Sonos doesn’t really do “5.1”


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Before you buy any SONOS equipment to achieve a 5.1 setup please consider this: a Denon AVRX2400 AV Amp, Elac CINEMA 5.1 speaker system, all cables professionally installed behind the walls gives you true home cinema with all the surround sound codecs you could ever want with no cables showing for way less than £1000 (see Richer Sound web site for prices). Or spend £1700 on a SONOS setup and get stereo or Dolby Digital only plus you may have to buy a new DVD player to play your UHD DVD’s, a HDMI Switch then deal with lip sync issues etc, etc.

SONOS do speakers, great speakers, but only for music. They are stealing money from people wanting 5.1 for their TV. The system I suggest costs at least £700 less, hides all the wires (what we all want) and sounds much, much better. Go mad, stick a couple of speakers in the ceiling and get real Dolby Atmos for £150 more and still save yourself £550. I have begged SONOS to tell me if they are developing a surround sound product with HDMI and more choice of listening eg DTS, Dolby X etc but they point blank refuse to discuss future products stating they are catering for the “modern listener”. That put me in my place. SONOS remind me of great companies who made world class products like Blackberry, Blockbuster, Compaq and SAAB, just a minute, they all went out of business because they didn’t produce what their customers wanted at a competitive price (no pedants please, I know there were other factors which meant these companies went bust, I am just illustrating a point). Are SONOS going down the same route? Think about it while you are watching your new laser disc.

I would be interested to hear any arguments against my proposed SONOS alternative system.

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Well I’m a bit of a modern TV listener and I chose the new Sonos Beam. I wanted a wireless system, as I did not want to re-plaster walls, lift flooring, or have cabling showing. I had existing Play-1’s in the room already and I’m more than happy with the sourroud sound it produces. I added a Harmony Hub for full voice control of the TV and it’s peripheral devices.

The best £399, that I have spent in 'modern' times. So no regrets here.
Ken, I am genuinely happy for you. What I said was SONOS do not do proper 5.1 and I stand by that. Play any of your DTS DVDs and you will have stereo or silence. If you are happy with the limitations then fine although for £400 I would have purchased a good sound bar and wireless sub. Also, your two Play 1s were not free so you 5.0 system actually cost you about £700. Quite a lot for a very limited system.
But the Beam does so much more besides the TV audio... and I accept what you say about the cost of my Play:1’s, but I had made that purchase, years ago. I was just saying why I chose the Beam (now) in my case. I was already partly invested in the Sonos architecture.

I will add, because Sonos is already now all around my home, were they to produce a new PlayBar Gen-2 with HDMI ARC and built in voice control services, I would still buy that device, over your Denon device, even if the new PlayBar supported codecs, were the same as the Beam.

I’m quite happy with the 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and I do prefer to use the streaming video/movie services subscriptions nowadays and my Beam has no problems playing decent audio from either Netflix or Amazon.

I see that Apple have said that they will move their movies over to the Dolby Atmos Audio format later this year for Apple TV users ...I suspect Sonos could also move towards Atmos eventually (virtual or otherwise), before they may ever move towards supporting DTS or DTS:X.

But it’s each to their own, I guess. My Beam does do all the things I need it to do.

I should add that I do currently have a Sony DTS 5.1 Home Theatre System on my main Sony Bravia TV, but I would swap it for a new PlayBar (2nd gen) just because of all the other things (Audio/Voice/Smart features) that it will do, plus I prefer less cables in my room and there is just no way am I channelling out plaster in our walls to embed cables to then have to re-decorate.

Like I said, I truly don’t have any regrets with my purchases so far.


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.
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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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Pointless discussion. Buy what you like.
A few things I agree with in the original post: you can get better sound for the money, certainly. And better audio format support, saving a certain amount of hassle. Sonos is better at music than home theatre. And it is definitely correct that the market will decide.

But are Sonos 'stealing' people's money? No, that is preposterous. Many customers buy the Playbar,/base or Beam because they want TV sound that's a lot better than the TV's own speakers and also does music well. And integrates with their nultiroom Sonos. And surround is an option for those who want it, albeit sometimes with hassle and extra expense

It is just a different offering from a trad home theatre. People weigh up the features then spend their money.

