Solving the 5.1, DTS issues with the Playbar


This thread is specifically for those who are trying to understand the Playbars 5.1 and DTS issues.

As most of you know the Playbar does not convert DTS signal. It also will only convert 2.0 to SIMULATED PCM 5.1 signal. If you can live with the simulated signal, then you are ahead of the game. IF you want PURE unadulterated 5.1 from your DirecTV or Cable, you WILL most likely have to buy a switch like this one. http://www.monoprice.com/products/7974
Or a Bluray converter like this one.
http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-103/

MOST tvs will not convert true 5.1. There are some on this thread that say they do, but most dont. I found this out the hard way by buying one of Samsungs highest end tv's, only to find out that 2.0 is all im ever gunna get.
A $75 switch is a bargain IMO to have such sound to the Playbar the way it is intended. IF you want 1080p up convert video and and 5.1 audio, then a simular Bluray like the Oppo is for you.

Concerning movies that are only on DTS:
Oppo can convert the DTS signal to PCM 5.1 as well. I do not know about the Switch, because I do not have one.

206 replies

Userlevel 2
Hi Racin,

great hint but unfortunately this is not a solution (Oppo player), but a very expensive work-around for Sonos' design flaw.

The only real solution can come from Sonos with new firmware and added DTS support.

Let's hope they will add it asap, although it will cost them some $ they thought was easily saved by their strange decision.

It's still hard to swallow for me. A high class, very expensive surround system that is indeed capable of great sound quality was deliberately declined to reduce some $ in production.

How expensive can a DTS licence be? Even my 90 Euro LG BD player has it! Amazon lists a 84 Euro Philips receiver with DTS Support, also a 100 Euro Sony receiver, capable of DTS support.

And our 700 Euro playbar can't do it? Come on, Sonos...
Userlevel 1
Audio output. PCM192 for those movies that dont have a 5.1 DD option.

Thanks.

The sound is clearly inferior with PCM192. For those that have been questioning SONOS about the lack of DTS are spot on.

A $2k setup should offer more IMHO.
Agree. I will never buy the playbar until they release a version 2 with hdmi and all these issues are fixed. Sonos is supposed to be simple and just plain work. Needing all these switches and not being able to play certain media at the highest level is a deal breaker for me. It is ashame because I have the sub already and would drop another $700 if they just got the playbar right, not sure who in sonos screwed up this decision but wow. (Along with the recent matte black sub fiasco for some, seems they need to find some clear direction/leadership within the company)
I have had my surround Sonos setup (Playbar, Sub, 2 x Play 3's) for around a year now. I love the sound, wireless capability, and functionality of the streaming services. It works great with my AT&T box - providing 5.1 on the HD channels without issue.

Anyway, regarding playing DTS bluray's / media files I thought I would share my current workaround to help others. I have a HTPC in my living room. Attached to this via USB I have a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro. This handy little device transcodes DTS to Dolby Digital and provides a toslink optical connection which goes into my toslink switcher - ultimately connecting to the Playbar. When I play DTS bluray's / media files; full 5.1 sound is produced by the Sonos system. I had the HTPC before I bought the Sonos, so it only cost me a $50 upgrade to get it working.

Please note the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro is only able to provide 5.1 with Windows 7 and 8.1. Microsoft screwed up the audio platform on Windows 10 breaking 5.1 for all manufactures. This is a major bug that has not been resolved yet. Currently my HTPC dual boots 8.1 and 10 until the issue is fixed.

I agree with others – Sonos need to pony up for the DTS license. It is a significant step up from DD, plus more and more movies are adopting it as their standard. It is strange to think you can buy a cheap 5.1 sound system for $200 that is DTS compatible, while the Sonos system (costing 10x) has no support - doesn't make sense.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
I say what I want! This is no nonsense its a serious problem for me and a lot of other Playbar users! Its time they update to DTS!
Qudos to DTS support! I can cope with the lack of HDMI and 24 bit formats but DTS is almost required when most movies are decoded with it. However, Sonos is the best wireless audio system on the market when it comes to music (16/44.1), but that's it. When it comes to movie audio they are out of reach.
Badge +3
It's incredibly frustrating that they don't support it. It's almost a $2000 system that is incredibly underwhelming. The music is on another level but I only have so many outlets.
Userlevel 5
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Does everybody on this forum understand that if you throw enough of your hard earned money at anything with your time you can probably get it to work its like an old car if you keep throwing money at it, it will keep going their comes a time when it is no longer feasible. I have 2200 dollars worth of sonos equipment. Great for music but thats it. Will not even play 5.1 out of sat box receivers without dropouts. Have purchased optical switch, new sony bravia4K tv have second new dish receiver coming but believe thats not the problem. Total failure for television unless your happy with pcm stereo. Maybe after 3500 to 4000 dollars invested and all your valuable time you will get it to work but still thats a big if. 15 year old bose system with 400 dollar 15 year old receiver does a better job, very disappointed in sonos.
Userlevel 3
Badge +7
I feel your pain. I've abandoned Sonos for home theater. The direction the company is focusing on now (voice control and streaming) just reinforces their original decision to not support HD audio formats. I thought that maybe after some time they'd realize how important this feature is to their customers and throw us a bone, but I don't see it happening now. Instead of staying mad at them, I'm moving on. I'm removing the PLAYBAR, SUB and PLAY 3's from my theater this weekend and replacing them with a Klipsch Reference system that arrived today. Super excited. Look at it on the bright side, it will be one less person complaining here.
Userlevel 4
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Concerning movies that are only on DTS:
Oppo can convert the DTS signal to PCM 5.1 as well.


