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Special Situation: Need Stereo Pairing Without Latency

  • 13 July 2019
  • 8 replies
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I have two Play 5s set up as a stereo pair. They are connected at one end of a stereo audio cable to the miniplug line-in input of one of the two speakers, and at the other end to my analog sound source. For my special purposes, I can have no discernible latency in the Play 5's audio output. Unfortunately, with this setup, the latency I’m experiencing is unacceptable. How to solve the problem? Should I simply break the pair and connect to the stereo source using two separate mono miniplugs instead? Thank you very much for your help.
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Best answer by controlav 13 July 2019, 21:43

Latency between what, exactly? Are you saying there is a delta between each of the Play:5s playback? This seems unlikely, either when set as a stereo pair or when simply grouped.

Or is there latency between whatever source device is feeding these, and the P5s (which seems more likely). If so there's not much that can be done about that, the 70ms delay is as low as that will get.

Two cables would just make the problem worse, as there will be no sync possible between the two P5s.
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Userlevel 7
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Latency between what, exactly? Are you saying there is a delta between each of the Play:5s playback? This seems unlikely, either when set as a stereo pair or when simply grouped.

Or is there latency between whatever source device is feeding these, and the P5s (which seems more likely). If so there's not much that can be done about that, the 70ms delay is as low as that will get.

Two cables would just make the problem worse, as there will be no sync possible between the two P5s.
Any analog input on a Sonos device has the same latency, be it mono or stereo. It should be around 70ms, and serves two purposes: 1) conversion from analog to digital and 2) buffering so the sound can be played in sync across all speakers in the Sonos household. There is no way to adjust this, it is just the way the Sonos system is designed to work, and consequently why they aren’t sold as either TV or computer speakers.

Sonos is does have substantially lower latency on the digital inputs on their sound bars, and for speakers “bonded” to the same room in a 5.1 setup, but as soon as you group another room to that one, the second room pays that 70ms penalty for buffering.

If you have an analog input, and don’t want to have that delay, you’re much better off with non-Sono speakers.

Sonos is outstanding for what they are designed to do. They aren’t great at doing things not in the original design spec.
whistler49,

Separating the Play:5's is not going to make a difference, the buffering and/or compression will occur anyway depending on your line in audio settings. You are not going to get near-zero latency here. That’s why this method is not the solution for DJ's, or those that perhaps want to do Karaoke, or try to get things to lip-sync with a connected TV etc.

Works fine though for a good many other audio sources, like turntables and CD Players etc.
Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful responses. I will have to get a different set of speakers for my particular setup.
Userlevel 3
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I am curious about why you have such particular needs. What’s your special set up?
I have a home music studio with a music desk holding a patchbay, digital interface, computer (which acts as a mixer, among other things), etc. I also have a separate piano desk for my synthesizer/controller ("piano"), a second computer monitor (mirroring the first) and two Sonos P:5s. The stereo analog outputs of the piano are connected to the patchbay, and the P:5s, set up as a stereo pair, are connected by a stereo cable running from one of its two speaker's mini-plug input to a stereo analog sound source coming from the patchbay. The source is a mix consisting of the L+R outputs of the piano and, often, an independent sound source also connected to an input of the patchbay.

Because I compose at the piano desk, I need to see and, more important, to hear what I'm playing on the piano at exactly the same time as I hear the audio output from the P:5s. As explained by the posted responses to my original question, there will always be some amount of latency built into the Sonos speakers, even when an analog line-in P:5 connection is the music source in Sonos. It's only a problem when an instrument is in the mix.

I should have known better. But I have a good solution. I'll replace the S:5s with a pair of standard active speakers and put the S:5s in the guest room.
Userlevel 3
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For your purposes the Play:5 does not seem well suited.

But I have a good solution. I'll replace the S:5s with a pair of standard active speakers and put the S:5s in the guest room.


Perfect!

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