Question

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

  • 4 September 2016
  • 52 replies
  • 4820 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

Wow, I don’t understand why so many people jumped on the OP saying sonos is not for you. I just got my system and Dj while working via the sonos app. Someone suggested I listen to a song on YouTube and I thought, man it would be great if this played over the sonos. While I’m at it, it would be great if when I was playing an mp4 movie off my laptop, connected to my 4K projector, I could have the audio over the sonos. Seems like a reasonable feature request. I get that it isn’t easy, and I’m still satisfied with my system- but it’s an added function I would like to have.
You're most welcome.
Airgetlam thanks for your response
Lol. Also, if you want to see terse, check out the discussions on Hydrogen Audio. I am not endorsing that style here because unlike there, most people posting here are neither audio enthusiasts, nor audiophiles needing, at times, some very terse rejoinders of the kind you see there. In comparison, we are genteel.
Gosh, I wish! I need a Sonos One, so I can answer more questions :)

Yes, it's incredibly hard to get "tone" into text in a post. Which is why I was so lengthy, I was trying not to be too terse and consequently perceived as a negative poster. In my days of gaming, both text based and 3D graphics based, there's been a shorthand of emoticons used, much as you used your 🙂, but I've found many people don't understand/perceive them properly, so I tend to use them only when communicating with my inner circle of friends. But l do really hope that the message I attempted to get across is understood.

Yes, I know that I can be terse when responding to people, just because it's time conuming the 100th time you answer the same question, when you're certain that the person asking could have easily searched and found a response that would fix the issue. I try, every time I come to this community, to remember the first time I came here, wet behind the ears, and not sure how the software worked. And I try to let myself understand that most people who come here are in that mode as well. But I do tend to lose patience with those who come here and just blast their unhappiness to all, particularly to Sonos. In my experience, that never works when dealing with any issue in person. I can walk in to Best Buy, my local electronics outlet, and choose to yell at the employees when something has gone wrong, or I can make an effort to be as reasonable as possible, and hopefully get them to want to help me, rather than putting them in a mood in which they want nothing more than to get rid of me as a customer.

I try to post as if I'm talking to my (dearly departed) mother. She was an elementary school librarian, and an excellent one, but she just didn't "get" electronics, so I spent many years in doing support for her, hooking up computers, VCRs, TVs, etc for her. She wasn't dumb, she just didn't understand how electrons flow from device to device, so I did my best to help her with instructions, and then to do the work she didn't want to.

Each of the people who post here should get helpful advice. I understand it can be perceived sometimes as "short" or "rude", but I also recognize that it isn't intended to, by any stretch of the imagination. But at the end of the day, if I perceive that they want to argue, rather than discuss, then I stop responding. Because this isn't my job. It's something I do to help people.

Wow. You elicited another long response from me, sir 🙂
Bruce, that took effort. How much is Sonos paying you? 🙂.

This question also illuminates a problem with the net. I can ask this of you knowing how it will be received. But how would you react if someone who does not, did?
Laurent,

I don't think there was any intention to denigrate the request of the OP. However, the design of the Sonos system makes them peculiarly bad for the choice of a computer speaker, which tends to need zero latency for things like games, videos, etc. Many PCs don't come with a digital audio output, so doing what Sonos did with the PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE twins, using a digital input to reduce encoding of the signal just isn't a simple thing. Most computers have an analog output, via a headphone jack. So there's 2 different processes that Sonos would need to do in order to get it to play. First, they'd have to run it through a DAC, to get it from analog to digital, and then they have to buffer the data, so that it can be sent around the entire Sonos ecosystem and be played by all speakers simultaneously. These two processes make it practically impossible for the Sonos ecosystem to be used as a computer speaker.

Now, that being said, if you're not interested in lip-sync, or game sync, then a PLAY:5 can be implemented with the line-in function using a cable between the headphone jack on the computer and the input on the back of the speaker. In fact, I do this, so that I can listen to TuneIn Premium streams (baseball and football mostly) while watching TV. But when I choose to play a game, I'm not going to use the Sonos system, as it's got too much latency.

Now, if Sonos was interested in dropping their advantage of being a "whole home music system", I suspect it would be easy for them to release simple pass through and wired speakers like many others do. But what differentiates Sonos is that "whole home" aspect, which has the cost of adding latency to any analog input.

