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Skips, Drop Outs and Missing Speakers - Play:3 and Amp

  • 21 February 2024
  • 17 replies
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Hi,

I’ve had a long time problem with the Play:3 and Amp products in my system, dropping out and skipping, most frequently just one channel of a stereo pair of Play:3.

As two Play:3 units are in an extension, effectively outside the original house, I invested in a Ubiqiti UniFi switch and added hard wired WiFi points in a few rooms (including the extension). I’ve tried both with SonosNet and wi-fi only configurations. There are a number of articles on configuring the plethora of options on the UniFi switch, which I have followed, but it seems that Sonos works less well with a decent switch than a cheap ISP provided wifi/router/modem combo. Go figure.

The frustrating thing through all of this is the amount of time that I have spent explaining all of this to Sonos support and the process that I go through every time with this. The problem is effectively resolved by switching the speakers on and off again. Each time on support calls I am asked to turn off everything, including all Sonos units, cable modem, switch etc. etc., and then turn it back on again. Things then work and the support call is over. I am never able to get to the point of explaining that whilst it works on the call I know the system will go wrong again in a few days time.

Switching Play:3 units off and on again, without switching off all other network kit, seems to make them work fine for a few days before problems return. The issues only affect the older kit in my system, Roam, Move and Arc 100 units all work fine (the latter purchased only to replace the Play:3 in the room where dropouts were annoying my wife).

There is obviously some kind of memory leak or cache issue on the older units when they are on newer firmware, or playing with newer network kit or other Sonos units. I have considered fixing this with a Tapo mains plug, to automatically turn the units off for a chunk of time over night each night. It seems crazy to me though that I should have to do this. Surely there is a way to fix this in the firmware so that whatever it is that gets overloaded gets cleared down periodically?

I totally understand that Sonos need to push forward and innovate and concentrate on newer kit, but as someone who has invested heavily in Sonos kit over the years I feel let down that older kit, that used to work fine, is now failing in this way.

Is anyone else experiencing similar issues, if so, do you have any recommendations? Better still, would anyone from Sonos care to comment?

Cheers all,

Steve

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Best answer by Corry P 22 February 2024, 10:48

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17 replies

Userlevel 7
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Since the issue of older speakers on S2 dropping out only surfaced in the summer of 2023 “a few years” does not seem right.

Hey at least they are finally acknowledging the issue rather then pretending it doesn't exist.. It may have taken a few years but better late then never.. right guys!? 😞

My £25 Echo Dot streams better than my £500 Connect:Amp.  I can’t tell you how majorly p***** I am now.  
 

I discovered this a few years ago; that when both are working fine, on the streaming stability/quality front the Echo Dot is just as good as Sonos kit, minus the Sonos tantrums. And once the Dot is wired to something with quality sound, be that Sonos or other kit, the sound quality is as good as the downstream kit can deliver.

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Fully a third of my mixed S2 system (4 of 12 units) are the older types.  The Connect:Amps all experience dropouts a few days after reboots.  None of the newer units do.

This has been going on for many many months now. — too long.  If you cannot fix it, then as an exceptional case, you should make the 30% trade-in permanent.  You are forcing our hand to upgrade — it wouldn’t have been my choice.

 

Bear in mind many with these older units were your original and most loyal customers — I have been with you since 2009.  
 

My £25 Echo Dot streams better than my £500 Connect:Amp.  I can’t tell you how majorly p***** I am now.  
 

andrew 

I am also facing issues with my Play:3. Everything is hardwired (no SonosNet) so no possible interference.

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Steve_237 

I have no updates as of yet, but we are still working on the issue pertaining to the Play:3s. We do not have an ETA for a fix.

At present, there is no way to schedule a reboot of a Sonos speaker without the use of other equipment. The method by which an agent was able to reboot your Connect:AMP for you requires explicit permission each and every time.

Finally - and just for clarification - Sonos Amp is not affected - it’s the Connect:AMP that is, though it is a separate issue than that affecting the Play:3s, but with the same symptoms. And, although in some cases it can be mitigated, this does not appear to be the case for your particular device - at this point, I would recommend a replacement of that device.

