Answered

Room with 1 x Sonos Beam and 4 x Sonos Play:1

  • 18 September 2018
  • 8 replies
  • 4961 views

I try to create this configuration:

Room name: "Living Room"
1 x Sonos Beam
4 x Sonos Play:1, preferably in surround configuration.
my controller is on an Android phone.

The main problem that I run into is that I cannot add more that two Play:1 speakers in the same room with Beam (when trying to add more speakers, I don't have the "Living Room" room available in the drop down list on the controller, which forces me to add speakers to another room.)
icon

Best answer by melvimbe 18 September 2018, 19:09

This is expected functionality. You can only add 2 speakers for surround and a 1 sub to the Beam to create a 5.1 room. You can setup your other 2 speakers as a separate stereo pair with different room name, but physically place them in the same room if you wish. You can then play everything together using the 'group' functionality, but there will be a slight echo when playing tv audio.
View original

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21
This is expected functionality. You can only add 2 speakers for surround and a 1 sub to the Beam to create a 5.1 room. You can setup your other 2 speakers as a separate stereo pair with different room name, but physically place them in the same room if you wish. You can then play everything together using the 'group' functionality, but there will be a slight echo when playing tv audio.
Thank you, Danny, for trying to help me. I do appreciate this. However now I feel very frustrated and disappointed with Sonos.

For me this is the opposite of "expected functionality". It's more of "unexpected dis-functionality'. I have spent over 1000 euro on my speaker configuration. That's a shit load of money for me. I did this on a false advertisement that I can make any configuration i want, since the speakers "talk" to each other in an intelligent way. Yes, it's true, the quality of sound in each speaker is good. BUT.

Why in the world I should have 2 different "rooms", when all my speakers are in the same room? Who expects this? The Sonos people who made the software design don't have the concept of "entity"? Does it not equate with anything in database design?

I have an entity that is called "room". Ok. That entity stores a specific speaker configuration. But not the one I want as a user. Nor the one I need. It stores an arbitrary configuration, pre-defined by Sonos. Some Marketing shmuck from Sonos decided that a "room" can have a maximum of 3 speakers (1x Beam + 2 x Play:1). On what basis 3? Why not 7? or 12?

A room can have 4 speakers, but - at least this is what you tell me - only 2 Play:1s, 1 Sub and 1 Beam. Why 4? Why THOSE 4 and not my 5? Why is this *limitation* not clearly written on the instructions, or on the package box so that a customer is not misled to believe it can have whatever configuration he/she wants?
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Thank you, Danny, for trying to help me. I do appreciate this. However now I feel very frustrated and disappointed with Sonos.

For me this is the opposite of "expected functionality". It's more of "unexpected dis-functionality'. I have spent over 1000 euro on my speaker configuration. That's a shit load of money for me. I did this on a false advertisement that I can make any configuration i want, since the speakers "talk" to each other in an intelligent way. Yes, it's true, the quality of sound in each speaker is good. BUT.


If you can recall where you received this false information, I imagine Sonos would like to know about it. They do read these forums and are interested in knowing when advertisments or retail locations are giving out inaccurate information.


Why in the world I should have 2 different "rooms", when all my speakers are in the same room? Who expects this? The Sonos people who made the software design don't have the concept of "entity"? Does it not equate with anything in database design?


A 5.1 home theatre setup is pretty common, if not the most common configuration. As well, typically if you're going to have 4 surround speakers, you'd expect 4 separate audio channels. That means the Beam would be doing more 'work' to process and transmit this 2 or more extra audio channels. And I don't know all the specifics of how the Beam connects to it's 'satellite' speakers, but I know it's not as straightforward as a primary key/foreign key relationship. The communication has to be sync properly and done very quickly in order for the audio to match the video.

As an aside, the speakers in a HT setup are communicating over 5.0 GHz wireless. Communication between speakers setup as different rooms is done as 2.4 GHz. HT needs the faster communication speed, but since 5.0 doesn't have as good of range and wall penetration as 2.4 GHz, it's not used everywhere.



