Question

[HELP] What’s the best setup for SONOS Surround 5.1? And Couple beginner questions!

  • 20 November 2015
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Hi guys,

I’ve recentely heard about SONOS I wouldn’t say that I am an audiophile but I love music and speakers setup. It was very nice to see that SONOS has a very active community and I am think about building a home theater setup with SONOS speakers. So I would like to clarify couple doubts, and check whats the best setup possible, that the community would recommend.

I was thinking about using the Playbar as Center Speaker purchase to new PLAY:5 and use as left and right speaker, and two PLAY:3 or PLAY:1 as surround speakers at the back.

1 - Is this the best setup? Do I need to buy anything else? For what I read I don’t need the BRIDGE or CONNECT to make this work right, just plug an Ethernet caple to the playbar?

2 – I want to use those speakers with my TV LG 55EG9600 and I would hate having to go to the cellphone app to turn volume up and down. I will be able to control all speakers volume with the magic remote ? Anyone had any trouble doing that with NEW LG tvs?

3 – Is there a complicated setup to avoid the delays? I read that there would be a delay of 50ms with the home theater setup, that’s true? Is it easy to fix?

4 – I use AirPlay on daily basis, since I don’t know SONUS app, I am not sure I will adapt having to go to SONUS app to play Spotify or any music on my cellphone, I already have an airport express. If I plug the 3.5mm cable on any of the PLAY:5 speakers would that work on all speakers including the sound bar? What will happen if the TV is on and I do that it will play both audios, until I mute the tv, or it will do that automatically?

Sorry for all the question guys. It is a big investment and I would really appreciate any help, to understand if SONOS fits my needs.

Thanks in advance!

Tiago

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28 replies

You can't configure the play:5s to be front left and right, the Playbar does front and centre duties.

1. Correct, that's the best way to do it.
2. I don't know what a magic remote is bit the Playbar will learn ir codes from a normal remote control.
3. The Playbar delay is 30ms. You won't notice.
4. Yes you can run a line-in from the ae to a play:5 and then play it on any speaker (or all of them). This is the officially supported Airplay solution. What the Playbar does in that situation depends on how you configure it, there's an option to turn off auto play for tv audio.
I'd use the Playbar + sub as 3.1 then add 2x Play 1's for surrounds. I've got that setup and can't ask for more.

I'd then put the Play 3 or 5 in other rooms.
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The LHC and Catfoot. Thanks for the replies. If anyone else has another insights or setups please let me know.
What would it work to use 3x NEW PLAY:5s (one as center and other two as right and left) + 2x PLAY:3s or PLAY:1s as rear speakers + the SUB?
When I try to Airplay from the Play:5 with in the surround system, I will have to change the option for LINE IN on the SONOS APP in order for it to capture the airplay sound? I would really want that to work automatically and avoid changing source from LINE IN – TO TV or vice-versa.
Thanks for all the help given so far.
Regards,
The LHC and Catfoot. Thanks for the replies. If anyone else has another insights or setups please let me know.
What would it work to use 3x NEW PLAY:5s (one as center and other two as right and left) + 2x PLAY:3s or PLAY:1s as rear speakers + the SUB?
When I try to Airplay from the Play:5 with in the surround system, I will have to change the option for LINE IN on the SONOS APP in order for it to capture the airplay sound? I would really want that to work automatically and avoid changing source from LINE IN – TO TV or vice-versa.
Thanks for all the help given so far.
Regards,


There is no way of using individual Sonos speakers for 5.1, the Playbar is the only Sonos device that can decode surround sound.
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Don't use new Play 5 as main TV speaker, you will have a delay problem and a dolby digital issue . The playbar has an optical input designed to minimize delay and to run Dolby Digital.

Be aware many TV's doesn't pass through Dolby Digital from their HDMI inputs. So if your main DD source is your TV ( cable , netflix with its app) fine , otherwise if you rely son external devices ( apple TV, xbox etc) , be ready to buy an inexpensive optical switch to create a direct connection between above devices and the playbar.

Concerne the smart remote command, if as I feel it is bluetooth, it will not work as volume contro for the playbar ( who requires infrared). I have a samsung, and finally to quickly control the volume of the playbar I had to copy playbar controls on the satellite remote
regards
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The LHC, Thx once again for the reply. Do you happen to know anything about the second question?
When I try to Airplay from the Play:5 with in the surround system, I will have to change the option for LINE IN on the SONOS APP in order for it to capture the airplay sound? I would really want that to work automatically and avoid changing source from LINE IN – TO TV or vice-versa.
Thanks for all the help given so far.
Regards,
Gbfabiani, Thanks also for the reply. My TV passes Dobly and DTS through HDMI, at least it’s what I found on my search. I didn’t test it yet. And thx for the satellite remote TIP.
I would have delay with the PLAY:5s even if I use the LINE-IN on my tv headphone jack(3.5mm cable)?
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Great answers here everyone. Just one note to add for your second question, when used as a surround speaker, the new PLAY:5 will have the line-in connection disabled. The PLAYBAR acts as the room manager and the only line-in it detects is it's own optical connection. If you go into Room Settings for a PLAYBAR with PLAY:5 surrounds the analog line-ins won't even show as options to adjust.

