Poor sound quality after update

  • 21 October 2017
  • 34 replies
  • 3407 views

Userlevel 1
Just did the latest update - now the audio quality on my stereo pair of Play 3’s is severely degraded. Bottom end gone, sound all upper mids. Sounds like the data rate is severely lowered (sounds like 64k MP3). Any suggestions/fixes?

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

34 replies

Userlevel 1
I’ve narrowed down the issue - it’s certain sources, so I suspect a codec issue. For example Triple J (an Australian radio station). Can somebody else check that and make sure I’m not the only one experiencing this?
I noticed same problem with my play:5. 😞
I have the same problem
Sounds like they are playing underwater!
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Hello, all. This is a strange issue, we'd like to test this on our end. Can you please provide us with the sources that are causing this and each submit a diagnostic, responding with the confirmation number? We'd like to track this and look for commonalities between your respective issues, by way of error messages etc. Many thanks in advance.
So does one have retune the speakers after updates? And shouldn't say as much with each update?
No, there is no need to retune. And as you may have noted, there are no follow ups to these posts about what is very unusual for Sonos/wireless digital audio in general. Update issues show up as music not playing, or stuttering - the changes noted are not typical unless there is a speaker defect. Digital means that music will either play, or it will not/will stutter. If it plays without stuttering as it does when all is well, quality will only change if the source quality does.
I’ve narrowed down the issue - it’s certain sources, so I suspect a codec issue. For example Triple J (an Australian radio station). Can somebody else check that and make sure I’m not the only one experiencing this?
"Update issues show up as music not playing, or stuttering"

My apologies. To me, this is not a description of 'poor sound.' This is a technical issue
Yes tallguytv, I'm also in Australia and can confirm I am experiencing the same issue as you with my Connect & Play5 (gen2) after the update. The sudden difference in the tonal quality and lack of bass was remarkable. Anything sub 256 kbps now sounds absolute tinny rubbish! Makes you wonder whether it's a deliberate ploy just to sell more sub's.... or am I just being cynical? Anyways no matter how much I adjust the controls, I can not replicate the glorious tonal sound that I once had before the update. SONOS if you are listening.... PLEASE FIX THIS ISSUE IN YOUR NEXT RELEASE!!
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Hi, all. I've had a message from Yogi Bear with a diagnostic. If you could all post yours here, I will forward this in the investigation, too.

@Yogi Bear, I will be responding to your message just now. Many thanks.
Edward, here is my info on this same issue with my Connect. The support diagnostic confirmation # is 8478078. I use it for both Spotify and Google Play where the sound quality is terrible now. Thanks in advance.
Wanting to chime in and say the update killed my sound as well. I have the 5.1 system and cant even tell if the sub is on anymore. Before it would rock the house with intense deep tones. This is through both Amazon Alexa playing though the two rear Ones as well as any TV sound so not source dependent. Really disappointed in the sound now.
ceteris01, please note that Edward asked for others (including you) to submit a diagnostic as well, so that he has more data to look at.
Hello, all. This is a strange issue, we'd like to test this on our end. Can you please provide us with the sources that are causing this and each submit a diagnostic, responding with the confirmation number? We'd like to track this and look for commonalities between your respective issues, by way of error messages etc. Many thanks in advance.

8487124
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
Hey there, ceteris01. Hopping in here. The diagnostic report is showing the PLAYBAR is having a hard time speaking to the other speakers. Specifically, it is giving an error regarding a fluctuating noise floor. Imagine you were in an elevator having a normal conversation with someone else. As more groups of people get on the elevator (having their own conversations) the general noise floor increases and you will soon likely need to yell to simply get your message across.

This is very similar to the errors I am seeing on the PLAYBAR. Would you mind describing the area immediately next to the PLAYBAR? Thanks!
Hi Keith, thanks for checking into it. I think there are two separate issues here. I do have problems with my sonos system dropping the other speakers from time to time. That happened both before and after the software update, so nothing new or changed there. It is annoying, but not the main issue.

The main issue is that after the software update, the sound quality is severely degraded overall. Hollow bass, almost as if a full range signal was being sent to the sub, poor mids, poor balance. Before, I couldn't put Loudness on because it was just way too much power, way overwhelming. Now I need it on plus the EQ cranked all the way and the sub at 80% just to hear some bass. Its pretty dramatic.

So, I don't think this will show up in diagnostics. I played along with that but the end story is the software needs to be fixed and sound quality restored. This is a bad time for sonos to torpedo its sound quality, with the Homepod coming out.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
Understood. While I get that sound quality may seem like a problem that came from the most recent update, it's likely not the cause and merely a coincidence. The challenge here is that it's extremely hard to troubleshoot audio quality issues over forum posts. When I look at the diagnostic report, it gives me an idea of how Sonos is sending and receiving signal and the biggest problem was the fluctuating noise floor. This can cause data packets to drop or need to be resent in order to be read thus increasing the time needed to transmit the data (audio signal) and possibly having an effect on sound quality.

