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Sonos 5.1 - 'Full' TV sound

  • 23 January 2018
  • 11 replies
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Userlevel 1
Short:
Looking to enhance the sound in my back (L/R) speakers more specifically the dialog. Sort of, like you can with the Music under 'Room Settings>[Room]>Advanced Audio>Surround Settings>Music Playback'.

Long:
Sonos 5.1 - Playbar, Sub, and x2 Play:1.
TV: Samsung UN55KU6290 (6 series 4K; yes its a 'black Friday tv'..)
TV Audio Format: 'Dolby Digital'
Sonos App Audio In: 'Dolby Digital 5.1'
Sonos 'TV Level': 3/4 to max

Decided to go wireless so I got rid of my older Pioneer system (which was great) and went with Sonos. Mainly got Sonos because they connected to my Smart Home and secondly I heard the speakers individually prior to purchasing and they were great. **One of the things I noticed immediately after setting up my new system, was that when I watched something on Netflix (TV app) the dialog only comes through the Playbar and very little sound comes through the back speakers (music and some ambient noises). When I first installed my Pioneer system it did the same thing but my receiver had a ton of settings so all I needed to do was set it to Surround Sound with Ext[reme] Power and it would enhance the dialog and allow some of it to pass to the rear speakers all while keeping the Surround Sound experience.

So this when I began searching online for answers. Some people said change the 'Music Playback' to 'Full' but that doesn't change anything for the TV. I also disconnected the speakers, reconnected them, and re tuned them. I adjusted the 'TV Level' which does enhance it a little but the dialog remains only from the Playbar.

***Is there some setting I'm missing? If not, could this be something Sonos is looking to add (more HT settings)?

Many thanks.
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I have more questions about HDMI/Audio switches for my Xbox One X setup but I will do more research before I dive into that...
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Best answer by D33p5t3r 23 January 2018, 10:03

The whole point of a 5.1 setup is to disperse the sound in discrete channels, otherwise it is "pseudo" surround sound and not (in my eyes) fit for purpose. What your Pioneer system was doing, was taking all the audio streams, mixing them down, and then re-encoding them all out to your speakers. I think what you should have done in that instance is just have it as standard 5.1 and raise the centre speaker levels so that the dialogue is clearer for you.

If you're insistent on getting dialogue from all speakers you can unbind from the 5.1 setup and just group them all together. But you'll get the entire soundtrack being blasted out from all speakers at the same time, and that is most certainly not surround sound.
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11 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
The sound coming from surrounds is dictated by the 5.1 track and no they normally don't have much voice coming from those.

Of course turning on the "Dialog enhance" feature on the now playing screen helps emphasize vocals.

Yes - the Full mode is only for when listening to Sonos Music. That makes the rears a stereo set instead of surrounds. But that doesn't apply when listening via the toslink connection.
Userlevel 1
The sound coming from surrounds is dictated by the 5.1 track and no they normally don't have much voice coming from those.

Of course turning on the "Dialog enhance" feature on the now playing screen helps emphasize vocals.

Yes - the Full mode is only for when listening to Sonos Music. That makes the rears a stereo set instead of surrounds. But that doesn't apply when listening via the toslink connection.


There's zero dialog coming from the rear speakers. Only background music from what I'm watching and/or ambient sounds like wind or a bullet 'flying' by in a movie.

'Dialog enhance' only enhances it for the Playbar doesn't effect rear speakers.

Looking to enhance the rear speakers dialog sound, mainly. Most Home Theater systems have some sort of max performance setting, does Sonos not?
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Have never run across max performance setting. But no - Sonos will only pass exactly the 5 discrete channels that are encoded in the original signal sent to it. It will not blend channels together in the rear.
I think in order to do something like what you want, using the Sonos software, you would remove the surround speakers from the 5.1 setup, and set them up as a separate "room" in stereo. Then you would group that room with the room the PLAYBAR is in, and you'd get the TV's sound in stereo. It might be slightly delayed, I'm not sure. But there's no setting in the Sonos software to send the center channel (which is where the voices are) to the surrounds explicitly.
Userlevel 3
Badge +3
The whole point of a 5.1 setup is to disperse the sound in discrete channels, otherwise it is "pseudo" surround sound and not (in my eyes) fit for purpose. What your Pioneer system was doing, was taking all the audio streams, mixing them down, and then re-encoding them all out to your speakers. I think what you should have done in that instance is just have it as standard 5.1 and raise the centre speaker levels so that the dialogue is clearer for you.

If you're insistent on getting dialogue from all speakers you can unbind from the 5.1 setup and just group them all together. But you'll get the entire soundtrack being blasted out from all speakers at the same time, and that is most certainly not surround sound.
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
Same topic here as well, we should merge all the post about this in 1 topics:

https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/full-stereo-option-when-watching-tv-audio-please-6341426/index4.html
Userlevel 1
The whole point of a 5.1 setup is to disperse the sound in discrete channels, otherwise it is "pseudo" surround sound and not (in my eyes) fit for purpose. What your Pioneer system was doing, was taking all the audio streams, mixing them down, and then re-encoding them all out to your speakers. I think what you should have done in that instance is just have it as standard 5.1 and raise the centre speaker levels so that the dialogue is clearer for you.

