Question

Another Unhappy and Frustrated Sonos User: Playing Macbook Audio through the Sonos System?

  • 4 September 2016
  • 52 replies
  • 4328 views

Hey Sonos,

Two weeks into using my Sonos Play 3 Speaker I am finding it increasingly frustrating that I can't use my Macbook Pro laptop as the audio source. Not only is the functionality between the Sonos Desktop App and the Speaker rubbish (I'm continually coming up with roadblacks and "Sonos can't connect to the Macbook" messages) there seems to be no easy way of streaming the Macbook audio directly to the speakers ie. using the Play 3 as a Desktop speaker. Not all of us want to simply use iPhones and iPads with the Sonos system, we would love to be able to stream music directly from our laptop and desktop computers!

Even after spending hours using 3rd party software to try to connect them (eg. SonoAir) I continually come up with issues. And I have to applaud these 3rd party designers because at least they are doing something about resolving the issue (which is more than I can say about you guys at Sonos!)

The Sonos system has the potential to be a great piece of technology, I just don't understand why Sonos isn't doing anything about making the product the best it can truly be. After spending $450 on the Play 3 I'm really disappointed in this side of its functionality, I feel like spending a few weekends in Electronics stores telling potential buyers why they shouldn't bother with any Sonos products until Sonos recognises this issue and makers a proper attempt at explaining why it's not being solved or at least why it can't be solved.

Regards

Lyndon

Should Sonos Speakers be able to be used as a Desktop Speaker


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52 replies

Your question doesn't even make sense. Those are not alternatives.
Has never once been an issue for me, or anyone who understands Sonos isn't a bluetooth speaker.
Lyndon, to be more constructive, le me point out why your options don't make sense. You seem to be confusing two things:
1. Sonos isn't a computer speaker. It isn't designed to be, never has been and never will be. Most of us who buy Sonos know that and didn't buy it for that. It's not an "issue" and doesn't need to be "solved".
2. However, Sonos can play audio files stored on a computer, such as in iTunes, including iTunes playlists. So the alternative to it being a computer speaker is not just play from phone. If you are having problems setting that bit up, come on here and ask for help, don't just rant.

So can we help?
Sonos can play audio files stored on a computer
OP probably wants to have the computer wirelessly push music to Sonos, including that from internet streams such as YouTube etc., which Sonos isn't designed to do. Sonos can pull such music as is stored on the computer HDD and I suspect he knows that by now.

The rant is to just let off some steam from an ill advised purchasing decision made, which will be aggravated if the unit cannot be returned and exchanged for a blue tooth speaker.
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The question doesn't make much sense, but are you mistaking Sonos for a portable speaker?

Sonos is a "music system" that uses your laptop as the source for music files, i.e. it looks at your drive and plays the files. It only plays compatible files, like MP3's etc. If you are trying to get it to play sounds from games or apps, then it will only do that if you use the line in connection on the speaker from a headphone jack or line out on your laptop, but why would you do that when that is the job of a Bluetooth speaker?
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Lyn


Sonos isn't for you. Return it to where you purchased it. Explain that, despite spending your hard earned money, you didn't bother to research it's capabilities and request a full refund. Hopefully you'll get it.

Lesson learnt

And, by the way, NO. I do NOT want my Sonos speakers to be PC or Mac speakers. Not with my browsing habits anyway!!
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Ah...the rant of the day...(sorry for being crude, but I just saw a virtually identical post on a different board)...

Sonos is not a direct-attached computer speaker
Sonos is not a Bluetooth speaker
Sonos is not an AirPlay speaker
Sonos is not a Google Cast speaker
Sonos is not a portable speaker

If you want/need any of the above...DO NOT buy Sonos. If you want a stable, reliable, always-on, controllable from any device, expandable, etc. SYSTEM, then get Sonos.
The only solution I know of would be to use airsonos, a third-party open source command line tool which you can find on github.

It activates each sonos speaker on your network as an airplay speaker while your computer is still running. It is far from a perfect solution though, there is a delay between 2-3 seconds with sound being routed through your computer before getting to the speakers and so makes using it as a speaker for videos useless but if you're just wanting to stream youtube music it might work if you can't return to get more appropriate speakers.
Lyn_The_Little,

I will not be taking your survey because there should be at least one more option: "none of the above".

