Sonos for Computer Speakers

  • 6 August 2018
  • 32 replies
  • 23016 views

I have read lots of threads here and on Reddit with naysayers indicating that Sonos does not work well as your home computer speakers and this is simply not true. If you have the budget, there is nothing that even comes close to Sonos for immersive sound for gaming etc.



I have been using Sonos as my go-to surround sound speaker system for my PC for the past 4 years without issue. I have also installed them through various versions of Windows without issues. The installation procedure is as follows:



If you do not have a Sonos system already go to step 2 below. If you do have a system already then you need the app on a tablet, phone or other device that is different from where you are going to install the computer Sonos system.



**Needed - 1 x Playbar or Playbase, sub if required and surround speakers (play 1 or 3) if required. Computer needs a sound card that has an optical output (most do). Make sure you have a random old remote around that has a volume control on it. Need an Ethernet connection for the Playbar/Playbase and a working Wi-Fi network (2.4ghz)**



**Make sure to create a new account with Sonos that is different from your other setups if applicable**



1. You need the Sonos app for your "other" system(s) on another device such as your iPad, phone or other computer so that you do not lose those setups.

2. If not new, factory reset your Sonos gear

3. If installed, delete the Sonos app from your computer

4. Connect Playbar/Playbase to internet and optical output from PC

5. Reinstall the app, launch it and when it asks, select "new system"

6. Name the room something that is not already being used in your home (can be whatever if this is your only Sonos system)

7. Go through the set-up screens and install the bar/base, sub (if required) and surround (if required)

8. Follow the program and set up the sound

9. Play the test pattern and everything should be good so far

10. Trick the app that you are not using a TV by using some old random remote and click on the volume button when requested.

11. Answer the question "saw the volume bar" or "saw nothing"...don't choose the 1st option or you will need to start again

12. Register the speakers when asked.

13. If you get errors registering the speakers, close the program and reopen it. Log in and register the speakers



You now have earth-shaking sound for your games! You can max out the volume on your PC and use the remote that you set up to control the volume or use the Sonos program for that. If you want to use your keyboard keys to control the volume instead, lower the output on your sound card and max out the Sonos program...either works well.



You can now use your computer to watch movies with surround sound, link to music services via the program or simply play games etc with amazing sound! My setup is a Playbar, Sub and 2 x Play 3 for surround.



Hope this helps everyone!!!

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32 replies

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Yea don't think it is worth to stick money in those chinese extractors/converters for now. The soundcard should provide for the best daily music (I stream netflix, music (spotify), games and 90% of my content through pc). Every once in a while I watch a blu-ray so it ain't a must to get my PS4 hooked up. I did however find a workaround device that can get my ps4 an optical output if necessary.Be sure to use Windows 10 netflix app from app store! That's the only way to get 5.1 surround sound when streaming via PC. Also, for Blu-Ray, if the disc uses DTS, you'll either get silence or stereo. But, XBOX one actually can transcode dts to dolby...



As I said though, for PC, if you have files that contain DTS encoded sound, try KODI. It has options (expert/advanced menu) to passthrough and transcode to Dolby.
I see, I am using windows 7 still lol. But if I would get the Sound blaster Omni all sounds will be converted to DD 5.1 right? Found out that my brother has the older ps4, so I am going to test on that.
Try netflix on that PS4, it should output dolby digital 5.1.
Just listened to dolby digital 5.1 through my brothers ps4. The sound gets harder and clearer. It is indeed an upgrade from stereo. Checked with the app to make sure I got DD 5.1.



But since you said I still need netflix app to get 5.1 even with the new sound card, what use does the sound card have for me now? Wouldn’t the soundcard only be an upgrade when I get more speakers (for the real 5.1 surround)?
You'd get surround for games for example. Even though you don't have surrounds, you'd notice difference like that you just notices with PS4. The Beam is actually 3.0 soundbar, so you'd get some additional directionallity. If you only watch movies from files(!!!), you can use KODI to transcode and bitstream dolby via existing optical out. In this case, you don't need the soundcard.



Also, be sure to move the soundbar as fas away from you as you can without putting obstacles in front of it to allow for the directionality effect. It was designed to serve as a sound bar for a TV, meaning some distance from the viewer.



