No AirPlay to a surround setup room with two Sonos Ones as the surrounds?


As the title says. I have a Sonos 5.1 Surround setup with a Playbar, a Sub, and 2x Sonos Ones. If I remove the two Sonos Ones from the surround setup, and set them up in a Stereo Pair, they appear as AirPlay targets. If I then re-add them back to a Playbar/Sub/2xSonos One Surrounds configuration, they disappear from AirPlay and the Sonos App says "You don't have any AirPlay-compatible speakers."

This surely can't be intended. I went out and purchased 2x Sonos Ones to use as surrounds and replaced my 2x Sonos Play:1s because Sonos stated that grouping AirPlay compatible speakers with non-AirPlay speakers would make the whole group AirPlay capable.

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looks like im in the same boat here. not sure how this makes sense. seems like we are losing functionality for investing in the 5.1 solution.
Yip me too, was about to post my own topic but thought I would search first. My SONOS app just says ‘no compatible devices’.

I have not tried removing and setting up as a pair but assume this would work.

Surely this is a software glitch that needs a further update
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As the title says. I have a Sonos 5.1 Surround setup with a Playbar, a Sub, and 2x Sonos Ones. If I remove the two Sonos Ones from the surround setup, and set them up in a Stereo Pair, they appear as AirPlay targets. If I then re-add them back to a Playbar/Sub/2xSonos One Surrounds configuration, they disappear from AirPlay and the Sonos App says "You don't have any AirPlay-compatible speakers."

This surely can't be intended. I went out and purchased 2x Sonos Ones to use as surrounds and replaced my 2x Sonos Play:1s because Sonos stated that grouping AirPlay compatible speakers with non-AirPlay speakers would make the whole group AirPlay capable.


This is unfortunately expected behaviour. I bought the Sonos ones as well for the same reason, however Sonos have advised when the ones are used as part of a 5.1 setup it is only the main speaker (ie. Playbar, Playbase or Beam) which is active controlling the other speakers, and therefore anyone with a Playbar will not have airplay functionality regardless of Sonos Ones as surrounds.
I think @BillieJo87's choice of 'expected' behaviour is a more appropriate term than @ShadeZ33's 'intended' behaviour. When used as surrounds, the Sonos One connects to the system in a completely different, subservient way compared with when operating as a 'room' in its own right. I am sure this is a technological limitation, not a choice.
looks like im in the same boat here. not sure how this makes sense. seems like we are losing functionality for investing in the 5.1 solution.You are not losing functionality. You are not benefitting from a free upgrade, for technical reasons.
Ive got two satellite play ones that can’t be selected as airplay2 targets because I have them joined to a playbar... they have the ability, the playbar does not. So now I get to choose, home theater 5.1 or airplay2? This shouldn’t be a this or that type situation.
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Or a software tick box in settings, to toggle surround bonded group as surround group or music group?
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@Paulw23, no it doesn't work that way.

@trs350z, I think you mean Sonos Ones. I agree that it's clearly not the ideal situation. In hindsight, no one would have designed and planned it this way. Unfortunately, when Sonos introduced the playbar and the ability to bond surround sound speakers to it, airplay 2 wasn't even a thought in anyway's head. Sonos speakers were built the hardware needed to handle streaming according to Sonos specs. They were not built to handle Apple's specs (which again, didn't exist)
Your not wrong. I think my solution will be getting another play one and grouping it with my existing 5.1 setup and then just airplay to that device when I want airplay2 functionality. We will see.
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Your not wrong. I think my solution will be getting another play one and grouping it with my existing 5.1 setup and then just airplay to that device when I want airplay2 functionality. We will see.

Get a Sonos One, not a Play:1. Technically, there is no such thing as a 'play one'. Semantics I know, but I'd hate for you or someone else to go out and buy the wrong unit.
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Or a software tick box in settings, to toggle surround bonded group as surround group or music group?
Surely it could be developed to work that way, its just software & logic surely. Graphical grouping like google home would help as well. Create rooms & drag & drop sonos device into them etc.
Ive got two satellite play ones that can’t be selected as airplay2 targets because I have them joined to a playbar... they have the ability, the playbar does not. So now I get to choose, home theater 5.1 or airplay2? This shouldn’t be a this or that type situation.it is, for technical reasons, as already explained.
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Or a software tick box in settings, to toggle surround bonded group as surround group or music group?
Surely it could be developed to work that way, its just software & logic surely. Graphical grouping like google home would help as well. Create rooms & drag & drop sonos device into them etc.