I think Sonos does music brilliantly and home theatre pretty well, but not brilliantly. But I suspect they know their market, the package works for lots of people, and Sonos won't be following Blackberry or Saab any time soon.
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Sonos are a speaker company. I don’t think they claim to be pushing out gear for home cinema enthusiasts. I think that is their whole mantra. Make it simple, give people functionality but don’t sweat it on speaclist home theatre stuff that other specialised companies do.

Meanwhile a simple Xbox one S or X will decode DTS on the fly to DD5.1. Not a tricky solution if you want to use Sonos. It has a market. Probably not those with cinema rooms on the whole. But still.


People of the world unite! Please read what I say before you reply. Do I hate SONOS? No. Do I love SONOS? Yes. Are SONOS “pushing out gear for home cinema enthusiasts“? Well according to them, YES! If you spend £1700 on a home cinema system you are entitled to expect it to do EVERYTHING a home cinema system can do at that price point. If you are happy with what SONOS has to offer re a 5.1 system then fab, this discussion is not for you. If you are a potential customer however seeking the Holy Grail of wireless 5.1 that will play anything you can throw at it then SONOS is potentially not for you. Additionally, if you have just coughed up a huge amount of cash you should not be expected to throw another few hundred pounds/dollars at it just to listen to your DVD collection on a Xbox, new DVD player etc. Remember, there are people like me who can’t get fibre internet and cannot stream HD or UHD so rely on DVDs for fun filled evenings with the family

New rule, cut down on the vitriol guys. This is a discussion about the merits or otherwise not a civil war. As always, read my first post first.

Enjoying the debate? Me to. Just make it a debate not a “my Dads bigger than your Dad” arguement. Missing you already xxx


What I was trying to suggest was that you aren't entitled to anything. Sonos have always been very much "we make this to do this" you either like that or you don't. As a consumer you are entitled to make a choice based on your own circumstances. Sonos appeals to a certain type of customer. I don't know of any real home cinema enthusiasts who use Sonos as their surround sound solution. I do know however some home cinema folk who use Sonos in their living room or second TV room. Because it is easy, their partners can use it, and it produces great sound. And in those cases they don't care about DTS/Atmos etc etc. And then their families can also use the kit as wireless speakers.

It is a product for a certain type of person. They make no bones about that. It probably just isn't right for your particular needs.

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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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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I would argue that what constitutes true 5.1 is less limited than you make it out to be. For YOU 5.1 is DTS, ATMOS, DD 5.1/+ and whatever sound codecs are out there, and of course discreet front L R and Center.

But for most people SONOS. Delivers exactly what they want. A 1st class multi room audio system that also doubles as wireless 5.1 surround sound with support for the most used surround codec for tv and streaming services, DD 5.1. If you are an audiophile or movie perfectionist with massive LD or Blue-ray collections you probably won’t settle for 5.1 at all but go for a 7.1 or better system, right? Maybe gold plated thick cables? Thirèn vinyl player and good knows what speakers with analogue receiver.


The SONOS crowd aren’t into all that. They want nice looking and sounding speakers that like Apple used to, just works. Cable free and modern app driven.

The SONOS playbase/bar/beam does have L R and Center albeit not with the spatial separation you’d get with separate front speakers, but it’s still a home theater speaker. Coupled with 2 satellites and Sub it constitutes a true 5.1 system limited to DD 5.1 without the extra bells and whistles of your setup. But for most it’s good enough. Especiallly when invested in the rest of the echo system. I already ripped all my movies to 1080p/4K with DD 5.1 + a Stereo 2.0 track for portable devices so my SONOS setup does exactly what I want.


As a side note Apple will most likely also let you choose DD 5.1 in the future when movies are upgraded to Atmos
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It would also improve the thread if you were a little less supercilious, everybody’s opinion is equally important and as this thread is about users opinions there is no definitive answer.


"DTS" and "5.1" are not the same thing. Nor does "5.1" mean "every codec that involves 6 speaker channels". That's a fact, not an opinion, so there absolutely is a definitive answer.
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Ken, I am genuinely happy for you. What I said was SONOS do not do proper 5.1 and I stand by that. Play any of your DTS DVDs and you will have stereo or silence. If you are happy with the limitations then fine although for £400 I would have purchased a good sound bar and wireless sub. Also, your two Play 1s were not free so you 5.0 system actually cost you about £700. Quite a lot for a very limited system.
But the Beam does so much more besides the TV audio... and I accept what you say about the cost of my Play:1’s, but I had made that purchase, years ago. I was just saying why I chose the Beam (now) in my case. I was already partly invested in the Sonos architecture.