Personally, I don't want my computer, phone or pad playing music. With a SONOS system I can start some music, then shut down the computers, pads, and phones because they are only controllers and don't need to play anything. Once the controllers give the SONOS system a list of things to do, the controllers can be shut down. If I'm developing an application, the computer, phone, or pad might crash or I might want to reboot the device. With SONOS on the scene the music continues regardless.

I think that you would be more comfortable with an AirPlay or Bluetooth device, rather than SONOS.

Yours is a long standing request. Here is a long, sometimes heated discussion. I know that there is a general belief that anything is possible in software, but the bottom line in this case is that a strictly software solution is not practical. You already have some experience with this because you have tried some of the 3rd party attempts that are not entirely satisfactory. It is not the case that these 3rd party developers are lacking skills.
adamc2700 - I think Airsonos and Sonoair are related products - and he's tried Sonoair.

With a SONOS system I can start some music, then shut down the computers, pads, and phones because they are only controllers and don't need to play anything. Once the controllers give the SONOS system a list of things to do, the controllers can be shut down. If I'm developing an application, the computer, phone, or pad might crash or I might want to reboot the device. With SONOS on the scene the music continues regardless.

I think that the OP, who seems to have left, wants all of the above as well as what he isn't getting.
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New here, currently researching sonos as a replacement for conventional separates system....so, question is can I stream spotify playlists, and how is that done? I am thinking of getting a pair of play 5s and a play 1 to move randomly around the house s and when I want it, the 5s will sit mostly in the lounge instead of my Hegel/ATC setup. I've got all of my CD ripped in FLAC onto my laptop, and use same device to stream into the Hegel DAC, so I am presuming that the sonos system can stream the FLAC files from my laptop, but how does Spotify work? I've got Premium, and use connect, most of my playlists are synced onto my android phone and tablet, but quite often I'll use my laptop to control Spotify.
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New here, currently researching sonos as a replacement for conventional separates system....so, question is can I stream spotify playlists, and how is that done? I am thinking of getting a pair of play 5s and a play 1 to move randomly around the house s and when I want it, the 5s will sit mostly in the lounge instead of my Hegel/ATC setup. I've got all of my CD ripped in FLAC onto my laptop, and use same device to stream into the Hegel DAC, so I am presuming that the sonos system can stream the FLAC files from my laptop, but how does Spotify work? I've got Premium, and use connect, most of my playlists are synced onto my android phone and tablet, but quite often I'll use my laptop to control Spotify.

We started talking in a different thread, so lets continue there. But just so anyone who finds this thread knows the answer:

You add Spotify Premium accounts to Sonos through the Sonos software and it'll have access to your account(s) and play music right through the Sonos software. You can also add shares from your local music library like those FLAC songs and they'll be available so long as your computer is on. We recently announced that we'll be working with Spotify to add direct streaming through the Spotify app as well. That isn't available yet but we will share more as the development progresses.
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Apologies for starting multiple threads, but one point for this one; what SQ does sonos stream Spotify, and can this be manually selected? Is it possible to stream Spotify offline files from a phone or laptop?
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Apologies for starting multiple threads, but one point for this one; what SQ does sonos stream Spotify, and can this be manually selected? Is it possible to stream Spotify offline files from a phone or laptop?

Always the highest quality available for the tracks, and no, offline tracks won't stream to Sonos as the players are going to try and find the tracks automatically through the internet, they don't check your computer or phone for them first.
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So if no Internet no hi fi. Hmm that's a major drawback.
Technically, no.

One device, be it a speaker (often called player in some people's parlance) or a Boost or Connect, as long as it's connected to a source (read PC/Mac), will create it's own wifi called Sonosnet, a mesh that runs between all speakers. Then, anything that is on your source (PC/Mac) will play on any speaker. However, if you're playing something streaming from the internet, then you will need to have one device connected to the internet. That can indeed be your source (PC/Mac), which would then share the internet connection across the connection to the Sonosnet, and then any of your players (speakers) would be able to access the stream.

