Sonos Beam rant

  • 25 March 2019
  • 2 replies
  • 281 views

Hi everyone,

I am a quite happy owner of 2 Sonos One and I recently decided to replace my Yamaha YAS-207 for a Sonos Beam because I wanted to use the Ones as surround.
Alright let's get this out of the way, the Beam sounds really really good, the Yamaha has a sub so it sounds a bit deeper in the low frequencies but the Beam is impressive and it destroys the Yamaha in the mids and high, I could not believe how far back the sound felt with the Yamaha until I listen to the Beam, the sound is warm and feels more filling, amazing job for that.

NOW, this is not all roses and this all comes down to connections.

I wanna have surround sound, my 4K TV does not pass 5.1 with ARC and only has a digital coaxial as output, so here I am spending hours on google and I end up buying an adapter (coaxial to toslink) which now works with Apple TV and PS4, obviously all the benefits of having ARC are now gone...
I have a Nintendo Switch, hmmm, no surround sound coming...hmmm why!? Here I go, google again, ok Nintendo does not pass DD5.1 and Sonos does not accept LPCM 5.1, I am now an expert in all those terms, to be honest I did not want to.

In my humble opinion, most of those issues come down to the fact that SONOS DOES NOT HAVE AN HDMI INPUT in its sound bar, yep, by making things sooo simple, it actually made them very complicated, there is tons of thread, some listing TVs passing 5.1 in HDMI ARC or TV switchers and all those stuffs when this could have been solved by adding an HDMI INPUT like everyone else on the market does, some even have 3!!
The issue with the Switch has to deal with the fact that Sonos does not allow LPCM to go through, now who is to blame, Nintendo, Sonos? Damn who cares...

I like Sonos sound and multi-room experience but please you have to think about US consumers, no one forced me to buy Sonos but unfortunately I found out about all this after the fact like a lot of us I am sure.
I am also sure that some people does not even realise that they are getting stereo because Sonos is supposed to be a plug and play experience right?
Maybe the average consumer does not plan on getting surround sound so why bother, pretty sure the costs of having an HDMI input in 2018 would not break your wallet nor the design.

Whatever it is, I am more than hoping that the Playbar replacement will have all this, I would really take offence if it did not...

Thank you for listening, in the end this is all to make things better for everyone.

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2 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21
What kind of modern TV does not pass 5.1 over ARC, and uses coax instead of toslink? I think most of your ire should be directed at the (unnamed) manufacturer of this TV. Did you check on rtings.com to verify that there is no way to fix the (very broken imho) ARC output? Please at least share the TV model so others can avoid this terrible hardware.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21

I wanna have surround sound, my 4K TV does not pass 5.1 with ARC and only has a digital coaxial as output, so here I am spending hours on google and I end up buying an adapter (coaxial to toslink) which now works with Apple TV and PS4, obviously all the benefits of having ARC are now gone...


I have to agree with ControlAV on this. Are there really 4K tvs out in the wild that don't have HDMI-ARC or optical output? What is the brand and model of your TV?


In my humble opinion, most of those issues come down to the fact that SONOS DOES NOT HAVE AN HDMI INPUT in its sound bar, yep, by making things sooo simple, it actually made them very complicated, there is tons of thread, some listing TVs passing 5.1 in HDMI ARC or TV switchers and all those stuffs when this could have been solved by adding an HDMI INPUT like everyone else on the market does, some even have 3!!


Since you 3 devices to input, you would need to have at least 3...otherwise you're plugging and unplugging your devices all the time. You'd also need to have an HDMI output to send video to your TV and build the switching mechanism into the Sonos app. And of course, with this setup you would not get any audio from smart features your TV may have.

Besides all this, HDMI switches are pretty cheap and readily available. For the customers who need it, based on the age of their TV or what have you, it's not a bad option.

https://www.amazon.com/iArkPower-Optical-Extractor-Splitter-Supports/dp/B01K7BZ1XC/ref=sr_1_5?crid=2T032I7VX3I9G&keywords=hdmi+optical+splitter&qid=1553522353&s=gateway&sprefix=hdmi+optical+%2Caps%2C613&sr=8-5

I get that such a solution isn't known to a lot of customers, and Sonos could make it easier for users if the hdmi switch was built in to the Beam. But it's not necessary or even the best solution for the vast majority of customers, and would add some cost to the product.


The issue with the Switch has to deal with the fact that Sonos does not allow LPCM to go through, now who is to blame, Nintendo, Sonos? Damn who cares...


I don't have a Switch, but I thought it was capable of PCM stereo.