Personally speaking, unless we're talking about a very large room, the new PLAY:5s would make for an extremely powerful surround experience, probably more than necessary. In most rooms a pair of PLAY:1s is great, and at times PLAY:3s for larger rooms.

If you have a PLAY:5 or other Sonos component with a line-in in addition to the surround sound the Airplay or other line in source can be sent to any combination of your players. You'd use any of your controllers to tell the PLAYBAR to play that source of audio. There's also an Autoplay feature you could set up where if the line-in is detected, it'll automatically play to a room. You'll also probably have Autoplay setup for the PLAYBAR on the TV connection though, so there could be some dueling controls there.
So is there *any* way of using a PLAYBAR with two PLAY:5's as main right and left, and two PLAY:1's as surround?

We often just listen to plain old music in the family room where our home theater setup us, and we would want to be able to listen to the best PLAY:5 speakers as normal, and then utilize them in the home theater as R and L channels, with the PLAYBAR as the center. Is that possible?

Or, does that require the CONNECT to use the 5's as R&L speakers, which are then dormant as the PLAYBAR and 1's act as the 5:1 surround sound?

Hope this makes sense!!
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So is there *any* way of using a PLAYBAR with two PLAY:5's as main right and left, and two PLAY:1's as surround?

We often just listen to plain old music in the family room where our home theater setup us, and we would want to be able to listen to the best PLAY:5 speakers as normal, and then utilize them in the home theater as R and L channels, with the PLAYBAR as the center. Is that possible?

Or, does that require the CONNECT to use the 5's as R&L speakers, which are then dormant as the PLAYBAR and 1's act as the 5:1 surround sound?

Hope this makes sense!!


What you'll wind up setting up to do this is a 5.1 setup with the PLAYBAR, 2xPLAY:1s and a SUB. Along with that, you can setup a stereo pair of PLAY:5s (or other speakers) in the same room. The 2 configurations can be grouped together though groups are temporary so you'll need to have controllers handy to group the units again if one gets rebooted, or if you have ungroup on autoplay turned on.

In a grouped setup like this the PLAYBAR will be playing front left and right along with center channels. The PLAY:5s in the front would be functioning as a stereo pair on their own.

For music playback you can set the surrounds to function as full stereo instead of ambient and it'll be very room filling. With the stereo pair of PLAY:5s you'll get even more. Music playback will be kept perfectly in sync.

During TV audio playback from the PLAYBAR there may be a slight sync difference between the PLAY:5s grouped with it and the 5.1 setup. It could be about 70ms which might be noticeable at times.

You won't need to use the CONNECT for this setup at all.

Let us know if you have any other questions Dustin.
What you'll wind up setting up to do this is a 5.1 setup with the PLAYBAR, 2xPLAY:1s and a SUB. Along with that, you can setup a stereo pair of PLAY:5s (or other speakers) in the same room. The 2 configurations can be grouped together though groups are temporary so you'll need to have controllers handy to group the units again if one gets rebooted, or if you have ungroup on autoplay turned on.

In a grouped setup like this the PLAYBAR will be playing front left and right along with center channels. The PLAY:5s in the front would be functioning as a stereo pair on their own.

For music playback you can set the surrounds to function as full stereo instead of ambient and it'll be very room filling. With the stereo pair of PLAY:5s you'll get even more. Music playback will be kept perfectly in sync.

During TV audio playback from the PLAYBAR there may be a slight sync difference between the PLAY:5s grouped with it and the 5.1 setup. It could be about 70ms which might be noticeable at times.

You won't need to use the CONNECT for this setup at all.

Let us know if you have any other questions Dustin.


Thanks much for the explanation, Ryan. I'm hardly an audiophile, but the idea of any A/V sync being off drives me nuts – that's one thing I'm just too sensitive to when it happens.

Nevertheless, you guys *are* developing something that will bring a better home theater / music system together beyond requiring a PLAYBAR, right? RIGHT???

(crosses fingers)
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Nevertheless, you guys *are* developing something that will bring a better home theater / music system together beyond requiring a PLAYBAR, right? RIGHT???

We'll never tell 🙂 As soon as there's anything to share publicly for any new development we make sure everyone knows, but until then there's no news. Always a good question to ask though.
I'll say this, while being a new owner of only a week, I do know that if I go in on some speakers now that do a little of what I want, I know I'll be able to use them in whatever new system you guys develop that would give us the ability to make whatever HT setup we want... 5:1, 7:1, whatever. There's a lot to be said for instilling that kind of confidence in your customers!
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During TV audio playback from the PLAYBAR there may be a slight sync difference between the PLAY:5s grouped with it and the 5.1 setup. It could be about 70ms which might be noticeable at times.



Would connecting the additional Front L/R speakers in this scenario via Ethernet instead of wireless reduce the delay at all? (Assuming the playbar was connected via Ethernet too)

During TV audio playback from the PLAYBAR there may be a slight sync difference between the PLAY:5s grouped with it and the 5.1 setup. It could be about 70ms which might be noticeable at times.


