Beam Connected to MAC using Optical link - connection and volume control

  • 12 October 2020
  • 4 replies

I recently got a Beam as the speaker for my MAC, from which I play both music and Movies.

The Beam is connected through the HDMI->TOS cable into a Thunderbolt hub’s SPDIF port.

I have two problems, one an annoyance, the other more serious:

  1. I can’t control the volume through the MAC volume controls. Only the volume slider on the Sonos S2 Controller app can change the volume.
  2. After sitting idle for a while, the Beam reverts to the first item on my Sonos Favorites list and no longer is set to output through the “TV” music source. I have to manually go to the Sonos controller App, right click on the “TV” source, and select “Play Now”

Any clue on these two problems?

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4 replies

  1. Likely due to the way the Thunderbolt hub is designed to work. I’m betting the Mac has no control here, and the device is a constant level output, so your Sonos is the only place to control the volume aspect. This isn’t a Sonos issue, though, so my assumption could be superseded by information in the manual of the hub.
  2. This is more arcane, I think. I would at the very least try turning off the AutoPlay function for the room, so it requires manual action from you to switch between the line in and your streaming options. My working hypothesis is that there is some issue with the Sonos device not properly responding to the presence of data on the line in, and when it thinks that it needs to power down, it’s turning off the line in. Turning off that AutoPlay function would stop the system from running that code path. Pure speculation on my part, though, but not a heavy expense to try the experiment. 
Userlevel 7
Badge +17

The Beam is made for use with a TV. Used with optical you will have to teach the Beam to change volume using the TV remote, see So I suppose you need a learning remote to command the Beam.

Only when using HDMI-ARC the Beam will take commands from the TV (sent via HDMI-CEC).

Thanks, but the connection is to a MAC computer, not to a TV, and the Sonos App on the MAC can change the volume. Is there some way to teach the Sonos App to take control input from the MAC volume controls when the Beam is set to be connected to the MAC?

Also - any idea why the connection breaks after it goes idle?

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

Since the Beam is made for TV I’ve given you the solution from this standpoint. I have no knowledge about the solution you now propose, but maybe someone else can shed more light on this.