Nintendo Switch with Sonos 5.1

  • 19 December 2017
  • 3 replies
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Userlevel 2
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For any potential buyers out there, the Nintendo Switch only supports 5.1 LPCM, which can't be decoded by the Playbar and Playbase. It is likely getting downmixed to stereo and then getting sent to the Sonos. Also, the Switch will likely not add any Dolby support, as the Wii U before it could also only output 5.1 in LPCM. Sound will still play out of the rear speakers and the SUB, since Sonos matrices those to create "fake 5.1".

The one potential upside is that the Nintendo Switch menu has an option to select "Surround Sound" as output. There is a very slight possibility that it might try to downmix the 5.1 source into 2.1 on the fly, mixing the surround information into the FL and FR channels but that's highly unlikely. That comes with the potential theoretical downside that if you select Surround Sound as output, you're losing some of the surround channel data since in a 5.1 encoded audio, a lot of the signal is encoded into the front center speaker with a lower level going to the front-left and front-right speakers.

So what do people have the TV Sound setting on, Surround Sound or Stereo?

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3 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hey there, Prodan. Thanks for sharing and for the heads up! I was able to ask around the office about this and they had experiences that fall right in line with what you are describing.

Just as a note: In most cases, your TV will not convert 5.1 LPCM to Dolby 5.1. Normally, they just pass the signal from the source to the playback device (Sonos). This means you could only get Stereo (with SUB support) out of Sonos since we do not support LPCM. If you were to have a TV that could convert the signal, the conversion will likely add more time for the audio to be processed and in turn, gives a delay to the signal being sent to Sonos. Definitely not good for gaming.

Thanks again!
Userlevel 2
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What I meant to say is that optical audio cable can't support 5.1 over LPCM since S/PDIF can't handle the bandwidth of LPCM.

So in this case, you guys recommend that the Switch is set in Stereo and not in Surround Sound?
Keith, are there plans to resolve this issue in any way on Sonos’ side? Switch is an extremely popular console, and only getting more popular. Would love a solution to use my 5.1 system with it, even if a second piece of hardware is required.