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HomePod compatibility with Sonos system

  • 5 October 2017
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So i'm wondering if it's possible to use Sonos speakers with the new HomePod. So for example, maybe using two home pods instead of the playbar, but still using a sub, and 2 play ones? I have yet to hear the audio from a Sonos system or the HomePod and just trying to figure out what will work best for me. I use all Apple products, so if the new play ones will support Siri and airplay 2 then i'm probably sold on an all Sonos system.
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Best answer by Skelton 6 October 2017, 05:29

I don't want to misrepresent anything, but I think basically it's 'No' across the board here (at least for now).

First, the HomePod isn't going to feature any input ports, so you won't be able to use it instead of a Playbar for TV audio.

Even if they could though, you're talking about some things that would probably require a Connect to manage. The HomePod (or even reasonably priced competitors) don't have the ability to "manage" the kit in that fashion.

Sonos isn't planning to have Airplay 2 support until next Spring, so that's another potential hangup.

Hope that helps, and if I said anything wrong someone will correct me 😉.
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I don't want to misrepresent anything, but I think basically it's 'No' across the board here (at least for now).

First, the HomePod isn't going to feature any input ports, so you won't be able to use it instead of a Playbar for TV audio.

Even if they could though, you're talking about some things that would probably require a Connect to manage. The HomePod (or even reasonably priced competitors) don't have the ability to "manage" the kit in that fashion.

Sonos isn't planning to have Airplay 2 support until next Spring, so that's another potential hangup.

Hope that helps, and if I said anything wrong someone will correct me 😉.
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From my understanding Airplay 2 in and of itself should allow to group all airplay 2 compatible speakers with each other. So in theory it could work, but i don't know if sonos will be locked out to do this with their speakers. I a previous post i put, i bring a topic up similar to yours, but talking about the integration of Alexa Echo Speakers with Sonos or Google Home Speakers (i.e. Google Home Max) with Sonos.

However, your question is a bit different as i think it may be settled by the simple fact that Airplay 2 would do the grouping of speakers. At least what i understand as of now.

https://en.community.sonos.com/amazon-alexa-and-sonos-229102/grouping-alexa-echo-speakers-with-sonos-speakers-6791573/index1.html#post16151271
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Thanks guys, although I believe 2 home pods will probably sound better than the sonos soundbar, it's probably not worth the headache trying to get it to work together. Might just have to use the HomePod in the bedroom as a standalone speaker and use airplay when wanting to send the same music throughout the home.
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I'm admittedly biased against much of what Apple does, but I can't imagine that the HomePod will deliver a better "home theatre" experience than any good SoundBar. It's not what they are designed to do after all.

There will remain the issue of how you connect them to the television.
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I use all Apple products, so if the new play ones will support Siri and airplay 2 then i'm probably sold on an all Sonos system.

It's highly unlikely that Apple will ever allow third parties to include Siri, so if you want to stick with the worst-in-class assistant you'll have to go with the HomePod 🙂
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While I can agree that Siri isn't the best, she actually performs great for the things I would actually use an assistant for. I don't mind sacrificing in one area to have the best option for many many more other areas. 🙂
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While I can agree that Siri isn't the best, she actually performs great for the things I would actually use an assistant for. I don't mind sacrificing in one area to have the best option for many many more other areas. :)

To play Devil’s advocate: like what? A more expensive speaker you can’t listen to or buy yet?
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Siri is mostly used for turning on my smart lights, checking the thermostat, locking unlocking the front door for guests, asking the weather, calling family, turning on/off the smart ceiling fan, etc.

As for the HomePod, I actually don't find it too expensive, I mean for just the playbar i'm going to fork out over $700. For that same price I could buy 2 homepods which would be 14 tweeters and 2 woofers in all. It looks like I'll be getting 9 speakers on the playbar.

I really want to hear all these speakers in person, I just have a feeling the 2 home pods up front instead of the playbar will sounds much better, but as an Apple user I don't like fragmentation and/or having to try and force things to work which is why I am leaning towards just getting the full sonos system and see what happens next year with Siri and airplay 2 support.
It looks like airplay 2 will allow me to pick and choose which speakers to send to all from within the OS and not needing a separate app, which is what I prefer.

I understand some people dislike Apple, I was a windows user for over 15 years before I switched to a mac and remember thinking of Apple as a joke. Honestly for my needs switching over was the best decision I ever made.

