Line-In Latency/Delay Disable PLAY:5


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Hey Sonos Engineers!

I know this has been touched upon. I previously submitted this request to support and they encouraged me to share here to keep the conversation going.

Is there any chance we could implement a soft switch for line-in audio to bypass the computer for "delay disable" functionality.

I understand and appreciate the reason for the delay.

However, I'm running turntables through a mixer and into the line-in of the PLAY:5. Can't teach my son to mix records with that delay, and since we're set-up in a communal space, my wife is not too keen on bringing out the old mix monitors. Can you dig it?

Can we figure out a way to manually disable the delay on an individual speaker basis?

Otherwise love the gear!

Thanks!

Here's quote from customer support. Hope it isn't too heavy handed or out of school to post:

"I'm not on the development team, but I personally think that it wouldn't be too hard to implement some kind of soft switch to bypass the computer altogether and pipe line-in audio directly to the amplifiers (something like a computer-controlled solid state IC relay network)."

108 replies

I would love to hear from Sonos on this.

Do they reply to these feeds?

The input delay was rather peculiar to me when I first learnt about it, while of course I understand the reason for its existence.  Sonos is the only product I am aware of that has this delay for a locally connected device, as pretty much every other device on earth has a line-in connected directly to the preamps. In the Sonos case of course the line-in is fed to the audio processing circuitry, so they can generalize the case and allow cross-device connections without altering the latency. If you are listening locally, the signal is simply looped back to the local device. So it's both a smart and a dumb move. I'm sensing that they had a really strong architecture guy holding his hands over this, and nobody was allowed to mess with his beautiful simple design. :-) 

It does makes Sonos a bit of a show stopper when it comes to use for certain AV applications, live instruments, karaoke or some computer applications.  Nobody in their right minds would buy Sonos for Audio/Video applications unless they have the ability to delay the video stream the required 70ms. If you can do that (which most high end TVs can do), then there is absolutely no problem whatsoever. If you can't delay the video, then just don't buy Sonos for this application. 

But congrats to the Sonos team for putting together a solid architecture that has really stood the test of time. If I feel daring I might take one of my out-of-warranty devices and examine the signal path.  I suspect it has an all digital connection to the class D amp, which makes it non-feasible to wire a line-in to the audio amplifier directly. I do have an application where direct connection would be beneficial, and I see no reason to introduce new competitors into the food chain.
 

I was very impressed with the sound of Play 5 and Sub when I auditioned them last year.

In December I bought Play 5, Sub and One and just used them for playing music on my phone or laptop. 

I am a Dj but have not really had the opportunity to dj at home using the Sonos speaker until this weekend.

As a DJ, I discovered the latency issues which has really disappointed me, due to its impact on mixing songs.  If I had known the issue present, it would have been a deal breaker.

 

I truly hope Sonos can address this issue, even if a 0ms latency could be had for Line-in use only,  which will open up these fantastic speakers to a potentially larger market.  

The 75ms delay when using line in has just stopped me from buying a pair of Play5’s. Absolutely gutted :(

We purchased a Sonos Beam and Sub (which we love) towards the end of last year with intention of adding the Play5’s for a bit more versatility around the house, including mixing records from my DJ setup when the mood strikes. 
 

Ive been fiddling with hi-fi and audio products for a good part of 25 years and this is the first time I’ve come across a product with a direct line in which suffers from this type of lag (even the salesman who sold me our other SONOS products was surprised to hear this was true) Although highly disappointed, I am glad I discovered this before dropping another £1k on these speakers. In fact, it’s kind of hard to justify the rest of my SONOS setup now and will probably be spending the rest of weekend researching alternatives; THIS SUCKS! 😭

Oh man I’m exactly in the same situation. Beam and Sub for home theater, and now wanted to extend for the real musical experience and connection my DJ setup with two Play5. What did you come up with by searching for an alternative?

 

Btw even tried the monitor setup, but the delay is too much for a normal living room, this gives a huge sound mess.

The 75ms delay when using line in has just stopped me from buying a pair of Play5’s. Absolutely gutted :(

We purchased a Sonos Beam and Sub (which we love) towards the end of last year with intention of adding the Play5’s for a bit more versatility around the house, including mixing records from my DJ setup when the mood strikes. 
 

Ive been fiddling with hi-fi and audio products for a good part of 25 years and this is the first time I’ve come across a product with a direct line in which suffers from this type of lag (even the salesman who sold me our other SONOS products was surprised to hear this was true) Although highly disappointed, I am glad I discovered this before dropping another £1k on these speakers. In fact, it’s kind of hard to justify the rest of my SONOS setup now and will probably be spending the rest of weekend researching alternatives; THIS SUCKS! 😭

+1 for the direct line-in with 0 delay for isolated use. 

Add me to those hoping for a low-latency line-in option!

