Sonos doesn’t really do “5.1”



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YES!!! thats what it does
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I'm of mixed views. I just purchased a Playbar with sub and two One's for surrounds. When I'm sourcing DD 5.1 from my BD player, the sound is fantastic, and I love being able to integrate the media room sound with the other rooms equipped with Sonos. Love my Sonos speakers, which is why I splurged on the Playbar.

That said, I've spent the better part of the last 3 days trying to get the Playbar to play 5.1 and have only managed to get that done if I'm using my BD player to play certain discs or the limited 5.1 content available to stream through it from Prime.

My Roku UItra? Absolutely useless with the Playbar as far as I've been able to tell, unless I want to listen to simulated surround. My DTS discs? Same thing. I'm not sure that I'd have opted for a different system if I'd have known a week ago what I know now (probably couldn't have convinced me NOT to go with Sonos since I was so utterly enamored with it), but I wish I'd have understood better the limitations. That's on me and a lack of research, I guess.

If Sonos comes out with a Playbar that can manage true surround signals other than DD5.1, I'll really be miffed that I didn't wait. Anyhow. A certain amount of buyer remorse coupled with tech hookup fatigue speaking here.
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Here are two reasons. First, the licensing and support costs might significantly raise the price of the products. Obviously, customers don't want that. You could argue that Sonos could be 'less greedy' eat those costs themselves, but without knowing the costs or the current profit margin, it's a mute point. Who are we to say what a fair profit margin is anyway? As well, if you're invested in Sonos, either by stocks or product purchases, it's in your best interest for Sonos to be profitable so that they can continue to support existing products as well as develop new products. Even if you don't have many Sonos products, they clearly are a good competitor in the market, which pushes the whole market forward.

The second would be that standards are most beneficial when there is only one or few standards out there. Limiting standards means customers have to worry less about whether product X works with product Y. It means manufacturers can keep costs lower if they don't need to have products handle a high volume of standards to be compatible with. As an example consider other standards like USB or Bluetooth. If there were multiple standards out there that did the same thing, this would raise the cost of any product using these standards as well as making life more complicated for the consumer. And yes, competing standard would bring innovation, but these 2 standards seem to be improving without the presence of competition.

Admittedly these aren't terribly strong reasons, particularly the last one. They are reasons though. And of course, Sonos is allowed to have their own reasons that don't have to do with customer satisfaction. There are in business for a reason after all.


These are ridiculous reasons. Firstly cheaper products than Sonos support more codecs. Secondly Sonos only supports Dolby Digital 5.1. A 30 year old standard. Sonos does not even support Dolby Digital 5.1 plus.

So since the introduction of DD 5.1, maybe 3 generations of new audio codecs have been released by Dolby: DD+, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos. None of which is supported by Sonos. I don't even need to mention DTS, the de facto standard for Blurays/DVDs.

50% of Sonos costs are marketing. Maybe they should spend less money on marketing and a bit more on making great products.


These are ridiculous reasons. Firstly cheaper products than Sonos support more codecs. Secondly Sonos only supports Dolby Digital 5.1. A 30 year old standard. Sonos does not even support Dolby Digital 5.1 plus.

So since the introduction of DD 5.1, maybe 3 generations of new audio codecs have been released by Dolby: DD+, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos. None of which is supported by Sonos. I don't even need to mention DTS, the de facto standard for Blurays/DVDs.

50% of Sonos costs are marketing. Maybe they should spend less money on marketing and a bit more on making great products.


I see by your history that you've been posting this type of complaint for over 2 years, which begs the question: Why would you keep a product that is clearly unfit for your purpose over 2 years? Do you seriously think Sonos is going to suddenly release DTS support?
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I see by your history that you've been posting this type of complaint for over 2 years, which begs the question: Why would you keep a product that is clearly unfit for your purpose over 2 years? Do you seriously think Sonos is going to suddenly release DTS support?


Hey - they might!