And every time you movie it, do a trueplay tuning. And try to elevate it a little bit if it is far back on the desk. The sound waves bounce off the desk panel in front of it, so if you elevate it a little bit, you reduce this reflection, and improve the sound quality. Also, the closer it it vertically to your ear level, the better it will sound.



edit: if you have win 8 or 10, windows netflix app will give you 5.1 in combination with the DDL soundcard.



edit 2: try netflix app on PS4 as well!




Thanks, you keep on giving me good solutions 😉. My plan is as follows:




  • upgrade to windows 10 (need to upgrade by the end of the year anyways since windows stops supporting windows 7);
  • Get one sonos one (so google assistant can hear me clearly in the whole room) and one of the ikea bookshels speakers;
  • when that is all complete will make setup: beam under monitor and the other two speakers behind me one left, one right;
  • After all those purchases I will get the sound card, since I don’t play any movies through files at all, will stream a lot through netflix and sooner or later disney +;
  • if I have any mor budget this year: a sonos subwoofer 🙂.

The setup with the two aditiobal speakers (one room) should give a surround effect but need DD 5.1 to give the true surround sound right?
Userlevel 2
Badge +3












Yea don't think it is worth to stick money in those chinese extractors/converters for now. The soundcard should provide for the best daily music (I stream netflix, music (spotify), games and 90% of my content through pc). Every once in a while I watch a blu-ray so it ain't a must to get my PS4 hooked up. I did however find a workaround device that can get my ps4 an optical output if necessary.Be sure to use Windows 10 netflix app from app store! That's the only way to get 5.1 surround sound when streaming via PC. Also, for Blu-Ray, if the disc uses DTS, you'll either get silence or stereo. But, XBOX one actually can transcode dts to dolby...



As I said though, for PC, if you have files that contain DTS encoded sound, try KODI. It has options (expert/advanced menu) to passthrough and transcode to Dolby.
I see, I am using windows 7 still lol. But if I would get the Sound blaster Omni all sounds will be converted to DD 5.1 right? Found out that my brother has the older ps4, so I am going to test on that.
Try netflix on that PS4, it should output dolby digital 5.1.
Just listened to dolby digital 5.1 through my brothers ps4. The sound gets harder and clearer. It is indeed an upgrade from stereo. Checked with the app to make sure I got DD 5.1.



But since you said I still need netflix app to get 5.1 even with the new sound card, what use does the sound card have for me now? Wouldn’t the soundcard only be an upgrade when I get more speakers (for the real 5.1 surround)?
You'd get surround for games for example. Even though you don't have surrounds, you'd notice difference like that you just notices with PS4. The Beam is actually 3.0 soundbar, so you'd get some additional directionallity. If you only watch movies from files(!!!), you can use KODI to transcode and bitstream dolby via existing optical out. In this case, you don't need the soundcard.



Also, be sure to move the soundbar as fas away from you as you can without putting obstacles in front of it to allow for the directionality effect. It was designed to serve as a sound bar for a TV, meaning some distance from the viewer.



And every time you movie it, do a trueplay tuning. And try to elevate it a little bit if it is far back on the desk. The sound waves bounce off the desk panel in front of it, so if you elevate it a little bit, you reduce this reflection, and improve the sound quality. Also, the closer it it vertically to your ear level, the better it will sound.



edit: if you have win 8 or 10, windows netflix app will give you 5.1 in combination with the DDL soundcard.



edit 2: try netflix app on PS4 as well!
Thanks, you keep on giving me good solutions 😉. My plan is as follows:




  • upgrade to windows 10 (need to upgrade by the end of the year anyways since windows stops supporting windows 7);
  • Get one sonos one (so google assistant can hear me clearly in the whole room) and one of the ikea bookshels speakers;
  • when that is all complete will make setup: beam under monitor and the other two speakers behind me one left, one right;
  • After all those purchases I will get the sound card, since I don’t play any movies through files at all, will stream a lot through netflix and sooner or later disney +;
  • if I have any mor budget this year: a sonos subwoofer 🙂.
The setup with the two aditiobal speakers (one room) should give a surround effect but need DD 5.1 to give the true surround sound right?




You have to get two identical speakers for surrounds, so either 2x Ikea, or 2x one, or 2x Play:1. Can't mix and match.