I really want to hear all these speakers in person, I just have a feeling the 2 home pods up front instead of the playbar will sounds much better


Highly unlikely. All those tweeters are there to allow 360 degree horizontal dispersion. That will destroy proper stereo imaging. Not that these silly, extremely limited Apple speakers will even stereo pair. A pair of Play:1s will sound FAR more natural. Add a Sub, and there will be no contest; that Sonos setup will kick all other multi room setups to the curb, not to mention a good portion of traditional HiFi systems.
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All those tweeters are there to allow 360 degree horizontal dispersion. That will destroy proper stereo imaging.

Yes, it's not simply a number game, and that's why I didn't restrict the comparison to Sonos' soundbars. I think any good soundbar setup will be significantly better for a "home theatre" setup than any speakers designed like HomePod/Echo to "fill a room".

Keep in mind that the HomePod isn't likely to feature any input ports, so even if you could pull it off, Apple clearly isn't intending that to be the use case.
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Good points, and i'm pretty much sold on going full Sonos. Any idea on how well the playbar/2 play ones/subwoofer combo might compare to my old 12" infinity tower speakers with kenwood surround and center channel speakers?
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@chicks It looks as though the homepods are capable of stereo pairing and some reviews suggest they sound slightly better than the the Sonos play 3's. But like I said, if it is a hassle to try and make it work, i'm not going to do it. I'm not trying to say one is better than the other, and I don't want to assume something due to preconceived biases or assumptions.
Apple will use boatloads of sound processing to simulate surround sound. No thanks.
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What others are saying, I simply won't assume something before hearing the audio quality of the HomePod.....

"They’re using some form of dynamic modeling, and current sensing that allows them to have a p-p excursion of 20 mm in a 4″ driver. This is completely unheard of in the home market. The practical upshot is that that 4″ driver can go louder than larger drivers, and with significantly less distortion. It’s also stuff you typically find in speakers with five-figure price tags (The Beolab 90 does this, and I also suspect that the Kii Three does). It’s a quantum leap over what a typical passive speaker does, and you don’t really even find it in higher-end powered speakers

The speaker uses six integrated beamforming microphones to probe the room dimensions, and alter its output so it sounds its best wherever it is placed in the room. It’ll know how large the room is, and where in the room it is placed.

The room correction applied after probing its own position isn’t simplistic DSP of frequency response, as the speaker has seven drivers that are used to create a beamforming speaker array,. so they can direct specific sound in specific directions. The only other speakers that do this is the Beolab 90, and Lexicon SL-1. The Beolab 90 is $85,000/pair, and no price tag is set for the Lexicon, but the expectation in the industry is “astronomical”."


Since the soundbar is placed directly in front of me, I would have to guess that it is also using some sort of sound processing to simulate the surround sound?
I think there is hope that it should work, at least in theory. We will have to wait until the HomePod is released to say for certain, and you may need a 4th gen Apple TV as a hub to make it work.

Apple has said that the HomePod will be able to connect to other AirPlay 2 speakers. Sonos and Apple have partnered pretty closely in the past, and all of Sonos current speakers run AirPlay, so it would make sense that Sonos would update their existing speakers to run AirPlay 2. It may not happen right away, but they SHOULD update to AirPlay 2, and then you could connect your Sonos speakers with the HomePod.

It is unclear as far as connecting the HomePod to your TV, but there are two potential options. Connect a 4th gen Apple TV to your television, and then connect the HomePod to your Apple TV and then connect to your Sonos AirPlay 2 speakers.

The other option would be to purchase a Sonos Playbar or Playbase, connect it to your TV, and then connect the HomePod to your Sonos System. In theory, you could then use a pair of HomePods as the rear channels in your home theater system, and to play music.

It’s unclear if this will work, but in theory, as long as Sonos updates to Airplay 2, and Apple and Sonos continue to play nice with each other, it should work. The other option would be to purchase 4 HomePods, and an Apple TV, for around $1600 plus tax, and place them around the room, and that should give you pretty decent surround sound and bass, although we will have to see how it stacks up against a 5.1 Sonos system, which will cost you a few hundred more, but is more purpose built.

As far as the Siri integration question, despite what a lot of Siri haters say, Siri is pretty good already at integrating with HomeKit compatible products, and although unproven, it should be superior to Google or Alexa for music integration, at least when using Apple Music. Personally I use Tidal due to the ability to stream lossless audio, which isn’t available through Apple Music or Spotify, so it won’t really be an advantage.

