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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44 replies

Pairing and grouping is a software thing. If unpaired but grouped with Playbar it works perfectly fine. Why it is a bandwith issue?
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Can anybody name any reason why to use Sonos Ones in a 5.1 set-up instead of Play1s? If all smart features are disabled when set as surrounds why spent the extra 100 for a pair of Ones? I’m thinking many people getting a 5.1with Ones expect something extra.
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Pairing and grouping is a software thing. If unpaired but grouped with Playbar it works perfectly fine. Why it is a bandwith issue?
It's all in how the audio profile and network connection are set up. When bonded as surrounds, the speakers connect to the Playbar's 5GHz broadcast and are sent audio from that device instead of directly connected to over the network. When configured as their own room, and grouped with the Playbar, they are on the 2.4GHz wireless network that's being used and are sent their own audio streams.

Can anybody name any reason why to use Sonos Ones in a 5.1 set-up instead of Play1s? If all smart features are disabled when set as surrounds why spent the extra 100 for a pair of Ones? I’m thinking many people getting a 5.1with Ones expect something extra.
Alexa is still enabled on the Sonos Ones when they're configured as surrounds, it's just AirPlay that's disabled. The core difference as to why it works this way is that the audio streams sent from Alexa go through the cloud, and are targeted at the Playbar (because it's the room coordinator), instead of needing the same backhauling and double bandwidth that would happen with AirPlay, which would need to be sent directly to the Sonos One, then to the Playbar, and then back.
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Thanks Ryan - did not realize this was still possible
Pairing and grouping is a software thing. If unpaired but grouped with Playbar it works perfectly fine. Why it is a bandwith issue?
It's all in how the audio profile and network connection are set up. When bonded as surrounds, the speakers connect to the Playbar's 5GHz broadcast and are sent audio from that device instead of directly connected to over the network. When configured as their own room, and grouped with the Playbar, they are on the 2.4GHz wireless network that's being used and are sent their own audio streams.


It just not explains why it is so hard to temporary give up the bonding with the 5.1 and bond again when airplay stops. It is one swipe with my fingers in the sonos app to unbond the surrounds. If they would memorise the configuration of the 5.1 bonding, they could turn back in to 5.1 mode as soon airplay stopped.

But I think we turning circles here. When at least the Airplay information site in the Sonos app get improved it was not worthless to discuss this issue.

At least you communicate with the customers and try to help not like other companys, highly apprechiated!
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Hi, Im new. Not yet bought any Sonos but disappointed to read this thread as this was the functionality I was hoping for.

Planning to buy a BEAM and 2x ONE speakers so I could have them set as a cinema set up for TV use but also use the ONE's in stereo for music use from my iPhone.

I now understand this is actually not possible?

So I'd need to buy 4x ONEs!? 2 connected to the Beam and 2 just set up as a stereo pair?
Hi, Im new. Not yet bought any Sonos but disappointed to read this thread as this was the functionality I was hoping for.

Planning to buy a BEAM and 2x ONE speakers so I could have them set as a cinema set up for TV use but also use the ONE's in stereo for music use from my iPhone.

I now understand this is actually not possible?

So I'd need to buy 4x ONEs!? 2 connected to the Beam and 2 just set up as a stereo pair?

Either way, the system doesn't have the ability to switch automatically between configurations (surround vs. stereo pair); you would have to do it manually. You can buy 2x Play:1s and set them up as rear speakers.
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Hi, Im new. Not yet bought any Sonos but disappointed to read this thread as this was the functionality I was hoping for.

Planning to buy a BEAM and 2x ONE speakers so I could have them set as a cinema set up for TV use but also use the ONE's in stereo for music use from my iPhone.

I now understand this is actually not possible?

So I'd need to buy 4x ONEs!? 2 connected to the Beam and 2 just set up as a stereo pair?

Either way, the system doesn't have the ability to switch automatically between configurations (surround vs. stereo pair); you would need to do it manually. You can buy 2x Play:1s and set them up as rear speakers.


thanks for the reply.

So how much messing around and how long does it take to change the set up from the ONE's as stereo pair to adding them to the BEAM as surround speakers?
Several minutes. You'll have to separate the stereo pair in order to bond the ONEs as surround speakers; and vice versa. In addition to that you'd be prompted to re-tune Trueplay each and every time. Believe me, you will grow sick and tired of the procedure(s) very quickly.

https://support.sonos.com/s/article/2927#remove_surrounds
https://support.sonos.com/s/article/1066?language=en_US
https://support.sonos.com/s/article/3251?language=en_US
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Well thats annoying, and honestly pretty much puts me off buying the Sonos system at all. having the ONE purely as a surround speaker is such a waste of technology! And I dont want 4x ONE with 2 sitting next to each other just so I can listen to music in stereo and have a cinema set up.

Very poor system planning from Sonos
As I said before, you can add 2x Play:1s as surrounds instead of having 4x ONEs next to each other.
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As I said before, you can add 2x Play:1s as surrounds instead of having 4x ONEs next to each other.

Yes but I'd still have to have 2x Play1 for surround and then 2xONE for stereo music, and for how I want them placed in my room the left ONE will end up being next to the rear right Play1. And will I need 2 SUBs as well? one to pair to the BEAM for tv use and one to pair to the ONEs for music use.

No way am I going to spend out on double the equipment for this set up, so I may as well look at how rival products work.
Rival products work the same way.
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seems such a shame and such a waste of technology not allowing it to easily switch from being a rear speaker to a proper left or right channel speaker
seems such a shame and such a waste of technology not allowing it to easily switch from being a rear speaker to a proper left or right channel speaker
Simply put - it's technically not feasible at this stage.
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seems such a shame and such a waste of technology not allowing it to easily switch from being a rear speaker to a proper left or right channel speaker
Simply put - it's technically not feasible at this stage.


not sure if you work for Sonos or just know a lot about their products.

Surely it would be feasible to save 2 profile settings though so you can easily switch. Obviously you'd still need to do the lengthy pairing and true sound set up etc initially, but there is surely no reason why those settings cannot then be saved and remembered somewhere either in the devices or in the phone app and then you can easily switch between set ups.
Get an Apple TV and connect via optical to a playbar. Then you have Airplay 2 plus a boatload of other stuff.
For the price point, Sonos should be putting better hardware into older models and/or coming out with gen 2 of everything. The beam sound quality is inferior to the playbar and yet playbar is “too old” for airplay 2...


Heck... the $199 Sonos One and $399 Beam both have better hardware than the $699 playbar!?!


That all said, I’m an avid fan of Sonos and have it in every room at home, just wish it was even better.
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Had the same problem, quickly resovled by purchasing a Apple TV for one room, and purchased a cable to run from a spare iPad to the tv in another room. So have airplay to all speakers and no longer need the Sonos app to play music which is great when there is no internet connection and I can rely on the downloaded music from Apple Music subscription.