or even better, add it on the widget screen
Why would one constantly need to switch between Full and Ambient for music? Presumably one would prefer one or the other and leave it set at that. I would assume this is the reason it is buried, and rightly so.
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@jgatie, it makes a lot more sense when you have a 5.1 setup. I described the scenario above but i've posted it again below for convenience.

Sometimes, I listen to music while sitting on the sofa with the surrounds behind me. In this case, I set Music Playback to "Ambient" mode so the Beam plays the loudest and the Ones, about 2 feet from my ears, aren't overwhelming. When I'm not sitting on the sofa, I set Music Playback to "Full" mode so it plays delightfully throughout my suite.
Hi Dan.
On your main issue I think this is an (extreme) example of the audio settings being a bit buried in the menus, which has cropped up a few times on the forum. I have wondered about a direct link on the Now Playing screen to the EQ settings for the current room. But the Now Playing screen is already rather cluttered, what happens for grouped rooms etc..


My "TV" room has settings for Night mode and Speech enhancement when playing TV sound, but these are unused when playing Music

It should be easy to swap an Ambient/Full toggle for one of those buttons when music is playing.
I totally agree an easier mode switch would be easier.
I have the same situation prefering listening to music on the play ones in full stereo mode however I can never be bothered to keep going through the long winded process so I remain mildly content with listening to music in surround mode on full setting.
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Just to follow up on this thread. I'm considering buying the new AMP, a SUB and two ONE's for surrounds. Is it possible to make sure that any stereo signal (either via HDMI from TV or streaming via Spotify etc) is 'never' played through the surround speakers ?. For me, I want 5.1 sources to play on all speakers - and stereo, just through the front two speakers.

It would sound weird to me if all stereo audio, was audible from the surrounds - as then it's not a stereo sound 🙂

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