Beam with Play1's stereo music playback

  • 6 November 2018
  • 14 replies
  • 2816 views

new sonos kit and new TV. LG screen connected by HDMI ARC to Beam i want to play music through the two Play1s I have set up as cinema surround (front) though i dont see a setting to set up as rear surround.

i want to be able to play music a stereo through sonos using ipad, TV music apps etc. Currently the dominant speaker is the Beam which i want to change - either turn off or adjust down.

cheers

14 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi willyroyale

First your setup is incorrect. The Play1's as surrounds need to be placed in the rear as left/right. Then in the Sonos app for the room select "Full" for the surrounds. That way when you play music it will be stereo. You can control the level via the Sonos app for the Beam and surrounds separately when playing music. Sonos will automatically switch the surrounds back to "ambient" when viewing a movie and vise vesa (to Full) for music.

Click the link for proper setup of the Play 1's as surrounds and other features I mentioned: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/2927?language=en_US

Cheers!
Hi thanks for reply. So I’m a little confused, the sonos app not very intuitive. I want Beam as centre speaker and the 2 Play1s as front left and right for cinema and those alone for stereo. How do I do this in the sonos app?

Cheers.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi willyroyale

The short answer is "you can't setup Sonos as you'd like to".

Sonos allows you to use a Beam, Playbar or Playbase as front LCR speaker. It's no different from any soundbar in that respect_just better sound (IMO). You must "bond" the Play1's, Sonos One's, Play 3's or Play 5's to the Beam, Playbar or Playbase as surrounds_setup in the rear. However, IMO using Play 5's as surrounds is a bit of overkill. You can also "bond" a sub to a Beam, Playbar or Playbase to handle the low-end for movies and music. The final setup with no sub is DD5.0_with sub it's DD5.1

Here's another link on setting up a Home Theater: https://www.sonos.com/en-gb/support/home-theater.

Pease read the link I posted in this response and the one in my previous response.

Cheers!
As background to my post/ I have had several home cinema systems, Amps, speakers, woofer, 5.1, etc. I wanted to go wireless with a new tv. The draw of 5.1 is the music in films that envelope the watcher in surround, the dialogue comes from front centre speaker.

So having had the sonos system set up for a few days I’m finding it lacking a great deal. The implication (or my inferral) is that you can buy a ‘kit’ from sonos -beam plus two play 1s and get surround. You don’t and can’t as I’m lead to believe. All the front sound comes from the beam, very narrow sound no delivery to the play 1s, they do next to nothing with cinema/tv. Ok with music I can tweak to make stereo but it appears to be there’s no way to power the play 1s as front L and R home cinema wiich I believe is implicit in the selling.

Is there a solution within the sonos ecosystem?

I’m going to return this and try something else, back to the old amp maybe. Really disappointing when it could be so good.

I’m so far very underwhelmed.
I’d like to add that the sound is no better, I’m not particularly impressed by the beam. Play 1s pretty good. I have Kef centre speaker which is far superior as it’s not trying to deliver L and R channels.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi willyroyale

Sorry to hear you are disappointed with the Beam. It may very well be that your space is too overwhelming for the Beam to cover properly. That is why it is marketed for smaller spaces. You might consider the Sonos Playbar in the same setup as I have described (i.e. Playbar front (LCR) and surrounds in the rear.)

In either setup using the Beam or Playbar a sub (IMO) is a must for DD5.1

Cheers!
Willyroyale,

What 5.1 audio source did you actually play, that left you underwhelmed with its sound? My LG TV's in-built Netflix App, sounds incredible with just 5.0 surround sound using the Beam and two Play:1’s as the two rears. That’s in a 15'x20' Dining Room. Are you sure you have the Beam setup correctly and playing a surround sound source?

The music playback is also very good when the two surrounds are set to 'Full’. Have you gone through the trueplay process too for the room setup?
ajtrek ive ordered the sub so might help. my room is quite large but i just dont get the enveloping sound of previous systems

ken - ive tried various. neflix 4k. apple movie, prime. i feel the Beam is super narrow and no option to change the balance to feed the play 1s as front. so your set up (as sonos advises) would put your stereo music out of the rear - the question i have (amongst many) is why would i want stereo music coming out of the rear speakers (play 1s) when i play a music source. ken have you tried conventional 5.1?

my previous system(s) was pioneer amp, 5.1 speakers. im very far from feeling the audio is ‘incredible’ with sonos. its a good start at wireless easy connection with the HDMI ARC but im starting to think ive gone down the wrong road and conventional amp plus speakers is much better. btw my room is approx 8mx8m.

i did the sonos setup but found music (not from movie/film/cinema/tv) comes mostly from the beam. ive turned that down to make more a classic stereo feed ie front speakers x2 facing audience, but cinema doesnt respond and beam does it all.
cheers
Incidentally Ken, and I don’t mean this critically, but have you experienced true 5.1 with wide set front speakers and dedicated centre? This is what I thought I was buying but alas no, and the experience is a poor second place.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Great that you are ordering the sub. If your wallet will permit get the Playbar as well. I have both the Beam and Playbar. The Playbar will come closer to the wide front stage you are seeking. The sub will really complete the experience. I highly recommend as KG mentioned using the TruPlay tuning feature in the Sonos App. It does require an iOS device. FYI, stay within the return window?