Without an entire redesign of Sonos' philosophy, it just isn't easy for them to put out computer speakers. They carefully (IMHO) don't advertise themselves as that. It's our own prejudices that make us think "a speaker is a speaker", which, in this case, Sonos isn't. It happens to be a series of computers that are designed to play music in synchronization across a network.

I'm sorry that you feel like there was negativity. This certainly isn't the first thread about this, nor likely the 20th, or 30th. I haven't bothered to check, but it has indeed been covered many, many times. Many of us who respond to these threads tend to be terse, because we know we've covered it before, and it's easier to be short than it is to take the 10 minutes it's taken me to craft this reply.

At the end of the day, what this community wants, in my opinion, is for people to understand how the Sonos ecosystem works, and what advantages and disadvantages there are within the system. But the fact remains that Sonos (or any other product) isn't perfect for all applications.

Thanks for wading through this.
I'm little bit disappointed by the negative replies to the query of "Lyn_The_Little".
Lyn is customer who paid a not neglectable amount of money of a speaker of Sonos. He is disappointed by a missing basic feature on the product. Everybody must admit that's not logic that such a simple feather to allow to play all sound of the laptop/ PC through the sonos speaker is not part the possibilities. It's really a pity. Nowadays a lot of people use their laptops to do lot of things: watch news, you tube, ..... We/ sonos should not be so short minded and limit ourself to functionalities through audiofiles or spotify. Probably there is some reason of marketing/ business agreement of Mac/ Window not yet sorted out. But Sonos should seriously consider this point. It adds a extra service dimension to the product. Please consider deeply about it. It's a missed opportunity/ missing product in the markt. I'm here giving a tip/ business opportunity.
How many times can I like that post, Kumar. You're absolutely correct, for me, at least. I'll spend half an hour crafting a response to someone who is polite, and provides a reasonable request. I find myself skipping those who come in dripping vitriol, and anger. There's just not enough time in my life to help people who are angry. And frankly, that's the way I try to approach companies that I have issues with their policies as well. The person I end up talking to is usually not the person who set that policy, and if I yell at them, they're much less likely to help me.
Wait... are you saying Sonos doesn't pay the rest of you to post on here?

Ummm....if I told you, I'd have to kill you:-).
People that are polite in their posts usually get the quickest useful attention and these are also usually more receptive to make use of the advice tendered. It also helps to post in the right threads, even if that means a new one needs to be created.
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What I'm saying is for the money people spend, as I did, on these speakers, there should not be these constant issues. Period. And yes, anyone hanging out on a Sonos forum waiting to reply to people isn't here for leisure.

Again, have you tried troubleshooting or contacting a Sonos tech support rep? It may very well be a simple fix.

This community/board is actually the reason why I purchased my Sonos. I tend to do as much research as possible to find the limitations/quality of products before I commit to purchasing. This community is filled with people who are willing to share their experiences with the product and help others that may have issues.

However, since you seem to be so sold on Sonos being an inferior product. Maybe you should return your speakers. Sonos has a great return policy.
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Badge +11
What I'm saying is for the money people spend, as I did, on these speakers, there should not be these constant issues. Period. And yes, anyone hanging out on a Sonos forum waiting to reply to people isn't here for leisure.By your logic, I would assume that all people posting negative experiences are paid shills for other companies.

I can't speak for everyone, but I came here for information myself. I got the help that I needed, and in turn I check back in to try and do the same for people. Good people like to help others. I understand how that may be confusing for you.

What I'm saying is for the money people spend, as I did, on these speakers, there should not be these constant issues. Period.

No one here fundamentally disagrees with your viewpoint. The issue is that nothing is magical. It's *most likely* that your problem is an issue specific to your environment caused by conflicts in the 2.4Ghz range. It's a technical problem that I'm sure someone who thinks more of you might take the time to explain.
What I'm saying is for the money people spend, as I did, on these speakers, there should not be these constant issues. Period. And yes, anyone hanging out on a Sonos forum waiting to reply to people isn't here for leisure.
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tyenwest... sadly post like yours is why we live in a world where most of the successful tech companies are limited to keeping everything proprietary and simplified. Although product failure is not uncommon, user error is almost always the culprit. The lack of patience to trouble shoot a product before slandering and tossing it aside has limited companies to simplifying their product more and more. Have you tried contacting customer support? A quick browse of these forums would also probably be able to help you. (possibly changing wireless channels, moving other devices that may be known to interfere, etc)

If Sonos were to start creating bluetooth speakers and adding multiple line in options there would just be 10xs the post about how Sonos has horrible quality control and makes crap products. I can already see the post... Sound quality on my Sonos is definitely not as good as the in store display, i suspect Sonos is making crappy units to sell to the consumer to save a few bucks. Buyer beware!!!! No one buy SONOS products! All the while, the consumer is streaming music from a lower quality source over bluetooth via youtube.
Userlevel 5
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Wait... are you saying Sonos doesn't pay the rest of you to post on here?