But not because of this thread.
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These are ridiculous reasons. Firstly cheaper products than Sonos support more codecs. Secondly Sonos only supports Dolby Digital 5.1. A 30 year old standard. Sonos does not even support Dolby Digital 5.1 plus.


I did say that they weren't the strongest reasons, however many months ago I said it. But I don't see the relevance of cheaper products supporting more codecs. Cheaper products also are not multiroom, make with cheaper material, not engineered as well, not as well supported, etc to various degrees. If codec support is more important than speaker quality, or in general you see a better speaker that meets your requirements and budget, then that's the speaker you should get.

So since the introduction of DD 5.1, maybe 3 generations of new audio codecs have been released by Dolby: DD+, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos. None of which is supported by Sonos. I don't even need to mention DTS, the de facto standard for Blurays/DVDs.

50% of Sonos costs are marketing. Maybe they should spend less money on marketing and a bit more on making great products.


I have no idea what their marketing cost are, where did you get that 50% number from? Regardless, I can't say that I'd be happier with Sonos if they supported more codecs. Atmos perhaps, but I'm not sure I want to spend on the extra speakers, that adding more speakers wouldn't add instability, or that I have the right room in my house for it.

Man, that was a long 6 pages of conversation to read but it was definitely worth it to see all the differing perspectives.

 

I'm one of those people that spent 2k on a full Sonos system (play bar, 2 play 5's and a sub). Before buying the Sonos I had a Samsung surround sound system with a sound bar which was a fraction of the price and by no means had the sound quality of my Sonos system.

What it did have was far superior surround sound. This system was like $300. I love my Sonos system but I will admit that I did fall for their marketing. They make it out to be a home theater option that will provide true surround sound. It isn't. They're just amazing wireless speakers and that's all.

 

I'm a bit perplexed by folks repeatedly referring to the Sonos sound bar speaker as achieving a  similar effect as dual front speakers on a real home theater system. They ABSOLUTELY DO NOT unless you have the sound bar less than a foot from you (as they place them in electronics stores when you try it out). If you're in a living room the playbar or beam will sound like one speaker. 

 

I also acknowledge that the source of the sound plays a big part. This is why i initially didn't remove my Samsung system when I bought the Sonos. I watched the same scenes in movies to hear the difference. My Sonos definitely won as far as power and clarity, but the $300 Samsung blew it out of the water as far as surround sound.

Yes you can sort of hear things happening in exclusively in the rear speakers but it's WILDLY innacurate to say that one front playbar or beam and 2 rear speakers  can achieve the same effect as traditional 5.1 layouts that have front speakers on the left, right and center. It's an outright lie. 

With the much cheaper Samsung I could hear bullets wizzing above my head as well as sounds having actual spacial character. It feels like you are IN the movie. As much as I love my Sonos system, it is not capable of this in any fashion.

And don't kid yourselves, Sonos absolutely branded itself as a home theater system as do the electronics stores that sell them.

I Also notice 5.1 being thrown around a lot and I'd like to clarify one thing for you all, the Sonos does not deliver true 5.1. This requires, you know, 5 SPEAKERS. 5 full bandwidth and 1 low frequency. What you actually get with Sonos are 3 full bandwidth speakers and one low frequency (assuming like me you have the playbar or beam, rear speakers and the sub). There is no way in hell that the play bar or beam gives the surround effect of 3 individual speakers unless you live in a decent sized closet.

 

Sonos is fantastic for folks that want to fill a room with sound but if the content you're watching supports 5.1 and you want a true surround sound system, look elsewhere because the Sonos falls incredibly short.

 

A lot of you are all in your feelings when anyone says anything disparaging about the Sonos. It's a badass speaker system with many benefits and I love it + still have it, but it is in no way, shape or form, a surround sound system. I even think "home theater system" is a misleading term.

