Delay Related to Digital Conversion


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Hi, 

 

I have 2 Sonos Hubs working great.  One is connected through the optical output and the other through the digital coax output. I added a Sonos One connected through WiFi.  The problem is that the Sonos One is a half second +/- ahead of both hubs.  If I connect the hubs through the analog RCA inputs it sync’s perfectly.  Conclusion: the delay is caused by the analog/digital conversion on the hubs?  If that’s the root cause, is there a solution?


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Userlevel 7
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Can you be more specific about your “Sonos Hubs”? What specific Sonos products are you referring to? What are these “hubs” connected to?

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Sorry, brain cramp.  Sonos Ports.  Not Sonos Hubs.  One is connected to a Yamaha receiver and the other is connected to an LG sound bar.

Userlevel 7
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Are you sure the delay is in your Sonos?

My Yamaha receiver required me to set it to Pure-Direct or the internal processing delayed the sound output regardless of the source.

Not sure on your sound bar but it may be the same issue.

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Yes, I’m sure.  The Yamaha receiver and LG sound bar are perfectly sync’ed attached to their Sonos Ports.  They both sync with the Sonos One when I use analog connections on the Ports.  When I use digital connections on the Ports, the Sonos One is ahead of them.  It really seems like a d/a conversion issue.

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Here is another user with a similar issue. I’m not sure his solution will help you but it wouldn’t hurt to read through this thread:

 

Digital-analog conversion takes no perceptible time at all, in the Port or anywhere else. The delay is being introduced by the digital processing in the third party receiver and soundbar.

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The only problem I have with that is that I was on the phone with support and they brought up this possibility - that there is a short delay converting analog to digital.  Unfortunately the call got disconnected and we weren’t able to continue, but I was able to confirm that there was no delay when I was using analog outputs on the Ports.

If the Port is connected to the digital inputs on the receiver and sound bar, wouldn’t the Port be doing the conversion?  The receiver wouldn’t convert a signal that it’s receiving through a digital input, right?

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Ratty, Maybe I misunderstood.  Are you referring to audio processing/enhancement and not A/D conversation on the receiver and sound bar?  The Yamaha has a lot of settings for that, but the LG is pretty limited.  Again, both are sync’ed perfectly with each other.

 

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If the Port is connected to the digital inputs on the receiver and sound bar, wouldn’t the Port be doing the conversion?  The receiver wouldn’t convert a signal that it’s receiving through a digital input, right?

No, the receiver and the soundbar have to convert the digital signal coming out of the Port into the analog signal that they actually play. Sound is analog.

Ratty, Maybe I misunderstood.  Are you referring to audio processing/enhancement and not A/D conversation on the receiver and sound bar?  The Yamaha has a lot of settings for that, but the LG is pretty limited.  Again, both are sync’ed perfectly with each other.

If they’re perfectly synced when using the digital outputs from the Ports, then they are just coincidentally introducing the same downstream D->A processing delay.

The Sonos One will be in sync with the signal being emitted from the Ports. When you’re using the Ports’ analog outputs there’s no downstream processing in the receiver and sounder, so playback is in sync. When you’re using the digital outputs, there’s a downstream processing delay, so the receiver and soundbar are behind the One. This is a regrettable feature of many receivers.

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I think I can adjust the receiver to test.  As Stanley_4 mentioned, I think it has pure direct.  Then the question might become how much I like the sound, but there are solutions for that as well if I can determine this is the delay issue.

I guess a second question might be why the analog connections sound horrible through the Yamaha receiver.  I mean really bad.  I played with every possible setting and couldn’t make it good.  

Userlevel 7
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I guess a second question might be why the analog connections sound horrible through the Yamaha receiver.  I mean really bad.  I played with every possible setting and couldn’t make it good.  

No idea, but it’s odd. I use the analog output from a Port through a Yamaha receiver most of the time, and to me it sounds indistinguishable from using the Port’s digital output (and the Yamaha’s DAC).

You weren't using the phono input on the amp were you?

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John B, I think I’m about to feel dumber than I’ve already expressed.

Yes?

That's for a turntable only. Anything else will sound awful. Try any other input: CD, tape, aux....

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I’ll do that.  I didn’t realize there was a difference and I was never going to use a turntable so…..

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I’ll do that.  I didn’t realize there was a difference and I was never going to use a turntable so…..

Good catch by @John B.

Phono inputs expect signals at a much lower voltage than the line level output of the Port, so the Port would overload the input (and sound awful).

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Here’s what I can report after playing with it for a bit.

You’re all accurate in your feedback and I really do appreciate it, but I’m not satisfied yet.

Switching to another audio input on the Yamaha certainly solved the horrible audio (thanks for that), and it improved the delay but didn’t completely conquer it.

The only way to completely eliminate delay was in fact to go Pure Direct (thanks for that), but I’m sorry.  The sound quality compared to all the processing options on the receiver is just flat, and that setting affects all inputs.  I don’t use the enhancer, but going pure direct removes all EQ and input specific adjustments = no way to balance inputs.  I just can’t live with it.  I haven’t even checked to see if the LG sound bar is out of sync now, or how to resolve if it is.

So the end result is that the delay was a combination of D/A conversion and audio processing.  I can go analog, but that doesn’t solve the processing on the receiver and sound bar.  I think I’m in need of a function that doesn’t exist - sync adjustment on the Sonos One. 

I’ll probably play with it a little longer before returning the Sonos One.  It was really an insigificant addition to what was already a great setup.  I’m still open to any thoughts.

 

Thanks! 

Again, D/A (or A/D) conversion doesn't add appreciable delay. The sound processing in the downstream equipment is the cause of the lack of sync. 

Since Sonos can't insert negative delay in the Port or delay all the other members of the group there's nothing that can be done on the Sonos side of things. 

+1 for @ratty . He is totally and unquestionably right. This is 100% processing in the receiver.

As to the sound being 'flat', this may in fact be the 'true' sound of the music, as you would get from a hifi amp. But we all like what we are used to, and maybe you are used to an over-processed sound.

Or maybe you are right and it sounds flat.  It's all very subjective.

But please banish any thoughts that the delay is even partly a conversion effect. If it were then you would not be able to sync in the direct mode.

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Whatever the case, I definitely experienced less delay (shorter) when I switched to analog from digital.  It was almost OK, but not.  Only for credibility, I’ve been an active musician for the better part of 30 years and my ear is good.  I can tell you what note/chord/key you’re playing.  I can recognize when meter slips.  I can recognize delay. 

I would never say I enjoy over-processed sound, but I don’t consider EQ, trim, and surround adjustments over-processing.  All very typical controls in any environment.  As I mentioned above, I don’t even turn on the enhancer.  If you want all your sources to balance, you’re going to have to trim/boost some levels.  Anyone who stood here and listened to Pure Direct vs pre-amped would hear what I hear. 

It is what it is I guess.  Again, I do appreciate everyone’s feedback.  Thanks!

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