I will add, because Sonos is already now all around my home, were they to produce a new PlayBar Gen-2 with HDMI ARC and built in voice control services, I would still buy that device, over your Denon device, even if the new PlayBar supported codecs, were the same as the Beam.

I’m quite happy with the 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound and I do prefer to use the streaming video/movie services subscriptions nowadays and my Beam has no problems playing decent audio from either Netflix or Amazon.

I see that Apple have said that they will move their movies over to the Dolby Atmos Audio format later this year for Apple TV users ...I suspect Sonos could also move towards Atmos eventually (virtual or otherwise), before they may ever move towards supporting DTS or DTS:X.

But it’s each to their own, I guess. My Beam does do all the things I need it to do.

I should add that I do currently have a Sony DTS 5.1 Home Theatre System on my main Sony Bravia TV, but I would swap it for a new PlayBar (2nd gen) just because of all the other things (Audio/Voice/Smart features) that it will do, plus I prefer less cables in my room and there is just no way am I channelling out plaster in our walls to embed cables to then have to re-decorate.

Like I said, I truly don’t have any regrets with my purchases so far.


Yea I agree with everything you said, I've done both and got tired of the wires and grabbed a beam already had play 1s and a sub, setup 5.1 and love it and would also buy a playbar gen 2 in a heartbeat but I am crossing my fingers it will also do Atmos ?
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But Sonos is wireless. Why faff about with wires. If you can’t configure your hardware to output the correct audio signal then maybe you shouldn’t be trying to set up a wireless system anyway.
And linking the speakers into other rooms. Moving your speakers. Tuning speakers to your room, Et al.
Functionality, convenience and results are trade offs. Your system has nothing going for it other than watching TV whilst the Sonos version does.
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SONOS supporters above. You are missing my point a wee bit. I have SONOS products for music and I am more than happy with them and would not part with them. As I have also stated, if it meets your 5.1 requirements then terrific. What it is not (yet) is a proper, modern surround sound system. It will still meet the needs of some, just not me. The Beam, Base and Bar do many other things as stated above but guess what? It’s meant to be a TV speaker first and foremost and I argue that none of these products do that job well. Good fun this.

Last point, what I suggested, and it is not “my system” hides all the wires. True, if you move, you start again but that is one of hundreds of variables that drill too far down into a general discussion. Someone else take it up 😃
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djsgrant, I see your point. My father has a home theater in his house, projector, 5.1 system with receiver, etc. He asked if Sonos system can replace it after hearing Sonos speakers. I told him, absolutely not! As much as I love my Sonos speakers, they will never replace a proper 5.1 system with separate speakers. At least not yet. Perhaps Sonos will create a system with independent speakers in the future.
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Sonos are a speaker company. I don’t think they claim to be pushing out gear for home cinema enthusiasts. I think that is their whole mantra. Make it simple, give people functionality but don’t sweat it on speaclist home theatre stuff that other specialised companies do.

Meanwhile a simple Xbox one S or X will decode DTS on the fly to DD5.1. Not a tricky solution if you want to use Sonos. It has a market. Probably not those with cinema rooms on the whole. But still.


People of the world unite! Please read what I say before you reply. Do I hate SONOS? No. Do I love SONOS? Yes. Are SONOS “pushing out gear for home cinema enthusiasts“? Well according to them, YES! If you spend £1700 on a home cinema system you are entitled to expect it to do EVERYTHING a home cinema system can do at that price point. If you are happy with what SONOS has to offer re a 5.1 system then fab, this discussion is not for you. If you are a potential customer however seeking the Holy Grail of wireless 5.1 that will play anything you can throw at it then SONOS is potentially not for you. Additionally, if you have just coughed up a huge amount of cash you should not be expected to throw another few hundred pounds/dollars at it just to listen to your DVD collection on a Xbox, new DVD player etc. Remember, there are people like me who can’t get fibre internet and cannot stream HD or UHD so rely on DVDs for fun filled evenings with the family

New rule, cut down on the vitriol guys. This is a discussion about the merits or otherwise not a civil war. As always, read my first post first.