It's software yes, but that doesn't mean it's as simple as you're envisioning it. The speakers are configured to do different things depending on whether you use them as a stand alone speaker, a part of a stereo pair, or a part of a 5.1 setup. Just as an example as I understand it, a right channel speaker in a stereo pair will get it's audio stream from the left channel speaker in the pair and that speaker only. It needs to be set not to appear as a separate room. It doesn't need to have an index of local library or streaming services (although maybe it does anyway). I'm not sure it can communicate with other rooms in your setup. The left channel gets streams for a local library, a service, or from another room it's grouped to. It needs to play the left audio and send on the right to the right channel speaker. It needs to have the index of local library and source. It needs to be visible in the controller.

Now, suddenly change all of that configuration when you want to put those two speakers in question as surrounds. There is a reason why the bonding process is more in depth than grouping two or more zones together (which is the kind of toggle you're implying)
I raised this direct with SONOS earlier, response received:

Hi James, Airplay relies on a 2.4GHz connection to pass the audio to your Sonos speakers. When added as surrounds to your system, the Sonos Ones will connect to the Playbar via 5GHz, which will not pass the Airplay audio

As someone said earlier, I was perfectly happy before arirplay 2 came along. Would of been a cool extra but personally if it didn’t work it doesn’t work. Still happy with my 5.1 setup ?
I am in the same boat just bought 2 sonos ones to ake a surround system with the existing playbar, and took the old play ones out the system they are now in the bedroom and kitchen. The surround works but no airplay 2 functions.
Same boat as well, and after carrefully reading this thread I need to say ist bit frustrating now with sonos.
The commercial in the sonos app about airplay is telling me to "group" an compatible speaker with any not compatible speaker to make airplay work.

Well I thougt; ok lets get a 5.1 and buy 2x Sonos One additional to get airplay.

After grouping (I know there is now a smart guy who telling me "It isnt grouping its connecting") the sonos one in a 5.1 setup no airplay available.

And to be honest; I dont care that this is "technically" not possible, well then fix the f****** advertisments and your wording that it is clear to your custormer what they have to buy! Even the guys in the store, so called Sonos experts, were not aware about this.

I mean srsly? How should I know that this isnt working with this add????? Not a single word that this isnt functioning in a 5.1 setup....

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@Wolfens, I'll pass along your feedback to the team. When we talk about grouping it's a very specific term, it means using the "group" feature. The steps in that picture are exactly what you do to play AirPlay on devices that aren't compatible for receiving the stream. You start playing AirPlay to a compatible Sonos player (Play:5 gen2, Playbase, Sonos One, Sonos Beam, or Sonos Amp (coming soon)) and after that stream is going, you then select that room in the Sonos Rooms menu and click the group button to have it play the same audio in other rooms. If you had your Sonos Ones as a separate room they could receive the AirPlay 2 signal and could then be grouped with the Playbar, they just wouldn't function as surrounds when you're playing TV audio.

A Sonos room is a combination of players, either a single one, a stereo pair, or a surround sound setup. The surround sound setups are always run by the main home theater device (Playbar, Playbase, Beam, or Amp), and that's the device that handles all the heavy lifting, and determines compatibility with AirPlay 2.
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After grouping (I know there is now a smart guy who telling me "It isnt grouping its connecting") the sonos one in a 5.1 setup no airplay available.

And to be honest; I dont care that this is "technically" not possible, well then fix the f****** advertisments and your wording that it is clear to your custormer what they have to buy! Even the guys in the store, so called Sonos experts, were not aware about this.


I can agree with you to a point, but I don't how you communicate the concept in a short concise manner to people who do not yet understand Sonos terminology. Should be a fine print glossary of terms? Perhaps Sonos should drop the word 'group' and invent a new word or phrase that can't be misinterpret since it would have no meaning without context? And yes, it can be explained with a plethora of words to cover possible interpretations, but this also needs to be short in order to serve it's purpose of marketing.

As for Sonos experts at stores, nope, never never. Pretty sure Sonos doesn't have any sales certification program so you really can't count on store personnel to know what they're talking about. You can count on them to give their best guess if it makes the sales, or just gets you to stop asking questions.
Hi Ryan

Thank you, I apprechiate your answer.
I understand how its desigend to work, Now.
But as a new customer (even with a technical background) its not understandabel what you advertise, there is no single note about this funcion isnt available in a 5.1 Setup. and honestly it makes no sense that it isnt working paired with playbar from a customer point of view.

You wrote:

"you start playing AirPlay to a compatible Sonos player (Play:5 gen2, Playbase, Sonos One, Sonos Beam, or Sonos Amp (coming soon)) and after that stream is going"

So why can a play one not bypass the connection to the 5.1 pairing and stream direct back to the system as it would do in Standalone configuration? This is a software limitation in my eyes. I just dont understand why?

It was already hard to understand that the playbar itself isnt equipped with airplay (and any other bluetooth) functionality. . Its espacially hard to understand cause you already limitate the input options for your system way too much. Should researched the system specs more in this case I know.

