"Permanently" Grouping Speakers that are Always Used Together (Beyond LR Pairs...)

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I'm new to the Sonos world - having waited for Google Play integration (thanks!) - and am generally very impressed, as it's a joy to use such well designed products. However, I've been surprised that Groups functionality is so weak compared to what I'd expected...

I have a large living room that has an LR Pair of Play:1s in it and a single Play:5. When playing music in that room, all three are *always* used together, but this has exposed design shortcomings of the current Groups functionality.

I'd anticipated being able to configure all the speakers in my living room (ie. all those speakers that are *always* used simultaneously) to form a "permanent" grouping, not too dissimilar to how you can "permanently" create LR pairs. Currently, Groups are what I'd term "soft", and this leads to the following shortcomings:

- THE PHYSICAL VOLUME BUTTONS HAVE BEEN RENDERED USELESS, SINCE THEY DO NOT CONTROL GROUP VOLUME. For example, despite my three speakers always being used together in a single Group, the volume control on the Play:1s only changes the volume on the Play:1 LR pair, and the volume control on the Play:5 only adjusts its own volume. This means that the carefully balanced volume levels I've achieved between the speakers in the Group are immediately messed up if I use the physical volume buttons, since the buttons change individual (or LR pair) volumes, not Group volume. Therefore, I cannot use the physical buttons, which is a real shame, and have to always resort to the App to change volume levels. I am really surprised at this shortcoming!

- GROUP CONFIGURATIONS (INC. RELATIVE VOLUMES) ARE LOST ACROSS POWER CYCLES SO NEED REGULARLY RECREATING. I try to operate as green a home as possible, so if I'm going to be away from home for a few days I power down pretty much everything in the house. That includes router and will include my new Sonos gear. It seems that LR Pairing and EQ data is retained across power cycles, but all Group data is lost. From my perspective, the three-speaker Group I have in my Living Room is a permanent group - I expected to configure this once (akin to how I configured the Play:1 LR Pair), and then have the system remember that - forever (across power cycles) - until I unconfigured that grouping. As it is, I'll keep having to establish that Group again, and keep having to set the relative volume levels in the Group, which will become pretty tedious after the Nth time!

I appreciate that the current "soft" Groups functionality will work well for speakers in a home that are only ever informally grouped together, such as for a party, or other occasion when you want different rooms playing the same music. But, there is currently no support that I can see for my use case: that of having a "permanent" Group of speakers that are always used simultaneously. Is my use case so unusual? I'm suprised if so.

Thanks for listening!

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65 replies

Userlevel 5
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A follow-up on this...

It seems the functionality I'm looking for already exists - what Sonos call "Bonding" as a way of semi-permanently linking players  - but unfortunately Bonding is restricted to groups containing a Sub & players or Playbar & players (surround sound setup). In these bonded groups, they perform some frequency/channel filtering.

So, to implement what I'm looking for would, on the face of it, require minimal effort. The Bonding functionality just needs to be exposed via the App's UI to allow additional (simpler!)  types of bonded groups to be created. These simple stereo groups, consisting solely of conventional players (ie. not Subs or Playbars), wouldn't need any frequency or fancy surround sound channel filtering, just the semi-permanent link between players (or players and player LR pairs) that ensures they always play together as a unit.

How about it Sonos? :)

Ref: Grouping, Pairing, and Bonding Players:
Userlevel 6
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I have to agree, but not just to the volume but to the grouping - I would also like to "Permanently" group.

I have a PlayBar and two play ones as bonded surround sound but I also wish to have two more play ones as a stereo pair that sit behind me.
Putting in my vote for this feature, as it is sorely needed.

My situation - I do A/V installs for higher end clients who have large homes, vacation properties, etc. and they like to have zone controls, but each zone requires 2+ Connect:Amps and we want a way to bond multiple Connect:Amps so they don't have to fuss with Grouping every time.

Another scenario that I'm sure many would like this feature for is using multiple Connect:Amps for their surround sound systems. Scenario - receiver gets HDMI audio from each device, then separates it out into line outputs for each surround channel. Each line output is sent to a Connect:Amp input which are then balanced for volume between their inputs and, finally, bonded so that the user has 1 volume control that raises the volume for the bonded units relative to it's set volume.

In any case, this kind of functionality is a dream come true and certainly would get my clients to purchase more units.
Userlevel 1
Much much needed. Would be just great if they just add something like a check box to perm group players.
I would have to disagree about the physical volume button unless it was a configurable option. I tend to play my speakers in large groups and I don't want somebody turning the music down in one room to impact folks listening in other rooms.

