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Sonos Beam Home Theater Help!

  • 22 July 2019
  • 6 replies
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I just bought a Sonos Beam and 2 Play 1s for surround. I have the Beam connected through my HDMI ARC port and know my TV passes through Dolby Digital signals. During any movie action scenes that are for example any Marvel movie the background music comes in clear but the talking or punches, gun fire, really action sound seem to get pushed to the background and don't come in that loud. The movies can be 5.1 or not 5.1. I tried messing with the surround balance also with the Treble and Bass which are only set 10% higher than the default settings. Even with the Voice enhancement enabled it doesn't improve much. I have a Nvidia Shield and running a Plex but also tried in Google Play Movies app and the HBO Now app. Am I missing something on the setup? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Other than movies the setup has been great!
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Best answer by Boomski17 30 July 2019, 04:42

So after a few days of research my Nvidia Shield only passes through Dolby Digital signals but won't decode it to 5.1 Dolby Digital. Youtube TV doesn't have 5.1 so that doesn't matter but word is its coming soon. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will not work with 5.1 Dolby Digital on the Shield. There is a work around to force Plex to decode my movies to 5.1 Dolby Digital. My Shield works as my Plex server so with that work around it uses the Shield to decode. That is the ONLY app that will work. I was looking at possibly another streaming box but even the Roku's only pass through. The only streaming hardware that I know will decode everything to 5.1 Dolby Digital are PlayStation 4 and Apple TV. Frustrating for Shield owners since its such a great streaming box. I just can't myself to switch to another streaming device. I really really hope one day that Sonos changes their stance and support other Dolby formats.
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Have you confirmed that your system is actually sending a 5.1 signal to the Beam? Under More...>Settings>About My Sonos System, does it show Dolby Digital 5.1 in the Audio In line underneath the Beam's heading?

You may just need to adjust the volume of the surrounds, you may have them turned up too much. Or try running TruePlay on your system, if you have an iOS device.
Thanks for your reply. I didn't know I could check the signal in the app, it does say stereo for audio in. Any troubleshooting steps you recommended. If I am able to change the audio in to 5.1 how fast would the app update?
The app updates at the moment you access the page/report. So if you modify your feed to the TV via HDMI, from whatever device you're using, as soon as you run the "About My Sonos System" report will be updated.

But yes, a stereo signal will sound not as nice on a 5.1 setup. The Sonos system, like most out there, does its best to interpret and generate a signal, but it's no where near as good as a true 5.1 Dolby Digital signal.
So after a night of troubleshooting I have found the issue is with my Nvidia Shield. I connect my PS4 and it will push 5.1 no problem and the sound quality is much higher. Apparently the Shield will not decode to 5.1. I have found a workaround for my Plex Media in the settings that does push 5.1 out through the shield, but still netflix will not push 5.1 from it.
Note that there's more than one "5.1" codec. Sonos can interpret Dolby Digital, which is one of them, but not DTS, which is another "5.1" codec.
So after a few days of research my Nvidia Shield only passes through Dolby Digital signals but won't decode it to 5.1 Dolby Digital. Youtube TV doesn't have 5.1 so that doesn't matter but word is its coming soon. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video will not work with 5.1 Dolby Digital on the Shield. There is a work around to force Plex to decode my movies to 5.1 Dolby Digital. My Shield works as my Plex server so with that work around it uses the Shield to decode. That is the ONLY app that will work. I was looking at possibly another streaming box but even the Roku's only pass through. The only streaming hardware that I know will decode everything to 5.1 Dolby Digital are PlayStation 4 and Apple TV. Frustrating for Shield owners since its such a great streaming box. I just can't myself to switch to another streaming device. I really really hope one day that Sonos changes their stance and support other Dolby formats.

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