Truplay with Amp locked to Sonos branded Sonance speakers only?

  • 7 February 2019
  • 23 replies
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Announcement of the new Sonos external speakers (made by Sonance for Sonos to be sold as a Sonos branded product) has the hidden tidbit that with this setup Truplay will work to tune the speakers attached to the Amp.

There is mention of automatically detecting the signature of the Sonos-specific Sonance speakers. This sounds like a DRM to purposely prevent Truplay from working with any other 3rd party speakers connected to the AMP - including standard Sonance speakers already sold and being sold.

Is there any technical reason or is this a marketing ploy to push the new Sonos/Sonance speakers as "better" for Sonos Amp? I think allowing Truplay with any speakers attached to the Amp would be more customer friendly.

All existing AVR receivers with sound correction work with any attached speaker since most AVR makers don't make any speakers they obviously assume the customer will be choosing their own brand of speakers.

23 replies

This was never 'hdden' - my recollection is that it was made clear at the time the Amp was first made public.

It would be untypical of Sonos to do this to promote sales of Sonance speakers rather than for technical reasons. I doubt very much that the financial cut for Sonos would justify deliberately denying the best possible experience to the vast majority of Amp users. But obviously I cannot speak for Sonos.
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"untypical"? Well, as an integrator I can say they do a lot of things "untypical" that get a lot of dealers really angry with them, so I wouldn't give them a pass so quickly here.

The specs on the Sonos/Sonance don't look very different from existing Sonance other than pricing. The "specially configured for Sonos" makes us suspicious when there isn't any specific feature or spec that is claimed or disclosed other than the Truplay tuning.

I can run Anthem ARC on any speakers I plug in to the Anthem AVR. That's the whole point of a microphone-based arc algorithm - it measures the actual sound output in the room and then tunes the settings instead of relying on factory settings or arbitrary assumption on the typical room layout which is so variable.
"untypical"? Well, as an integrator I can say they do a lot of things "untypical" that get a lot of dealers really angry with them, so I wouldn't give them a pass so quickly here..

Such as? I am genuinely curious.
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Mainly business issues revolving around inventory levels, pricing and pricing/adjustments, availability, and channel conflict. Most are historical and hopefully no longer apply, and it isn't appropriate to discuss here but very common chatter in any dealer forum or discussion group.

Also a lot of historical issues with not providing an official API and cutting off, with very little warning 3rd party integrations that used widely known but unsanctioned integration methods, etc.

I came into the game later (last few years) so I don't have most of that baggage and unlike traditional dealers, I don't rely on selling products on big markups for profit so all the pricing complaints are not an issue for me.

Not promoting here or trolling, but since you asked, I charge for my time/design/install/support and client can buy all the equipment themselves while traditional dealers still want to make a large profit on the equipment which can be impossible when Amazon, Best Buy, and others sell everything close to dealer cost, in some cases.

That's an industry problem, not specific to Sonos but when you start out with big profit margins to dealers and they get squeezed, they have long memories 🙂
https://investors.sonos.com/news-and-events/investor-news/latest-news/2019/Sonos-Unveils-Sonos-Architectural-by-Sonance-the-First-Premium-Architectural-Speakers-Designed-for-use-with-Sonos-Amp/default.aspx

When paired with Sonos Amp, the In-Ceiling and In-Wall speakers’ unique hardware signature unlocks Trueplay™️ which accounts for the size, construction, and furnishings of the room where the speakers are placed, and automatically adjusts the EQ for optimal sound.

This suggests something electrical rather than an audio watermark (which could be obscured by the room effects). Perhaps the Amp recognises a unique impedance characteristic. I suppose it's also conceivable that the speaker senses a low DC voltage and responds in some way to basic signalling. Intriguing.
OK so you have some business gripes with Sonos. I said it would be untypical of Sonos to deliberately limit the experience of the bulk of users under the excuse of technical limitations, and I stand by that.
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The reply above "unlocks Truplay" sure sounds like DRM (artificial technical restriction) to me - untypical or not.
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All existing AVR receivers with sound correction work with any attached speaker since most AVR makers don't make any speakers they obviously assume the customer will be choosing their own brand of speakers.


Which actually makes me speculate that Trueplay is not exactly the same as the typical sound correction you get with other AVRs. Trueplay has been out for several years, long before these Sonance speakers were even thought of. If Trueplay could work with any 3rd party speakers, why didn't they give the Connect:amp Trueplay capabilities? There would be no sales benefit to Sonos with that exclusion, since they couldn't profit off sales of their own passive speakers. Perhaps they wanted to discourage sales of the Connect:amp in favor of their own smart speakers that do have Trueplay? Perhaps the Connect:amp itself wasn't capable of Trueplay tuning for some reason?

Another difference between Trueplay and other AVR sound correction tech is that Trueplay asks you to move the microphone about the room, while other tech has the mic stationary throughout tuning. So clearly they are not synonymous. Doesn't prove that Sonos isn't putting an artificial restriction either.

There are other features of Sonos products where they could have easily put in artificial restrictions to boost sales, but didn't. Things like music services available, voice control, airplay compatibility. Although in fairness, the benefit of restrictions would be minimal, and probably not worth any potential loss in customer goodwill.