If you get windows 10, and netflix app, you still don't get surround out of Sonos unless you have a DDL soundcard. Only W10 + Netflix app + DDL via optical will get you 5.1 surround sound. or 5.0 if you don't have sub. But play around with bass setting in the Sonos app, you'd be surprised how good Beam is with bass.



For surround, if you feed the setup stereo, it will just extend it to rear speakers. It is still stereo, just from more places. You need DD 5.1 input into Sonos Beam to have proper surround.
Badge














Yea don't think it is worth to stick money in those chinese extractors/converters for now. The soundcard should provide for the best daily music (I stream netflix, music (spotify), games and 90% of my content through pc). Every once in a while I watch a blu-ray so it ain't a must to get my PS4 hooked up. I did however find a workaround device that can get my ps4 an optical output if necessary.Be sure to use Windows 10 netflix app from app store! That's the only way to get 5.1 surround sound when streaming via PC. Also, for Blu-Ray, if the disc uses DTS, you'll either get silence or stereo. But, XBOX one actually can transcode dts to dolby...



As I said though, for PC, if you have files that contain DTS encoded sound, try KODI. It has options (expert/advanced menu) to passthrough and transcode to Dolby.
I see, I am using windows 7 still lol. But if I would get the Sound blaster Omni all sounds will be converted to DD 5.1 right? Found out that my brother has the older ps4, so I am going to test on that.
Try netflix on that PS4, it should output dolby digital 5.1.
Just listened to dolby digital 5.1 through my brothers ps4. The sound gets harder and clearer. It is indeed an upgrade from stereo. Checked with the app to make sure I got DD 5.1.



But since you said I still need netflix app to get 5.1 even with the new sound card, what use does the sound card have for me now? Wouldn’t the soundcard only be an upgrade when I get more speakers (for the real 5.1 surround)?
You'd get surround for games for example. Even though you don't have surrounds, you'd notice difference like that you just notices with PS4. The Beam is actually 3.0 soundbar, so you'd get some additional directionallity. If you only watch movies from files(!!!), you can use KODI to transcode and bitstream dolby via existing optical out. In this case, you don't need the soundcard.



Also, be sure to move the soundbar as fas away from you as you can without putting obstacles in front of it to allow for the directionality effect. It was designed to serve as a sound bar for a TV, meaning some distance from the viewer.



And every time you movie it, do a trueplay tuning. And try to elevate it a little bit if it is far back on the desk. The sound waves bounce off the desk panel in front of it, so if you elevate it a little bit, you reduce this reflection, and improve the sound quality. Also, the closer it it vertically to your ear level, the better it will sound.



edit: if you have win 8 or 10, windows netflix app will give you 5.1 in combination with the DDL soundcard.



edit 2: try netflix app on PS4 as well!
Thanks, you keep on giving me good solutions 😉. My plan is as follows:




  • upgrade to windows 10 (need to upgrade by the end of the year anyways since windows stops supporting windows 7);
  • Get one sonos one (so google assistant can hear me clearly in the whole room) and one of the ikea bookshels speakers;
  • when that is all complete will make setup: beam under monitor and the other two speakers behind me one left, one right;
  • After all those purchases I will get the sound card, since I don’t play any movies through files at all, will stream a lot through netflix and sooner or later disney +;
  • if I have any mor budget this year: a sonos subwoofer 🙂.
The setup with the two aditiobal speakers (one room) should give a surround effect but need DD 5.1 to give the true surround sound right?
You have to get two identical speakers for surrounds, so either 2x Ikea, or 2x one, or 2x Play:1. Can't mix and match.



If you get windows 10, and netflix app, you still don't get surround out of Sonos unless you have a DDL soundcard. Only W10 + Netflix app + DDL via optical will get you 5.1 surround sound. or 5.0 if you don't have sub. But play around with bass setting in the Sonos app, you'd be surprised how good Beam is with bass.



For surround, if you feed the setup stereo, it will just extend it to rear speakers. It is still stereo, just from more places. You need DD 5.1 input into Sonos Beam to have proper surround.




Alright then it is how I thought it was with the surround. For now DD 5.(1/0) has not my top priority, first I would like to expand the set, when that is complete I’ll get the sound card for proper surround 😉.



