Computer as Sonos Audio Source

  • 19 September 2012
  • 527 replies
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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

If your preferred way of streaming is using a browser based streaming app via Windows, then yes, you should return Sonos. It is most certainly not made for you.
+1 for this feature from me. New owner of three Play:5s and a One. For a number of years I've been enjoying this set up: Microsoft Surface Tablet in the kitchen connected to a Bose Bluetooth speaker, playing music through my favorite browser from services like Sirius, Spotify, or lastfm. Also playing my local mp3 collection and playlists through the built-in music app. Here are few issues I've found in trying to switch to Sonos -

1) No PC line out support so my preferred way of listening to music doesn't work
2) Lack of good Windows touch input device support in the Sonos client software
3) Incompatibility with my wireless router

Quite honestly I think I'm just going to return the whole set to Amazon. Huge disappointment.
This? https://www.bestbuy.com/site/aluratek-istream-universal-bluetooth-audio-receiver-black/6581843.p?skuId=6581843&ref=06&loc=01&ksid=080f1fdf-d11d-4ea8-94f9-32dd46a43d9d&ksprof_id=3&ksaffcode=pg265711&ksdevice=c

In conjunction with Play:5 or Connect:Amp
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As a datapoint, I have a CONNECT sitting between my computer and a decent quality 2.1 desktop speaker system (i.e., the computer output goes into the Line In of the CONNECT, and the speakers are connected to the analog output of the CONNECT). I live with the slight lag for computer audio; it's worth it for the benefit of being able to use the Sonos interface for all the other audio sources, independently of the computer.
Bridge has no audio capabilities at all. The line in is on Connect, Connect:Amp and Play:5.
Hi guys, I may be missing the point a bit, but in Windows, if I right click on either one single mp3 or a multiple selection of mp3 files anywhere on my PC home network i get the option to "PLAY TO " and I get my ONKYO TX RZ800, or any of my SONOS devices, along with each room name they have. Click on the one you want to play to and away you go, couldn't be simpler.

That can work, but it is not what many people are asking for. They want Sonos to be a wireless computer speaker, playing all sounds coming out of the PC. That is not going to happen.


I may be wrong, and it must have been mentioned before, but the only way you could reliably do that would be to physically wire (Line in or Optical) your PC to a SONOS CONNECT or BRIDGE (I admit to not knowing if any of the larger speakers come with aux inputs). Then all audio from the PC would go out over the SONOS NET.
Hi guys, I may be missing the point a bit, but in Windows, if I right click on either one single mp3 or a multiple selection of mp3 files anywhere on my PC home network i get the option to "PLAY TO " and I get my ONKYO TX RZ800, or any of my SONOS devices, along with each room name they have. Click on the one you want to play to and away you go, couldn't be simpler.

That can work, but it is not what many people are asking for. They want Sonos to be a wireless computer speaker, playing all sounds coming out of the PC. That is not going to happen.
Hi guys, I may be missing the point a bit, but in Windows, if I right click on either one single mp3 or a multiple selection of mp3 files anywhere on my PC home network i get the option to "PLAY TO " and I get my ONKYO TX RZ800, or any of my SONOS devices, along with each room name they have. Click on the one you want to play to and away you go, couldn't be simpler.
Got it! Many thanks.
It makes sense that Sonos will not play system sounds and music going through the PC speakers. However, the question I asked is what application actually plays the music files? If I have say an mp3 file on my PC is it the Sonos app that reads and plays the file?

A little more complicated than that. The Sonos app is a controller, not a player. It tells the Sonos devices what to play and where to play it from. Then the Sonos device fetches the music files from the source and plays them. The app does not stream anything, you could turn your phone/tablet/computer completely off and the Sonos devices will keep playing (as long as the source is not on the phone/tablet/computer).
It makes sense that Sonos will not play system sounds and music going through the PC speakers. However, the question I asked is what application actually plays the music files? If I have say an mp3 file on my PC is it the Sonos app that reads and plays the file?

A little more complicated than that. The Sonos app is a controller, not a player. It tells the Sonos devices what to play and where to play it from. Then the Sonos device fetches the music files from the source and plays them. The app does not stream anything, you could turn your phone/tablet/computer completely off and the Sonos devices will keep playing (as long as the source is not on the phone/tablet/computer).
It makes sense that Sonos will not play system sounds and music going through the PC speakers. However, the question I asked is what application actually plays the music files? If I have say an mp3 file on my PC is it the Sonos app that reads and plays the file?

I understand that Sonos is not a music player so to achieve what Sonos say on their website what software application is it on my PC, Mac or Smartphone that actually plays that music so I can hear it out of a Play:1?


The Sonos app on your phone/tablet/PC/Mac will allow you to index and play any music stored in a shared directory on a PC, Mac or NAS device, up to 16 shares total. This local library will show up in your music menu as "My Music Library". In addition, files store on each individual phone/tablet will show up in the app under the music menu on that device only as "This iPhone", "This iPad", "This mobile device", etc.
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As someone who is considering purchasing Sonos I have come to learn through this thread that it is not a PC speaker, i.e. I cannot play music from my PC through Sonos unless I use something like streamwhatyouhear. Is that correct or have I missunderstood?