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Ok, I’ll bite. 
I’m far from a Sonos defender but don’t agree with a lot of what you said which was mostly just unsupported opinion.
How is Sonos not a home theater?  Not a home theater but a collection of wireless speakers? Huh?  They are wireless speakers that have a front end, sub, and rears. That’s a home theater. 
Is it as good as a traditional receiver and speakers?  No.  But most people who buy Sonos know that. It’s not news to them. You aren’t telling them anything they don’t already know. They chose a lifestyle product that is simple and doesn’t have cables all over the place. 
I have had the Playbar and the Beam. I’ve said many times that the Playbar in its current version is a travesty that Sonos should be embarrassed to sell. Instead of updating a core product they spent R&D $$ and time on a $400 Bluetooth speaker. How out of touch with your user base can you be?  There is a clue to this in the Verge interview with the Sonos CEO.  It’s clear it was a vanity project for him to make his mark. He even said there was a lot of opposition to it from within Sonos. 
The Beam is nice for what it is but seeing people call it 3.1 is a little much. It’s really clear all the sound is coming from a small area.
However Sonos does in fact make a true 5.1 system and has for some time. It’s called the Amp.
I run mine with Revel Concerta 2 M16 speakers, Sonos sub, and Sonos One SL rears. Sounds great with 5.1 movies. 
Lots of subs for less that the Sonos sub sound better and go lower.  I could have used one of them but use the Sonos sub because everything is controllable from the app. It also looks good with my Revel gloss black speakers. I made a lifestyle choice. 
The phantom center is decent. Dialog is great. 
None of this is as good as a traditional receiver speaker setup but I wanted clean and simple while looking good and that’s what I got. It is a home theater surround sound system by any definition. 
 

Thanks for that info.

I didn't know that the amp allows the addition of more speakers to the setup. This sounds like it makes it an actual 5.1.

In my opinion, without that amp the Sonos system is a 3.1. The playbar or beam are not (and I mean NOT) the same as having 3 individual speakers. They are a really good center speaker.

Even with the amp I'm not sold on Sonos even delivering true 5.1 surround sound but I will go to the Sonos store tomorrow and test that out. I will not be able spend more money on Sonos products until I know for sure I can actually get a more immersive movie watching experience.

 

A setup like yours may be along the lines of what I need. If I'm understanding correctly, the amp would allow me to add front left and right speakers in addition to the playbar (which o refuse to call anything other than center speakers)

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No you can’t use the Playbar with the Amp. The Amp creates a phantom center that isn’t a real center speaker but decent. 
Were your rears set to full with the volume turned up?  The standard settings for surrounds are way to low. 

They were initially set to ambient but I changed it to full early on.

Even if i cant use the play bar with the amp, will I be able to add additional speakers to my setup?

The amp is such a mystery to me. I've read so much on it and I figured since I've already spent all this money already, why not pay a little more if it'll improve the experience by adding more speakers.

But you're saying thats not possible?

Sorry to be annoying but can you walk me through what you did with the am and the speakers you said you connected to them?

I just feel like if I can add two more front speakers I'll have a true 5.1. The playbar is absolutely badass bit I don't believe it simulates a center, left and right as everyone is saying. I only hear this if I'm Inches away from it.

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In my opinion, without that amp the Sonos system is a 3.1. The playbar or beam are not (and I mean NOT) the same as having 3 individual speakers. They are a really good center speaker.

Since the Beam and the Playbar play front left, front right and centre when playing surround technically you have more than a cnter speaker. I would agree that, as with most soundbars, speaker separation is obviously better with separate speakers. Describing the Sonos soundbasr as “really good centers” is however, in my opinion, selling them short.

 

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In my opinion, without that amp the Sonos system is a 3.1. The playbar or beam are not (and I mean NOT) the same as having 3 individual speakers. They are a really good center speaker.

Since the Beam and the Playbar play front left, front right and centre when playing surround technically you have more than a cnter speaker. I would agree that, as with most soundbars, speaker separation is obviously better with separate speakers. Describing the Sonos soundbasr as “really good centers” is however, in my opinion, selling them short.

 

 

I would agree with that although I don’t think much of Soundbars in general including Sonos.

This is true and like it was mentioned before, the space saving aspect of the bars are just too convenient.