Cheers!
thanks for advice Aj, i used the Tru play app, but since adjusted the Play1s up and Beam down to get a better music setup.

so any advice for what i am trying to achieve ? is there a sonos speaker that will do as the Beam but bond with separate front surround?

i stumbled on another thread here last night where i find there are many others similarly disappointed with these shortcomings.

cheers
Incidentally Ken, and I don’t mean this critically, but have you experienced true 5.1 with wide set front speakers and dedicated centre? This is what I thought I was buying but alas no, and the experience is a poor second place.
Well I’m certainly no audiophile and to be honest, if I was, I certainly would not be buying an all-in-one soundbar, as I would prefer a wider stage, but I do have a Sony Bravia TV with a (now oldish) but 'fairly expensive in its day', DTS/DD 5.1 Home theatre System, which is HDMI Arc connected, has A/V sync controls and it’s own mics for auto-setting up the Sony version of trueplay in the room. It also sets the distance automatically to the sweet-spot and between speakers in feet and inches and the EQ settings too for the sweet-spot. The front and center speakers are cabled and the rear run on the Sony s-air wireless adapter. The satellites are all on stands, set at head height for the seated position in the room. Because it has the AV sync control, I have wired the HT to two Play-5’s and two Sonos Ones in the room too... this is our main system at the moment, for still a relatively small room that’s only 22' x 15’. The DTS/DD 5.1 Surround Audio is very good and the Sub/Receiver/Amp is plenty to rattle the windows and wake the neighbours. It does have night mode though and speech/audio 'scenes', so that’s quite good too.

However good that may sound though, my wife and I now prefer the all-in one soundbar setup because it’s still great sound with far less clutter in a room and in my opinion even the smallest Sonos speakers sound great. I plan to get rid of the Sony setup entirely, TV aswell, and give it all to my son as soon as the next generation Sonos playbar2 is released, whatever form that may take.

I would personally like to see the next gen sonos home theatre system though be upgraded to Dolby Atmos (personally speaking) maybe with a center speaker and 4 satellites and the satellites have upward firing speakers aswell to reflect the audio down from the ceiling. It will also need to be HDMI-eARC connected for that reason.

So yes I do have an 'okay' perhaps 'reasonable' 5.1 setup in the Lounge area, grouped with two Sonos stereo pairs (sometimes), but I still think the Beam is incredible for its size, in both small and medium sized rooms. By the way, I did not get your comment about having the stereo audio behind you?... the Beam actually produces a fairly wide soundstage for its size and certainly fills one side of our dining room (front), whilst doing a decent job at stereo... far wider than the Beam itself and then on the opposite wall (rear) we have the stereo playing out the Play:1’s which I think helps widen the soundstage in the entire room. All speakers are just at, or slightly below, seated shoulder height, on both sides of the dining table along its length and we find the sound in the room is fantastic from such a small and yet compact setup.

I would like the sub of course for that room, but I think the current setup gives us enough Bass for both dining room music audio, and certainly the output from our modest-sized LG TV has enough Bass when playing a 5.1 movie to make the people in the room 'jump out their seats' when there is a loud explosion or similar sounding audio coming from the movie on screen.

Anyhow, I standby my earlier comment, I find the Beam in a 5.0 configuration with Play:1's an incredible sound system.

Not wishing to sound critical to you either, I would like to add, assuming I understood you correctly, that I did not truly understand your earlier comment about moving/keeping the two rear Play:1 speakers to the front, alongside the TV and Beam ... are you then not completely spoiling the total surround-sound effect in the room, having the rear-left right next to the front-left audio etc...

Setting the speakers up in that way would also shift the audio to just one side of the room only, like playing two stereo audio systems, each with two pairs of speakers located just on one side of the room, one pair set slightly wider than the other...when you perhaps could have spread out the sound across the whole room and perhaps achieved a better all around-stereo sound in the room, across the space and along its length.

I’m pretty sure that your choice of setup, on just one side of a room, would not suit my preferred listening experience, particularly for DD 5.1 Movies, but I guess we all hear and prefer to listen to audio in different ways. I can honestly say I have never considered moving the rear speaker pair to the same side of the room as the Beam.

If you are seriously into listening to DD/DTS/DTS-X/ATMOS movies, and want a true HT experience, then if that was me, I would have completely shyed away from a PlayBar type setup from any manufacturer and opted for completely separate channels and possibly a 5.1.4 wired system, incorporating ceiling speakers too. Something though that most people do when the room needs redecorating and plastering and you have time to lift upstairs floorboards etc. I think I’m personally getting a little too old to bother to do that nowadays, so I’m likely to stick to Playbars with surrounds around our home, going forward.
Confusion confusion.. I think Author willy is trying to say that generally we have a L C R in front, wide apart that gives a wide sound stage. Since beam is one piece and relatively narrow sound stage, cant it be used as just “C” and we can plug in two play 1s for L and R. Yes that will be 3 channel and not 5 but Sonos should give that option to us whether we want to use beam as 3 channel or as 1 and add two sonos play 1s to get wider front stage.

yes if you can shell few more get another two play 1s for the rear. The point is it should be customizable as to how I use my speakers.
Confusion confusion.. I think Author willy is trying to say that generally we have a L C R in front, wide apart that gives a wide sound stage. Since beam is one piece and relatively narrow sound stage, cant it be used as just “C” and we can plug in two play 1s for L and R. Yes that will be 3 channel and not 5 but Sonos should give that option to us whether we want to use beam as 3 channel or as 1 and add two sonos play 1s to get wider front stage.

yes if you can shell few more get another two play 1s for the rear. The point is it should be customizable as to how I use my speakers.


No, the beam cannot be used as a center, and I doubt the hardware will allow it to be achieved via software.

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