Question

Sonos Beam Optical input no longer working


Userlevel 2

I’ve had a Sonos Beam for several years, hooked up to a system to allow me to play output from my computer. This required a bit of tinkering to get right! I had to:

  • Buy a device that converts USB → SPDIF
  • Get a SPDIF → HDMI converter
  • Connect all that up so that I had USB → SPDIF → HDMI → HDMI into the Beam

Since getting that sorted it has worked great! Until yesterday, when suddenly I could no longer get any audio through this setup :(. In all other respects the Beam works fine - I can connect to it through the app and play audio that way, and it correctly makes noises when I press the buttons.

Things I’ve tried to fix the problem:

  • Unplug and replug all of the various connections
  • Reboot computer
  • Reboot Beam
  • Fiddle around with the audio output settings from my computer (as far as I can tell they are all fine)
  • Rotate the HDMI-HDMI cable

I’m pretty sure that everything is fine as far as the USB->SPDIF converter, because you don’t have an optical cable plugged in you can see the red light that the converter sends down the the SPDIF out. And nothing has happened recently that would explain why the rest of the cabling has stopped working. So I was wondering if perhaps there has been a firmware update of some kind for the Beam that might have broken this.

Anyone have any ideas what the cause might be, and what I could try to fix it?


49 replies

Userlevel 2

I feel your pain. I have a Playbar with an optical in and am doing USB > optical > Playbar and the app always shows “Audio In: Silence” under the stats. Nothing will make it register audio input anymore. I’ve even confirmed the optical connection and cable are just fine by running the optical cable into a separate DAC headphone amp and music plays fine.

I can play streaming music just fine, but all local connections are kaput. I am wondering if this has something to do with the recent update. None of this would probably be happening if Sonos had just included a standard line in on these devices. I’m honestly kind of tempted to just sell it and buy something that will actually work.

Userlevel 2

I had a go at factory resetting my Beam and then reconnecting the “TV” input to it. What I found was that the Beam can no longer recognise the HDMI ARC input that is coming from the SPDIF optical converter. I get the error message:

HDMI ARC is not detected. Make sure that the HDMI cable is connected to the ARC port and your TV is on.

This worked fine before, so the only explanation I have is that somehow the way the conversion from SPDIF → HDMI ARC does something that the updated Sonos can’t handle.

Having read a little bit about the HDMI ARC spec, I have a theory that Sonos is now expecting to be able to send data down the HDMI ARC connection as well as receive it (maybe as part of the setup process, maybe as part of general operation?), but because SPDIF only supports data being sent in one direction that’s being dropped before it reaches my computer.

If that’s the case it’s a pretty big drop in functionality! Short of finding a way to break the HDMI ARC signal into a separate SPDIF out and SPDIF in, I’m not sure how it can be fixed :(. Hopefully someone who has insight into how this actually works under the covers can confirm/deny.

Userlevel 2

What makes matters more galling is that the HDMI ARC ↔ SPDIF adapter is one of Sonos’ own design (It’s this thing: https://www.sonos.com/en-us/shop/optical-audio-adapter)! If it turns out that they’ve broken compatibility with the hardware they sell themselves I’ll be very annoyed.

Not sure what is going on.

i have a Pioneer PDP505 plasma and it will not output optical from a HDMI input, it only outputs analog….. because of its age and it was designed to do that.

there is no ARC on this plasma because of its age.

so to get around it I use a analog to spidf converter and then into the Sonos optical to HDMI adapter and it’s been working fine for the last 12 months……until last night…..no sound.

ive just changed the analog to digital converter with a new one and still no sound……..here’s the thing

if I connect a cd player to the optical to HDMI adapter I get sound from the ARC.

i know the analog output from the tv is working and so is the analog to digital converter…..so I’m stumped 🤷🏼

so to see you all having a similar problem makes me think it was a software upgrade

any thoughts  ?

