Surround Sound not playing all speakers

  • 13 June 2019
  • 7 replies

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My apologies if this has already been asked, but I'm having trouble getting sound on a couple of built-in speakers. I have Sonos speakers in most rooms of my house, but my family room and kitchen both have built-in speakers in the ceiling that are powered by a Sonos Amp and Preamp (?) that run through a home theater receiver.

For whatever reason, when I am listening to music on Sonos, only two of the four in-ceiling speakers work in the family room. Funny thing is, all four of them work in the kitchen.

I tried messing around with a lot of the settings in the app, but couldn't get the speakers to work. Any thoughts?

7 replies

I'm not sure that I'm following your information....first, you're talking about surround sound, which implies a 5.1 system of some kind, but I'm not seeing anything about a sound bar in your post.

So, I'm going to assume you're just talking about some speakers not working when you're playing music.

You've got 4 in ceiling speakers in a room, and only 2 of them are working when you're playing your Sonos (and please, correct me where I'm mis-stating your information!)

Do the other two speakers ever play music? What are the circumstances when they do? Can you be more clear about what those speakers are connected to? Generally speaking (in the majority of cases) a CONNECT:AMP only runs a pair of speakers, not four. So I'm curious about that second pair.

What is this "pre-amp" you're speaking of? In most cases, a pre-amp is something that goes between a record player and a line-level input. It takes a low level output, known as a "phono level output" and raises it up to what pretty much everything else uses (such as CD, Tape, DVD, etc) known as "line level output". This is why traditional (read older...) receivers/amplifiers have very specific inputs for phone, because they treat that data very differently. This may not be important to you, but does explain why I'm confused when you say "pre-amp"

So, what are those four ceiling speakers connected to? Are they connected directly to a Sonos device, or are they connected to that Home Theater receiver that you spoke of?
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Thanks for the reply. I know just enough to be dangerous when it comes to electronics, networking, etc.

Instead of trying to answer your questions and leaving anything off, let me take a closer look at how everything is set up when I get home tonight and I'll reply tonight or in the morning.

Thanks again!
Just as a note, I'm not the only one with answers. There's a plethora of great people who frequent this forum who can answer questions. Most of them have more/better knowledge than I do. I just happen to type relatively quickly 🙂
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Ok, I took a look at the setup last night. Also, I realize that I should probably just make the A/V people come back and fix this, but I don't have much confidence in them. They were great with wiring the house, setting up all the TVs, etc., but they didn't seem to be as knowledgeable about Sonos. But I had so many standalone Sonos speakers from my old house that I forced it on them.

Regarding your "preamp" question...that was listed on our original quote as a "Sonos preamp", but appears to be the Connect:Amp. Not sure why it was listed as a preamp. And that one is working fine. My question really relates to the Connect and my receiver.

I have a Connect that is sending audio out to a Yamaha receiver (RX-V385). The receiver then has eight wires going out to the speakers...two each to the FR, FL, SR, SL. I also have a sub connected. Nothing is plugged in to the Center (I asked them about that and they said the front two speakers would act as the Center. I didn't know enough to challenge him, but I feel like he was being lazy and they just never installed a center speaker? Is it possible for the two front speakers to act as a center or to have surround sound without a center??).

Anyway, when I watch TV, Netflix, etc., all four of the in-ceiling speakers work. But when I switch over to Sonos to listen to music, the two surround speakers go silent. Any thoughts?
Userlevel 7
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Your further explanation clears things up a lot. So your family room speakers are powered by the Yamaha receiver, which is getting audio from the Sonos Connect, correct? When listening to music, you aren't getting any audio from the surround speakers? This is somewhat expected as the music is in stereo, which really only has a front left (FL) and front right (FR) audio channels. However, many receiver will have a configuration where you can have the SR and SL speakers play the stereo channels for stereo music sources as well. It's really a matter of looking at your owner's manually and seeing how that needs to be configured.

Looking at the manual (attached here), on page 50, I think all you'll need to do is press the RADIO button on your receiver's remote. For TV, you'd likely want to press the TV or BD/DVD buttons.

As far as the center channel goes, there are some receivers amps that create a phantom center channel (Sonos Amp) is one of them, but your receiver does not. Look at page 14 of your owner's manual. There is no 4.1 setup listed (FR, FL, SR, SL, sub). Since you are getting audio out of your rear speakers when watching TV (correct?) then audio is being sent to the Center channel.
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Thanks so much for the detailed reply and for even digging up the receiver's manual.

Yes, you are correct on the issue. I didn't have much time last night to troubleshoot, but I tried simply hitting "RADIO" and that didn't work. I think those buttons are preprogrammed for certain inputs, settings, etc. So I probably need to reprogram them for the settings I want. To complicate things further, it is all run through a Harmony remote which appears to be smarter than I am. And again, I know just enough about all this to be dangerous...and to really screw it up!!

I need to put a DVD in or something else where I would really be able to see what's going on with the surround for the TV and see if I'm missing audio or anything else by not having that center speaker. It sounds like from what you said that I can get away without a center as long as the receiver can send that center speaker's audio to the other speakers...which mine cannot.

Thanks again to both of you for the input. It's very helpful!
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Sorry that didn't work for you. It definitely sounds like the issue is with the configuration of your receiver, not to do with Sonos. So I'd review the manual and try out a few settings to see what works. It might be useful to contact Yamaha support as well