Sonos doesn’t really do “5.1”



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So it is my fault for not being able to get fibre broadband in my area and my desire to watch DVDs:? A growing market without a doubt Kumar and growing markets expand and keep up with the latest technology. Apple TV is already moving to Dolby Atmos, how long before the major streaming providers follow with Dolby X etc? That is starting to look like a very expensive brick under your TV sometime soon and there is nothing SONOS can do to help you because you are connected with an optical cable...


So because Apple TV puts out an entirely optional audio format, one which is completely backwards compatible with DD 5.1, all of a sudden your Sonos "is starting to look like a very expensive brick under your TV sometime soon"?

What utter nonsense.


OMG!!! For someone who has over 1700 posts you would think that you would read the complete thread before making a comment.

Everyone who is happy with their system don't leave a comment unless it is constructive.

Everyone who is happy that their SONOS 5.1 setup can only play in stereo and DD and can never, that's never be upgraded then don't bother with this thread, it is not for you.

There is no criticism whatsoever of people who live and breath SONOS and think it is the bees knees. You will find you are in a huge majority within this Forum. However people who think that there are obvious omissions from their AV Setup are not the Antichrist, they do not wish to abduct your children and burn down your houses, we just think that SONOS should be better at outputting sound from our TVs.


OMG!!! For someone who has over 1700 posts you would think that you would read the complete thread before making a comment.

Everyone who is happy with their system don't leave a comment unless it is constructive.

Everyone who is happy that their SONOS 5.1 setup can only play in stereo and DD and can never, that's never be upgraded then don't bother with this thread, it is not for you.

There is no criticism whatsoever of people who live and breath SONOS and think it is the bees knees. You will find you are in a huge majority within this Forum. However people who think that there are obvious omissions from their AV Setup are not the Antichrist, they do not wish to abduct your children and burn down your houses, we just think that SONOS should be better at outputting sound from our TVs.


You are not the ombudsman of this forum. People can post what they want when they want. And I am here to post that you stating that a Sonos 5.1 system "is starting to look like a very expensive brick under your TV sometime soon" simply because Apple TV now does Dolby Atmos is utter freaking nonsense!

And that's 17,000 posts, junior. Not 1700. 🆒
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OMG!!! For someone who has over 1700 posts you would think that you would read the complete thread before making a comment.

Everyone who is happy with their system don't leave a comment unless it is constructive.

Everyone who is happy that their SONOS 5.1 setup can only play in stereo and DD and can never, that's never be upgraded then don't bother with this thread, it is not for you.

There is no criticism whatsoever of people who live and breath SONOS and think it is the bees knees. You will find you are in a huge majority within this Forum. However people who think that there are obvious omissions from their AV Setup are not the Antichrist, they do not wish to abduct your children and burn down your houses, we just think that SONOS should be better at outputting sound from our TVs.


You are not the ombudsman of this forum. People can post what they want when they want. And I am here to post that you stating that a Sonos 5.1 system "is starting to look like a very expensive brick under your TV sometime soon" simply because Apple TV now does Dolby Atmos is utter freaking nonsense!

And that's 17,000 posts, junior. Not 1700. 🆒


Sorry Big Daddy, 17,000 it is :D:D:D. That being the case please give me your honest assessment of SONOS as a 5.1 system taking into account it's undisputed limitations. Forget musical ability, that is not in dispute, they are the Kings in that respect. In fact, it is because I love my Play 1's etc and would not give them up for a pension that I am disappointed in the Playbase so much so I sent it back.


Sorry Big Daddy, 17,000 it is :D:D:D. That being the case please give me your honest assessment of SONOS as a 5.1 system taking into account it's undisputed limitations. Forget musical ability, that is not in dispute, they are the Kings in that respect. In fact, it is because I love my Play 1's etc and would not give them up for a pension that I am disappointed in the Playbase so much so I sent it back.