 

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They were initially set to ambient but I changed it to full early on.

Even if i cant use the play bar with the amp, will I be able to add additional speakers to my setup?

The amp is such a mystery to me. I've read so much on it and I figured since I've already spent all this money already, why not pay a little more if it'll improve the experience by adding more speakers.

But you're saying thats not possible?

Sorry to be annoying but can you walk me through what you did with the am and the speakers you said you connected to them?

I just feel like if I can add two more front speakers I'll have a true 5.1. The playbar is absolutely badass bit I don't believe it simulates a center, left and right as everyone is saying. I only hear this if I'm Inches away from it.Son

 

The Amp can do two passive speakers, Sonos or 3rd party subs, and Sonos rears.

If you want passive rears you need another Sonos amp for those.  I’m fine with SL's for rears.

My speakers are Revel, Sonos sub and SL rears.  I’m not all that impressed with the Sonos sub for the price.  It doesn’t go as low or have as good a detail as say a  $399 SVS sub.  But I like the way it looks and that I can control everything with the Sonos app.  

My only Source is Apple TV 4K which is more than enough and looks and works great with my Sony 55-inch X930e.  I play alot of music and turn off the surrounds for 2.1.  Treble is a little high on the Amp like a lot of Sonos products so I back that down in EQ although some people think it does that on it’s own with break-in.  I could get a lot more for my money with traditional receivers and speakers and I've done that in the past but I prefer clean and simple even if it means giving up some things.

As I mentioned earlier those are Revel Concerta 2 M16 speakers, $450 each.  Sound amazing, look clean and simple, and the gloss black matches the Sonos Sub. :-) 

 

Sonos came about for those who wanted multi-room audio without the wires and with the use of online music services. 

Sonos products will never truly replace a full separates system for surround sound. They never set about doing this anyway.

However, their products are great as they provide a solution for those (like me with a wife who doesn't like the look or size of traditional speakers nor all the cables). I use to have a £5000 system for movies and a £3000 system for music. I met the wife and my mistresses had to pack their bags. The cost of these systems would never be matched unless replicated like for like. I knew this.

This led to me looking for a solution, which saw me buying a Yamaha soundbar, I forget the model but it was vastly more expensive than a Sonos setup. This sounded very poor for music and led me to purchase a Sonos Play:5. I had this for almost 4 years and was impressed by music playback and then punt I took a punt with the Beam. 

Over time my needs have changed. I have 3 lovely kids who would only trash a high-end system and for the convenience and sound quality I have expanded the Beam with 2 SL's.

I subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime and a few more and so far all films I have watched have been in DD5.1, so the Sonos experience fits the bill extremely well with only a few minor issues which aren't worth typing about.

I have also experienced Sonos's customer service first hand which saw my Beam get replaced under warranty due to a bizarre issue. From telling them about the issue I was contacted by a senior person within 30 mins and advised I'd get a warranty replacement.

I have never experienced this level of fine service before and has made the Sonos experience even more sweeter.

I am yet to Trueplay my setup as I am a Android user at heart and will need to borrow or acquire a iOS device but currently as things sounds I get a good sound for music and films and I am sure things will sound even better when Trueplayed.

 

Oh! Sonos, longer power cables for Sonos One SL's would be a bonus as the ones supplied are rather short.

 

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I'm of mixed views. I just purchased a Playbar with sub and two One's for surrounds. When I'm sourcing DD 5.1 from my BD player, the sound is fantastic, and I love being able to integrate the media room sound with the other rooms equipped with Sonos. Love my Sonos speakers, which is why I splurged on the Playbar.

That said, I've spent the better part of the last 3 days trying to get the Playbar to play 5.1 and have only managed to get that done if I'm using my BD player to play certain discs or the limited 5.1 content available to stream through it from Prime.

My Roku UItra? Absolutely useless with the Playbar as far as I've been able to tell, unless I want to listen to simulated surround. My DTS discs? Same thing. I'm not sure that I'd have opted for a different system if I'd have known a week ago what I know now (probably couldn't have convinced me NOT to go with Sonos since I was so utterly enamored with it), but I wish I'd have understood better the limitations. That's on me and a lack of research, I guess.