Userlevel 1

I’m having the exact same issue with sending audio from my PC to my Sonos Beam via an external soundcard with an optical cable, using the same optical->HDMI adapter from Sonos. This same issue also seems to be occurring for this user: 

This has to be an oversight on Sonos’ part as they’re completely invalidating a previously working use case. If this is now defunct I’ll actually just need to sell my setup and find something else as I pass all my media consumption through the PC (movies, shows, games, etc.). Is there a way to get the attention of an actual Sonos employee on this forum to address this?

This is a community forum. Occasionally, a forum moderator will be able to wade through all the posts to see your concern, and pass it on, perhaps to reply. You’re much better off to call Sonos Support directly to discuss it.

Userlevel 2

I’m having the exact same issue with sending audio from my PC to my Sonos Beam via an external soundcard with an optical cable, using the same optical->HDMI adapter from Sonos. This same issue also seems to be occurring for this user: 

This has to be an oversight on Sonos’ part as they’re completely invalidating a previously working use case. If this is now defunct I’ll actually just need to sell my setup and find something else as I pass all my media consumption through the PC (movies, shows, games, etc.). Is there a way to get the attention of an actual Sonos employee on this forum to address this?

I ended up just pulling the Sonos stuff out of the office and plugging another wireless system I had in another room that had an 3.5mm input. I haven’t had a chance to figure out speaker placement so it really looks cobbled together and the sound suffers as a result, but at least I can hear things again. I am thinking the Sonos stuff will serve only as an outdoor entertainment speaker use at best since that need would be entirely wireless. Really a shame this is how it has to be.

Userlevel 1

I am having the exact same issue of using an optical /HDMI cable from my TV to my Sonos Beam.  I also wonder if the later models of the BEAM are having the same issue?  This really stinks as we have sunk a lot of money into this system and it is maddening. 

 

I hope Sonos is listening as they have a lot of irritated customers right now.

Userlevel 1

Just discovered I’m having the same issue on a Gen 2 Beam. I previously was able to output RCA audio from my DJ controller to a converter that dumped out optical. Then used the Sonos optical to HDMI adapter, right into the Beam, and it was fine. Now I cant get the Beam to detect the audio input no matter what. Calling them tomorrow. 

Userlevel 1

So I got my TV to work with its optical out but I cant get my converter/DJ controller working. Should be noted my TV does have HDMI ARC on it anyway, but figured Id try this. 

 

To get the TV working I plugged in the optical adapter and HDMI cable attached into the optical port on the TV. Plugged HDMI into beam gen 2. Pulled power cable on beam, once restarted I set up the TV in the app. Said I dont have ARC, said I disabled TV speakers (I didnt actually), and after set up it worked with the TV. 

 

I thought after getting the TV working, I could quickly switch it to the analog to digital convert I was previously using on my DJ controller. That didnt work. So still SOL there. On hold with Sonos, 50+ minute wait. Fun stuff. If anyone has ideas I’m all ears, but I feel like we’re all in the same boat and out of ideas. 

 

This is the converter I’m using thats not working for anyone intersted

Musou RCA Analog to Digital Optical Toslink Coaxial Audio Converter Adapter with Optical Cable

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HGHNCMW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Userlevel 1

Hour and a half later for support to just tell me “you’re lucky it used to work for years before the app update, but it was not due to the app update that caused it not to work. its an unsupported connection and it shouldnt work” 

Like thanks guys. Real helpful. 

Then I tried to use my Era 100 USB C to Line in adapter just for fun to see if I could route it that way. Doesnt even detect a line in anymore. Well done Sonos. 

Userlevel 2
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How is it not because of the update if it worked before and doesn’t work now? 🤦‍♀️

They told me the same with PC, but they actually have PC gaming as a featured use case on their website.

Userlevel 1

Right. Its 100% the update to the app or the speaker firmware. Either way I’m out of ideas and have no idea around this. Other than a Sonos Connect, which I’ve heard has quite a bit of latency 

Userlevel 2

Yea, it’s annoying that they say that because the source isn’t a TV specifically that it isn’t supported and shouldn’t work for optical in. What if my source was a receiver used to process multiple inputs? I just don’t get it, audio over optical is audio over optical be it from a computer, TV, or receiver.

I can literally plug the end of my optical cable coming from say the computer into an external headphone DAC and it’ll play fine, unplug it from the DAC and into the Sonos without stopping playback and get nothing. It refuses to acknowledge input.