My Setup:

  • PLAY:5 connected to computer (line-in)
  • Playing Piano on the computer via Keyboard (MIDI-Connection)
  • The delay of 75ms sucks hard when learning to play piano with a software

Please Sonos, this is a legit use-case!

Just had a marketing email from Sonos suggesting that I use a Sonos speaker in my home office as a “ home office assistant”. I’m confused - why would you introduce a Sonos [rather than, say, an Echo Dot] into a home office where the chances are you already have a computer with speakers … unless of course you could replace the computer speakers with the Sonos … but for many, the latency issue may be a barrier to doing so … ? 

+1 to add the simple feature ‘line-in without delay' to supplement ‘line-in for network streaming’. Can’t believe Sonos can’t see this as an opportunity, especially with the reaction to legacy product support - though I guess these are the same folks who one time thought bundling a bridge with every Play:5 had a value to customers wanting to buy multiple units ! 

I have 2 rooms in the house that have streaming music, computer AV/gaming, TV and electronic musical instruments. Guess what - they don’t all play at the same time. But if I follow the steer from Sonos, it seems they’d suggest that having separate amp/speaker systems for each of these - 8 speakers - hardly a credible, elegant solution in a small room. Opportunity missed, Sonos :(

Can you perhaps provide an ‘example’ of what audio source you are playing through the Sonos line-in and where you are playing it to, that it plays out of sync for you. There might be, in some cases, ways to resolve some of these things so they do play in sync, but it depends on what you are trying to do.


Hi Ken … many thanks for replying, I appreciate it. It’s easiest is just to imagine the Sonos having the ability to be used as an ‘ordinary’ [albeit very high quality] amp/ speaker. The biggest issue is where the Sonos latency [whose purpose I understand] causes a loss of sync with either video [games/movies] or input devices [digital piano/synth, drums or midi control surfaces]. Imagine trying to play piano through a Sonos together with a singer or acoustic guitarist. Ironically, although I have a Sonos in every room, they are almost always used ‘standalone’, with no multi-room playing, so I don’t enjoy the true benefit of the latency. For my ‘multimedia’ rooms, I’m planning to replace the Sonos with pairs of active studio monitors - that solution seems to meet 80 percent of my need, making Sonos redundant in those rooms … and likely across the rest of the house if it works well.   

+1 to add the simple feature ‘line-in without delay' to supplement ‘line-in for network streaming’. Can’t believe Sonos can’t see this as an opportunity, especially with the reaction to legacy product support - though I guess these are the same folks who one time thought bundling a bridge with every Play:5 had a value to customers wanting to buy multiple units ! 

I have 2 rooms in the house that have streaming music, computer AV/gaming, TV and electronic musical instruments. Guess what - they don’t all play at the same time. But if I follow the steer from Sonos, it seems they’d suggest that having separate amp/speaker systems for each of these - 8 speakers - hardly a credible, elegant solution in a small room. Opportunity missed, Sonos :(

Can you perhaps provide an ‘example’ of what audio source you are playing through the Sonos line-in and where you are playing it to, that it plays out of sync for you. There might be, in some cases, ways to resolve some of these things so they do play in sync, but it depends on what you are trying to do.

+1 to add the simple feature ‘line-in without delay' to supplement ‘line-in for network streaming’. Can’t believe Sonos can’t see this as an opportunity, especially with the reaction to legacy product support - though I guess these are the same folks who one time thought bundling a bridge with every Play:5 had a value to customers wanting to buy multiple units ! 

I have 2 rooms in the house that have streaming music, computer AV/gaming, TV and electronic musical instruments. Guess what - they don’t all play at the same time. But if I follow the steer from Sonos, it seems they’d suggest that having separate amp/speaker systems for each of these - 8 speakers - hardly a credible, elegant solution in a small room. Opportunity missed, Sonos :(

+1 to wanting this.   my setup:  I have my entire house using a sono network of speakers.    in my office , i have a play5.  sometimes i use this in the network.  and love the buffering and the delay is invisible.   other times, i just want it to be a speaker in my office.  not on the network.

i have a set of digital drum kits in my office.  it’s my man cave.  sometimes i just want to play the drums.  since *all* of the speakers in my house are sonos… i just want to use the play5 already there in my office.  via line in. with zero delay .

when you play the drums .. 75ms doesn’t work.  it needs to be zero delay .

sounds like i now need to buy 2 speakers.  one in the office for the “network play” .. and one in the office as a plane jane speaker.

as a sonos whole house customers.. sure would be nice to use that speaker in “stand alone” mode.  turn of all the fancy stacks.  just pipe the music from line in, to the single speaker.  don’t rewrite all the software.  just have a very simply mode of “ zero delay” that only works with one speaker, from it’s line in.

i would love that :) 

As to having a big sign, can you point to any company that openly advertises all the things their products cannot do?  Even so, Sonos clearly states the delay exists on their Line-In FAQ page.

i can see you are the type of person who likes to argue. 

yes i read their FAQ. yes i know theres a delay. and yes i love my sonos 5. are you happy?

the delay still sucks, and not just for me. it sucks for all their customers and potential customers. 