If Sonos comes out with a Playbar that can manage true surround signals other than DD5.1, I'll really be miffed that I didn't wait. Anyhow. A certain amount of buyer remorse coupled with tech hookup fatigue speaking here.

Apple TV works much better than Roku or just about anything else with Sonos.  Roku is as ad delivery machine that sells your usage patterns to advertisers and has inferior video quality. 

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Sonos came about for those who wanted multi-room audio without the wires and with the use of online music services. 

Sonos products will never truly replace a full separates system for surround sound. They never set about doing this anyway.

However, their products are great as they provide a solution for those (like me with a wife who doesn't like the look or size of traditional speakers nor all the cables). I use to have a £5000 system for movies and a £3000 system for music. I met the wife and my mistresses had to pack their bags. The cost of these systems would never be matched unless replicated like for like. I knew this.

This led to me looking for a solution, which saw me buying a Yamaha soundbar, I forget the model but it was vastly more expensive than a Sonos setup. This sounded very poor for music and led me to purchase a Sonos Play:5. I had this for almost 4 years and was impressed by music playback and then punt I took a punt with the Beam. 

Over time my needs have changed. I have 3 lovely kids who would only trash a high-end system and for the convenience and sound quality I have expanded the Beam with 2 SL's.

I subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime and a few more and so far all films I have watched have been in DD5.1, so the Sonos experience fits the bill extremely well with only a few minor issues which aren't worth typing about.

I have also experienced Sonos's customer service first hand which saw my Beam get replaced under warranty due to a bizarre issue. From telling them about the issue I was contacted by a senior person within 30 mins and advised I'd get a warranty replacement.

I have never experienced this level of fine service before and has made the Sonos experience even more sweeter.

I am yet to Trueplay my setup as I am a Android user at heart and will need to borrow or acquire a iOS device but currently as things sounds I get a good sound for music and films and I am sure things will sound even better when Trueplayed.

 

Oh! Sonos, longer power cables for Sonos One SL's would be a bonus as the ones supplied are rather short.

 

There were no online music services when Sonos came out. 

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@lewismenzies534 Longer power cables are available, see here: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/power-cables-one.html

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Flexson One stands come with a longer power cable.

Sonos came about for those who wanted multi-room audio without the wires and with the use of online music services. 

Sonos products will never truly replace a full separates system for surround sound. They never set about doing this anyway.

However, their products are great as they provide a solution for those (like me with a wife who doesn't like the look or size of traditional speakers nor all the cables). I use to have a £5000 system for movies and a £3000 system for music. I met the wife and my mistresses had to pack their bags. The cost of these systems would never be matched unless replicated like for like. I knew this.

This led to me looking for a solution, which saw me buying a Yamaha soundbar, I forget the model but it was vastly more expensive than a Sonos setup. This sounded very poor for music and led me to purchase a Sonos Play:5. I had this for almost 4 years and was impressed by music playback and then punt I took a punt with the Beam. 

Over time my needs have changed. I have 3 lovely kids who would only trash a high-end system and for the convenience and sound quality I have expanded the Beam with 2 SL's.

I subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime and a few more and so far all films I have watched have been in DD5.1, so the Sonos experience fits the bill extremely well with only a few minor issues which aren't worth typing about.

I have also experienced Sonos's customer service first hand which saw my Beam get replaced under warranty due to a bizarre issue. From telling them about the issue I was contacted by a senior person within 30 mins and advised I'd get a warranty replacement.

I have never experienced this level of fine service before and has made the Sonos experience even more sweeter.

I am yet to Trueplay my setup as I am a Android user at heart and will need to borrow or acquire a iOS device but currently as things sounds I get a good sound for music and films and I am sure things will sound even better when Trueplayed.

 

Oh! Sonos, longer power cables for Sonos One SL's would be a bonus as the ones supplied are rather short.