The Sonos website says that I can 'Play music from every PC, Mac, and storage drive on your home network. Up to 16 sources. And all those songs on your smartphone, too. Choose “On this phone” in the Main Menu and listen to your heart’s content.'

I understand that Sonos is not a music player so to achieve what Sonos say on their website what software application is it on my PC, Mac or Smartphone that actually plays that music so I can hear it out of a Play:1?


Sonos will play ALL the MUSIC files that are ON your PC (assuming they are in a supported format of which there are many).
Sonos will NOT play system sounds and music going through the PC speakers.

In other words the Sonos website is absolutely correct.
As someone who is considering purchasing Sonos I have come to learn through this thread that it is not a PC speaker, i.e. I cannot play music from my PC through Sonos unless I use something like streamwhatyouhear. Is that correct or have I missunderstood?

The Sonos website says that I can 'Play music from every PC, Mac, and storage drive on your home network. Up to 16 sources. And all those songs on your smartphone, too. Choose “On this phone” in the Main Menu and listen to your heart’s content.'

I understand that Sonos is not a music player so to achieve what Sonos say on their website what software application is it on my PC, Mac or Smartphone that actually plays that music so I can hear it out of a Play:1?
Well... thanks for telling me how I should feel and what Sonos is TRULY about. Good thing you're out there.

Thanks for telling me how much I travel and which box my Sonos is in.

PS - If that is what you got from my message, I guess you didn't read the note at the end.
Well... thanks for telling me how I should feel and what Sonos is TRULY about. Good thing you're out there.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I still think you are too funny! Notice my user name? I'm very happy with Sonos. And if you've given up on your computer as a music source, then you don't travel much. Don't be so sour. Life is too short. And don't make Sonos fit inside your box. It has a lot more potential than you give it credit for.


Travel all the time. Leaving for Orlando on Saturday, got back from Vegas 2 months ago, have another trip planned in Nov. I have a phone and a tablet for mobile music/video sources. Why would I lug around a heavy laptop for music if I didn't need to?

As for "fitting Sonos in my box", I bought Sonos for what it did almost 10 years ago. I never expected more, thus any improvements are gravy. It changed my music habits then, and one of the ways it changed them was to free me from using a computer in a single place; instead I have music all over my home. This is a liberating paradigm you seem to have not grasped, and instead are clinging to the old concept of using a computer as a source.

So who exactly is trying to fit Sonos into whose box?

Note: I could not care less what you grasp and/or how you use your Sonos, but your offhand digs at me certainly deserve a return in kind, especially to point out the hypocrisy in your claims (not to mention your completely incorrect assumptions as to my travel schedule).
I still think you are too funny! Notice my user name? I'm very happy with Sonos. And if you've given up on your computer as a music source, then you don't travel much. Don't be so sour. Life is too short. And don't make Sonos fit inside your box. It has a lot more potential than you give it credit for.
jgatie, you are too funny! You are stuck on this "actual computer speakers" thing. I have an iMac desktop with "actual" computer speakers. That does me no good if I desire to make myself a peanut butter sandwich in the kitchen, instead of my home office. Or when I prefer to curl up on the couch with my MacBook and would like my living room speakers to supply the sound. And besides, my "actual computer speakers" are not what you are thinking of, but are powered audiophile-grade mono blocks. I like my music too much to entrust it to "actual" computer speakers! And I have Sonos, so that I don't have to be physically connected. Cheers! Enjoy your actual computer speakers!

I've long ago abandoned using my computer as a music source. It's why I bought Sonos in the first place. Perhaps you too should have bought Sonos for what it actually does, instead of what you wished it would do. You would probably be a lot happier.
jgatie, you are too funny! You are stuck on this "actual computer speakers" thing. I have an iMac desktop with "actual" computer speakers. That does me no good if I desire to make myself a peanut butter sandwich in the kitchen, instead of my home office. Or when I prefer to curl up on the couch with my MacBook and would like my living room speakers to supply the sound. And besides, my "actual computer speakers" are not what you are thinking of, but are powered audiophile-grade mono blocks. I like my music too much to entrust it to "actual" computer speakers! And I have Sonos, so that I don't have to be physically connected. Cheers! Enjoy your actual computer speakers!
That's exactly what I'm after. I'm at work right now, but will definitely be trying this tonight at home. Thanks!
. A simple mechanism for making one's personal computer sound card the audio source would be very welcomed. Tried a work around that I found on the web, with a software that generates an internet radio signal that can be added as a service to Sonos, but it was not available for Mac OS.

Make a Google search for 'SonoAir', which might be exactly what you are looking for.
You can very easily play music stored on your PC or home servers:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/261

You just can't play audio on your PC/Mac and have the audio wirelessly transmitted to Sonos. If that is your wish, buy a Sonos device with a line-in or buy another product; like actual computer speakers.