I actually agree with much of your original post. Sonos is not a great surround sound system, and as I stated from day one of the Playbar release, Home Theater aficionados should steer clear of Sonos' offerings in this area. Then again, I'm such a purist, I think they should steer clear of soundbars in general. I think they are great for a bedroom TV to give better sound than the tinny speakers in a flat screen TV, but that is about it.

However, whatever the points you made that I agree with, you took it way too far with your nonsensical implication that a Sonos setup is suddenly rendered useless just because Apple TV now supports a codec that 99.999% of the public will never use. If you intend for people to take you seriously, stop it with the hyperbole. Sonos is good for what it is, and not good for what it isn't, and there is no need for hyperbolic nonsense when stating that fact.
A question: from a compatibility with formats point of view, does the Sonos solution meet the needs of those that watch movies on TV via streamed sources like Netflix or Amazon? If that is the case, a very large and growing market is well covered.

So it is my fault for not being able to get fibre broadband in my area and my desire to watch DVDs:?

I take it that the answer to my quoted question is Yes. And if so, that has nothing to do with it being your fault or not; just that you are not the target market, it seems to me. Accept it and move on.

Even with the compatibility issue sorted, I think the Sonos solution is limited by not providing the necessary physical separation for the front L/R speakers, but the benefit of no consequent wires and clutter in a living room aesthetic seems to work well enough to compensate for the many that are happy with the solution. For those that are not so compensated, Sonos is not the solution. There is nothing "news" about this.
The way I see it, it's important to separate opinions from fact. Despite what OP wants to claim, Sonos does have a 5.1 system, as it meets the generally accepted definition of 5 speakers plus a subwoofer. There is no requirement to play certain codecs, or have left and right channels separated by a set distance, to be a 5.1 system. The use of the word 'proper' is completely subjective and shouldn't be looked at as an objective fact.

Like many others have said already though, there are certainly 5.1 systems out there that do more than the Sonos system, If DTS and atmos are important to you, then you shouldn't get a Sonos speaker based system. If you want greater separation of left and right front speakers, or more than 5 speakers, don't get a Sonos speaker based system. Where a Sonos system for TV audio makes sense is where you don't care about those codecs, don't want to have to be concerned about wiring, and want the system to be tightly integrated to a home audio system. That's the market. I don't think it makes sense to look at these soundbars as just for TV or just for music as most people tend to use the room for both.

If I had a room dedicated to watching movies in my home, I wouldn't use Sonos for the job. I might get a connect so that it's a part of the system, but not really much of a concern since I don't plan on listening to music there.
Correct, melvimbe. Even the title of this thread "Sonos don’t really do 5.1" is hyperbolic nonsense, because it can most certainly do Dolby Digital 5.1, which is enough for the vast majority of people out there who are happy with their Sonos surround setup.
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I will have to agree with your points about sonos not being the best for home theater 5.1. The is why my sonos is for music only. And my home theater setup is a full all out AVR system with Atmos in my house. And a samsung HW-MS751 sound bar system in my apartment. DTS and more advance Dolby support is required as streaming is moving forward. AppleTV and now Amazon Fire TV will support Atmos. So for Sonos to stay current, ATMOS and DTS-X is the wave of the future for streaming. Which they should add to any future sound bars.
I too don't use Sonos in my dedicated to TV/HT room. But I get the results I look for there with just a stereo amp driving two HiFi class speakers for a 2.0 set up with adequately separated front speakers, where even the absence of the centre channel speaker is made up by a very effective phantom centre effect. If I wanted more there, I would go the AVR + more wired speakers route, and not buy Sonos there. But even with just this simple 2.0 set up, I get very effective sound for movies such as Apollo 13 or The Dark Knight etc. And it works just as well for movies like Casablanca that are dialog heavy.

And when I want to get sound with all the bells and whistles, there is a multiplex close to me that has the latest sound magic kit to fully deliver the entire package the director intended, far better than any wired HT could. A movie like Dunkirk merits that effort. IMO.

