Rear speakers sometimes crackle or cut out

  • 1 March 2021
  • 4 replies

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I’ve had several different speakers as rearspeakers for my Playbase (which is wired). It started out with Play:1’s, followed by Symfonisk bookshelf speakers. I havent had any issues with these.

For the past couple of months I’ve used a set of Play:5 gen2’s as rears. Lately they have been crackling from time to time and sometimes cut out. The cutting out is very rare, but a bit of a crackle here and here is more common.


I’ve sent a diagnostic within a minute from it occurring. It actually occurred when sending diagnosis as wel.


The number is 254768390. Any idea what could be wrong?

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Klementino 

Thanks for your post.

The problem seems to be due to noise/interference near the Playbase. I would assume it’s due to a nearby access point. Please move this further away from the Playbase. Usually 1m is sufficient. I don’t know why this problem didn’t occur with other speakers as your surrounds - presumably it did, and it didn’t quite become audible. In case it’s not your access point, here’s a link to our page on reducing wireless interference. If you have the Playbase on a metal or glass surface, this may be a problem (reflections of the WiFi signal can interfere).

I would also recommend a reboot of your Sonos devices.

When you create a group that includes the Playbase, select the Playbase room first and add other rooms to it - as your Playbase is wired to ethernet, and your other speakers use it for network access, the path a music stream takes around your system will be more efficient if the Playbase is in charge of the group.

If none of this helps, how far away from the Playbase are the Play:5s? Can they be moved closer?

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Hi Corry,


Thanks for your answer. I will try to respond to the things you have said in detail. I’m a network engineer, so I know how to read technical data.

My Play:5’s are about 5 to 6m away from the Playbase. There is an AP hanging about 2,5m above the Playbase, but it has always been there.

I have been checking the web page on the Sonos system on port 1400. The Playbase indeed reports a lot of interference. The rear speakers however don’t report any interference whatsoever. I’d assume the Playbase has issues on the 2.4GHz band as this is a disaster in the urban area where I live. The Playbase is wired to my switch however and the rear speakers use 5GHz. It’s usually crackling so no pausing or cutting out.

Digging a bit deeper into the data I discovered there’s pretty much no dropped packets on the ath1 interface of the Playbase and neither on the ath0 interface of the Play:5’s. On the Play:1 in the bathroom, which has to mesh through another Play:1 and has to cover quitte some distance I plenty of dropped packets. I barely have any issues here though. Also the Move in the bedroom is performing amazing. I forced this to connect to 5GHz only SSID.

I do see a lot of lost packets on the br0 interface though. This seems to me that on a hardware level there’s not much going wrong, but on the software side something causes packets to be dropped.

I will reboot the system tonight or tomorrow. I’m not able to change a lot of things in terms of wires or placement. None of the steps for reducing wireless interference are applicable. There’s also no way to find out which 5GHz channel is used or any way to change this.

I will also give the tip about starting the grouping process from the Playbase a try. I don’t think the Playbase does any crackling, but to be fair I’m sitting next to my Play5:’s and 5m away from the Playbase.

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Tried to edit the post but I couldn’t find a way to do it. The crackling also occurs when the room isn’t grouped, so I don’t think the routine of starting grouping with the playbase is going to make much of a difference.

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @Klementino 

Thanks for your reply.

The surrounds connect to the Playbase over 5GHz, not to your router, so there may be 5GHz interference near the Playbase that isn’t seen elsewhere. However, the packet error rate from the Playbase to the surrounds is low, so I’m no longer convinced interference is the issue. In answer to your query about changing channels, the Playbase does that dynamically, so there’s no setting for it. At the time of the diagnostic, they were using 5240.

The diagnostic reports no audio dropouts in several days, but there was a spike in TX latency between the Playbase and surrounds in the right time frame. The cause of this is not clear. Hopefully a simple power cycle of the speakers will help - as you say, it may be a software cause on br0.

Does this issue happen when listening to music, TV or both? If it’s with music, remove the surrounds from the Playbase in the app and play music to them individually - do you hear the same crackle?

I don’t think the grouping advice will help with the crackle, but probably will help with any actual drops in audio. Plus, it’s good advice in general as it minimises unnecessary network traffic on the 2.4GHz band.


To edit an earlier post of yours, you should be able to see 3 little dots to the right of “Like" and “Quote". Click this, then Edit.