Also worth noting that the outdoor Sonance speakers do not say they can be trueplay tuned. Sounds like trueplay won't work well in an outdoor environment.

All that said, since you clearly can do some form of tuning with any speakers, it seems like it would be a win for Sonos to offer a level of tuning for those with third party speakers, if Trueplay isn't an option. If it could be particular useful as an option for android phone users. But maybe Sonos doesn't feel like such an option is up to their standards.
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Just a minor clarification - although Yamaha and Denon (I think) have you keep the microphone in one place), Anthem gives you a tripod to hold the microphone at ear level, but you move around and take samples from multiple physical listening locations in the room.

And Anthem also has an app that runs on iOS devices using either the built-in Apple microphone or a calibrated external microphone.

They were very clear that they felt using the internal microphone was not ideal because of manufacturing variability and the internal mic can degrade over time and if the vents are clogged, etc.

In case you were not aware, Anthem, unlike most AVR's, uses a separate user-suupplied PC and a special individually calibrated microphone to perform the ARC calculations and not the internal DSP/CPU in the receiver. They claim more accuracy and horsepower, sounds right, but I have no data to prove/disprove that.
Lots of wild speculation around here. Why not simply ask Sonos?

Hey Sonos, do these Sonance speakers include a special chip which identifies them as TruePlay-compatible zone players within an existing Sonos household?
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Lots of wild speculation around here. Why not simply ask Sonos?

Hey Sonos, do these Sonance speakers include a special chip which identifies them as TruePlay-compatible zone players within an existing Sonos household?


It's not exactly "a special chip", but there is a way built into the Sonance and Sonos Architectural speakers which allows for the Amp to identify that it's connected with them, and will unlock Trueplay for that room.
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So can the new speakers be used with existing Connect:Amp and allow TruPlay to be used?
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The continued use of the word "unlock" sure sounds like an artificial DRM-style restriction to me.
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So can the new speakers be used with existing Connect:Amp and allow TruPlay to be used?
The Connect:Amp isn't able to run the room that's going to Trueplay with these new speakers.

The continued use of the word "unlock" sure sounds like an artificial DRM-style restriction to me.
In order for Trueplay to work, we need to know some specifics about the speakers and the microphone that's being used. It's part of how our Trueplay algorithms are designed, but I can't go into the details of the "secret sauce". This is one of many reasons why we've worked to specifically design these speakers with Sonance.
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I understand the microphone bit (hence only iPhones and not Android?), but I use Anthem ARC and it works well with any brand of speakers. I know this is apples to oranges (standard AVR amp with 3rd party speakers versus proprietary
Sonos Amp/Speakers), but I am just pointing out that Anthem's "secret sauce" works with any speaker and for microphones, they actually now offer a mobile app but strongly suggest buying their calibrated microphone as they believe there is too much variability in the built-in iPhone microphone.

So kind of interesting - they have the "secret sauce" to do audio correction with any speaker but must use their special microphone, while Sonos "secret sauce" with work with vanilla iPhone microphone but only Sonos or Sonos/Sonance speakers.
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It's great that they offer such flexibility, that's a level of compromise worth respecting. I'm happy to pass along the message to the team that you'd like to see more flexibility here. I can only assume what their tuning does is different from what we do with Trueplay, similar intent, but different ingredients and process. Yes, the reason that we're only using iOS devices only for Trueplay is that we found too much variety with Android devices.
Devialet's SAM system has templates for every speaker they've measured, so their "secret sauce" is specific to certain speakers, too. Lots of marketing BS here, but may be some sound engineering behind it: They do tend to market to "high end" customers, so I take them with huge grains of salt.

https://www.devialet.com/en-us/expert-pro-sam/
It looks like Devialet measure the speaker's effective transfer function in the lab then apply the inverse in the amp, so as produce linearity in ideal conditions. Quite how that deals with real room resonance modes, or compensates for a speaker stuffed inside furniture, is unclear.
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Yeah, the obvious elephant in the room is how much do any of these systems use science/tech or just voodo? How much difference does it really make and how much is just clever sounding marketing BS.

At least as far as the normal consumer is concerned, not the "vinyl versus digital and tubes versus transistor" ultra fanatic crowd.
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I'd still vote for multiple 'levels' of tuning available based on what speakers/equipment you have, and what mics you're using. Then again, I can't really say if lower levels of tuning make a big enough difference to be worth doing.
It looks like Devialet measure the speaker's effective transfer function in the lab then apply the inverse in the amp, so as produce linearity in ideal conditions. Quite how that deals with real room resonance modes, or compensates for a speaker stuffed inside furniture, is unclear.

So pretty much what Sonos does BEFORE TruePlay. Great if you're in a room with good acoustics, but not room correction. BTW, Alan Shaw of Harbeth wasn't terribly pleased about Devialet doing this for his speakers, without his consent.
So pretty much what Sonos does BEFORE TruePlay.
Indeed. It's called an 'active speaker'. 😉
I have a set of VP66s hooked up to the new sonos amp and when I hit detect sonos architectural they are not picked up. The VP66s appear to be higher in range from a sonance perspective than the sonos colab so it appears they do lock it out to that 599 set only which is disappointing. Just an FYI for anyone who wasn’t able to find confirmation.

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