Question

Thinking of buying 5.1 surround sonos


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I’m thinking of purchasing a pair of play 1s to complement my sound bar and sub ! I’m wanting 5.1 surround but worried I won’t get that as my tv isn’t listed on the recommended list of tvs on the sonos forum

42 replies

One of us is confused, and I'm not sure if it's you or me.

This soundbar you have...is it a Sonos? If not, then the PLAY:1s will not work as surrounds. If it is, all that is required for 5.1 sound to work is 1) the TV must have an optical output and 2) there must be a dolby digital signal passed out of the optical output.
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It’s all sonos mate , sonos sub sonos sound bar ! I’ve an Xbox one and PS4 all connected to the tv also I think my sound bar is running an optical to the back off my tv
Well, then both 1) and 2) need to exist. Since it is a Sonos already, I'm assuming 1) does exist.
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Yeah my sound bar has an optical going to the tv
Userlevel 3
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Rlspurs31 wrote:

I’m thinking of purchasing a pair of play 1s to complement my sound bar and sub ! I’m wanting 5.1 surround but worried I won’t get that as my tv isn’t listed on the recommended list of tvs on the sonos forum



What this boils down to a question of what happens to Dolby Digital. That's what the compatibility list is all about.


When a source and a TV connect via HDMI there's a handshake between the two devices. Part of this handshake is the TV telling the source device (PS4 and Xbox One in your case) what sound format to send. From your description then it would seem the TV will request stereo sound from these two sources.

That stereo sound (Stereo PCM) will be passed to the Playbar. It will apply some audio processing (an algorithm) similar to Dolby ProLogic II that generates a pseudo-surround effect for the rear channel speakers.

In short then, you'll get a surround effect from the rear speakers, but it won't be as clear and precise as when the Playbar receives Dolby Digital 5.1.


The next logical question is "Can this be improved? "

The answer is Yes, but not easily.

To get DD5.1 to the Playbar requires an Optical connection direct from each source. Currently you have three Optical sources. These are the two consoles and the TV. You could decide to swap the Optical cable between sources. It's a solution, and it's cheap, but it's not elegant.

Alternatively you could use an Optical switch. They come in two versions: manual (a rotary dial with three or four stop points), or a remote-controlled switch. The manual Optical switch will cost between £7 and £18 depending on whose badge is on the outside. Quality and reliability is a bit variable. Don't be surprised if you have to send the first one or two back as faulty.

The remote-controlled switches work far better but at a cost. The Lindy 4-way is £79.


Set both consoles to output DD5.1 (bitstream) via Optical and you should be in business. This will give you discrete (proper) rear surround information delivered to whichever versions of the Play speakers you use for the rears.
Userlevel 7
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With your tv optical hooked to the playbar. Go into Sonos settings. Advanced. About my Sonos. Look to see signal type. Is it dd5.1 or is it showing as stereo. If stereo showing your tv may not pass 5.1. If just stereo hen confirm your device is actually passing 5.1 by hooking optical then direct from device to playbar. If then it says 5.1 you know the tv is blocking.

If no way to have your tv Pass then just get a switch to do the passing.
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Morning m8 I just checked on my sonos and it says my PLAYBAR is stereo ! I just don’t understand all this lol I’ve just checked on my Samsung menu in sound and I’ve 3 options dtv audio level , digital audio out , Dolby Digital comp rf ! Only option that’s highlighted is the Dolby audio out and when pressed I get another option which says audio formet pcm and audio delay ! If I choose audio format I get a list pcm dd dts dts neo 2:5 ( only pcm and dts neo available )
Userlevel 7
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You want dd.

What is your source playing into tv. It may be sending in dts. Adjust at the source.
Userlevel 7
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If it’s a blu ray player and doesn’t do dd then that may be problem. Most blu ray don’t do dd you have to have one that does.
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I’ve just spoken to Samsung and they said my tv does do Dolby Digital and Dd premium 5.1 I’ve an Xbox one and PS4 and sky tv all connected through hdmi cables and my sonos soundbar runs optical ! The lady at Samsung reckons this should all work now through dd but when I try highlight the output dd it just tells me this operation can not be performed on this audio format
Userlevel 7
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Check your Xbox output
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I’m wondering if i should just invest in a optical cable switch and make it all that way
Userlevel 7
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Let’s first use Xbox as an example. Gonin sound settings for Xbox and make sure dd 5.1. Run optical direct from Xbox to the playbar. Check settings and see that playbar is getting 5.1. Then go back to run hdmi to tv and optical from tv. Check tv settings then check Sonos settings to see if still getting 5.1. If not maybe it is tv and need switch.
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Hi m8 ok I went to settings on Xbox and found sound set up , audio output and got the pic below ! I then went to optical audio and got stereo compressed and bitstream out , if I click bitstream I get bitstream format ( Dolby Digital ) once that’s clicked I get dts digital surround or Dolby Digital , not sure which 1 I go with !!! Anyway I chose digital surround ! I put optical cable from Xbox to soundbar and found in my sonos products that I was getting 5.1 but Lost the 5.1 again once I went through hdmi on the tv menu ! Sorry for this , just not my thing lol

Userlevel 7
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You want Dolby digital not dts.
Userlevel 4
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This might help, xbox settings:-
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3837/kw/xbox/session/L3RpbWUvMTUxMzA5MjM5MS9zaWQvZlVEN1hjUllCNDQ0dVgwWHdMTDlTc1ZYekI0MnRuNTRaR2VvaEtxU0JET3c4V2pfVXlrdzQzVFQwRXZEcWVrcjMxdG1yV040TWglN0VDd1hUSmVvM1E4ZW90Unl3UFpYVmpkbTcyUmVJWFlYaTZ1N0YlN0VpNVlXYjYyQSUyMSUyMQ==
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Ok mate thanx il have a look on there now and if ok to message u again for advise !!
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Thanx m8 that helped a lot and will set it up ! Would I get 5.1 in gaming on PS4 and Xbox or would I need a optical switch box to have a optical from PS4 and xbox
Userlevel 7
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Once you get 5.1 coming form the Xbox or PlayStation winter direct to playbar. Then we need to see if you will still get it wired from tv. If you don’t then you will need a switch
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Ok thanx m8 il look into it ! Didn’t realise it would all be so complicated lol
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Hi m8 I’m looking up optical cable switches and cane across this on amazon ! Will this be ok to use or do I know of one ?

Userlevel 2
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That should work. I have one very similar for my setup.
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Lovely cheers
Userlevel 3
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I'd try to get it throught the TV first if you can, just makes it simpler.

I beleive the TV may not allow you to switch to DD 5.1 output unless it's actually playing a 5.1 program at the time.

Sky should have an option for Dolby Digital in it's menu, after enabling it you may have to turn the Sky box off and back on again so it "handshakes" correctly with the TV.
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Oh great advise thanx m8 il look this up on sky cheers

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