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Setup for Stereo AND Surround using Samsung S95B

  • 21 December 2023
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I have a Samsung OLED S95B TV that controls all my music - it runs Plex, Apple Music and YouTube. Sound is via an old 3.1 THX sound system. The sound is not up to scratch with the TV and I want to upgrade to Sonos.

I am thinking the Ultimate Immersive Set, with an ARC, a Sub, and 2 x ERA300 for surround speakers… That should be easy to set up. Connect the Arc to the TV via HDMI, and the Arc connects to the rest.

However, I also would like to have a great setup for listening to music from my TV, and for that I thought about 2 additional ERA300s, or 2 x Fives.

If I was to buy 2 x ERA300s or 2 x Fives, how would I connect that? Would the ARC be connected to the TV and control the 2 “front” speakers, and only use these if I wanted to listen to music, vs. watching TV and using the surround setup? Or am I asking for too much?

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Best answer by jgatie 21 December 2023, 15:20

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The set you’ve chosen for surround will be all you can fit into one “room” in the Sonos environment, except for the one extra Sub you could ad.

If listening to music from your TV is important you could add a couple of Five’s if you want quality but no Atmos, but there would not be a way to connect them directly to your TV. They could be grouped with the Arc which you could then turn the volume down on, so only the Five’s would play. This is important because the Five will play a bit out of sync compared to the surround set up. Also the Sub would not play with the Five’s because it is connected to the surround set up.

If you are not interested in Atmos and could live with the “phantom” center channel it computes, you could also go for an Amp with two non-Sonos stereo speakers instead of the Arc. This would create a direct connection between TV and front speakers. It would also mean the Sub and surrounds would be used when playing music. Depending on your tastes this could be an advantage as well as a disadvantage.

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Thank you for explaining…

Let me get this straight…

The surround setup is “easy”, but if I add 2 more ERA300s or 2 x Fives, I will have to define them as a Group in another room, and if I then select to play music on my TV, say Apple Music, to this Group, I can’t include the Sub, and I will have to turn down the volume on the Arc? Can’t the Sub be in two groups, and why is the Arc playing, if not in that Group?

Unfortunately the suggestion of using an Amp is a no-go. The Amp doesn’t have optical input, and that the only thing that’s left on my TV.

A Sub can only be connected to one room at a time, and in your scenario, the Immersive system and the two Fives are two different rooms.  Unfortunately, the way the sub/surrounds are connected to the soundbar needs to be very different (private, direct, one-way, 5 GHz, low latency) from the way a Sub is connected to a stereo pair (standard Sonos 2.4 GHz buffered).  For TV sources, there has to be the low latency connection to stay in sync with the video, and for stereo, it needs to be buffered more and use the stronger 2.4 GHz connection in order to group through walls and floors.

As you will see when you set these up, each configuration takes time to configure the radios and do the handshake to establish a good connection, so you cannot switch between the two instantaneously.

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OK - I think I understand that…

So I can indeed setup the Ultimate Immersive Set with my TV for surround etc. And then I can buy another set of ERA300s or Fives, and set these up as a different group, and when I want to watch TV, use the Surround group, and when I want to listen to music, use the Music group - all via the Arc connected to the TV?

As for the Sub, it will be in the Surround group only. What if I bought another Sub, could I put that in the Music group?

OK - I think I understand that…

So I can indeed setup the Ultimate Immersive Set with my TV for surround etc. And then I can buy another set of ERA300s or Fives, and set these up as a different group, and when I want to watch TV, use the Surround group, and when I want to listen to music, use the Music group - all via the Arc connected to the TV?

 

Correct, except it isn’t “all via the Arc”.  The music group will be separate from the Arc, but they will all be in the same “system” and available to you in the Sonos app.  So you could be playing two different sources in each room (which would be funny because they are in the same physical “room”, but it is possible, and handy of you expand your system to other rooms).

 

As for the Sub, it will be in the Surround group only. What if I bought another Sub, could I put that in the Music group?