 

No, it does not suck "for all their customers and potential customers."   Matter of fact, the amount of customers seeking to use Sonos for live performances would quite logically be an exceedingly small section of their intended market.

"Solving the problem" with the current Sonos hardware requires ignoring the laws of physics. 

dude. local mode. nothing fancy.

 

Dude.  Use actual PA speakers built for your purpose.  Nothing fancy.

As to having a big sign, can you point to any company that openly advertises all the things their products cannot do?  Even so, Sonos clearly states the delay exists on their Line-In FAQ page.

i can see you are the type of person who likes to argue. 

yes i read their FAQ. yes i know theres a delay. and yes i love my sonos 5. are you happy?

the delay still sucks, and not just for me. it sucks for all their customers and potential customers. 

 

"Solving the problem" with the current Sonos hardware requires ignoring the laws of physics. 

dude. local mode. nothing fancy.

"Solving the problem" with the current Sonos hardware requires ignoring the laws of physics.  Do you suggest Sonos should be pursuing the goal of overturning the laws of physics in order to address a particular group of customers?

As to having a big sign, can you point to any company that openly advertises all the things their products cannot do?  Even so, Sonos clearly states the delay exists on their Line-In FAQ page.

You are correct.  They don't care about live music producers because their speakers simply were not designed for live music producers.  There are plenty of other purpose specific speakers, amps and/or PAs out there designed for live performance, why would one waste their time on one that is not even designed for that purpose?

 

i don’t think there’s any high-end speakers that don’t have low-latency options. 

they don’t have that big sign saying ‘hey theres a delay so you can’t even sing karaoke’ 

not trying to argue with you, cuz clearly you only care about your use case instead of all the customers they are trying to sell their products to.

i have great speakers for my dj equipments. im just asking sonos that if i dropped over 2k on their products can they at least try to solve a problem that a group of their customers have. 

 

my friends love my sonos. but all of them also said it sucks that i can’t hook it up with my equipment so i can use them for my house party. you lose potential customers right there.

 

and it’s 2020 you thought they would solve this simple problem by now. they just don’t give a damn about the live music producers. 

 

i love your speakers sonos but this delay thing sucks.

your engineers can’t handle local mode?

we can just have both speakers setup in local modes and hook it up with left and right channel as stereo, i don’t think this is too much to ask

 

 

You are correct.  They don't care about live music producers because their speakers simply were not designed for live music producers.  There are plenty of other purpose specific speakers, amps and/or PAs out there designed for live performance, why would one waste their time on one that is not even designed for that purpose?

 

and it’s 2020 you thought they would solve this simple problem by now. they just don’t give a damn about the live music producers. 

 

i love your speakers sonos but this delay thing sucks.

your engineers can’t handle local mode?

we can just have both speakers setup in local modes and hook it up with left and right channel as stereo, i don’t think this is too much to ask

With Sonos stopping the availability of updates for products like the Gen 1 Play 5 starting in May 2020, this line-in delay is even more of a nuisance.  It would be nice to pull it from use as a streaming speaker and use it for something like a TV or computer speaker but the delay prevents this possibility.  I just bought our Play 5 Gen 1 five years ago and it is already antiquated it seems...

I like your comparison with the horse trailer, so why have they put a trailer hook on the Ferrari, which you cannot use propperly?

 

They haven’t.  You mistook a buffered for multi-room line input as a trailer hitch. In short, Sonos in no way advertises itself as a real time performance type speaker.  Nowhere does it say it is suitable for DJ’ing, PA, or live music.  So not only does the Ferrari not have a trailer hitch, nowhere in the Ferrari literature does it say a trailer can be pulled.  

I like your comparison with the horse trailer, so why have they put a trailer hook on the Ferrari, which you cannot use propperly?

Yes, it is correct that the line in latency can not be reduced at this point in time. 

Not knowing the code base, versus the underlying design for synchronized whole home music, which is the basis of the existence of Sonos, I don’t know how difficult such a change would be. I do know that if I was looking for a direct pass through speaker, Sonos would not be on my list of possibilities, similar to how I wouldn’t pull a horse trailer with a Ferrari automobile. There are, as has been said many times in these forums, horses for courses.  

so is it correct that Sonos cannot work with line-in without any latency?

I have several sonos products and really like them and have been really frustrated last week when I tried to connect it to my imac as a speaker with line-in connection, but the latency is super frustrating and makes the sonos play 5 useless as a product.

how hard can it be to update the app so it would be possible to adjust the latency settings or take away the latency if you use line-in

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