Normally, when users describe audio quality problems I recommend giving a call to our support technicians as they are able to troubleshoot in real time and much more in-depth than we can in the Community.
It is the cause. I compare the quality of this system everyday to the one in my car. Exactly after the update, I noticed the sound on the sonos was now way worse than before. This isn't a perception thing. It's a reality thing. And the longer you minimize it the longer your software goes crippling the sonos brand.I didn't stumble on this thread randomly, I specifically googled that the sound quality is worse after the update. It was instant and obvious as soon as the update completed.

Sound floor hasn't changed. Software did. The bass is hollow and almost absent. Are you saying that my living room is now reflecting all the bass tones out the window, and that this just happens to have started exactly at the same time the software was updated? Come on Keith.

Submit this bug to your SVP of engineering as a P0 bug. Someone loaded a new sound profile in the software or left a codec on they shouldn't have. Get it fixed. I can and will simply sell my system and go with another brand, but that won't help sonos keep its rep for good sound.
This can cause data packets to drop or need to be resent in order to be read thus increasing the time needed to transmit the data (audio signal) and possibly having an effect on sound quality.

Keith, am I still right in understanding that the above will manifest itself as music either stopping or stuttering? If it plays without such interruptions, quality will not be affected in the manner described in the preceding post; data packet issues don't give rise to an analog degrading but a digital effect of either it is good or it isn't, because music stutters or stops.
I read many posts these days describing what I will loosely term as analogue degradation effects and other than arising from a source issue, I have never understood why these should arise; I have never seen them in over five years of running a five zone set up. Other than by toggling the Trueplay ON/OFF inadvertently, if tuning has been done.
PS: another reason could be a defect having arisen in the unit of course. If so, coincidence may cause it to be ascribed to a software change.
Userlevel 7
Badge +19
ceteris01: Ok. I will forward your feedback and thoughts along to the team. Should you decide to continue troubleshooting, give us a call. We are glad to help.

Kumar: In most cases, you are right. Interference normally leads to dropouts rather than audio degradation. However, if the compression settings were set to Automatic, you might be able to hear a change in audio quality as it drops from uncompressed to compressed. This change is triggered if the data is not reaching the destination in time. In this case, ceteris01 has theirs set to Uncompressed and it's happening regardless of the source (Line-In, TV or streaming audio). Certainly odd and something we should probably take a closer look at. No other findings in the diagnostic report point to why there would be any change in audio quality since the update. The only thing that seems "out of place" is the fluctuating noise floor, so that's all we have to go off of.

While I have seen a few of these threads come up in recent history, we have no information about a replicable trend regarding audio quality degradation. Additionally, troubleshooting something as subjective as audio quality on the Community can be pretty tricky. Troubleshooting over the phone doesn't make it much better in terms of audio quality, but at least we can test and adjust in real time (and ultimately respect the users time spent troubleshooting with us).
However, if the compression settings were set to Automatic, you might be able to hear a change in audio quality as it drops from uncompressed to compressed. This change is triggered if the data is not reaching the destination in time.
With respect to the above, I find it very hard to hear any difference between compressed and uncompressed, while posters talk of day/night differences so I doubt that is the reason. The day/night difference between the two settings that IS stark is in the delay and therefore echo caused by out of sync play between Sonos and non Sonos units, but that isn't what the complaints are about.
So to me, these complaints remain mysterious.
The only other change I know of that was caused by a software change is the Connect no longer being bit perfect thing. But I can't hear a difference, nor has anyone said they can reliably pick it up in a blind test. And of course when the play 1 voicing was improved a few years ago, before Trueplay was released.
I can attest to a lower sound quality after the update. Overall gain or volume output is lower relative to the what it was before. Please revert back to initial gain settings in the next update. Definitely hear a difference in “dynamics”.
Totally agree, havent listened for a few weeks and a difference is noticable. Sound was awsome now its not, something is different sounds to be missing low and high range clarity is now narrow and muffled messing with the eq doesnt really help other. Was going to buy another play 1 to make a pair the omwards thinking twice now. The fact I bothered to look up my account password to comment means this is something people are bothered about, look into it or lose further sales.
Any update on this yet? Speakers sound terrible now and lack of bass has a raised a red flag. This complaint should be addressed immediately. Thank goodness I'm still within the return period.

So to me, these complaints remain mysterious.

I still have to see something from someone that managed to have this issue fixed; what was done to fix the issue? Other than replacing defective hardware of course; in that case neither the problem or the solution is a mystery except that it manifesting after a version upgrade is a mysterious coincidence.