Did anyone tested this? I'm confused regarding the technical details of the optical output:
Coaxial/Optical Audio: Dolby Digital, DTS, up to 2ch/192kHz PCM.


PCM 5.1 is only supported for HDMI:
HDMI Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio, up to 7.1ch/192kHz PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD.


And because the playbar lacks of HDMI it will never support DTS-HD Master Audio (uncompressed) as Toslink does not support enough bandwidth for 5.1:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK
that can decode two channels of uncompressed lossless PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound such as Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. But, TOSLINK does not have the capacity to carry the uncompressed data in the lossless formats of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio – as HDMI does.


The only option would be DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (compressed) and of course the usual DTS Core that is included in both standards. But is the Oppo really able to send the DTS Core as PCM 5.1 through optical audio?

I don't think that this is possible. I think it can only send the DTS core and again there we have the problem that the playbar lacks DTS support. The only option would be a converter/blu ray player that is able to convert the dts core to dd. But I can't find such a product so it seems not to be available.
Userlevel 1
Agree. I will never buy the playbar until they release a version 2 with hdmi and all these issues are fixed.

But then it'll need to switch video, otherwise you'll need two hdmi outputs on your sources (one for video, one for audio) and Sonos have said that they're never going to getting into the video market.
I know I've said this before but I find it astounding they did not go down this route. Having multiple HDMI inputs with video pass-through via a single HDMI to your TV would have addressed all these problems and enabled support for all audio standards (if they chose to).

This would've made the playbar a stellar product. As it stands, it's a product which confuses many who buy it and even for those who do get it work, it only does half a job (no DTS, DTS-HD, etc...) and requires an external piece of kit to make it work better.

I'll stick with my receiver and Harmony remote, thanks very much.
Userlevel 2
My LG BDPlayer started to have some problems so I gave the PS3 a shot. Bought the 500gb model (with spinning hard disk drive) and returned it immediately. It was way to loud for movie watching. But I made an interessting discovery.

The PS3 is able (probably like the Opo player) to output any format (like DTS, DTS-HD etc.) in discrete DD 5.1 over toslink!

I was so exited about that, and the resulting great sound quality, that I gave it another chance by ordering the 12gb model (with non-spinning ssd drive).

The 12gig PS3 is much quieter and I also bought 4 vibration absorbers, made of rubber. It's now nearly as quiet as a good stand-alone bluray player.

But the sound. Whoa. I watched some bluray movies with it. Skyfall, The Hobbit, Tron Legacy. All in DTS, converted to DD 5.1 by the PS3. It sounds perfectly!

I compared the quality of the sound with my James Bond movie Casino Royale from 2007 (DD5.1 only) with the new version of the movie from my anniversary box (DTS only) and they both sound equally great on the sonos 5.1 through the playstation!

Then I compared again through HDMI/TV/Stereo upmixed by Sonos. The sound quality is way way worse!

@all the people using the Sonos 5.1 setup with only upmixed stereo - you don't know what you are missing!! The setup is capable of sooo much more!

I can't understand why Sonos doesn't fix this probem asap.

The controller says it plays DD5.1 with every stuff I throw at it with the PS3. So no more silence with my bluray disks :)

It's of course just a dirty workaround for the missing DTS, but for the moment I think its pretty much perfect.... until apple, netflix and all the others start to stream in DTS, of course.
Userlevel 2
Hi,

try this:

Sound Settings -> optical output -> from the selectable formats only chose "Dolby Digital 5.1", unselect everything else (the grey ones can't be unselected, that's ok)

(I have Audio Multi-Output set to "off", but that probably doesn't matter )

Video Settings -> BD Audio output format (optical digital) -> Bitstream (Mix)



With these settings I get wonderful DD5.1 from every BluRay 🙂

What do you think? You can check the output within the Sonos Controller app under "Settings".
To everyone who posted about the ps3 providing 5.1 thanks....!! I have one now and the true sound it produces is awesome.... I am so glad I read these posts because I was going to take back my surround sound system(sonos) back. They are staying now. I have an optical switch ordered and that will wrap up this upgrade. Sonos needs to get DTS for their soundbar or they are going to really lose a lot of potential customers. I do not understand how a company sells such a superior product while leaving out the most key ingredient?????? This is like Apple makking a new phone that can not make calls....:) You can only text and browse the internet. Come on Sonos get your crap together and fix this monstrous flaw before you loose out on becoming the best audio company out there right now..:). Please fix the situation so you can create a very loyal and raving fan base.....;)
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
so after 11 months of waiting, the latest response from Sonos at ask.sonos.com to the DTS question is....


....brace yourself....

