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Audio Lag with Sony Receiver

  • 24 February 2018
  • 4 replies
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I have a PLAY:1 and PLAY:5, as well as a CONNECT that's attached to a Sony STR-ZA5000ES. I'm having issues with the audio being out-of-sync between the CONNECT and other speakers.

The only way to get them synced up is using RCA cables and enabling the receiver's Pure Direct mode (no processing and only allows front left and front right channels). Any other mode introduces perceptible delay. Using optical or coax for digital (which I would prefer) makes an even more noticeable delay, even when using Pure Direct.

I assume that the bulk of the issue here is the receiver, but think it's a pretty critical oversight on Sonos' part to not allow adding a delay for these sorts of situations. Has anyone had a similar experience with Sony? Am I missing something?
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Best answer by Chris 24 February 2018, 23:11

Yes the receiver is introducing delays. Pure direct in stereo keeps it from being delayed by this processing.

Sonos would have to implement a delay on each of the other speakers (which becomes complicated as they you have to go and manually change the delay on every sonos speaker trial and error). It's something they have never been inclined to do (and it has come up many times before).
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Yes the receiver is introducing delays. Pure direct in stereo keeps it from being delayed by this processing.

Sonos would have to implement a delay on each of the other speakers (which becomes complicated as they you have to go and manually change the delay on every sonos speaker trial and error). It's something they have never been inclined to do (and it has come up many times before).
That makes sense; I'll contact Sony, as I feel there should be some way of minimizing processing without restricting output to just two speakers.

Last night, I tried two alternative strategies: First, reversing the setup and using the CONNECT's line in as a source from FR FL pre-outs / Zone 2. Lag was still present with this approach.

Second, using virtualized outputs on Windows:
  1. Install Media Player Classic, Virtual Audio Cable, and a streaming server.
  2. Ensure that MPC uses ffdshow Audio Decoder. In ffdshow's settings, enable Dolby Pro Logic II decoding override for stereo sources. Use Mixer to create a quadrophonic setup wherein FL and FR are copied to BL and BR, respectively.
  3. Create two virtual lines in VAC, the first of which has at least four channels. In MPC, set the Audio Renderer to Line 1.
  4. Open VAC's Kernel Streaming Audio Repeater. Using the default Stereo/Stereo configuration, set its Wave In to Line 1 and its Wave Out to a hardware output attached to the surround receiver (e.g. HDMI); start it.
  5. Open another instance of VAC's KS Audio Repeater. Set the Wave In to Line 1 with custom channels, checking only BL and BR; set Wave Out to Line 2 with stereo default; start it.
  6. Use another tool to create an HTTP MP3 stream of Line 2. Use the local IP and add this as a custom Tune-In station in Sonos Controller.
  7. With both playing, go back to ffdshow and use the Delay filter as needed to get the two synchronized.

While it technically achieved the desired result, there was significant audio quality degradation (I think because of the streaming server; I used Broadwave and would suggest finding something else) and I'd file it under the 'more trouble than it's worth' category.

I'm still a bit miffed with the entire situation, as, in this landscape of ubiquitous networked receivers, the CONNECT is a superfluous device that really only serves to pad profits (costing over twice as much as a PLAY:1 and having a few jacks with no actual speaker components -- like seriously), which I'd be fine with IF it actually worked as expected. Every time I consider buying more speakers, it's nonsense like this that makes me take a step back. Why did I have to use a Visual Basic script to add a list of radio stations, would it kill them to make an import option? Why can't I set a per-room volume limit? This space is becoming saturated and Sonos is no longer the obvious front-runner.
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which I'd be fine with IF it actually worked as expected.
It does work as expected: its outputs are in perfect sync with any other grouped Sonos speakers. As you correctly concluded, it's the receiver that is introducing the delay. I run a CONNECT through a Yamaha AV receiver (an old AX-757SE), over digital optical, and there is no perceptible delay introduced when using 2-channel or 7-channel stereo modes, or when using Direct mode.
I"m having the same problem with optical to a Sony as well, the STR-DH540. It is fine with the analog cables but it sounds noticeably worse unfortunately. Doesn't appear there is much I can do.