I hope this helps, though I realise it’s not the answer you were looking for.

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Hi @Corry P 

Is there any update on this issue? It is as bad as ever, and now the problem has been acknowledged and recognised surely it can not be impossible to fix? The guy on the support line was able to restart my speakers remotely and clear the issue. Can that not be made to happen automatically? The only option I have presently with my Sonos:Amp (due to where it is plugged in) is to reach behind it and yank the cable out every now and again. This isn’t really what you expect from a premium product.

Steve

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Hi @Steve_237 

You are most welcome - I only wish I had better news!

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Hi @Corry P 

That really is a bit disappointing. This issue has been going on for some time now. It was most likely caused by a firmware update and I think those who have stayed committed to Sonos for many years deserve a fix for their kit. I would very much like to upgrade my older speakers and amp, but these are not inexpensive units and that is not really an option.

I will keep restarting, and keep waiting on a proper fix. Thanks for looking into it and responding quickly.

Steve

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Steve_237 

I’m sorry to hear that!

I can regrettably confirm that I am once again seeing the same error messages from the Play:3s. The recent update I mentioned contained an attempted fix that was intended to fix a different issue, but there was a chance that it would also fix the issue I was seeing on your Play:3s and Connect:AMP. This no longer seems to be the case - apologies for calling it a bit too early. Your speakers were (and still are) also affected by the issue that we attempted to fix, so the waters were a bit muddy, so to speak.

I don’t currently see the error from the Connect:AMP, but that may be just because you haven’t used it as much - it’s been 4 days since playback there.

Regarding the Play:3s (and probably the Connect:AMP), I can now only suggest that you reboot them on a regular basis (an automated timer plug could do the job for you), seeing as the issue seems to take a while after booting to manifest, or to replace them outright. If looking to replace them, you should find that any 15% discount you would have received for having the Play:3s is now 30% - until the end of February only (February 29, 2024 at 11:59 PM PST).

I think the delay in the second speaker playing is probably related to the aforementioned issues - I see no data transport issues worthy of note that could be addressed.

I hope this helps, and apologies again for calling things a bit too early!

 

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Hi @Corry P 

I’m afraid that we’re not in the clear yet. Since my last post I have had some occasional drop outs on the left channel of my stereo pair in the office, most noticeably just after starting an album. Just had one now after the units had been playing for a while. I started submitting a diagnostic and part way through both speakers dropped out, but the app (Windows) showed the track was still playing. The diagnostic is 668989791.

Another slight annoyance is that when starting music the left channel starts a second or so behind the right. It’s not a big deal, but it would be much better if the pair made sure they were both ready to go before starting anything - a bit of a delay would be far preferable to a partial start.

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That is awesome if this is now fixed. I shall know in a few days time. Thank you for checking the diagnostics.

Userlevel 7
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Hi @Steve_237 

I’m glad to hear things are now behaving a bit better!

Thanks for the updated diagnostics - I saw exactly what I was hoping to see regarding your Play:3s and Connect:AMP - the errors present in the January diagnostics that concerned me have now cleared due to the fix in the last update, so things should indeed now perform better.

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First, although you may have seen the following before, I just want to make sure that you’ve been given this information  in particular regarding configuration of your UniFi gear:

Regarding your Play:3s and Connect:Amp in particular, I’d really like to see a more up-to-date diagnostic from them - could you please test your system after following the advice above and submit a support diagnostic, replying here with the number given?

Hi Corry,

Thanks for getting back to me on this.

I have tried many different configurations over the months and followed lots of different advice from posts on the community. I can confirm that the settings referenced in your message are set on my UniFi switch, and have been for some time.

For a few weeks now I have been running without the network cable in the Playbar. This is how I had things set up before the problems started, plugging the cable in was just one of the things I tried that seemed to have no effect.

All units are now connecting to their nearest access point, and I am confident that this means that signal strength to the wifi is not an issue. The UniFi hub reports 100% signal strength on all but the two Play:3 which are at 95%.