Just out of curiosity, would you have surround when you watch television (and use the arc port in a television that has that) or would you still only get it from sources that output 5.1 DD?
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Yea don't think it is worth to stick money in those chinese extractors/converters for now. The soundcard should provide for the best daily music (I stream netflix, music (spotify), games and 90% of my content through pc). Every once in a while I watch a blu-ray so it ain't a must to get my PS4 hooked up. I did however find a workaround device that can get my ps4 an optical output if necessary.Be sure to use Windows 10 netflix app from app store! That's the only way to get 5.1 surround sound when streaming via PC. Also, for Blu-Ray, if the disc uses DTS, you'll either get silence or stereo. But, XBOX one actually can transcode dts to dolby...



As I said though, for PC, if you have files that contain DTS encoded sound, try KODI. It has options (expert/advanced menu) to passthrough and transcode to Dolby.
I see, I am using windows 7 still lol. But if I would get the Sound blaster Omni all sounds will be converted to DD 5.1 right? Found out that my brother has the older ps4, so I am going to test on that.
Try netflix on that PS4, it should output dolby digital 5.1.
Just listened to dolby digital 5.1 through my brothers ps4. The sound gets harder and clearer. It is indeed an upgrade from stereo. Checked with the app to make sure I got DD 5.1.



But since you said I still need netflix app to get 5.1 even with the new sound card, what use does the sound card have for me now? Wouldn’t the soundcard only be an upgrade when I get more speakers (for the real 5.1 surround)?
You'd get surround for games for example. Even though you don't have surrounds, you'd notice difference like that you just notices with PS4. The Beam is actually 3.0 soundbar, so you'd get some additional directionallity. If you only watch movies from files(!!!), you can use KODI to transcode and bitstream dolby via existing optical out. In this case, you don't need the soundcard.



Also, be sure to move the soundbar as fas away from you as you can without putting obstacles in front of it to allow for the directionality effect. It was designed to serve as a sound bar for a TV, meaning some distance from the viewer.



And every time you movie it, do a trueplay tuning. And try to elevate it a little bit if it is far back on the desk. The sound waves bounce off the desk panel in front of it, so if you elevate it a little bit, you reduce this reflection, and improve the sound quality. Also, the closer it it vertically to your ear level, the better it will sound.



edit: if you have win 8 or 10, windows netflix app will give you 5.1 in combination with the DDL soundcard.



edit 2: try netflix app on PS4 as well!
Thanks, you keep on giving me good solutions 😉. My plan is as follows:




  • upgrade to windows 10 (need to upgrade by the end of the year anyways since windows stops supporting windows 7);
  • Get one sonos one (so google assistant can hear me clearly in the whole room) and one of the ikea bookshels speakers;
  • when that is all complete will make setup: beam under monitor and the other two speakers behind me one left, one right;
  • After all those purchases I will get the sound card, since I don’t play any movies through files at all, will stream a lot through netflix and sooner or later disney +;
  • if I have any mor budget this year: a sonos subwoofer 🙂.
The setup with the two aditiobal speakers (one room) should give a surround effect but need DD 5.1 to give the true surround sound right?
You have to get two identical speakers for surrounds, so either 2x Ikea, or 2x one, or 2x Play:1. Can't mix and match.



If you get windows 10, and netflix app, you still don't get surround out of Sonos unless you have a DDL soundcard. Only W10 + Netflix app + DDL via optical will get you 5.1 surround sound. or 5.0 if you don't have sub. But play around with bass setting in the Sonos app, you'd be surprised how good Beam is with bass.



For surround, if you feed the setup stereo, it will just extend it to rear speakers. It is still stereo, just from more places. You need DD 5.1 input into Sonos Beam to have proper surround.
Alright then it is how I thought it was with the surround. For now DD 5.(1/0) has not my top priority, first I would like to expand the set, when that is complete I’ll get the sound card for proper surround 😉.



Just out of curiosity, would you have surround when you watch television (and use the arc port in a television that has that) or would you still only get it from sources that output 5.1 DD?