Right. It’s 100% the update to the app or the speaker firmware. Either way I’m out of ideas and have no idea around this. Other than a Sonos Connect, which I’ve heard has quite a bit of latency 

im using an old ZP-80 that has an analog in and optical out then into the Sonos optical to HDMI adapter and it works a treat, no latency at all you can adjust the audio delay.

if you look around you can pick up the old ZP-80 cheap.

 

Userlevel 2
Badge +1

Yea, it’s annoying that they say that because the source isn’t a TV specifically that it isn’t supported and shouldn’t work for optical in. What if my source was a receiver used to process multiple inputs? I just don’t get it, audio over optical is audio over optical be it from a computer, TV, or receiver.

They say the same thing with Sonos Ray, for which they specifically mention PC optical connection on their website as one of the options. It looks more like lost all their engineers, something broke, they don’t know what and how to fix it and PR tries to cover up with nonsense.

Userlevel 1

Right. It’s 100% the update to the app or the speaker firmware. Either way I’m out of ideas and have no idea around this. Other than a Sonos Connect, which I’ve heard has quite a bit of latency 

im using an old ZP-80 that has an analog in and optical out then into the Sonos optical to HDMI adapter and it works a treat, no latency at all you can adjust the audio delay.

if you look around you can pick up the old ZP-80 cheap.

 

Do you use it for DJing? No latency at all? might have to look into this. 

Right. It’s 100% the update to the app or the speaker firmware. Either way I’m out of ideas and have no idea around this. Other than a Sonos Connect, which I’ve heard has quite a bit of latency 

im using an old ZP-80 that has an analog in and optical out then into the Sonos optical to HDMI adapter and it works a treat, no latency at all you can adjust the audio delay.

if you look around you can pick up the old ZP-80 cheap.

 

Do you use it for DJing? No latency at all? might have to look into this. 


no I don’t but I use it to get sound from my old Pioneer Kuro, audio is in perfect sync with my picture. You can go in and alter the delay time if the ZP-80 which gets it in sync

Can you reverse the update ?


 

Hello,

same setup here, however I can use it, but only for half an hour to an hour at most. After this time, the sound is distorted and the only option left is to restart Beam gen 2. And so it goes again every time. Previously it worked flawlessly. Unfortunately, I live in a country where the device is sold, but there is no support in my language. I'm very disappointed.

Userlevel 1

Same here, feeding a playbar using optical from a usb pc sound adapter does niot work anymore since the epic fail update.

 

This update must be a cybercrime attack against sonos. No company in the world would harm themselve like this.

Same here too :( After the last update my optical connection with my video projector doesn’t work any more. The assistance says that the problem didn’t came from the update, but everything works fine until now. Very disappointed about the support and the fact we can not downgrade to solve a bug they made.

Optical to HDMI converter is also not working for Sonos Amp. I tried with multiple TVs, multiple Amps, and multiple HDMI cables. 

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Thanks for this guys. I feel validated. I’ve spent the last ten days trying to figure out why turntable doesn’t play through my playbar any more. My set up involved a small DAC from the phono pre amp into the optical input on my playbar.  I’ve used this set up for the last 4 years flawlessly then  2 weeks ago it stopped working. I’ve tried three different optical cables and three new DACs. I’ve swapped out the record player with another to make sure there’s not a problem with the rca outs. When hooked up to the my analog set up in a different room it’s fine. I thought i was crazy until I read this thread today. It has to be an internal Sonos update issue. I’ll wait another week or two then will have to find another manufacturer. We’ll see. 

Userlevel 1

Having a very similar problem with my Sonos Ray. 

Does anybody know of any way to roll it back to a previous software version. As far as I’m concerned, the past few years of working audio I’ve gotten out of my Ray are evidence that optical connection to a DAC is a solved issue. The current software is just too much of a trashfire to include the solution. 

I have no interest at all in using the current app. I’d much rather revert my Ray back to a state that functions with my PC, even if it means turning it into a dumb speaker until Sonos fires the managers they need to fire and rights the ship.

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