If you're insistent on getting dialogue from all speakers you can unbind from the 5.1 setup and just group them all together. But you'll get the entire soundtrack being blasted out from all speakers at the same time, and that is most certainly not surround sound.


I understand what you're getting at. I guess I was just expecting more Surround Sound settings to be available (ex: Movie, Game, Sports, Wide Surround, stuff like that).

I'll give the multichannel stereo workaround a try but I'm trying to get more of the 'movie theater' kind of surround sound. Currently, with the Sonos 5.1, its like sitting in the back of a movie theater and only hearing the background/ambient sounds while the people in the front of the theater hear all of the dialog.

Maybe I'm not use to a sound bar surround sound experience. I'm just wanting to maximize my experience because I know the Play:1 speakers are great and can be better utilized. I really don't want to return these because I know they are good speakers and truly wireless HT systems are few and far between but for $1700 I really need more options to be there.
Userlevel 3
Badge +3
I really want to help you here, because I understand your concerns. And the cost of the 5.1 setup is something that we discuss endless on these forums, but I'm confident we can get this setup for you in a way you can enjoy it.

Firstly, have you run Trueplay? Sounds like that would give you a marked improvement on your sound as it seems like you're sitting a good distance away from the Playbar?

Surrounds are there to fill the noise around you, and not necessarily be heard all the time. I think perhaps you got so used to hearing so many artefacts from your Pioneer system that you're expecting to hear things that aren't quite there.

Re-run Trueplay and use the Speech Enhancement function - which I find to be really helpful and let us know how you get on. The final thing I would say is that there are some compromises with the Sonos setup (codecs aside). One of them is that you are restricted on your front three channels to effectively come out together without you being able to raise each one individually. If you do return the system, I think you can get an excellent wired setup for the same money that would almost certainly sound better, but have less convenience than the Sonos system. Good luck!
Userlevel 1
I really want to help you here, because I understand your concerns. And the cost of the 5.1 setup is something that we discuss endless on these forums, but I'm confident we can get this setup for you in a way you can enjoy it.

Firstly, have you run Trueplay? Sounds like that would give you a marked improvement on your sound as it seems like you're sitting a good distance away from the Playbar?

Surrounds are there to fill the noise around you, and not necessarily be heard all the time. I think perhaps you got so used to hearing so many artefacts from your Pioneer system that you're expecting to hear things that aren't quite there.

Re-run Trueplay and use the Speech Enhancement function - which I find to be really helpful and let us know how you get on. The final thing I would say is that there are some compromises with the Sonos setup (codecs aside). One of them is that you are restricted on your front three channels to effectively come out together without you being able to raise each one individually. If you do return the system, I think you can get an excellent wired setup for the same money that would almost certainly sound better, but have less convenience than the Sonos system. Good luck!


Yeah I had Trueplay On and Speech Enhancement works nice for TV Shows.

I separated the rear speakers and bound them as a 'Stereo Pair'. Not being surround is a bit weird but it did help bring out the dialog some nevertheless. It may become a hassle having to ungroup and retune it each time I switch but at least its an option. An option which in fact I did not know existed prior to this thread.

I'll probably wire the Pioneer in my great room/'theater' and keep the Sonos in the Living Room. Worst comes to worst I can always move the Play:1 speakers anywhere in the house and keep the Soundbar by the TV.

Future updates can hopefully add more sound settings and make the Sonos 5.1 a top Home Theater option.
Thanks for taking the time and helping a newcomer out!
Hi there all, I'm also new hear (a newcomer) I had the same problems with the Home Theater setup.
for over 2 years I have a Playbar and finally decided to buy 2 Play1's.
After a lot of playing arround I decided to install it without Trueplay and the sound was much better.
Then I remove the 2 Play1's from my Playbase and install them as a stereopair and then add them in a group.
This improves the sound quality to a Home Theater as I used to.
Never the less my old 5.1 system what broke down was better than what I expected from Sonos.
For all the other rooms in our house I really like Sonos systems and it Sound quality, but the Home Theater is to improve really. I really hope that future updates add more sound settings and make the Sonos 5.1 a top Home Theater option.
For example a possibility to control the background speaker volume. Like you can in a group.
Good luck with this improvement.
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
Hi there all, I'm also new hear (a newcomer) I had the same problems with the Home Theater setup.
for over 2 years I have a Playbar and finally decided to buy 2 Play1's.
After a lot of playing arround I decided to install it without Trueplay and the sound was much better.
Then I remove the 2 Play1's from my Playbase and install them as a stereopair and then add them in a group.
This improves the sound quality to a Home Theater as I used to.
Never the less my old 5.1 system what broke down was better than what I expected from Sonos.
For all the other rooms in our house I really like Sonos systems and it Sound quality, but the Home Theater is to improve really. I really hope that future updates add more sound settings and make the Sonos 5.1 a top Home Theater option.
For example a possibility to control the background speaker volume. Like you can in a group.
Good luck with this improvement.


I tried to remove surround and group, but delay is too much.
Also for my wife.
The solution already exists in other home theater systems, it is called full channel stereo.
I would like it here as well.

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