I'd prefer to hear only beam when the source is stereo. When the source is 5.1, then I'd like to have the rear speakers kick in. Plus, when I watch non-blockbuster type content, I put on night mode and disable the sub. Sounds more "normal" that way.
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I'd prefer to hear only beam when the source is stereo. When the source is 5.1, then I'd like to have the rear speakers kick in. Plus, when I watch non-blockbuster type content, I put on night mode and disable the sub. Sounds more "normal" that way





Hmm... so I will have to think twice in what order I buy what. I want to get the sonos one’s or the ikea bookshelf speakers (probably the one’s) I also listen a lot of music probably even more as watching series/movies. But I got all information now thanks to you and I only have to figure out where I want to put my money first 😉.
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@Herr_Vlad



Quick update:




  • I bought The soundblaster Omni 5.1;
  • Installed Windows 10 on PC
  • Bought 2x Sonos one (for surround)!.

Everything installed and everything working (ish). Still struggling to find the right settings. I do get DDL 5.1 now, but for some songs it sound AWESOME and for some it is oke. I am struggling finding the right settings in the sound blaster controller.



p.s. I can't control sound through my omni and/or windows (i.e. I have to control seperately from each app / each youtube video / spotify etc. I can't use the soundmixer to mute all (if I set sound to 0 I still get sound ...) I also can't use the functions for volume up/down/mute on my keyboard or omni device). Any tips on how to fix that?



Thanks in advance!
Userlevel 2
Badge +3
@Herr_Vlad







Quick update:




  • I bought The soundblaster Omni 5.1;
  • Installed Windows 10 on PC
  • Bought 2x Sonos one (for surround)!.
Everything installed and everything working (ish). Still struggling to find the right settings. I do get DDL 5.1 now, but for some songs it sound AWESOME and for some it is oke. I am struggling finding the right settings in the sound blaster controller.



p.s. I can't control sound through my omni and/or windows (i.e. I have to control seperately from each app / each youtube video / spotify etc. I can't use the soundmixer to mute all (if I set sound to 0 I still get sound ...) I also can't use the functions for volume up/down/mute on my keyboard or omni device). Any tips on how to fix that?



Thanks in advance!






Sorry for very late response. I'm glad you have a full surround setup, and I hope you're enjoying it. How do the games, movies and TV shows sound now? 🙂 Can you please do a comparison for others here of using 2ch PCM vs DD 5.1 output on the same Sonos setup, especially with surround sound content? Was getting the Soundblaster Omni worth it?



So, I use Asus U7, and it's a bit different. I have an app that comes with the soundcard that offers pure stereo output (PCM), and then let the receiver(Sonos) handle it, I have the option of outputting 2 channels in 5.1 mix(DD 5.1), effectively muting center, rears and sub, and there are a few software mixing modes. When playing music, it depends really. I have my PC next to my TV, so when I play from PC to Sonos is when I'm using the TV as screen for gaming or movies, and don't play music via optical to Beam. All the music I play is either streamed from the net or from my shared library from PC via Sonos Controller. So, I really don't know what to tell you there. And I don't yet have rears for Sonos, but soon I'll have that covered too. Try things out and stick to what sounds best...



Personally, I have an old, yet very decent integrated amp with again old, yet very decent 2x 40watt (RMS) speakers on my PC desk that I use with PC (again, using Asus U7, but analogue output). This is for my "critical listening" sessions (less and less by the day since buying Sonos), and since my analog output chain is almost completely flat (a difficult feat to match devices like that), I use in my hobbyists/amateurish audio/video editing as near field monitor system. And I use it when I want to be really, like obnoxiously loud, but that's hardly ever.



Usually, most optical outputs (TVs, DVD/Blu-Ray players, game consoles, etc.) don't have volume control by design. Drivers might implement that in some sound cards, but what I did is I use a TV remote. I use optical connection, but even if not, I'd disable HDMI-CEC and use IR sensor on Beam. Why? Well, glad you asked! :D



If you use HDMI-CEC, your TV needs to be on to control volume of the Beam. BUT, if you tell Beam to only use IR sensor, and train it with you TV remote (you might even look for an older remote that doesn't work with your TV to have a standalone volume control), it will respond to volume control in any situation, regardless what is the source audio.



Edit: Did you do TruePlay tuning? In my experience, it improves the sound quality quite a lot!