 

Yes you could have two Subs, each bonded to a different room.  But honestly, the Five sounds very, very good without a Sub.  It’s Sonos most complete speaker.

FYI, in Sonos tech spec, you are using the word ‘group’ in the wrong context.  Individual speakers are semi-permanently bonded, or paired with other speakers to form a ‘room’. The speakers in a room will always play the same audio at the same relative volume.  The Immersive set, for example, would require you to bond the Era 300s and sub to the Arc to form your home theatre room.  If you get an additional pair of speakers, this pair would be setup as a second room, call it your music room.  

If you want to play have your home theatre room and music play the same audio source, you would ‘group’ them together.  Grouping is much more temporary than speakers bonded in a room, and can be done quickly at anytime.  You can control the volume of different rooms in a group individually, hence why you were told you could mute your home theatre room, while playing TV audio in your music room.

This probably appears like nitpicking semantics, but it can end up a lot of confusion in conversation.

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I like details, and they matter:)

In that setup, with the Ultimate Immersive Set for the “Surround Sound Room”, and 2 Fives for the “Music Room”, the Arc is connected to the TV via HDMI eARC, and the Arc connects wirelessly to the Sub and surround speakers. 

The Fives are also connected wirelessly to the Arc - but defined in another room. How can I play Apple Music on the TV and ensure that is what is streamed to the Fives in the “Music Room”, and not the “Surround Music Room”?

 

You would just stream your music to one room, and not group the other. 

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Sorry to be pedantic…

So I would play Apple Music on the TV as usual, but select in the Sonos App to send the music to the “Music Room”, and that would only play on the Fives then? And when watching movies I would simply not play in the “Music Room”, and the sound would come out on the surround set?

Would the better choice be 2 x ERA300s or 2 x Fives for music only?

Yes. 

Depends on your ears, your music tastes. Since I tend to listen to stereo music, and not bother with Atmos music, my preference is the Fives, which are outstanding for me. But you should visit a local retailer, and listen to both, and make your own choice, based on what you hear, what type of music you listen to, etc. Either way, I suspect you’ll be very happy. 

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Listening to both is the best bet, as said.

When listening to the 300s you might want to try them with a mini-Sub added to see if you like that better than teh Fives.

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Unfortunately I cannot get it to work…

I set up the Arc, the Sub and the Surrounds (2 x ERA300) in Living-room and that setup works great. The TV delivers sound via HDMI on the Arc.

However, I set up 2 additional ERA300s (they didn’t have any Fives), and put them as a stereo-set in a Music-room. Now I can send music to them via my iPad or iPhone, but I can’t send music to the Music-room from the TV - at least I can’t figure it out.

Any pointers?

 

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If my vision is not possible, is there another way I can connect my TV to the 2 x Sonos Five speakers? I only have HDMI, Optical, Ethernet, WiFi, and Bluetooth on the TV… No line-out or headphone jack.

As previously stated, you should be able to group the two rooms, assuming you’ve set up both ‘rooms’ in the same Sonos system. There will be a slight delay between the home theater room, and the stere pair’s room. If you’ve mistanly set up two Sonos systems, I’d suggest a factory reset of just the 300s, and then use the ‘add a device’ function in the controller while it’s connected to your home theater system. It will know to put the additional speakers in another Sonos ‘room’, where you physically place them is up to you. 

 

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I have done all of that, but still can’t play TV on the two Fives…

I will try and factory reset the entire setup…

If this doesn’t work, I reckon I can connect the Fives to the Samsung TV using a 192KHz Digital Optical to RCA L/R & 3.5mm AUX Converter Cord. This will bring the TV sound into the Fives, which seems to be the challenge with the Arc.

Don’t factory reset everything, just the Fives, and then add them to the existing system of the home theater room. 

At the end of the day, when you open the Sonos controller, you should see two rooms, one with the Home Theater devices, and one with the pair of Fives. Once that exists, you can group as desired. 

Note that the analog line in on the Fives, that you mentioned you might use via a convoluted setup, would still incur the 75ms delay, as all Sonos analog line ins do.