I’ve submitted a diagnostic, 1109208604, but the system is working okay at the moment after switching everything off and on again yesterday.

Many thanks,

Steve

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FYI there is a bug known to cause this type of behaviour with older units running S2. (Might be fixed in a recent update, or maybe not)

You can test by switching the affected units to S1 and see if they play OK for days/week.

They are older units, and they are running on S2. They very seldom had problems on S1, but I have new products in the mix so that is not an option. I do now have a spare unit I swapped out for a new speaker though which I can test on. Can one phone run both S1 and S2? I guess I then just factory reset the unit and join a new system?

It certainly sounds like a bug, it would be great if a fix could be issued. It started with no change to the environment, so it does feel like it was a Sonos firmware update that caused it. You would have thought it could be fixed the same way.

Userlevel 7
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Switching Play:3 units off and on again, without switching off all other network kit, seems to make them work fine for a few days before problems return. The issues only affect the older kit in my system

 

FYI there is a bug known to cause this type of behaviour with older units running S2. (Might be fixed in a recent update, or maybe not)

You can test by switching the affected units to S1 and see if they play OK for days/week.

Userlevel 7
Badge +18

Hi @Steve_237 

Welcome to the Sonos Community!

Sorry to hear of the issues you’ve been having! I’ll do my best to assist.

First, although you may have seen the following before, I just want to make sure that you’ve been given this information  in particular regarding configuration of your UniFi gear:

  • Log into the UniFi controller

  • Click the Settings tab on the left sidebar

  • Click WiFi under the Settings page

  • Click on the network SSID. Note: if there are multiple SSIDs that the players and controllers connect to, the same will need to be done for each SSID.​
  • Scroll down to Advanced Configuration and set it to Manual

  • Click on the Apply Changes button at the bottom of the page.
  • Scroll down to Advanced Configuration and set it to Manual
  • Disable the following options by unchecking the Enable option:
    • Multicast and Broadcast Control (blocks all multicast and broadcast for non-listed devices).
    • Multicast Enhancement (converts multicast to unicast when possible).
    • Client Device Isolation (prevents wireless client on the same AP from communicating with each other).​​​​​​​
  • Once completed, allow up to a minute for the AP to provision (apply the settings) and restore online connection, then proceed to the connection or setup of the Sonos system.

Please note that the interface may have changed slightly, so the exact steps may be different, but the options chosen should be the same.

Please be sure to reboot the router after changing settings.

I have taken a look at your diagnostics from back in January, and I can see that the Playbar is acting as the SonosNet “hub” for the majority of your system. When it’s talking to the nearby surround speakers, it’s not having a problem, but when it’s trying to communicate with the speakers in other rooms, it’s having quite a bit of trouble getting network packets to arrive at the respective speakers intact. Please examine the immediate area around the Playbar and do what you can to move any other devices that may be using WiFi away from the Playbar - obviously, the TV and any set-top-boxes will need to stay there, but if there is a UniFi access point nearby, for example, please move it further away.

I also recommend that you configure your access points to only use channels 1 and 6 on the 2.4GHz band - I currently see channels 1, 4, 6 and 8 in use - 4 overlaps with 1 and 6, and 8 overlaps with 6 and 11. Ideally, you only ever want 1, 6 and 11 in use, and Sonos is using 11, so it’s best to keep the access points off 11. Note that it’s better to have 2 WiFi networks on the same channel than it is to have them on overlapping channels, but it’s optimal to have them on different channels that do not overlap, so there’s no harm in putting one or more access points on the same channel, but we really want to get rid of the overlaps .

Having said all that, another valid thing to try would be to just remove the ethernet cable from the Playbar so that the entire Sonos system uses WiFi - my suspicion is that the other speakers will get a cleaner connection back to the router this way - and you may get better performance than you did before after following the steps in the blue box above.

Regarding your Play:3s and Connect:Amp in particular, I’d really like to see a more up-to-date diagnostic from them - could you please test your system after following the advice above and submit a support diagnostic, replying here with the number given? Thanks.

I hope this helps.