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Sound occasionally drops from one speaker in a Play 3 pair

  • 26 November 2023
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In my home office, I have a zone with two Play 3 and a Sub. What happens every now and then is that the left speaker goes silent for a while, and then comes back some 15-20 seconds later, and then a minute later or so there is another dropout. Once this has started to happening, it keeps on going this way.

I have tried to unplug all three players in the zone and plug them back in, but I am not sure that helps. But unplugging all players that I have (one zone with two Sonos Five, one zone with two Play One SL, one zone with two Play1 and finally a Port) and plugging all back removes the problem for a while but then it comes back after some weeks. Possibly the periods it works are getting shorter. This time it started to appear after one week since I plugged in all players.

I have note noticed dropouts in other zones, but this zone is also the one where I most often play music.

Anyone recognise the problem? Could it be that the Play3 is getting old and tired and it’s time for a replacement?

 

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Best answer by Airgetlam 26 November 2023, 17:54

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15 replies

Seems unlikely, but you could submit a system diagnostic within 10 minutes of experiencing this problem, and call Sonos Support to discuss it.

I would lean more towards duplicate IP addresses, which could be potentially and temporarily fixed by unplugging all Sonos devices from power, then rebooting your router. Give the router a couple of minutes to reboot, before plugging back in all your Sonos. If this works, I’d encourage you to assign reserved IP addresses to your Sonos, instructions should be in your router’s documentation. Reserved IPs is a more permanent solution, if that is indeed what you’re experiencing, and certainly a good practice in any case.

Of course, it could be simple wifi interference .

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All players have assigned IP:s.

I guess calling Sonos Support may be required in the long run, but I figured that I would reach out here first, as calling Sonos Support is not a very good experience. (“Right now there are many calling us. Your place in the queue is 32.”.)

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Do try the WiFi interference link above.

 showing the link: https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3286

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I will have to admit that I am sceptic that WiFi interference could be the issue. I’m thinking in that case, the problem would come and go without my interference. But I will try switching channels, next time it happens. As for other devices in the vicinity, the closest device in my flat is the other Play 3 speaker, but I the speaker is about 80 cm below the ceiling, and I don’t know what my neighbour above might have there. I’m considering as a test to let the two Play3 change places with each other.

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Don’t just look at WiFi devices, I had an external hard drive that killed my poor Play 3 if it got too close, a meter away all was fine.

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An update:The problem came back this week, and I did have the time to call Sonos support this afternoon.

I had sent in diagnostics at a point when the left player was silent. Interesting enough the player was absent in the diagnostics.

When I sent in new diagnostics, the support lady noted that the memory of the problematic player was not in best shape, and she recommended a factory reset. She explained that with these older models, the updates do not always work and apparently that can somehow clog the memory. This kind of aligns with my theory that the players are getting old and a replacement may be a good idea.

On her recommendation, I also did a factory reset of the other Play3 and the Sub. It is way too early to see that this solves the problem, as it has always been the case that unplugging and plugging back has resolved the problem for the moment, and then it has come back after a few weeks.

Interesting titbit: When I reset the second Play 3, the orange hadn’t switched to green to after more than 30 minutes. But I found googling a tip that plugging in an ethernet cable could help - and indeed, within minute after I had connected the player to the router, the lamp switched to green.

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Yet an update: No, the reset of the speakers did not help. The probles keeps coming back.

I tried swapping the left and right speaker sin the pair physically, but I did not tell Sonos. Not unexpectedly the same speaker was the one that dropped out. I had an idea that this would rule out WiFi interference, but maybe not.

The next test was break up the stereo pair and re-pair according to the swap above. The effect is that it is again the left speaker that drops out. That is, not the same physical speaker as before. That sort of disproves my idea that this particular speaker was getting tired and worn out. (I also had an interesting situation tonight when zone was playing, but none of the two Android controllers nor the Windows controller was able to contact the zone and stop the music.)

