Computer as Sonos Audio Source

  • 19 September 2012
  • 527 replies
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Userlevel 3
What do you think of the idea of making it possible for one's Sonos setup to stream whatever is being streamed by a computer networked with the Sonos system? I'll give you an example. I want to get my pilot's license, so I like listening to air traffic control channels. There is a web site dedicated to that: www.liveatc.net I can open an app I have for that in my iPhone and then stream it via Airplay into an Airport Express and through my Sonos system, but it's a little kludgey and just as importantly, drains my phone battery if I want to walk around with it. It would be much more convenient to just set my computer to streaming it and then have the Sonos system monitor that. Maybe too many permissions needed between the computer manufacturer, liveatc.net, etc, for this to work easily, but thought I'd raise the question. Anyway, still getting lots of enjoyment out of my Sonos system!!

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527 replies

Userlevel 2
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Hi Kevin, Thanks for sharing your idea. At the moment that's not possible, though there are other options. I'm not sure which Sonos products you are using. For example, the Play:5, Connect and Connect:Amp have a line-in connection allowing you to connect any external device, like a pc, and play the audio throughout your house using your Sonos system. See https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1091/kw/line-in for more information. You can also add the stream in your Sonos Desktop Controller. Go to Manage Music and then click on Add Radio Station. You can copy the stream you want to add from www.liveatc.net which will be saved in your favorites. I tested it with a MP3 stream from www.liveatc.net and it worked. See https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/264/kw/add+radio for more information on adding radio streams. I hope the above is useful. Gonzalo V
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I've adjusted the wording in the title to reflect what the original poster is requesting - a way for Sonos to use a computer's audio a line-in source.
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A such solution doesn't break the Sonos business model: The computer is just an input and not an output, so to play sound we need to buy a Sonos zone player. And a such architecture avoids sound conversion from numerical into analogical into numerical.
Userlevel 3
Perhaps I'm not understanding the original poster's request, but his use case seems quite obscure. What I'd love for my Sonos speakers to do (frankly, I'm shocked it doesn't do this already) is to be able to wirelessly play whatever audio that is coming out of my computer and function as my computer's external speakers. Any cheap Bluetooth speakers can do this, what is keeping Sonos from integrating this feature? Are there any plans for this in the near future? (I got the speakers as a birthday present, but am considering returning it because it doesn't perform such a basic function.)
Userlevel 2
Bump. I can't believe that my computer audio cannot be streamed through sonos. Why would I spend $350 on such a constraining system? Returning product.
Userlevel 2
Another way of putting it, for people interested in using sonos with their computers: Why invest in a wireless speaker system? Convenience, and to make my wired speakers redundant. Sonos does not do this.
Userlevel 1
I received my Sonos Play 5 and bridge as a gift and I like the system very much. But it would be SO much more useful if I could route my laptop's audio to it. Programs like FL Studio, Audacity and a myriad of others that produce audio are relegated to the puny system speakers. Big downside for me and other I know.
Userlevel 1
It's a workaround, but Windows 7 and up supports DLNA, and so do Sonos components, so you should be able to use the "Play To" option to send music from your PC to Sonos. I haven't got a Windows machine myself and can't test it, but DLNA certainly works from my Android phone.
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Or if you want to send whatever your computer's soundcard is playing to your Sonos then this should do it (again via DLNA): http://www.dbpoweramp.com/asset-upnp-dlna.htm Again, caveat, I've not tested this. And it's a paid product.
Asset adds a very significant delay (4 - 7 seconds, as I just measured it) and the sound quality seems to be lower (tested on WiMP) when played from PC as opposed to streaming directly on Sonos. I wouldn't even be tempted to try this if not for the archaic, unintuitive and very puny Sonos app, compared to WiMP or Spotify ones, which are much more fun to use and have all the information that you need just when you need it. I second Sunlodge - this does not break Sonos business model at all. And I will not wire ZP90 to my laptop, I bought Sonos for wireless in the first place. That's what I have a BRIDGE for.
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Why on earth doesn't Sonos support this feature already? This is so basic. If Sonos is your sound system, you should be able to stream anything to it, from any source that has the controller on it!
Userlevel 1