The main disadvantage of a Sonos system so far has been being stuck using the Sonos app. If you use Apple Music already, adding a pair of HomePods to your Sonos system should offer a better user experience, and they are priced similar to a comparable Sonos Play 3.

It is unclear as far as connecting the HomePod to your TV, but there are two potential options. Connect a 4th gen Apple TV to your television, and then connect the HomePod to your Apple TV and then connect to your Sonos AirPlay 2 speakers.

The other option would be to purchase a Sonos Playbar or Playbase, connect it to your TV, and then connect the HomePod to your Sonos System. In theory, you could then use a pair of HomePods as the rear channels in your home theater system, and to play music.


I really don’t see how Airplay 2 would support 5.0 sound separation even in theory. Apple hasn’t stated anywhere about this functionality, describing Airplay 2 as a multiroom streaming ability. I think 5.0 sound separation works on entirely different level and it would require more than just a multiroom support. I’m not even talking about inclusion of Sub which I almost sure will not be supported in earlier iteration of Apple’s protocol, as it is not a speaker per se, what leaves Sub owners, who want to use it, with no other options than reverting back to using Sonos app. Just my thoughts though
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Can someone tell me what Airplay2 does for the average Sonos user?...that the current app doesn’t do?..what is its purpose?.
Can someone tell me what Airplay2 does for the average Sonos user?...that the current app doesn’t do?..what is its purpose?.

Airplay 2 will allow you to stream directly from Airplay 2 compatible apps, instead of using the Sonos app.
What others are saying, I simply won't assume something before hearing the audio quality of the HomePod.....

"They’re using some form of dynamic modeling, and current sensing that allows them to have a p-p excursion of 20 mm in a 4″ driver. This is completely unheard of in the home market. The practical upshot is that that 4″ driver can go louder than larger drivers, and with significantly less distortion. It’s also stuff you typically find in speakers with five-figure price tags (The Beolab 90 does this, and I also suspect that the Kii Three does). It’s a quantum leap over what a typical passive speaker does, and you don’t really even find it in higher-end powered speakers


Meh, Philips was doing Motional Feedback way back in the ‘70s. Once again, Apple never innovates, but they do a pretty good job of perfecting technologies invented elsewhere.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motional_Feedback

Panasonic was doing it way back in 1964. It wasn’t new then, either.

http://www.proaudiodesignforum.com/forum/php/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=707&start=5

http://www.waynekirkwood.com/images/jpg/Motional_Feedback_Miami_News_October_19_1964.jpg
Word is, Homepod will not support synched multi-room playback at launch. So not only is it not compatible with Sonos, it's seemingly not even compatible with itself.
[quote=pwt]It's highly unlikely that Apple will ever allow third parties to include Siri

Not sure what you mean.... If you're talking about having Siri integrated into a third-party hardware product, then I would probably agree. (Kinda pointless in this context, given that Sonos has already tied their horse to Amazon/Alexa.)

But certainly Siri can control third-party devices. I always have the watch on, so why do I care if it's a speaker that's hearing the command or the watch? All I care about is that the requested action is taken.

Just today I learned of an indirect means of controlling a Nest thermostat (which does not yet support HomeKit) via Siri. I guess that kind of thing is my best hope for controlling Sonos via Siri.
Sonos has tied themselves to no horses. They have deliberately made their voice interface sevice neutral, which is why they are supporting both Alexa and Google Assistant.
I did not know that -- thank you for the correction! :)

[time passes...]

I looked at the product pages both for the Sonos One and for the Play:1...but neither mentions Google Assistant, and both mention Alexa. Where should I be looking?

[more time passes...]

I found an article on The Verge saying that support for Google Assistant would be coming in 2018...so either it's not here yet (my misunderstanding of "are supporting"), or the product page has not been updated.
Google Assistant support is not there yet, but there is a workaround if you have Sonos kit with a line in jack. Wire the USD 35 Chromecast Audio puck to the line in, and then Google Home/Mini will work with Sonos. The support when released will dispense with need to wire in the CCA and therefore be directly usable with all Sonos kit.
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Word is that Homepods won't even stereo pair at launch either.

At launch Homepod will really just be an Airplay speaker with built in Siri (and the trueplay type tuning built into itself).

I'm going to be anxious to hear the Homepod vs. Sonos One reviews.