I'm a single mom getting $1750 USD a week working from home just 2-3 hours a day! 😃
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@jgatie, @melvimbe, @Kumar: You mean you folks don't get paid for this Sonos forum job? Hmm.
Sigh is right.
Anyone saying "you didn't buy the right speakers" are CLEARLY paid by SONOS to discredit non-satisfied customers on this forum.

Interesting theory. So Sonos has been in business for a decade, doing rather well, despite the fact that they're selling an inferior product. Their secret? Paying people to post comments in the forum to discredit unsatisfied customers, thus convincing more people to buy thier products. Continually add new features and products over the years, instead of fixing existing issues...because Sonos can silence critics in their forums.

Just a few problems with that theory. First, why not just remove any post that makes sonos look bad? That's way cheaper and easier then discrediting them. Second, in all this time, how did this inferior product manage to never get called out in the media? The media quickly shows concern about the recent privacy statement update, but is completely ignorant about the product not really working? Third, how is it that these network issues actually do get fix? The forum has examples of people who didn't realize they had network issues that were the root of the problem.
Sigh.
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Badge +21
Anyone saying "you didn't buy the right speakers" are CLEARLY paid by SONOS to discredit non-satisfied customers on this forum. I have a pair of 2 Play:5s and they are THE MOST FRUSTRATING speakers I've ever used. I'm attempting to play 100% local data and they simply suck. Period. They cut out over my very strong, very secure wifi network and decide when they want to play (which is generally never). For $1000 per pair they should be (please read this SONOS people) intuitive, and painless...period. Your speakers constantly are "unable to play" because they can't find a track I've loaded and re-indexed over and over...again with 100mbps wifi system. Get your act together or you'll lose yet another customer that was willing to pay a high price for quality sound....but simply can't deal with how terrible your interface is. It's literally the industry worst.
Have you raised a support ticket? I had the occasional issue, after a lot of faffing I found it was my phillips Hue bridge sat next to my wifi router. Moved it 1m and issues resolved. I still get the odd Spotify glitch but can accept that as being due to the irregular drop outs I get with Virgin Broadband,

Nice slander there BTW
Anyone saying "you didn't buy the right speakers" are CLEARLY paid by SONOS to discredit non-satisfied customers on this forum. I have a pair of 2 Play:5s and they are THE MOST FRUSTRATING speakers I've ever used. I'm attempting to play 100% local data and they simply suck. Period. They cut out over my very strong, very secure wifi network and decide when they want to play (which is generally never). For $1000 per pair they should be (please read this SONOS people) intuitive, and painless...period. Your speakers constantly are "unable to play" because they can't find a track I've loaded and re-indexed over and over...again with 100mbps wifi system. Get your act together or you'll lose yet another customer that was willing to pay a high price for quality sound....but simply can't deal with how terrible your interface is. It's literally the industry worst.
They don't play sheet music either. Let me in on this lawsuit!

Player piano rolls either! I need my ragtime!
They don't play sheet music either. Let me in on this lawsuit!
This thread has inspired me. First, I'm sueing Sonos because they don't play cassettes, 8-tracks, or Edison wax cylinders, yet they claim to play "all the music in the world" (actually, it's all the music on earth, but don't let that stop me, I'm on a roll). Then i'm going to sue Kelloggs because they told me Frosted Flakes are part of a GRR-RREAT breakfast. Then Keebler, because I know those cookies aren't REALLY made by elves. I see $$$$$ baby!
Sonos is advertised as offering "all the music in the world".
In a better world, ALL advertising would be scrupulously honest and forthcoming, with the kind of front and centre disclosures you talk about. Plural, because it isn't just youtube that is an issue.
But it isn't, and those who live in it, know better than to take ANY such claims at face value. And there is nothing about the way the Sonos claim is worded that would lead users familiar with modern day advertising to take it at face value or as a system specification.
At least Sonos has a useable returns policy for its products.