I have an entity that is called "room". Ok. That entity stores a specific speaker configuration. But not the one I want as a user. Nor the one I need. It stores an arbitrary configuration, pre-defined by Sonos. Some Marketing shmuck from Sonos decided that a "room" can have a maximum of 3 speakers (1x Beam + 2 x Play:1). On what basis 3? Why not 7? or 12?


It's actually 4, as you can add a sub to that configuration, but yes, 4 seems to be the maximum. I don't know if it's a technical limitation based on processing power of the Beam, stability of wireless using 5.0 and keeping things in sync, or if it was arbitrary. My guess would be that there are technical reasons, since obviously, more speakers need more sales.


A room can have 4 speakers, but - at least this is what you tell me - only 2 Play:1s, 1 Sub and 1 Beam. Why 4? Why THOSE 4 and not my 5? Why is this *limitation* not clearly written on the instructions, or on the package box so that a customer is not misled to believe it can have whatever configuration he/she wants?


The product page on this site does say that you can add a pair of speakers for rears, and the speaker sets they offer don't include more than 2 pair. The instructions in the Sonos app also talk about adding a pair of speakers for rears, plus the sub. Others before you have also believed that they configure speakers in other ways then Sonos specifically mentions, perhaps based on assumptions, perhaps confusion with other products, or perhaps they were told incorrectly from sales.

From a marketing standpoint, companies often don't list out all of the things their products do not do, as it tends to create a negative image of their product. Instead, they state what it does do only. It's just my opinion, but I always assume that any feature I'm looking for that isn't specifically mentioned in official marketing literature is not supported. I don't care what a sales guy tells me, or what seems safe to assume. I'll check the website, or try and contact the company directly for clarification.

If you don't want the 2 extra speakers, you might be able to return them. If you bought directly from Sonos they have a pretty good return policy, no questions asked.
Danny, thanks again for taking your time to respond. My post below is for the ears of Sonos team.

My expectation was to have the speakers functioning as I described in my initial post. Beam should be coupled with the TV, then a pair of Play:1s should be "rear" and another pair of Play:1s should be "front". I discover now that this configuration is not possible.

I can get all 5 speakers to work together, but not as a same room and not in the surround set-up described above.

Sonos - as you correctly say - does not publicize what their products "don't do". It's a pity, particularly when their products don't do things that are *normally* expected by the consumers. I don't think it helps Sonos on the long run to create this kind of marketing deception(s), because this can only alienate customers. As a prospective buyer, you don't know what you don't know. And I don't find it reasonable to expect the customers to read the entire Community Sonos WIKI to find out that a basic thing is not there.

As a customer, you hear about the great sound of Sonos speakers (true). You read on their website about the fact that they auto-magically work together as a network (true). You go to the store and play some music on the display speaker and it sounds great. But then it is very difficult to find additional info.

1. I did not buy my speakers as a set. First, I bought two Play:1s. Then, I bought my Beam. Then I bought another pair of Play:1s.
2. I bought the first pair of Play:1s and the Beam from Fnac and the last pair of Play:1 from MediaMarkt, in Brussels, Belgium. Neither of the two stores has any technical specs on display for these products. Neither of the two stores offers Sonos sets, but rather, individual products. They have the models on display, but no detailed information, except for what's written on the box. The shop assistants told me that the only difference between Play:1 and One is Alexa, in which I'm not interested and anyway is not available in Belgium.
3. The shop assistants told me that Play:1 cannot be coupled directly to a a music source via a jack. But then they could not tell if the speakers can "read" music on a Samba share, or on an NFS share (i happen to have a Linux based network, with my Music library on a NAS, via an NFS share). So finding information IRL, in the shop, *is* hard.
4. I see Sonos webpage has an advertisement of a 100 day free trial for their products. This is very sweet and nice. But neither Fnac nor MediaMarkt mentioned anything about it and I'm not sure this is available in Belgium.
5. In fact, in order to be able to test my first pair with my home LAN set-up, I had to emulate an online order with Fnac, so I could return the products in 30 days (based on the law on E-Commerce, not on the above guarantee) in case they wouldn't have fitted with my network setup.
6. This I did not do with the last pair which I bought directly from the store, no coverage under the E-Commerce law , + store's (MediaMarkt) return policy refers only to *defective* products.
7. I was satisfied with the Beam + 2 x Play:1 surround set up. In fact, I liked it so much that I decided to buy the other pair of Play:1 speakers, to make a true quadrophonic surround space in my living, which is not possible, as it turns out.