 

There were no online music services when Sonos came out. 

Hi SOCalistic

 

You are correct, but there vision was so - https://www.sonos.com/en-gb/how-it-started

I purchased my Play5 approx 4 years ago when music services were around.

 

Ta

Flexson One stands come with a longer power cable.

@lewismenzies534 Longer power cables are available, see here: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/power-cables-one.html

Hi Both

I needed a 3 meter and a 5 meter and both came via purchases from Amazon.

I have now Trueplayed my setup today and noticed a massive improvement to the overall sound and better cohesion between the Beam and the 2 SL's.

I'm guessing the first part of Trueplay determines the distances, delays and volumes per channel, but what would be nice is to boost the rear channels independently from each other after Trueplay as my right rear is much quieter that the left.

The main listening/viewing position isn't equal distance from each other for the rears.

If I turn off Trueplay and set the distances manually to 0.6 to 3.0 for the left and over 3.0 for the right I get a better volume level all round but lack of cohesion with Trueplay.

Moving the right rear to an equal distance is not possible.

 

Any suggestions?

I have now Trueplayed my setup today and noticed a massive improvement to the overall sound and better cohesion between the Beam and the 2 SL's.

I'm guessing the first part of Trueplay determines the distances, delays and volumes per channel, but what would be nice is to boost the rear channels independently from each other after Trueplay as my right rear is much quieter that the left.

The main listening/viewing position isn't equal distance from each other for the rears.

If I turn off Trueplay and set the distances manually to 0.6 to 3.0 for the left and over 3.0 for the right I get a better volume level all round but lack of cohesion with Trueplay.

Moving the right rear to an equal distance is not possible.

 

Any suggestions?

Because of your issues, have you perhaps considered changing your position and temporarily sitting closer to one surround speaker when doing the first stage of the TruePlay tuning process, so that the other speakers volume is then boosted and hopefully balanced for your actual ’true’ seated position ?

Hopefully a bit of trial and error may help you achieve the desired outcome and as you may already know there is a slider control in the HT ‘surround’ room settings to shift the audio between front and back channels aswell as the usual EQ ‘balance’ control to perhaps fine-tune things to maybe meet your personal taste.

 

I have now Trueplayed my setup today and noticed a massive improvement to the overall sound and better cohesion between the Beam and the 2 SL's.

I'm guessing the first part of Trueplay determines the distances, delays and volumes per channel, but what would be nice is to boost the rear channels independently from each other after Trueplay as my right rear is much quieter that the left.

The main listening/viewing position isn't equal distance from each other for the rears.

If I turn off Trueplay and set the distances manually to 0.6 to 3.0 for the left and over 3.0 for the right I get a better volume level all round but lack of cohesion with Trueplay.

Moving the right rear to an equal distance is not possible.

 

Any suggestions?

Because of your issues, have you perhaps considered changing your position and temporarily sitting closer to one surround speaker when doing the first stage of the TruePlay tuning process, so that the other speakers volume is then boosted and hopefully balanced for your actual ’true’ seated position ?

Hopefully a bit of trial and error may help you achieve the desired outcome and as you may already know there is a slider control in the HT ‘surround’ room settings to shift the audio between front and back channels aswell as the usual EQ ‘balance’ control to perhaps fine-tune things to maybe meet your personal taste.

 

Hi Ken

 

Thanks for your ideas.

I had thought about doing the initial True play off to my left in an attempt to boost the right rear but decided against this as it would un-center the front 3 channels. I can boost the overall rear volume but the option to balance is removed from the EQ (can't remember seeing it there for the Beam only).

I have managed to move the rear right approx 6 inches closer, a small distance but better than nothing. 

I can live with the slight volume difference. Just maybe Sonos will implement additional adjustments in future updates.

Setup in the end was far less hassle than a full blown 7.1 (which the wife hated) and this (doesn't) give me the option to tinker all the time with delays, distances, heights etc. I threw my sound level meter away the other week and I don't miss being anal with setting it all up.

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