Newbie setup help: through TV for both listening to music and TV watching?

  • 7 September 2021
  • 2 replies



First-time-caller, and a first-time SONOS owner for 2 weeks now. I’ve had a look around this helpful community and not found what I’m looking for - please direct me to an existing thread if there is one.


I wonder if I’ve bought the wrong setup, or haven’t figured out how to set it up to suit my expectations.


I’ve replaced 2 big floor standing speakers and an amp - that I’ve had for 15 years. I’ve since gotten married and we have a 4 year-old, and now live in a tiny appartment. Even I realised the big speakers had to go…


I mainly listen to music. This is through an Apple TV connected via HDMI into an old Samsung TV (that has no HDMI ARC, but an optical out). All of my music is through iTunes Match. I listen to music approx 20 hours/week.


We watch TV too, mostly the 4 year-old. I might watch 3 hours/week.


2 weeks ago I bought:



One SL x2 (paired)



Configured in a straight line across the room:

One SL <0.6m> Beam/TV <3.5m> One SL & Sub

Sofa is opposite in the middle.


I’ve tried 3 setups:


When it’s set up as:

Beam (+Sub+LS+RS)

Music isn’t great - slight echo.  TV has so much volume variation we’re always having to adjust it.

With ‘Music Playback’ on ‘Full’ (rather than ‘Ambient’) - so the Ones are a stereo pair, the system thinks it’s ‘TV’ all the time as the Apple TV music is coming through as ‘TV” - meaning it is always ‘Ambient’ in the Ones.


When it’s set up as:

Room 1: Beam

Room 2: One LS (stereo pair) + Sub

Music sounds best just through Room 2 - the Beam is simply the link from the TV to the SONOS system.

When watching TV, we’ve often having to adjust the volume as it is so inconsistent.  I end up having the SONOS app open throughout the TV viewing being like a sound guy making adjustments all the time.


When it’s set up as:

One SL x2 as a stereo pair with Sub, (disconnecting the Beam), and AirPlay setup through Apple’s Home app, music sounds good, TV seems more consistent, but it’s a bit temperamental with the AirPlay not always working. My partner isn’t technical and sometimes not patient so this setup can lead to frustration…  And in this arrangement I am missing the benefit of the fixed (optical) connection of the Beam, and its other features.

An example of being temperamental is when someone Bluetooths headphones to the Apple TV to watch Netflicks, afterwards it doesn’t always automatically reconnect to AirPlay - which then needs some playing around with the Apple TV settings.


I mostly want music to sound good (stereo), and to keep playing music through the Apple TV (iTunes Match) through the TV (everyone in the household manages with this). We don’t need/use surround sound.  I’m a bit disappointed the ‘Music Playback’ feature doesn’t work when both TV programs and music come through the TV optics - but I understand why not now I’ve played with it.


Am I missing something?

I’m hoping someone can suggest a tweak or setup change that as a newbie I haven’t yet figured out.


Thank you!


2 replies

Hi. There really shouldn't be an echo when the system is set up as surrounds. Are rhe TV's internal speakers also playing?

Do you have any form of paid Apple subscription?  Playing music through the TV is suboptimal and not something most users do.


Hi John B, and thank you for reading though my comment and responding.

My TV internal speakers are turned off, and by echo it’s probably more accurate to describe the sound as spatial/spacious/a-bit-airy? if that makes sense.

In terms of paid Apple subscriptions, I pay an annual fee for iTunes Match (which is basically my 30 years of CD collection onto iCloud...)

Your insight about playing music through the TV being suboptimal is helpful - this is what I am finding out. I’ve been doing this for so long now it will be quite a change to alter this, but I have tonight synced my iTunes/Music library with the SONOS app and playing from my phone - which means the ‘Music Playback’ setting works because the system knows it’s music.  This is an improvement. Thank you.

If anyone has any other solution so I can still play music through the Apple TV/iTunes Match arrangement please share.

Thanks again.