Airplay 2 on Sonos

  • 2 January 2018
  • 71 replies

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Can anyone confirm whether you will need a Sonos One or a Sonos Play 1 to be able to play content from Apple products using Airplay?
I know that Playbase and Play 5 will support it, but don’t have either of them. I currently have a Playbar, a Sub, and 6 Play 1’s, (in a 5.1 configuration, a Stereo Pair and 2 seperate rooms with a single Play 1 in). I want to add one more speaker, would prefer a Play 1 as I have absolutely no interest in voice control, but would buy a Sonos One if that is the Only way to add Airplay to my system.
Thank you in anticipation.

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71 replies

Well, sort of annoying. I think we're going to have to wait and see.

I was just thinking how the grouping could be done without being a real pain. You'd still have to go into the Sonos App which already makes it clunky but if the volume could be off on the Sonos One then at least it could almost be a "behind the scenes" thing to get it coming out of the incompatible speakers via a grouping. Imagine if the volume on the Sonos One has to be the same as the rest of the group and someone is sat next to it when you start your streaming from a different room. That's going to make them jump!

PS: It's bad enough when I start some music in the living room from being sat at my computer. Nearly always makes the wife jump out of her skin because I didn't say I was putting some music on 😛
Userlevel 7
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I don't think so. It's not that clear but I am assuming that you can group compatible with non compatible, but in the Sonos app. Interested to know how volume control would work, again assume it will control the group volume set in Sonos and not just the compatible speaker otherwise it would be annoying.
But a compatible unit (Sonos One) won't make the incompatible ones also appear by bridging to them?
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You can safely assume Play 5 gens 1 will not work. It works much the same as Spotify. On the Sonos music app under the volume bar there is an airplay button which will find any airplay compatible devices in the vicinity and you can select that device. Compatible Sonos units will appear on that list if you are on that wifi network
I've come here to check. The blog that I received an email to did not specifically say that Play5 needs to be Gen 2. Although it is kind of implied by newer devices. Are we sure that Play5 Gen 1 are not supported? I have 2 of them and just bought a Play3 Gen 2 (oops!). Also got a connect amp but that's by the by,

I can't complain (well I could :D) I've had most of this stuff since 2010 and it's all working well still.

So given I've got no idea how Airplay 2 works (and little experience of Airplay 1 frankly), could someone clarify for me please?

I have a stereo pair of P5:G1 in my office which is an outbuilding that shares the same wired network as my other Sonos speakers. It works just the same as if they were in the main house. If I were to add a Play One somewhere in the house to get Airplay 2 support into the system, can I then be sat in my office and stream to my office speakers from my iPhone? If so, is it a simple case of "send this to the office" or do I have to jump through awkward steps to get there?

Of course, if the Sonos system properly supported Apple Music then I wouldn't need to but I'm becoming more and more aware of the fact that I only ever use Apple Music through my Sonos and therefore Apple is never learning what I like and what I don't. It seems to very much a one way stream with no feedback. Hence I'd like to move to using the Apple Music app on my phone and send the output to the Sonos pair in my office. (My office is not a public space incidentally, it's a home office)
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I just read the German blog. And the older speakers just do not have the processing power to support airplay2. That is normal
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I doubt a box will be as much as a Sonos one. All you need is the chipset from the one or play5. You don't even need to give it some ablities. It might cast in the range of a boost.

But it is Sonos so you never know their plans
Userlevel 7
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Just as we expected. Good to hear the play:5 will work (previously they only committed that the Sonos One would work).

I’m not sure they would ever bother making a stand alone box for this. The box would be almost the price of a Sonos One so why bother.

Airport express was made for airplay so not sure why would be surprise it could handle when Older Sonos units (not made for airplay) would not. Wouldn’t expect anything else.

Be interesting to test airplay 2 as I always felt airplay 1 was a bit of.a disaster when it came to streaming. Looking forward to native support to try out.
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I can understand the frustration about the Playbar but it was released in 2013 so it's hardly surprising. Comparing that with Airport Express, which is an Apple product, is harsh. It may come in handy but generally I loathe the Apple Music App with a passion so can't seem myself using it much.
Userlevel 5
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Maybe the will take the brains of the Sonos one. And make a unit that you can add to groups to make that group airplay2 compatible. They have the tech already.
I don’t like this at all.. I’ve got 2 Play:1’s a Playbar and a Sub. Worth of more than €1700,-. To hear that they won’t support Airplay 2 is really sh*t..

I can understand that the play:1 won’t support it, but the Playbar?!
Well, apparently it’s settled - AirPlay 2 is only for the newer touch control products: One, Play:5 (2nd Gen) and Playbase.

The remainder old products can be coupled with these new ones, but that means they will not be independently available as AirPlay speakers not available on the Home app. That’s a bummer.

I wonder why, if, apparently, even the Airport Express from 2012 seems to be supported (judging from the reports on the latest iOS Betas).
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Sonos can work on it - but they can't put it out for beta testing to Sonos beta testers without it being released (not beta) on Apple. And with Sonos beta cycles I wouldn't expect within next 4 months.
Which means that it might be possible that Sonos can work on it....assuming that Apple doesn't pull it again before sending 11.4 out the door, like chicks pointed out they did in 11.3. The problem in these situations is that you don't want to invest a lot of development time in a product that will change (potentially) substantially before it finalizes. So it's possible that Sonos won't have started their development yet. Unless they've gotten word from Apple that it's not going to change at this point.
AirPlay 2 has been removed from iOS 11.3 Beta. Oops. Sounds like Apple is finding it a bit more difficult than they thought to fix AirPlay.

It's back with iOS 11.4 Beta though
And especially as Apple appears to still be working on the final implementation, as they've pushed out the update for stereo pairing. I imagine as soon as the Sonos engineers have a "final" version that they can be sure that won't be changing, they'll feel more comfortable about releasing some information to us as to how it will work.

