Virtual Zones and Zone Grouping

  • 27 February 2005
  • 190 replies

This "link/unlink" business is really cumbersome - and not a joy to use which goes against the ease of use of the rest of the system.

Why can't I have a virtual zone - ie a zone called "Downstairs" - and I can group all my downstairs zones into this. Then I dont have to keep manually linking/unlinking multiple zones everytime.



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190 replies

Userlevel 2
Thats a great idea!
Userlevel 2
I agree. Zone groups would be a good idea.

Regards, John
I agree as well.

Common groupings as "virtual zones"... Great Idea!
Userlevel 4
Badge +2
I'm liking this idea, shouldn't be too difficult to implement in theory.
Userlevel 2
I agree - I suggested this a while back.

I work from home and I have zones I use while I'm working and a different set of zones in the evening or at weekends. It certainly would make the system even easier to use if one could select a group of zones quickly.

The ease of lining/unlinking zones is also dependent on the number of zones you have. 2 or 3 zones isn't too much of an imposition, but I imagine 6 or more is quite painful.

Just imagine if you had the full 32 zones!

At the moment we have a single, pre-defined group, that being "All Zones". I would like to see this as the default, but with the ability to configure your own groups and to delete the "All zones" group (some may not want this).

This would help with people who are having trouble blasting their neighbours during 2am parties by accidentally selecting hottub/garden.

Now this brings an interesting question: should zones be allowed to be in more than one group? If this is allowed, are there any unwanted side-effects with this?

Personally I would be happy with a grouping that allowed zones to be in at most one group (and this might be the easiest to implement), but others may not.

Also, if zone groups were allowed, what "display options" would be useful for the Zones display. Off the top of my head I can see uses for:

* Hide all zones (only show groups)
* Sorting (by name or groups before zones)

These could be either by a user preference or by a toggle button on the zone screen.

Also, how would these be displayed on the other screens (e.g. now playing)... as groups or as individual zones? I suspect individual zones would be better, as this takes into account all circumstances of use.


Userlevel 1
I like the idea. Why not have custom zone groups (like the party zone, but user customizable)? A Zone can be in 1 or more zone groups. Further you should be able to activate a group, and then add/drop individual zones for a one-off group (which is what we have now, but no ability to persist the group).

eg 'Downstairs' might be kitchen, den, master bedroom. I select the zone group 'Downstairs' and all 3 zones are sync'd. Then I add a zone 'Patio' just like we do now and 4 zones are sync'd. If I do nothing, the 4 zone group is lost when I unlink. However, maybe I decide I want this as a new group, so save it as 'Patio and downstairs'.

I'm not sure advanced group management is necessary, as you are unlikely to have 200 groups. Even with a large setup (10+ zones) it's probable you'll only have half a dozen or so groups.

Hopefully we'll see this in 1.4 😃

Userlevel 4
Badge +2
32 zones, that's 4,294,967,295 possible combinations...apparently.
I think it would be reasonable to limit it to, say, 32 zone groups.


Userlevel 1
32 zones, that's 4,294,967,295 possible combinations...apparentlyWell, kinda. Good to see you know your permutations from combinations.

Total mathematical combinations is 2^32 = 4,294,967,296. Take off the one combination of nothing, you get to your number. But I'm not sure we could really count the 32 'combinations' of single zones (we have those as discrete zones already). So I get 4,294,967,263.

Given the massive capacity of 40K tracks, 4MM or so virtual zones shouldn't pose a problem.:p

Better go change my geek/no geek response I think... 😮

Userlevel 2
I have a few zones now, two of my zones are so close (open plan area of the house) I always play the same music. I would like to be able to permanently link two ZPs as a single zone.
Userlevel 2
I totally agree - being able to group & save zones as a preset would be very useful.
Userlevel 1
For any non-Sonos users browsing these forums, you can group zones already. That's one of the big pluses for Sonos - zone grouping and perfect synchronization between zones. What we're asking for here is the ability to save a predefined group of zones as a new virtual zone to make it easy to select in future. Currently you need to link up all the zones that you want to group each time you change the zone grouping.

