Question

Playbar customer, baffled

  • 21 October 2016
  • 13 replies
  • 394 views

So... For some reason you can't set the rear speakers (in my case two play 3some paired with the playbar in a 5.1 setup) to duplicate the front L/R signal when watching TV. Frustrating. Its nice to be able to do that so you can keep the vplume relatively low and still hear the voices on shows/movies.

Sonos needs to either: Add a toggle to move quickly between surround sound or full stereo, OR allow us to drop more money on speakers and pair them with the soundbar as front L/R signal.

For $2300 this is a simple feature that $300 units usually have. Come on guys 😉

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13 replies

The question is, what's the holdup? Customers seem to have been requesting this feature in 2014!
Feflicker, Sonos adds basically the bare minimum of features to their products. There are hundreds/thousands of basic feature request threads going back 11 years that are ignored - a very select few get added. .

IMO if this feature has a slim to none chance of being added.
It may be worth pointing out here that @Sonosssss is a permanent Sonos basher whio may or may not actually own a Sonos system.
Feflicker, Sonos adds basically the bare minimum of features to their products. There are hundreds/thousands of basic feature request threads going back 11 years that are ignored - a very select few get added. .

IMO if this feature has a slim to none chance of being added.


I noticed that there are basically no options in the app. The EQ doesn't even have mids 🙂 That said, it sounds GREAT so I figure I don't need all the options if it already sounds amazing.

But, not being able to assign a speaker to any audio stream you want? What is up with that!? When you add a speaker you should be able to assign it to whatever channel you prefer. It's that simple. And not being able to stereox2 at the push of a button is just silly. That's such an easy thing to add.

I'm hoping that since people have wanted this a long time they'll do it. But I'm not quite yet ready to return it just because of this feature.
Feflicker, Sonos adds basically the bare minimum of features to their products. There are hundreds/thousands of basic feature request threads going back 11 years that are ignored - a very select few get added. .

IMO if this feature has a slim to none chance of being added.


I noticed that there are basically no options in the app. The EQ doesn't even have mids 🙂 That said, it sounds GREAT so I figure I don't need all the options if it already sounds amazing.

But, not being able to assign a speaker to any audio stream you want? What is up with that!? When you add a speaker you should be able to assign it to whatever channel you prefer. It's that simple. And not being able to stereox2 at the push of a button is just silly. That's such an easy thing to add.

I'm hoping that since people have wanted this a long time they'll do it. But I'm not quite yet ready to return it just because of this feature.


Nobody has wanted this for a long time! This is the only thread in the subject, it's two years old and has almost no support in that time, it's not going to happen. I'm not aware that any av receiver would give this option either.
Most likely it's something that is important to a tiny fraction of users, and will complicate things for the vast majority of customers who couldn't care less about it.

Seems to be the case with most of these "must have" features, which really aren't needed at all by most users, and therefore won't be implemented, in order to keep the customer experience as simple as possible.

Featureitis can be a product killer. Anyone remember the "must have" programming features of VCRs? Pretty much everyone just left the stupid clock flashing 12:00...
Well, since I searched for this option, and found posts from years ago asking the same thing, I made the correlation "people have wanted this for a long time". Fair enough that it might not be a large group of people, but people still did ask for it.

Here is what I found in just the first few links I clicked...

https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/two-play5-as-front-speakers-with-playbar-center-6733469

https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/new-play5-as-front-speakers-51-6732478

https://en.community.sonos.com/what-to-get-228989/new-to-sonos-would-like-to-add-2-front-speakers-to-my-existing-setup-6731779

https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/sonos-playbar-with-extra-front-active-speakers-6229015

All 3 of my current surround sound receivers, (sony, samsung), allow the option to switch between doubling stereo to the rear speakers or surround sound, with the click of a button. Presumably for listening to music, but they do not block you from doing it while watching T.V.

That said, I don't even care if they make it that easy. I am even saying I would buy more speakers to accomplish the same thing, but they have to allow users to sync a speaker to front L/R if you have a playbar in your room. That seems completely reasonable, especially since the playbar isn't that powerful in the first place comparatively to the play3's or play5's.

Regardless, hopefully Sonos sees the post and considers adding an option. (After all, they did add the option to use the rear speakers for music playback, so all they have to do is not lock it to just music).
Ridiculous to list those threads as wanting the same feature as this thread. Those threads want to use Play units as right and left fronts with the Playbar as center. You for some unknown reason want to repeat the Playbar sounds in the speakers that are meant to be surrounds, thus ruining any surround or spatial effects and making the audio a muddy mess. Sure there is no accounting for taste, but that doesn't mean Sonos has to cater to it.

And the fact your fallback plan asks for the same feature as those threads means nothing compared to the fringe original request.
I guess I saw all these as related. Sure, they have different reasons behind them, but the same basic limitation in the product is the driver for the questions.

At the end of the day:

* If you have a Playbar, you cannot add an additional front L/R speaker to your configuration. For whatever reason, or purpose, you would like to do that. (And there are many valid reasons some of us would like to do that)

And if you are watching stereo TV (or surround for that matter), you cannot replicate the Front L/R signal to the rear speakers. (Again, not all shows are watched best in surround, there are many times that this would be a nice feature in my opinion).

If your opinion is that either of these features would cause a muddy mess, or "ruin" surround sound, that's ok too. To each their own.
Again, trust me, Sonos has considered each and every one of these requests. If they are of interest to only a fraction of a percent of customers, they probably don't even bother with cost/benefit analysis, nor would any successful company.
There have been literally thousands of feature requests on here over the years. It is plain common sense that even the sensible ones cannot all be implemented. Development resource is limited. Every change, however simple its proponent thinks it will be, has to be coded and tested, including regression testing. Sonos has to prioritise, and keep its focus on developments that will add real value to large numbers of customers, and so add value to the bottom line. In the end I don't think this suggested change would sell a single extra speaker, and its absence will go unnoticed and be unwanted by 99.99999% of users.
I understand all of that, I design and develop software for a living. I'm well aware of the SDLC, the STLC and all of those considerations around ROI. If users don't ask for things on these boards, they are never prioritized into a release. There was no harm in asking, I'm new to the product. It's possible someone found a workaround for all I knew...

Appreciate all the input.
The solution for this ended up being quite simple.

I bought a pair of play:1s. I created a new room, added them as a stereo pair. Then I grouped the new room to the room I created for my playbar 5.1 setup. I had to adjust the audio sync by 1 tick on the playbar, and the new speakers are in sync with the playbar.

There are 2 known issues with doing this, both manageable imo:

1) The TV volume still only moves room 1, not the entire group volume. This should be an option at some point (fingers crossed). In the meantime volume will be controlled from my mobile device.

2) The grouping isnt permanent, may need to regroup at some point. It's easy enough, so won't be end of world if it loses its grouping. A "group lock" would be a nice feature at some point too.

That said, I now have extra front speakers with the playbar. 🙂