But on the audio/music front, Sonos can be an uncompromised set up to match any audiophile one(whatever that means); and for those that want to extend the install to their TV in a living room in a clutter free way, Sonos soundbar based systems are an excellent route. I prefer not to use them because I prefer not to have TV in such spaces in the home, but that's just me.
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Correct, melvimbe. Even the title of this thread "Sonos don’t really do 5.1" is hyperbolic nonsense, because it can most certainly do Dolby Digital 5.1, which is enough for the vast majority of people out there who are happy with their Sonos surround setup.

Wow, such vitriol. You know this is just a discussion yes? Over 30 interesting posts and you think the title is the important point? I did warn about pedants but if you want to play that game ok.

Please don’t get distracted by posts like this and continue with what is a really interesting conversation by some intelligent users (and me). Such a disappointment Big Daddy, you had kept the passive aggressive stuff down to a minimum up until now.
FWIW, I think the thread title might be seen as provocative, but not necessarily in a bad way. I think it was intended to provoke debate, not to annoy.
My ideal system ... (just wishful thinking)...

Instead of seeing an 'all in one' Sonos PlayBar (gen2) .. I would like to see a new Sonos 'centre speaker' for the TV with built in voice services, similar in size/appearance to the new Sonos Beam, which has the ability to attach four Sonos speakers as surrounds, plus a sub, producing greater audio separation compared to a single 3.0 unit.

A single HDMI-ARC connection would be fine for my personal circumstance.

To compliment the new 'Sonos Center' device, i would also like to see Sonos produce new style (surround) speakers, similar in appearance to the Sonos One, which also contain upward-firing speakers, built into them, that can carry separate audio channels. The upward facing audio designed to reflect back off a ceiling and all 'finely-tuned' for a room with an updated version of TruePlay, thus creating a 'virtual' Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 setup... no cables and no physical speakers fitted into my ceiling... just simple and easy !

I think that kind of system would sound great with the new Apple TV 4K and it’s implementation of Dolby Atmos later this year.

https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-tv-4k-gets-dolby-atmos-sound-three-reasons-it-matters/

That’s the area where I would want to spend my money... I’m not a person who likes to play the same DVD Movies over and over again... I much prefer the streaming video services. I would be prepared wait for such an A/V system.

Admittedly, I’m quite lucky though compared to djsgrant, as I potentially have a good cable broadband connection in the area where I live, which will give an average download speed of 362Mbps, and upload speeds around 20Mbps... not that I currently pay for those type of speeds.

Wow, such vitriol. You know this is just a discussion yes? Over 30 interesting posts and you think the title is the important point? I did warn about pedants but if you want to play that game ok.


As far as vitriol goes, you start off your thread with an inaccurate title that speaks negatively of Sonos. You also accuse them of 'stealing money from people', and that Sonos will be 'just a brick'...but it's not you with the vitriol, it's anyone who points out where your statements are inaccurate. Is that vitriol.


Such a disappointment Big Daddy, you had kept the passive aggressive stuff down to a minimum up until now


And you're the only one doing any name calling in this thread. Did you notice that?

I am on a similar page with Ken's suggestion, although I honestly don't know that I would end up going for that do to the logistics and aesthetics (and cost) of getting those speakers around the room. I don't have a dedicated theatre room, my main room is a combination of kitchen/family room/dining room, so there is limited wall space. In fact the tv is placed above the fireplace due to space limitation. If there was such an option available with Sonos, I probably would go with a true Left -Center-Right, instead of a soundbar, along with my current sub and surrounds, but that's it. Adding a second pair of surrounds would be difficult and probably wouldn't add too much due to the room it's in. Atmos? Hard to say.

I suspect a lot of customers are in similar situations, and those that can make it work are the ones who are willing to wire through the walls most likely. In other words, it makes sense that Sonos doesn't go this direction because there really isn't a big market space for a higher end wireless HT system beyond what they do now.