In conclusion, based on my experience:
- 1000 euro later, I get good sound but not what I expected. What I expected was normal, not something fancy: 4 speakers + a sound bar = a surround system. Not the case.
- I'm reluctant to believe that this is my fault, that I did not check my expectations against...against what? There seems to be a common understanding in the Sonos community that, unless a configuration (even a normal one) is specially mentioned as possible by Sonos, it should be considered as not possible: "they don't advertise on what their products cannot do". This is like someone selling a speaker that works only during the day. He clearly states in his product/marketing info: "Greatest sound, daily". Then he explains the angry customers that he is not *advertising* that the speakers don't work at night, that information is somewhere buried in the customer support forum and the customer should have read the wiki before. :)

I do hope my rather long post will help Sonos somehow. I think their products are nice and have potential. But I also feel that their guerrilla marketing is based on a pricing policy (i.e. greed) and incomplete (if not misleading) advertisement/product info. This may sell some products but will hardly create a real community of fans and loyal users.

The RTFM argument is not working, as TFM is not available always (in the stores) and even when available (online), it does not contain the specific information.

The "unrealistic expectation' argument is not working either. 4 speakers working together (plus the Beam) should offer a surround experience. Even my laptop's four speakers do that. It's 2018.

Thank you for your consideration and active listening to my feedback. Please update your controller software to allow for Beam + 2 front + 2 rear Play:1s. It's nothing fancy. It's not "3D sound" that i'm talking about, not separation of channels. It's about the possibility to emphasize accents (Ambient) on 4 speakers, rather than 2.
The Beam is a soundbar. There is no soundbar on the planet that can be used as a center channel speaker. By definition, a soundbar encompasses the right, center, and left speakers all in one bar. I'm sorry, but your expectations do not jibe with reality.
RazTaz,

FWIW, Sonos do issue all their product 'quick setup' manuals online for everyone to read and those show all the requirements and setups etc. I appreciate this information is a bit too late in your case, but it’s often worth reading the online manual of any product before purchase, as it can reveal any shortcomings and whether, or not, things will achieve any expectations.

I must admit though I’ve only personally ever seen the Sonos Beam/PlayBar and PlayBase as working with two rear surrounds, as they each all have multiple speakers built into them all, that are designed to handle the Front/Center/Right channels. It sounds like you may have mistakenly thought these products were all just geared to be able to use them just as center channels only... that’s not the case and I’m quite surprised you didn’t check that before buying your final two speakers.

The two speakers can be used 'grouped' and 'together' in the same room by the way and I’ve seen some folk name their rooms in a variety of ways to do this.

I use this...

Lounge (Beam & 2 Play:1 surrounds)
Front Lounge (2 Play:5 Speakers)

The two are grouped in the Sonos App 'Rooms Tab' and to get my TV audio from both rooms in sync I use the sync slider bar in the Sonos App (Beam) Room Settings and most of the time when the TV output is PCM I get no problems with the on-screen video lip-sync.

Obviously for music audio, the two 'grouped rooms' all Play perfectly and remember that for Alexa purposes you only need instruct Alexa to play on the Beam (Lounge Room) and the music will play on every grouped speaker... it’s also the same when in comes to streaming Airplay Audio too.

Anyhow here is a link that provides access to all Sonos Product Manuals ... I hope that helps (a little) ?

https://www.sonos.com/en-us/support/by-product
Thank you all for your help.
I have this set up too. Would be good to have support for it as a single room