@melvimbe

Look its isnt that hard to put a note on the dedicated Airplay page that you open from the app which explains how you get airplay running. The playbar is one of the most expensive products from Sonos, what should I expect?
This "put everything together as you like" vibe is exactly what sonos is advertising.

Well, just not with the most premium speaker you can get from them.
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So why can a play one not bypass the connection to the 5.1 pairing and stream direct back to the system as it would do in Standalone configuration? This is a software limitation in my eyes. I just dont understand why?

It was already hard to understand that the playbar itself isnt equipped with airplay (and any other bluetooth) functionality. Its espacially hard to understand cause you already limitate the input options for your system way too much.


To the first question, the 'flow' of data in a 5.1 setup is that a stream comes in to the playbar, and the playbar then streams to the speakers it's bonded with. That's the way it was designed years ago. So in order for airplay to work for the scenario you subscribe, the Sonos One would need to receive the airplay stream (which it's not designed to do in a 5.1 setup), send it to the playbar (which is not designed to receive a stream from one of it's 'satellites'), then send back out to the other speakers, one of which is the Sonos One that is already working to receive the airplay stream. That Sonos One now has to deal with 2 streams simultaneously, which it was not designed to do. I have no doubt that Sonos developers tried to get airplay to work for this scenarios, but that's a lot of things to do that it was not designed to do.

The playbar was created, what, 8 years ago? Long before airplay and it's tech requirements were defined. There are actually relatively few speakers that have the tech specs to meet airplay requirements.
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You wrote: "you start playing AirPlay to a compatible Sonos player (Play:5 gen2, Playbase, Sonos One, Sonos Beam, or Sonos Amp (coming soon)) and after that stream is going"

So why can a play one not bypass the connection to the 5.1 pairing and stream direct back to the system as it would do in Standalone configuration? This is a software limitation in my eyes. I just dont understand why?


To be clear, the Play:1 isn't AirPlay 2 compatible, it's the Sonos One which is voice control enabled and has the specs needed for AirPlay 2 compatibility. The short answer is because AirPlay 2 is a local stream that needs to be sent to a specific player. The way surrounds are configured, audio streams are sent to the main home theater and then converted and distributed to the others from there. Exploring the theoretic possibility of this, the audio from AirPlay 2 would need to go from the iOS device into the network and eventually to the Sonos One (currently, passing through the Playbar as surrounds get network connectivity from the HT coordinator), get converted, then be sent back to the Playbar for distribution across the rest of the system, including going back to the Sonos One that got the signal in the first place. This would take at least double the bandwidth and at least twice the time. With an increased amount of potential failures at every step, it's not a recipe for a good playback experience.

I'll make sure to add your name to the list requesting this as an option, the team is always looking to hear what people want to see.
Hi Ryan

Was a "typo" with Play:1.

It should be possible to bypass the surround pairing and making the Sonos one acting like it would be as an standalone setup, as soon I feed a airplay signal into Sonos one,
5.1 isnt needed anymore, and the system should go in "music-" or "airplaymode".
As soon airplay has stopped or the TV is coming up the pairing get back and I`m in 5.1 mode again.
The speaker`s can communicate with each other and are smart? Or not? ;)

But yeah, I was not aware of this issue and I was not aware that the Sonos Playbar is already 8 Years old.
Nevertheless, you still sell the Product for a premium price, I would expect support and improvements of the Software.
(Yes still dont get it why it is a hardware issue)
Hi Ryan


(Yes still dont get it why it is a hardware issue)


This begs the question: If not a hardware issue, what is it? The only other explanation is Sonos is holding back the capability in order to sell new hardware. Except that theory completely falls apart when you realize Airplay 2 is backward compatible to the Playbase and the Play:5 gen 2. Why enable them for Airplay 2 if your goal is to sell new hardware? Why screw Playbar users, or Play:1 users, and not Playbase/Play:5 users?

Also, Sonos has never withheld new functionality from older units before, including cutting edge stuff like Alexa. If it were possible to enable older units for Airplay 2, why wouldn't they, when they enabled everything for Alexa?
I dont asking for making airplay on playbar available, I`m asking to stream back to the system as a Sonos one would in a standalone config(...and improving the missleading Airplay Information in the Sonos App). This would need some flexability in the pairing process.
I could imagine that it takes some efforts to program that, what means it is expensive.
I dont asking for making airplay on playbar available, I`m asking to stream back to the system as a Sonos one would in a standalone config. This would need some flexability in the pairing process.
I could imagine that it takes some efforts to program that, what means it is expensive.


Ryan S already answered this above. Even if it were theoretically possible, the bandwidth needed would not allow for reliability. Airplay is already a bandwidth hog.

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