But it really is a wifi system. I suspect 90% of customers use the streaming functions, rather than local data, although I could be wildly wrong about that. But if you want to use any of the streaming connections like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, TuneIn, etc, then you'll need some sort of connection.

Most of what I listen to happens to be in my local iTunes library, stuff that I've ripped from my CDs. But sometimes I use TuneIn Pro to listen to Giants games (Baseball, not American Football), and I do use my Mac to stream out the headphone port to my Play:5 to listen to the local broadcast, to hearken back to your previous questions/thread.

I've never used search here on this board, since I read all threads, or at least most of them, but there are a few threads I've seen about people wanting to use these speakers in caravans / RVs, and there are certainly ways to do that. I travel to Thailand and India frequently, and use the same solutions that are mentioned in these threads (search for Travel Router) to have a speaker in my hotel rooms.
But let me clarify one statement. The speaker will play anything on your source that is Sonos friendly, i.e. plays through the app. Your player will not play system sounds, or YouTube, or anything else that normally comes out of your PC speakers. That can be rectified by using the headphone out we've been discussing, but some people note that there's a slight delay in the signal due to processing from analog to digital, which I think is around 70 milliseconds. So perhaps watching YouTube might be challenging if you're sensitive to that, but for me, listening to radio (baseball games), it's no issue.

Someone may have to correct me, though.
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Unless you can play local Spotify tracks on your phone or tablet (premium synced) via the 3.5mm line in?
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Sorry, my last answer was out of sequence.. My fault for not refreshing whilst using mobile site.

OK, so what I understand is this, sonos streams proprietary data from original source over the net, eg Spotify etc, but will also stream from a NAS device (in my case a laptop with FLAC files on it) even if the Internet connection us broken, but obviously the wi fi network still working.
Let's assume worst case where the router blows up, so no Internet and no wi fi network. If I've understood correctly, I can still connect my pc with the 3.5mm cable and play my FLAC files from J River, just like I did with my old system. What I'm still not clear on is whether in this mode it's possible to play locally saved Spotify tracks, since they are going to be streamed out of the pc headphone Jack same as any other media player.
First off, I think this thread is in the wrong area. We are talking about troubleshooting issues, not about the community boards :)

Secondly, I'm not 100% sure I'm qualified to answer the question. If you were to post it in a more appropriate area, I think more people who are probably more qualified to respond would see it, and give you a better answer. However, having said that, let me take a stab, based on educated guesses.

I think the Sonos device connected to your PC, whether it's a player (speaker) or a bridge/boost, acts as a generator of Sonosnet. All of the rest of the players would connect via the SonosNet mesh network, and consequently not need to be on Wifi. But, as you say, if you're streaming something via the headphone plug out of the PC to the Player (Speaker), it should just work. What you'll need to do, however, is set up autoplay for the line in. If it's not set up first, and there's no wifi, you won't be able to connect a controller (PC or mobile device running the Sonos app) to switch the input on the speaker to line in. It doesn't default to that setting, you have to do it in advance, although it does stay on once you've turned it on, at least while the speaker is plugged in to power. I've never tested it by unplugging power to speaker, but honestly, I'd be surprised if it isn't written to something that can survive being powered off for some amount of time.

Just out of curiosity, what's the situation you're so concerned about with no wifi?

Finally, I'd urge you to post further questions along this line in the normal area of the boards, not in the comments area about community issues. You'll likely get significantly better answers than mine from many of the boards' membership.

Best of luck!
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OK, and thanks for the answer, but it's not troubleshooting as I don't even have the devices yet. I guess it should have been added to my initial questions thread. My question simply is if the play 5 works as an independent line in speaker, I've concluded it does not. It's not critical, but I'll test it once I get it set up over the weekend.
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Though, you suggested listening to YouTube videos streamed from a PC plays through the line input. Basically all I'm asking is if a play 5 3.5mm input takes an analogue signal.
Yes, it's an analog input, stereo. Any input from any device with analog out can be routed from this input to any or all Sonos speakers/connects.
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OK, so I could for example connect my smartphone using the 3.5mm jack, and play the offline spotify files from my phone into the connected player, or all of the network connected players? This is not quite the same as streaming from an NAS