It may be a better strategy to try and work with the makers of these high end systems, provide the features and such they don't do as well, and have a sort of partnership. Seems to be what the 'works with Sonos' program is for, which Onkyo/Pioneer is on board with. It might make more sense for Sonos to come up with an updated Connect with Alexa built in as way of bringing the higher end HT market into the Sonos network.

I am a little surprised we haven't heard more about the works with Sonos program, but I suppose it's still kind of early yet.
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But on the audio/music front, Sonos can be an uncompromised set up to match any audiophile one(whatever that means); and for those that want to extend the install to their TV in a living room in a clutter free way, Sonos soundbar based systems are an excellent route. I prefer not to use them because I prefer not to have TV in such spaces in the home, but that's just me.


That is a simply ridiculous statement. My B&W 703 s2's make the Sonos playbar sound like a bathroom bluetooth speaker when listening to music in stereo.

With regards to home theatre: I just switched my Sonos 5.1 set for a complete B&W 700 series HT set plus serious Denon A/V receiver that supports everything. The difference in sound is just enormous. Especially when you have HD audio tracks such as TrueHd and DTS MasterHD. My wife gets tears in her eyes because of the intensity and clarity of the sound tracks of movies now. Go to your local Hifi store and hear the difference.

Calling Sonos uncompromised HT is just BS in my opinion. It is severly compromised. No HD sound. No modern audio codecs. A closed eco system. Optical inputs. You will need transcoding for every 4k source because of Sonos. You might not need speaker cable, but you need power cables none the less.

I gave my Sonos to my parents-in-law. They love it. It's easy, it's convenient and they only had a TV speaker before. They hardly know the difference between Stereo and 5.1.
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As far as vitriol goes, you start off your thread with an inaccurate title that speaks negatively of Sonos. You also accuse them of 'stealing money from people', and that Sonos will be 'just a brick'...but it's not you with the vitriol, it's anyone who points out where your statements are inaccurate. Is that vitriol.



The thread title accuracy is a matter of opinion but seems to have triggered some folks. Sonos defenders should calm down, this thread will die if you stop as it's just a rehash of the thousands of playbar complaint threads already posted. Most of you already agree with most of the points, so you come across as small minded bullies by attacking the original poster over who is more vitriolic. Come on be better.

Calling Sonos uncompromised HT is just BS in my opinion.


But that's not what Kumar said. He never said Sonos was uncompromised form a audio/music standpoint, not from an HT standpoint. In fact he stated he doesn't even use Sonos for HT.

Even from an music standpoint, I don't really know what 'uncompromised' means. I'm sure I'd be able to get a system that plays music better than Sonos does. However, I'm not sure I could find one that's in my price range, is a whole home system, integrates with HT sufficiently for my needs, has good app control, has voice control, and is likely to be expandable to more rooms and more features in the future. But sometimes that's not what you need and therefore Sonos isn't the best option for you.
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If you've given it away why charge in here insulting people, 9 posts all having a pop at Sonos or community members who are trying to contribute in a positive manner.

I do hope you are happy with your B&W and Denon solution.


Even from an music standpoint, I don't really know what 'uncompromised' means. I'm sure I'd be able to get a system that plays music better than Sonos does.

I could argue with that on the basis that you are referring here to a sound signature preference as opposed to better v worse for playing music. But even granting what you suggest, your "better" music system with a Sonos Connect interface to it becomes an uncompromised Sonos system in that audibly, you will get all you seek from your preferred sound signature that would be down to the speakers you chose to employ. While someone else, that prefers the sound signature of a 5 pair + Sub and isn't carried away by the lack of an audiophile brand recognition for Sonos, would say that music from it sounds better than from a audiophile system of similar size.

But this is digressing from the topic of thread.

Wow, such vitriol. You know this is just a discussion yes? Over 30 interesting posts and you think the title is the important point? I did warn about pedants but if you want to play that game ok.