I notice this via the preceding post and I was very surprised to read this.

Ryan, are you saying that the Sonos Playbar based zone and other Sonos units in other zones wherever located in the home will NOT be in perfect sync when played in grouped mode? I thought that perfect sync grouping across all Sonos units was a Sonos USP.

Will the play bar based zone and any other zone grouped with it be in perfect sync for music being played from a NAS or from the net? Is this out of sync just a TV issue then?

And to the preceding posted question - if this delay does exist, there is nothing you can do to reduce it.
Kumar,

Since the grouped speakers to a Playbar would have to be on the 2.4 Ghz band, wouldn't that imply that there's the "buffering" delay involved, in order to make sure that the stream is appropriate for all the rest of the ecosystem?
The TV source is slightly delayed when grouped with other speakers due to the 2.4 GHz buffering required.
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@Kumar, looks like jgatie and Bruce beat me to the answers here. They're correct. Music and all music sources will be in sync, it's just the TV input that's slightly off. The PLAYBAR is designed to play that line-in from the TV as quick as possible so that it's in sync with the video. The surrounds bonded with it also will be in sync, as the 5GHz has a fast enough transfer to be constantly up to date with the sound. The issue of syncing can be a problem with grouped rooms, not bonded speakers. The grouped rooms are on that 2.4GHz and therefore have a bit of a delay and buffer built into the transfer.
@Kumar, looks like jgatie and Bruce beat me to the answers here. They're correct.
Understood, thanks all.
I suppose that this delay of the TV audio would not be obtrusive except when the grouped speakers are in the same room. But which does rule out the use of any additional grouped Sonos speakers for the HT application beyond the standard Sonos configuration? I don't seem to recall this as an issue whenever that subject has been discussed here, but that would then be the case. The delay would be more noticeable/obtrusive than a lip-sync one, being in the form of an echo, I would think.
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While testing grouping a play bar and 5 gen 2 while watching TV, there was a very slight sync issue but rather than negatively affecting the experience, it resulted in very subtle echo effect similar to what you would experience in a large cinema and the additional bass the 5 provided was awesome.
Ever since I tend to group them when I want to watch a move with loads of explosions and bangs at high volumes.
It create a very immersive experience which I love.
Sorry that I'm entering this thread late, and I'm not really an audiophile, but doesn't using the relatively narrow SoundBar/SoundBase as the FL and FR create a rather narrow separation for the front of a 5.1 system...?
Depends on your ears, and I guess the size of the room you're using. I used to have an average Sony AV receiver with separate FR, C, FL speakers, and I found that when I moved to a Sonos Playbar, it was hard to tell the difference. You could suggest that I didn't have the original setup done properly, or you could suggest that the design of the Sonos Playbar/Playbase does a good job of dispersing sound to the sides, especially with TruePlay enabled, who knows.

I haven't felt a significant letdown in any way, but I don't have your ears or brain. It has the possibility of being an issue for you, when it isn't for me. My recommendation, if you're serious about dipping your toe in the water, is to get one from a retailer who supports the Sonos return policy. I think I saw a banner here on this site suggesting a 45 day return period if you bought through the website. That way, you can give it a true test in your home and see how you feel. I've found that the display systems set up in my local Best Buy, while impressive, just don't give me a true sense of spatial acuity with all the other things going on there.

I'd be willing to bet, though, that if you got one, you'd more than likely be pleased. And frankly, having surrounds that don't have wires leading to the front of the room is pretty good, too 🙂
Just read this thread AFTER order my Play 5 (which is due in a day or so). I presumed I could soon get another as a juicy stereo system to quickly grow into a 5.1 hybrid. Bit disappointed that isn't the case. I'm not remotely technical but seems like something Sonos could easily do if they got their big brains together.

So if you can, please do! I don't want your playbar (no offence, it's sort of ugly), I want a proper left, right and centre!

Maybe offer a centre speaker than can sync with visual and other speakers (like play 5's).

Cheers. 😃
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Just read this thread AFTER order my Play 5 (which is due in a day or so). I presumed I could soon get another as a juicy stereo system to quickly grow into a 5.1 hybrid. Bit disappointed that isn't the case. I'm not remotely technical but seems like something Sonos could easily do if they got their big brains together.

So if you can, please do! I don't want your playbar (no offence, it's sort of ugly), I want a proper left, right and centre!

Maybe offer a centre speaker than can sync with visual and other speakers (like play 5's).

Cheers. :D

I'm not sure I follow your request. The Play 5 itself is a single unit with multiple speakers, and can be paired with a second Play 5 to provide a true stereo pair.

You can also pair a couple Play 5s with a Playbase/bar and a sub to create an incredible 5.1 home theater setup. You could even argue the Play 5s are almost overkill instead of Play 1s in that configuration.
I want to be able to have stereo play 5's either side of my TV, as this would be my optimal position for listening to music. Then have the option for them to be left and rights in a surround setup, instead of making them redundant with the need of playbar/base. Would rather a dedicated front speaker. (Play 1's at the rear).