dedicated left and right speakers

  • 30 June 2022
  • 2 replies

Hello all,

I know Sonos can't currently use speakers as left and right channels, but with the last few updates and being able to control things like height channels it got me thinking.  It would be nice if you could add play 5's as independent left and right channels and if paired with an arc or beam would drive the audio accordingly (like how it processes the rear surround sound).  

I've looked around at some of the threads but haven't seen any that really discussed if it's more company direction or audio engineering issues that they don't push for that.

My current set up (pics below) is Arc, gen 3 sub and two play 5's as rear.  The play 5s for rear are overkill (and awesome) for movies but we listen to alot of music in the common area and they're great for that.  Instead of a dedicated theater room we went unconventional and threw a UST 4k projector (120") in our livingroom.  The wife wanted a clean set up which is why we went with Sonos.  The Arc and rear surround sound is solid, but the wide channels aren't cutting it.  I know I know, the Arc isn't designed for this type set up, but we love the wireless, clean look and the multifunctionallity Sonos provides.  

Maybe its just wishful thinking, but would love a future update to add dedicated left and right channels.  :)


2 replies

Your request has certainly been made before, and a lot of the regulars on here would also like to use such functionality.    Sonos hasn’t really commented one way or the other, which is pretty standard for them.

Some things to consider about this, at least in my opinion, is whether it’s technically possible, and whether it makes business sense to do this.  From a technical standpoint, the Arc currently needs to send audio for 3 speakers/audio channels (2 rears, one sub) or 4 if you count a second sub.  Sonos had to develop and test this to work well and consistently in the common home.  If they add 2 more speakers to a home theatre room, they also need to develop and test that it works well and consistently, which might not be the case.

From a business stand point, assuming that it technically can be done well wirelessly for the moment, would there be enough additional sales to justify the cost?  I would guess that a lot of the people who really want separate left and right channels also are ok with using a traditional wired setup.  Sure there are people who have electrical outlets in all the right places for speakers, but can’t use speaker wires for some reason, but not sure there really is a big market for that. 

In addition, and I may be totally off on this, encouraging people to get separate left and right in addition to the soundbar kind of sends a message that Sonos doesn’t think their soundbar is good enough.  Customers might think other brands are better because they don’t suggest you need additional speakers.  As well, people won’t want to have to spend $900 for a soundbar when they are really only going to use the height and center channel speakers.

If I were to guess, I think Sonos will have a more robust home theatre setup in the future, several years from now, after Arc is reaching end of life.  Hard to really say what that will look like. Could be separate speakers for a 5.2.4 or 7.2.4 setup.  Could be new tech that produces the same effect from smaller speakers in fewer places.  I’m just going to enjoy what I currently have till then.

Thanks for your reply!  I agree with all your points, I would honestly think it would have to be a new product vs adding to something like the Arc. I wish Sonos would be more transparent with their R&D, though I get why they don't (competitors).  The Arc doesn't provide the best surround for my set up, but still a very clear and crisp sound option for a projector that has a very limited built in 2 channel one.