There is also another thread about 'scenes' where there is some overlap. That thread is more about setting volumes etc for all the zones in a group. It might make sense to combine these 2 requests as 1. The default of course would be equal volume for all the zones in a defined group. But the ability to customize the relative volume, and save that as a virtual zone would be a plus.

Userlevel 2
There does seem to be some overlap in the Virtual Zone Theory and the Scene Theory. The two would indeed appear to be reasonably synergistic making a software "super feature" if you will.

I still do not want to diminish the significance of being able to have a playlist
associated with presets of volume, zone players or "virtual zones" and while we are dreaming, toss in a timer function (as discussed ad nauseum) in these forums.
Userlevel 2
What we're asking for here is the ability to save a predefined group of zones as a new virtual zone to make it easy to select in future....

...the ability to customize the relative volume, and save that as a virtual zone would be a plus.

It would probably work best by having an option when a zone is added to the group to adjust volume to match group or keep existing volume level.

When group name is selected Vol +/- operates across the board, and volumes are all relative. Zones would already have been set to the same volume if required when added to the group.

Individual zones could be adjusted on the fly by highlighting the zone name (not the group) and pressing vol +/-.
Userlevel 1
Individual zones could be adjusted on the fly by highlighting the zone name (not the group) and pressing vol +/-.
You can already do this. You are not forced to have the same relative volume across all zones. The request from most users is persistence. It would be nice if, once you customized the relative volume, you save this as a virtual zone, or 'scene' so that it could be recalled in the future, complete with the saved relative volume - of course the master volume might be different, but the relativity between zones should not be lost.

Userlevel 2
I am just re-suggesting a feature that, alas, did not make it into Version 2.0.

My suggestion is for Virtual Zones. When I first bought my Sonos I thought it could handle multiple, permanent multi-zoneplayer zones, but it can not. I have no ability to set up a zone called 'Kitchen-Deck' which consists of mu Kitchen ZP and my Deck ZP, and to ALSO have a zone called 'Living Room-Kitchen' which consists of my living room ZP and my deck ZP. Instead I have to create a temporary zone and then later unlink it and link up a new temporary zone.

I know one of the issues with this approach would be dealing with 2 zones that shared a ZP, but I believe that would be able to be dealt with by one of 2 plans.

1. If any ZP that is part of the zone you are trying to use is already 'active', you are not allowed to interrupt

2. Last one wins. This means that if Virtual Zone 1 has my kitchen in it and is playing and I choose Virtual Zone 2 which also has my kitchen in it and I hit play, that the kitchen zone will swicth to playing the new choise.

Anyway, I realize there will be some things to work out, but as I add players to my house, this feature will be key to having a customized system.

Userlevel 4
Badge +2

There's no need to re-submit didn't go anywhere.

I've added your additional commentary to the existing thread.
Userlevel 2
With my my working shift work, I most certainly have to continually redefine my linked zones... one set when she's awake or not home, the other when she's trying to sleep... virtual zones would most certainly be a good thing.

In my case, I'd only need to be able to define four virtual zones.
Userlevel 2
As usual, I'm risking finding out that Sonos has this feature already (since this thing is like an onion), but it would be nice to be able to preset special "clusters" of zones, kind of like mini party modes, but with only several zones, not all. For instance, we're doing a 20-zone house that has at least three distinct areas that would never be together, the master suite area, the living area and the guest suite area. Plus two guest bedrooms, child's bedroom, office that could/should be totally segregated.

Or, it would be nice to completely isolate several areas, a Sonos system within a Sonos system, so that certain remotes don't see every zone, just the ones it is most likely to control.

Perhaps these could be handled in the Sonos controller software and then each remote can have a setting in the advanced settings which "cluster" it is in.
I personally like this idea... it has been suggested before with names such as 'zone scenes' or 'zone profiles'.

I think its a good idea, though can appreciate that it would be a good amount of UI work to get just right and not be confusing...

Its on the Radar for the PM guys, but not in the near term from what i know.

Userlevel 2
I like "zone clusters", a brilliant name for a redundant idea if I've ever heard one 😉
Userlevel 2
yes another great idea..! how has investigation and development of this feature progressed? Getting any closer?

SONOS never publishes their development plans.