I do however agree that the ability to set up permanent groups that persist across power failures and restarts is a good idea.
+1... I have a 20-zone install. Playbars, Connect:amps, and Connects throughout. I need to suplement an external area with a couple of play:1s which I already have, and another area with a pair of play:5s... however its a pain as I cant have them be "part" of the connect:amp zone automatically... i need to add them everytime.... pleaseeee listen to your users.... I love sonos, but I'm sure so many of the features added recently are more marketing that useful... please add some that will make our lives and our music more enjoable!!! (And mostly, make the system easier to use for friends and family!) Right now ppl just grab a bluetooth speaker and listen to something different when they are far from the area...
+1 - this seems like such a simple and logical step. Could be as simple as adding them to the same room. I believe the User Experience could be done very easy and technically this simply would not be difficult.
This has got to be the craziest missing feature in the Sonos system. If I were implementing it, I would allow arbitrary groups of speakers to be named, and then treated as a single virtual speaker. List them along with the room speaker names (give them a little "group" indicator icon) and allow them to be selected and volume controlled together, just like any speaker. Why isn't this available? The current primitive controller setup makes my 8-speaker Sonos system frustratingly fiddly.
Would be great. I also turn off so now when not using to save electricity. And I would like to wake up with my alarm playing music as I step in rooms around the house.... Without having to setup groups manually. I have scheduled the power outlets to automatically switch on before the alarm goes off.
+100 to this topic.
I have a similar need. All of my speakers are grouped, but one has a daily alarm to wake me up. When it goes off and wake up and silence it, it doesn't return to it's group. While it isn't a lot of work to add it back to the main group, I'm so busy trying to get ready for work that I usually forgoe doing that. Dear Sonos, please give us a default group of group affinity setting for each speaker!!

My wifi is a little bit sketchy and when players reconnect they are never (re)grouped automatically.

That would be nice.
Userlevel 5
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Would love this-would make for a great future upgrade 🙂
Having a har time believing this isn´t a feature already - Come on Sonos.
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Me too!! I bought a Play5 v2 to replace a Play3 in my living room. When I placed the Play5 in a different spot than where I had the Play3, I noticed the sound is MUCH better with both rather than just the Play5. So, I decided not to sell the Play3 like I had planned. It would be great to have them behave as a permanent unit with relative volume synching (I want the Play5 to always be louder than the Play3).
+1 I agree as well. I have four Play 1's two of which are in the dining room / living room. One in the bedroom and one in my office(second bedroom). When company comes over, I would like to just select Group Name:xxxx and have just the living room / dining room play. I know this is simple enough to do on the fly with current controls, but I plan on purchasing more speakers and setting them up as stereo pairs and adding a couple more to the living room. So eventually we'll be talking about 6 - 7 speakers in the group. When that time comes it will start to be a pain in the butt to set up the groups on the fly every time we have company.
Sonos....I'm confused at the delay in adding a permanent Grouping feature. This is not that hard !!!! Do you need a better programmer to update your software? This seems like a no-brainier that would add a tremendous amount of functionality for a lot of people. I guess you'll add it when other competition starts to eat at your revenue? Come on folks, you have a great system. Give us what helps us listen more conveniently.

And would add a great deal of pain for a great many people too.

Care to elaborate?

IMO the grouping could use some work and there are some interesting ideas posted on the forums such as virtual grouping - or options similar to Chromecast Audio.

For me, it would be enough if my groups stayed grouped until I tell them not to. Feel free to point out why this wouldn't work or shouldn't be added.
I would love a group feature. Sonos please listen to your customers. Customer pay your rent, your vacation, your food, your car, your kids education.....your everything
I won't comment on software requirements or complexity.... But some sort of default grouping is sorely needed. A key feature of songs not being fully leveraged
Two day sonos customer, need a permenent groupimg feature already, please make it happen, thank you!
+100........please make it happen
Well it kind of groups the 3 or 4 of you up.
Makes me wonder why you have stayed around so long, maybe an employee in disguise, the beauty is we will never know ;)

An employee in disguise? If I am, I'm doing a piss poor job of it in the 4.6 Tap to Play discussions. If your tin-foil hat conspiraciy theory is true, there's a couple "Rock Stars" in that thread who are going to be out of a job. Or maybe we are just fans of the product, have our own opinions, and like to help people out. Nawwww, what fun would that be? :rolleyes

It's posts like these that make me long for the old ignore feature.
Userlevel 7
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Well it kind of groups the 3 or 4 of you up.
Makes me wonder why you have stayed around so long, maybe an employee in disguise, the beauty is we will never know ;)

You do realise the more of these petty and childish posts you make the sooner you'll be a Rock Star right? You're well on the way to being a Rising Star, puffs chest, just like me!

You won't be able to stay down and dirty with the kids anymore then will you? The noobs will think you're a plant!
I agree with trying to develop this concept. I like to listen to my TV while showering, so having my play:1 (in bathroom) linked to my playbar/sub/2 play:'s (in living room) would be ideal... messing around in the app every morning 'grouping' things together is a pain. Even a group until 'ungrouped' would be helpful. Thoughts?