But until Apple is final, I wouldn't expect anything from Sonos...and to be honest, I'd expect a few month wait after Apple releases the final API, so that Sonos can check that the implementation they have works properly, and gets both alpha and beta testing under the belt.
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You can't expect Sonos or any other tech company to announce anything before Apple confirms official launch date.

Sonos also are vague when it comes to new features and timescales so don't expect any further info until near launch.
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an update on this would be great.
I feel like both Apple & Sonos are due to let us know what or when to expect it.
If Sonos already knows some hardware will be incompatible, please communicate it officially.
It seems that Apple is now delaying Airplay2 from october 2017 to summer 2018. We're now in march 2018 and there still isn't any official update regarding Airplay 2 from apple...
AirPlay 2 has been removed from iOS 11.3 Beta. Oops. Sounds like Apple is finding it a bit more difficult than they thought to fix AirPlay.
Userlevel 2
Got the Homepod. It's great, different than Sonos, but great. Looking forward to see Airplay on my Sonos speakers (Play:1, Play:5, Playbar). The Playbar is never leaving my TV, but if Airplay doesn't come at all, I am going to sell the other speakers (even though I love my Play:5). It's just not very convenient for me to use the Sonos controller apps, rather than just Airplay it from my lockscreen/control centre.
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All we do know is that if you have a Sonos One it will receive airplay 2. Of course if the Sonos One receives the signal then you can play it to any Sonos unit.

That is as far as we know.

There is possibility play:5 gen2 and Playbase May also serve that receiving role.

So the Airplay 2 signal will go into one modern Sonos product and then be converted and re-broadcasted to the old ones?

I wonder if mixing the protocols like that will be a future proof concept? Especially for those using Sonos-Net... I'm guessing there could be performance issues with the older models.

I also wonder how they deal with buffering. I saw from a presentation that Airplay 2 demands a buffering capability of several minutes, if they place that buffer in the Airplay2-receiving speaker only then it's no real buffering. Just a few speculations, we'll see pretty soon. In my experience from Z90, the Sonos buffering is not always big enough.
Okay okay.... with all this air play 2 talk... will this integrate into home kit? What’s the thought in this?

My hope is to create scenes with music along with lights, window Shades etc...
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Hi RamGuy, thanks for chiming in. As you say its Airplay 2 that I am really getting excited about.
Exciting times ahead! So if Airplay 2 will work the second gen of sonos devices....does that mean that we could probably pair it with appletv too?

In theory you will indeed be able to send the Audio from an Apple TV to Sonos, in fact I am really hoping this will work.

That works perfectly, I'm doing it right now. But you loose some of the "ease of use" as with AirPlay 2 on the speakers you can control everything directly within iOS using AirPlay 2. By using AirPlay 2 to the Apple TV and from there do the grouping towards your other Sonos-speakers you will have the same situation as with AirPlay 1 today where you have to start AirPlay and then head to the Sonos-app and do all the grouping and volume controls etc..

With AirPlay 2 embedded in the speakers you simply do and control everything directly using AirPlay no need for the Sonos-app. With the Apple TV you also get the same situation with 2x volume controls as the Apple TV is incapable of knowing or controlling your Sonos Play Bar / Play Base volume so you still end up with having one volume control for AirPlay and another for the speaker itself.
Currently using AirPlay 2 on my iOS devices (11.3 BETA1) and tvOS (11.3 BETA1) and I have to say this is so much better and more convenient compared to using the Sonos-app.

Don't get me wrong. I love Sonos, and I love what the app is capable doing but its so fiddly and the app itself cluttered and the UX-design isn't all that great and using Apple Music through the Sonos-app compared to using actual Apple Music-app is two very different things and in order to playback audio that is not supported in the app I have to AirPlay (v1) to my AirPort Express connected to line-in on a Sonos Play:5 Gen2 which then sends the audio to whatever speaker og speaker group I choose. The functionality is great, but having to AirPlay to the Express, then going into the Sonos-app to select the correct speakers and to have volume control in iOS controlling AirPlay and another in the Sonos-app controlling the actual speakers etc is making for a really cluttered user-experience.

With AirPlay 2 (I can only AirPlay 2 to my three Apple TV's so I still can't directly AirPlay to my Sonos Play:5 Gen2 in my hallway, living room and bathroom) its so darn easy to just click AirPlay and select the speakers you want and you're golden. Volume control is all done directly on iOS so the volume up/down always works, you get access to now playing on the lock screen etc.. And it doesn't kill my battery life like the Sonos-app, especially if you have hardware and lock screen controls enabled.

Its even better when playing back podcasts.. No more AirPlay to the Express, then into the Sonos-app and whatnot. Just click AirPlay, select the speakers/rooms I want and its working. I can even do everything directly on the Apple TV which is great for parties.

I can't wait for all of this to be embedded directly into my Sonos speakers so I can have it on all of them, in every room and to be able to actually not having to power on the Apple TV's for it to work.

I guess I'm somewhat lucky as I the following speakers;

Living Room:

1x Play Base
1x Play Sub
2x Sonos One

1x Play 5 Gen2 (separate, for when we use the surround system for TV audio but want music playback in the bakground)


1x Play Bar
2x Play 3


Play 5 Gen2


Play 5 Gen2

The only room being problematic would be the bedroom as it only has the Play Bar and Play 3's? I could always swap so the Sonos One's are the surround speakers in the bedroom and the Play 3's are the surrounds in the living room but I guess that wouldn't help much as its the Play Bar that is the "hub" in a surround system so I guess you need to have AirPlay 2 support in this device so whatever the surrounds supports doesn't really matter?

I can't wait for AirPlay 2 support to arrive.