We just purchased a bridge and the Play 5. We were considering expanding to several more rooms in our house. The fact that we can not stream audio from the computer to the speaker wirelessly is holding us back. We should be able to stream audio from the computer (Youtube, Netflix etc.) WIRELESSLY. That is why we made this expensive purchase.
Hi Sonos team, So, this isn't the busiest post but there are plenty of people here that'd like to see this done. Any news on it? I see you've added streaming from Android (although I can't seem to make that work at all). https://ask.sonos.com/sonos/topics/software_version_4_1_1_for_android_now_available Can we see this on Mac/PC soon?
Userlevel 2
It's a workaround, but Windows 7 and up supports DLNA, and so do Sonos components, so you should be able to use the "Play To" option to send music from your PC to Sonos. I haven't got a Windows machine myself and can't test it, but DLNA certainly works from my Android phone.
I accidentally did this once when I was mucking around, so yes it is possible!
I have this feature you are asking for installed at home for some years already, it was made by Sondigo and it was called the Sirocco (aka Wireless Audio Bridge). It functions as an external sound card to your PC really, streaming your sound to the Sirocco box through wifi. The Sirocco in it's turn can be connected to any output device using a digital output socket. Perfect sound quality, easy to operate from the PC. The drawback however (of course there is one) is that Sondigo stopped making the Sirocco several years ago. The software needed as the driver for this external card only functions up to W95, so it gets rapidly out of function everywhere. There are alternatives but they all seem to either have far less quality (due to using bluetooth or radiowaves instead of wifi, or lacking digital output) or unbelievable price tags (the Sirocco costed an awesome 50 to 100 bucks). So when you talk about the Sonos business model, don't be fooled. This is no coincidence - the functionality we are looking for would give as so much more potential to reuse our existing sound systems that the sales of Play-3 and Play-5 would fall dramatically. I really hope that a new party in this business will start creating a Sirocco-like box again, because for that particular producer there is a large market to win.
Userlevel 1
great idea, how easy is it to add this to the android controller app?
yes, i have a playbar, 3 play5 and 2 play3 and realized after the fact that this cannot be achieved - what a letdown...i keep revisiting hoping that they listen to their customers....but doesn't seem to be the case..
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Well, let me put it the other way: if Sonos does not listen to it's customers, the buck stops here. I will not expand my Sonos system to other rooms in the house.
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Christa, you can stream to the SONOS speakers. You need to send the audio to the speaker through the IP address.
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How? If it's possible, it's not an easy setting from the Sonos Controller. That's what we want!
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Hi Kevin, Thanks for sharing your idea. At the moment that's not possible, though there are other options. I'm not sure which Sonos products you are using. For example, the Play:5, Connect and Connect:Amp have a line-in connection allowing you to connect any external device, like a pc, and play the audio throughout your house using your Sonos system. See https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1091/kw/line-in for more information. You can also add the stream in your Sonos Desktop Controller. Go to Manage Music and then click on Add Radio Station. You can copy the stream you want to add from www.liveatc.net which will be saved in your favorites. I tested it with a MP3 stream from www.liveatc.net and it worked. See https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/264/kw/add+radio for more information on adding radio streams. I hope the above is useful. Gonzalo V
Hi Gonzalo, don't you agree that this is a very difficult workaround for something that should be pretty basic in the first place? I am not a newbee when it comes to computers, but this still puzzles me. We just want a feature that allow any device that has the controller to stream audio to the speakers in one or multiple rooms, through WiFi.
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I would really like to see something happen with this - I'd love to be able to stream from traktor on my mac to the different zones in my house without buying (and being in the same room as) a component with a line-in.
Cant find any solution to use Sonos as a speaker for my PC or Synology NAS. Would appreciate support on this.
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Marc, can you elaborate how to do this on a Mac? Through Midi?
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We have a Play 3, Play 5 and Connect so that we can listen to music throughout our house. We love the system and sound quality but like others, believe that adding the functionality to stream audio from the device that is running SONOS, regardless of what it is; PC, phone or tablet would be a great feature. The experience of watching a movie with the tablet sitting on the kitchen counter, sipping wine while cooking dinner would be enhanced so much more with the sound streaming through my SONOS!