My next test is that I have moved the Sub. It was standing next to a cupboard in which there is a printer, a NAS, a WiFi, and, on the other site of the printer, a desktop computer. It’s now in a different corner with no electronics around it.

I believe you have the answer - it’s a memory issue. The Play:3 is old, and the hardware contains only 64mb of memory and 64mb of storage. I think that in a speaker pair, one speaker will be the ‘master’ and that one will run out of memory first, which is what you have experienced by re-pairing in your troubleshooting. The fact is this issue doesn’t only affect paired speakers - I have the same issue on a single play:3. 

What may help, and what I am currently trying in my own troubleshooting is reducing the memory usage. My understanding is that if you use a local music library, the index for that will take up space. Adding additional streaming services will also use more memory. I rarely use my local music library any more, so I have removed that completely. I also removed a couple of services I didn’t use. I am still testing, but hoping this will prevent me having to use a smart plug to reboot the Play:3 every night in order to free the memory so I can use it the next day! 

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Thanks Ricardo!

I have quite a hefty music library with maybe 35000 songs. And I am actively using it. The only service I have is Spotify which I use to try new music. (And if I like it, I buy the MP3.), but my Spotify listening is mainly in another room.

So if what you is saying is correct, there is certainly all reason to look into get a set of newer players. But I may try a few more troubleshooting steps before I get there. So far I have not have any issues since I moved the location for the Sub, but it’s too early to tell.

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Thanks Ricardo!

I have quite a hefty music library with maybe 35000 songs. And I am actively using it. The only service I have is Spotify which I use to try new music. (And if I like it, I buy the MP3.), but my Spotify listening is mainly in another room.

So if what you is saying is correct, there is certainly all reason to look into get a set of newer players. But I may try a few more troubleshooting steps before I get there. So far I have not have any issues since I moved the location for the Sub, but it’s too early to tell.

If you are running S2 It might be the faulty firmware issue that is reported for Connect Amps but also some P3 owners IIRC. 

SONOS says a new firmware will be released to address this issue at some point. 
 

There is an owner who has said that reverting the system to S1 has solved the drop out issue FYI. 

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Thanks Bumper. When the S2 came out, I decided that it was better to be on the onward train, and replaced all S1 devices that were incompatible with S2, so S1 is not an option for me.

And I don’t really have an issue with replacing the Play 3:s with Era 300 (which is the closest replacement, IIRC). But it would be a bummer to buy new players, only to see the problem reappear. But from your and Ricardo’s post, it seems that there are some chances that new players will solve the issue.

 

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I think the Era 300 would be a very good upgrade so definitely not trying to dissuade you, I would do it  😀

The latest update to S2 version 16.0 and Associated firmware update seem to have improved things for me. Been stable for 72 hours+ when it was falling over within 24 previously.

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Thanks for the update, Ricardo.

My zone broke down quite spectacularly a few days before the update. It was not only a matter of drop-out - the right channel was dead for minutes and never came back. (And the left channel occasionally dropped out, leaving only the Sub.) But it had been working for a little more than two weeks.

I have now set up for the final test: I’ve swapped the devices between two rooms, so in my office I now have two Sonos Five. The idea is that my usage profile between the two rooms are different. Hopefully, the Sonos Five will not end up in the same way as the Play 3 pair, and in such case, I will go for the ERA 300, and maybe a new Sub too.

Although from what you report, maybe I should give the Play3 another chance in the office before I take that step. (Provided that they don’t break down in the room where they are now.)

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Hi Erland,

I’m getting the same thing. It’s hugely frustrating. I’ve found turning off and on again sorts things out for a few days. I am considering getting a timer switch to turn off my older units overnight. Seems crazy to have to do this though. Obviously a running out of memory issue, and in my opinion the firmware needs an update to clear this down periodically.

Good news (kinda) to report is that one Play:3 unit that was particularly bad I replaced with an Era:100 and I’ve had no issues since with that unit. The Era:100 sounds much better than the Play:1 that it is more equivalent to, and a is actually a decent replacement for a Play:3.

Steve