Enjoying the debate? Me to. Just make it a debate not a “my Dads bigger than your Dad” arguement. Missing you already xxx
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.
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.
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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.
In what way are you not getting 5.1 as promised? Dolby Digital 5.1 is 5.1. Sonos plays it. End of story.
In what way are you not getting 5.1 as promised? Dolby Digital 5.1 is 5.1. Sonos plays it. End of story.

OMG, if you are going to comment please read the thread. I can’t stream Netflix etc as there is no fast broadband in my area. My media is therefore mainly DVD nearly all of which are mostly DTS so I get stereo only. That is why I don’t get 5.1 as promised.

It would also improve the thread if you were a little less supercilious, everybody’s opinion is equally important and as this thread is about users opinions there is no definitive answer. Driver28 is happy with his setup, I required something different so comments such as “end of story” are uncalled for.


Who promised you 5.1 in the form of DTS ?

I have read the thread. Maybe you should also, because your notion that "Sonos don’t 'really' do 5.1" was debunked on page 1. Nothing you have said since changes that fact.

And as to "everybody’s opinion is equally important", that would be fine if you were offering opinion. You stated as fact that Sonos promised you 5.1 and you didn't get it. That is not an opinion, and it is most certainly untrue. You were not promised 5.1 in the form of DTS. You were promised DD 5.1, and you got it.

Oh and by the way:

https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-UBD-M7500-ZA-Blu-Ray-Player/dp/B075QSCLRZ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1546277860&sr=8-3&keywords=samsung+UHD+player

Samsung UBD-M7500/ZA 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player - No HDMI Cable Included

Plays DVD, Blu-Ray, and UHD Blu-Ray. Converts DTS to DD 5.1. Problem solved.

You are welcome!
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This is quite a funny thread, that props up every few months and it always follows a familiar theme. I will also say it's quite clear from the author's history that the purpose of this thread and it's title is to get a rise out of the more ardent members on this sub-forum.

Anyhow...

Every few months we seem to have a self-confessed audiophile who despite having a wealth of knowledge about all the latest codecs somehow manages to spend thousands of dollars/pounds on new AV equipment and then gets very disappointed when they set it all up and realise they can't watch their latest Star Wars Blu-Ray out the box (eventhough lack of DTS on Sonos is a well known fact in home audio circles).

I will reiterate what I've said before in that I think Sonos does a solid (if incredibly expensive) job for standard DD 5.1 home cinema and it was clearly an afterthought for them. I'm a bit surprised they haven't managed to get the DTS issue sorted, but most people I know who have Sonos either use it exclusively for streaming, or are fine just having the audio pumped out as Stereo to blast through the Playbar.

If you want to stay in the Sonos eco-system, and are very disappointed about your DTS only Blu-Rays and don't want a "proper" AV wired setup, then there are players that will transcode on the fly and give you a near-similar experience (I assume there is a minor quality drop when the DTS is transacoded into DD5.1).

One last point which I've never been able to work out is, if the Playbar is supposed to simulate a 3.0 speaker setup, why can I not control the individual channels separately, i.e. why can't I increase the centre channel and the dialogue (the Speech Enhancement doesn't work very well in large rooms).
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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.

 

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I mean, sure that is an option, but not particularly realistic or cost-effective IMO.
I think what’s meant here is just to use a traditional AV amp and speakers for home theatre, with a CONNECT adding Sonos audio to the rig. Which is what I do, and it’s entirely cost effective.
Hi all
Just to clarify few things here,I have a full Sonos 5.1 setup and I’m very happy with it,indeed Sonos products can only do proper DolbyDigital 5.1 sound at the moment if the source is setup that way,the other option for a UHD DVD to work is to use a DVD player that can transcode the 7.1,Dolby Atmos on the fly, of course you still get only 5.1 from the system,but is proper 5.1 not upscaled,hopefully we’ll get more options in the future but for now if you looking for a dedicated Dolby Atmos/7.1DTS-X system Sonos is not the one for you.Can do great audio with music,multiroom but limited to 5.1 for home cinema.(by the way they just testing some sort of satellite speakers now,hopefully will be something we all waiting)