Please don’t get distracted by posts like this and continue with what is a really interesting conversation by some intelligent users (and me). Such a disappointment Big Daddy, you had kept the passive aggressive stuff down to a minimum up until now.


When you have nothing left, attack the messenger. Talk about passive aggressive. :8
On the topic: Sonos for HT IS a compromise, not so much because it does not do 5.1 - it does - but because the lack of separation of the front speakers is a compromise even where the codecs are not an issue. But to repeat, for those that see the benefits of the compromise in a system that is clutter free, and blends in with the living areas decor, this makes up for the lack of front speaker separation. Throw in integration with the rest of Sonos in the home, and you have the target market that sees the value in these pros for the aforesaid cons. Those that are not that market should look elsewhere because their needs are those that up to this time, Sonos has chosen to NOT address, as a conscious choice. In choosing A, one must forego B and this is what Sonos has done.
And to also repeat, this is not "News".
And a final post on this thread: the title words are as inappropriate as a thread with this title would be - "The Sonos Play 5 speaker does not really do stereo."
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Wow, such vitriol. You know this is just a discussion yes? Over 30 interesting posts and you think the title is the important point? I did warn about pedants but if you want to play that game ok.

Please don’t get distracted by posts like this and continue with what is a really interesting conversation by some intelligent users (and me). Such a disappointment Big Daddy, you had kept the passive aggressive stuff down to a minimum up until now.


When you have nothing left, attack the messenger. Talk about passive aggressive. :8


Someone just gave me a row for calling people names. That must be you they are talking about Big Daddy! I think I was deferring to your massive number of posts which I miss-quoted by a good few thousand. If you have been emotionally affected by any of the content of my posts I am very sorry :8 Somehow I think you got the joke however.
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And a final post on this thread: the title words are as inappropriate as a thread with this title would be - "The Sonos Play 5 speaker does not really do stereo."

Kumar my friend, A title has two main purposes: (1) grab the attention of potential readers and (2) serve as a point of reference. There are many arguments against the content of my posts, which was the whole point, but I think the level of responses and the passion of some of the replies would suggest if nothing else, I nailed the title.
So do the trash tabloids, every day, using trashy titles. For much the same reasons.
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This thread has disappointingly started to detract from the original point. That's a great pity because there is some brilliant comments that will help potential buyers make a more informed decision before spending £1700. Why is that important? £1700 for a 5.1 system is a major investment for some people, a lot of people actually. In the real world people don't have the luxury of having separate Home Theatre Rooms, or can afford a SONOS Playbar/Base/Beam just for the kitchen or bedroom (you shouldn't have a TV in the bedroom anyway, my wife would have a fit :)) If you have all those things then that is terrific, hopefully you realise how lucky you are but you are not really representative of "normal" people. Don't take offence, I am not calling you weird, you are not like engineering students or anything.

SONOS fans, of which I am one (I am getting fed up typing that), please stop being so defensive. We get it, you love SONOS, who wouldn't? they are a phenomenal company making astonishingly good speakers for music. They do not however walk on water, get every product correct (how many software updates do we all go through?), they can defend themselves, they are a company with a market valuation which may be around $2.5 to $3 billion* not some plucky start-up and subsequently their bottom line is profit not listening to customers.

I am not in charge of this discussion but I did start it and I would either like to knock it on the head or start over.

- Please read my initial post;
- Please just comment on what I actually wrote;
- I am asking for opinions and debate, not a comment on SONOS as a company, other SONOS products or what you think of the title;
- I am not claiming to be correct, I have written and written and rewritten that the SONOS 5.1 system is good for some people, of course it is, I argue that it is not good as a 5.1 system. That does not mean any of the individual speakers are bad but I think when you put them all together they make a poor 5.1 system for the money.

Please keep personal references out of your posts unless they are obviously meant to be humorous.

* Source: https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/25/17282522/sonos-ipo-initial-public-offering-sec-filing-june-2018