2:1 System - Dialogue clarity


Hi all, I currently have a 1:1 system with an Alexa ONE and a Beam on the TV. As Sonos "Surround Sound" cant be achieved with a 1:1 configuration (you need to have 2 x ONEs plus the Beam) then I am considering getting a secondary ONE to give a unified setup.

My query is that currently both devices are in the same room so when I join them, I get really good audio out of the ONE at the back of the room as it is projecting 100% of the audio - including all the voice dialogue (if you're watching a film for example and you want to hear the actors voices as much as the explosions occuring in the background).

With conventional non-sonos Surround sound, the dialogue audio is normally kicked out of your frontal speakers and the rears are purely for sound effects - which means by adding another ONE, I would actually LOOSE my audio.

My question is - does anyone currently run a 2:1 surround and do you notice the voices from the rear speakers being reduced over those at the front (Beam/Play).

Long question, but I hope you understand my query.

George.

5 replies

egroeg1980,

Just a minor point, but the Beam itself is a 3.0 System, as it has multiple speakers and plays the front LEFT/CENTER/RIGHT channels from the one unit and would handle/control the rear RIGHT/LEFT channels aswell as the .1 LFE channel when playing a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio source.

By 'grouping' the Beam with your single Sonos One, you still get the 3.0 channel front sound and the Sonos One gets a separate stereo audio stream (usually delayed by 30ms). In real terms it’s a bit of a muddle, even though you seem to like it that way, which of course is fine, if you’re happy with it.

If and when you obtain another Sonos One however, you could then use both One's as true rear RIGHT/LEFT 'bonded' speakers, either side of your main seating position, with no 'significant' audio delays. This is how the surround audio was meant to be listened to and of course you could go onto add a sub to this to enhance the audio in the room.

Note though you will only get the full effect if you choose to play a 5.1 audio source...otherwise a stereo PCM source is mostly heard through the front channels in a surround setup with the rear providing some overall 'ambient' effects.

If you stream Dolby Digital 5.1 movies, via Netflix for example, then I think you will immediately see a huge improvement in the overall sound by having the two Sonos One rear surrounds on either side of your listening position. If you mostly just stick to stereo TV audio however, then you still have a choice... you can 'bond' the speakers for fantastic surround sound, or you can still choose to 'group' your Beam with both stereo rear speakers instead and get much wider stereo TV audio, both front and rear.

In my opinion the stereo PCM audio works fine for me in a 'bonded' setup and if you find you don’t like it, there are slider-controls in the Sonos App room settings that allow the audio-level to be shifted between the Beam and its bonded surrounds and vice versa.

There are also some useful settings too, for FULL music audio from all speakers, including the bonded surrounds.

I don’t think you would lose anything at all by buying another Sonos One and will only ever see added benefit. How you choose to setup the system though, whether that is 'bonded' as surrounds, or 'grouped' as front/rear stereo will still be a matter for your own listening preference.

I hope that information helps you to make your decision.
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the swift reply and good advice.

I think your quote below answers my question - that frankly, standard TV which I typically watch will NOT distribute those dialogue audio to the rear SONOS ONE devices. This was the problem with my previous Surround Sound system whereby the audio was OKAY, but in fact, it was actually quite hard to hear the dialogue of the TV content?

By adding my ONE to the BEAM as a group, it plays the same output, and by adding a second ONE to the setup and "BONDING" them, you're saying I'll loose that clear voice audio output - correct?

I appreciate you comment on grouping in the app, but it's quite annoying that the speakers are separate and whe you adjust volume via the TV, it then ONLY adjusts the beam.

Ken_Griffiths wrote:

egroeg1980,


Note though you will only get the full effect if you choose to play a 5.1 audio source...otherwise a stereo PCM source is mostly heard through the front channels in a surround setup with the rear providing some overall 'ambient' effects.

I hope that information helps you to make your decision.

egroeg1980,

Yes, everything you are saying is correct. The audio will only adjust on the one room (The Beam) with the remote.
Badge +1
@egroeg1980 Your wish to have dialogue from rear speakers is a 5.1 set up is not compatible with the features of a surround system, where most dialoque is supposed to originate form the TV and so is directed tot the Beam and not to the rear speakers. All surround set ups will present the same problem for you. What you need is an extra speaker, grouped in a room with yor Beam - the set up you already have. Buying another One will give you the opportunity to pair both Ones to a stereo set up, that can also be grouped in a room with the Beam. Then however the will sometimes be biased to one of the speakers.

In short: you seem to almost have achieved the set up you want. The only thing you are missing is volume control for your one via the TV remote that controls the Beam. On this forum you will find a lot of feature requests for this. At this time Sonos has not imlementd this feature.
Thanks for this 106rallye - appreciate the honest answer and taking the time to explain! Much appreciated.

George.

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