... is it a 'Yes'...

.... is it a 'No'....

..."John M (Official Rep) about 10 hours ago
Vineet, I do not have an update at this time. You will be notified via email when an update is made to the thread."

wow - after 4 months since the last update, I feel so much better now with that really useful insight into what is going on :rolleyes:
June 2019. Just purchased a DENON professional DN-500BD MKII from B&H Photo in NY. I am playing as i write this a dvd- DTS 5.1 audio disc on my sony bravia/sonos soundbar with surround speakers (5.1) and it works. right outta the box. all i did was choose "5.x" in the audio settings menu.
It worked for me but I took it back. It introduced a horrible audio sync lag that couldn't be corrected.

Severum
Of course. But this is getting you nowhere. Keep on like this and you'll be your own worst enemy.

Turns out the fine line between enthusiastic movement leader and insufferable bore is not as fine as I thought. 😉
Userlevel 3
Badge +7
Because Sonos is cutting back on staff and focusing on streaming services and voice control I seriously doubt we'll EVER see an upgrade to DTS for the Playbar. I don't know this for a fact, just an opinion. Klipsch just came out with an HD wireless option for their Reference series speakers albeit very expensive, about $5000 for 5.1 and even more for 7.1 or 7.2. I'm sure the price will come down eventually.

http://www.klipsch.com/products/reference-premiere-hd-wireless
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Does everybody on this forum understand that if you throw enough of your hard earned money at anything with your time you can probably get it to work its like an old car if you keep throwing money at it, it will keep going their comes a time when it is no longer feasible. I have 2200 dollars worth of sonos equipment. Great for music but thats it. Will not even play 5.1 out of sat box receivers without dropouts. Have purchased optical switch, new sony bravia4K tv have second new dish receiver coming but believe thats not the problem. Total failure for television unless your happy with pcm stereo. Maybe after 3500 to 4000 dollars invested and all your valuable time you will get it to work but still thats a big if. 15 year old bose system with 400 dollar 15 year old receiver does a better job, very disappointed in sonos.

Hi Beetle777,

It looks like you have a support ticket open with our technical team: 160318-000699. Please update this incident and let the technicians know your issues continue. The ticket is still open and will be escalated to higher tiers of support if your issue is not resolved.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
DarqMan, thank you for your comment even without the 5.1 dolby dropouts their are other issues at play here and many sound delay issues to be solved, possibly never happen though since it involves wi fi as most people know bluetooth also works except much shorter distance. Sonos not up for primetime even with only a playbar hooked directly to your 5.1 television unless you are satisfied with stereo. The music streams great I admit they just missed it when video is involved.
Userlevel 2
Badge +3
Hi Guys,

My new setup banishes all the woes and frustration with the lack of DTS on the Soundbar:-

TV - Sony KD-55xd9305 4K TV - all inputs via HDMI, all Audio output via Optical to Soundbar
(Yes the Sony does pass DD 5.1 bitstream via optical)

Blu Ray Player - Samsung BD-J7500 (current cost around £100) Video & Audio output via HMDI, Audio settings - Convert ALL formats to DD 5.1 Bitstream.

Audio - Sonos Soundbar & Sub (Soon to be joined by a pair of Play 1's)

Outcome - Fan-bloody-tastic 5.1 sound to go along with a truly stunning picture !!

I know it's not a cheap solution but after reading all the threads on here regarding this issue it just made sense to make sure i brought compatible devices to make the most of the Sonos system which i already had and i was able to ditch my optical switch box and all the extra cables?

Obviously i would ideally prefer a DTS update for the Soundbar but until that time (if ever) then i'm one happy little chappy .

BTW - I also now play all MKV media files through the Samsung via 2TB USB 2.0 drive and 99.9% of them are upscaled to 3840 x 2160 and the audio output is DD 5.1 so same result as Blu Ray!

While i appreciate that there are more expansive Audio soundtracks available now (DTS-HD, DTS-TrueHD, DD Plus, ATMOS etc) I am more than happy with the sound i'm currently getting as is my whole family!!
[QUOTE=655321;193973]Hi Racin,

great hint but unfortunately this is not a solution (Oppo player), but a very expensive work-around for Sonos' design flaw.

The only real solution can come from Sonos with new firmware and added DTS .



I knew when buying the sonos what its flaws were. IMO the Oppo and sonos together are the answer. Is it a perfect system? No. But with the oppo, its as near perfect as can be.
When and if sonos adds the DTS, I'l be even happier. Until then, I'l try to help any way I can those who need it.
Userlevel 4
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I don't think a video processor is needed as it should only passthrough the video signal and use the audio return channel (ARC):
http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/arc.aspx

So multiple hdmi inputs with one master out would be fine. Of course with auto detection to avoid using the sonos controller to switch the input (only optional).

Or we hope that the bandwidth of toslink will be raised in the near future ;)

But independent of that, the DTS-HD High Resolution Audio (at least the DTS Core) should be supported by now as it is supported by Toslink (and should be enough for 90% of all customers) so please vote:
https://ask.sonos.com/sonos/topics/please_add_support_for_dts_for_the_sonos_playbar

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