I’ve had 2 of the Roam speakers for a while now and I’m really disappointed in the way they interact with the Sonos App.
They were working in their initial configuration - as a stereo pair to drag around and use with bluetooth/airplay - for some months, and then I split my Sonos system between two houses.
Nothing worked in the new house until I factory reset all devices, including the 2 Roam speakers.
Everything else worked in the new house (Play:1 stereo pair, Beam, Connect amp with old speakers and a RCA input) but the Roams never quite worked right. When setting them up initially, both speakers said they might not show up in the app until being power cycled.
I set them up separately, one first all the way through the process of setting it up, following the prompt to power cycle it so it would show up in the app, until it showed in the app in a Room, changed the Room name to Portable, then started the other.
The second Roam went through the process until power cycling, then when it came online it knocked the other Roam off the app and didn’t itself show up.
I turned the second Roam off, whereupon it showed as offline in an unnamed Room. The first Roam didn’t show up until I power cycled it, then it did show up in the Portable room.
I was then able to use the first Roam normally.
Until powering the second Roam on - it again knocked the first Roam offline as well as my Beam, and I had to go through the power cycle rigamarole again for both the first Roam and the Beam as well.
Over a period of 3 or 4 months, I’ve done this tens of times as someone grabs the second Roam out of the drawer (ignoring the note wrapped around it that says “do not power on”) and tries to use it.
I should note that when going through the troubleshooting process for the Roams, I didn’t always power on and reset the “first Roam” first, sometimes I would intentionally power off both Roams, wait for them to disappear from the app, factory reset both of them, power them both off again, then power on the “second” Roam first. I tried turning off the battery saver and wifi power save. I tried prayer and sacrifices (if sacrificing my time counts). I have intentionally powered off both Roams, then factory reset the “second” Roam and walked through the device adding process until it showed in the app, changed its Room to something unused like “Pool”, then walked through the process for the “first” Roam. If you can imagine a different order to perform those steps in which might possibly work, I tried it. Inevitably, when both Roams would be expected to work, something got knocked off the app (and sometimes unusable via Airplay).
Now, I’ve got about 30 years of experience troubleshooting network problems. I’ve set up and managed corporate wireless networks, and I’ve got a fair amount of understanding of how to perform normal troubleshooting on wireless consumer devices.
I loathe performing troubleshooting on my home networks where the Roam speakers are involved.
During network troubleshooting, performed many times during the course of troubleshooting the speakers, I have switched out my wireless router (tried using an older Linksys WRT54G in the hopes that newfangled devices were being too fancy for the Roams, using newer consumer Netgear routers, and the ISP-provided router, and some Ubiquiti wireless routers) tried segregating the Roam speakers to a separate access point with the other gear on the wireless AP intended for use on that network… I really dug deep to try to help this thing work. Nothing else on the home network malfunctioned when swapping this gear out using the same SSID and password, which was sort of impressive. I expected other failures when doing all this nonsense.
Amusingly, it turns out that the problem causing all this may have been that the second Roam speaker was not updating its own software. In all the many, many hours of troubleshooting, resetting, factory resetting, stepping through the power cycling process when the second Roam got powered on by accident and knocked the first Roam and sometimes the Beam off my network, I had never been prompted to update the software on the second Roam. Until!
I went into the Network settings → Manage Networks → Update Networks and followed the dialogs to change the network settings on the second Roam, with it showing as offline in an unnamed room in the Sonos app. I added it to the wifi network manually, whereupon the app prompted me to upgrade its software.
Finally, I was able to set them up again as a stereo pair in the hopes that this would cause them to Just Work like they used to.
Now, the Roam speakers still do weird things. One of them (not always the same one) will go offline randomly even when plugged in via an appropriate adapter (wall plug, to a computer or other USB-A power source) and the included USB A->C cable. I don’t have the Roam Wireless Charger. When one of them goes offline I tend to troubleshoot it by turning them both off and wishing very hard that I had some way to launch them into the sun, or hated other people enough to pass them on. I do some calming exercises, wait an appropriate amount of time (somewhere between 15 minutes and a couple weeks) and when I turn them back on I’m grateful if they work and go back to drinking haterade.
If I had one christmas wish, it would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of peace and harmony.
If I had two Christmas wishes, the first would be for the children to sing and all that, and the second would be for a time machine to go back and advise myself to waste my money and time on something else (the bose soundlink portable speakers work pretty well via sometimes-clunky bluetooth).
The Roam is a perfectly fine speaker when it works, and when it works is better than any other similarly-sized weather-resistant bluetoothy speaker of its kind. The ability to pair them and bring them outdoors is great. But, when they don’t work they really, really don’t work. Based on the many posts reporting similar sad-path failures with the Roam speakers, Sonos should really have a program to buy these pieces of junk back from people who would otherwise be jolliful to own Sonos systems and promote them via word of mouth and keyboard.
Happy listening, friends.