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Two "rooms" in one room? (Sub, Playbar, 2x Play One, 2x Play: 5)

  • 14 November 2017
  • 21 replies
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I'm getting a new TV within a week or two and I plan on getting a full Sonos system. (Sub, Playbar, 2x Play One, 2x Play: 5).
I want a system that that will excel at both music and movies, meaning surround AND strong stereo speakers.
I guess that I assumed that Play:5's could be paired with the Playbar as front L and R (why on earth isn't that the case?) - and I almost gave up, until I saw that you could just make them a new "room" and output the same sound as the Playbar receives from the TV - and this could be the solution for me...
The question is though, will this be synced well enough or will it sound horrible, and how will the Play:5's act, when not paired directly with the SUB? (since I guess the SUB can't be paired to both groups, right?)

Are there any possibilities I'm missing?
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Best answer by melvimbe 14 November 2017, 14:18

You may want to consider skipping the Play:5's at first, just to see if your happy with the sound quality without them. I have a decent size space and am pretty happy with it over all. That said, if Sonos did decide to allow you to setup extra front L&R speakers, I think I would do that rather quickly.
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21 replies

Userlevel 7
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If you group the stereo paired Play 5s with your TV/Surrounds/Sub for TV audio there will be a delay to the Play 5s of 70ms.

I'm quite sure this would be horrible.

My advice. Use the Play:1s as surrounds and the sub as Sub to get 5.1. Set Music Playback to "Full" in the relevant setting. Either return or use the Play:5s elesewhere
Thank you for the fast reply!

So music playback will be able to sync properly, as long as the input source is not the TV?
Thank you for the fast reply!

So music playback will be able to sync properly, as long as the input source is not the TV?
That is correct.
Userlevel 7
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You may want to consider skipping the Play:5's at first, just to see if your happy with the sound quality without them. I have a decent size space and am pretty happy with it over all. That said, if Sonos did decide to allow you to setup extra front L&R speakers, I think I would do that rather quickly.
You may want to consider skipping the Play:5's at first, just to see if your happy with the sound quality without them. I have a decent size space and am pretty happy with it over all. That said, if Sonos did decide to allow you to setup extra front L&R speakers, I think I would do that rather quickly.

Also for music, my experience with the two Play Ones i already own, is that they get "scratchy" when turned up loud. I don't know how they behave with a Playbar and a SUB attached though... Are they equalized differently when they are backed up by other speakers?
@melvimbe. Indeed. I have seen a few requests for an optional configuration in which the Playbar acts as centre only and two Play speakers handle FL and FR. A nice-to-have, certainly, but no idea whether we will see it one day.
Ok, so I ended up going to a Hi-fi store to see how powerful the regular 5.1 setup was. And the quality and power really surprised me! Like @melvimbe said, I think I'm gonna skip the Play:5s and get some extra Play Ones, to put in other rooms :)

Thank you all for chiming in!
Userlevel 4
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Ok, so I ended up going to a Hi-fi store to see how powerful the regular 5.1 setup was. And the quality and power really surprised me! Like @melvimbe said, I think I'm gonna skip the Play:5s and get some extra Play Ones, to put in other rooms :)

Thank you all for chiming in!


I'm sure you won't regret taking that $1000 you were gonna spend on a pair of Play 5's and filling up 2 other rooms with STEREO sound from a pair of Play 1's, and then adding the 5th Play 1 to a bathroom! 😃
Userlevel 3
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Be aware when grouping other sonos speakers (play 1s, play ones etc) to your playbar/playbase 5.1 setup for TV you will more than likley experience plenty of sound drops as i have just bought a play one and i was getting them constantly so i ungrouped as it was a joke. I have a funny shaped room and wanted to fill a spot in between lounge and kitchen(open room plan) so i could listen to the tv when i popped into the kitchen.Play one is also closer to the playbase than my rears.
Exact Quote from sonos yesterday in an email.
" but if you are grouping the TV sounds to the PLAY One, you will always encounter issues"
And
"The PLAYBAR uses 5Ghz to communicate with the satellite speakers. 5Ghz is not efficient over longer distances. It is used to transfer a "lot" of information over a "short" distance, hence it is used as the means of communication between a PLAYBAR and its surrounds, to eliminate these issues of latency... The audio signal from a television is indeed classed as a lot of information.

In turn, 2.4Ghz (which is what is used when you "group" instead of adding surrounds) is used to transfer Less information over Longer distances. Doing so with a TV signal can create issues of latency.

Therefore, in essence, with the first situation, it's often too large a distance for the means of communication to handle. With the latter, it can, at times, be too much information for the method of delivery to cope with, so it takes a little bit longer (or does not get there at all)... Your wireless environment must be spotless and the network absolutely immaculate to stand a chance of success in this situation"


Sorry,in all the excitement, i must have missed this info provided to me by sonos before purchase, when spending a fortune on my set up.
Absolute shocking.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Be aware when grouping other sonos speakers (play 1s, play ones etc) to your playbar/playbase 5.1 setup for TV you will more than likley experience plenty of sound drops as i have just bought a play one and i was getting them constantly so i ungrouped as it was a joke. I have a funny shaped room and wanted to fill a spot in between lounge and kitchen(open room plan) so i could listen to the tv when i popped into the kitchen.Play one is also closer to the playbase than my rears.
Exact Quote from sonos yesterday in an email.
" but if you are grouping the TV sounds to the PLAY One, you will always encounter issues"
And
"The PLAYBAR uses 5Ghz to communicate with the satellite speakers. 5Ghz is not efficient over longer distances. It is used to transfer a "lot" of information over a "short" distance, hence it is used as the means of communication between a PLAYBAR and its surrounds, to eliminate these issues of latency... The audio signal from a television is indeed classed as a lot of information.

In turn, 2.4Ghz (which is what is used when you "group" instead of adding surrounds) is used to transfer Less information over Longer distances. Doing so with a TV signal can create issues of latency.

Therefore, in essence, with the first situation, it's often too large a distance for the means of communication to handle. With the latter, it can, at times, be too much information for the method of delivery to cope with, so it takes a little bit longer (or does not get there at all)... Your wireless environment must be spotless and the network absolutely immaculate to stand a chance of success in this situation"


Sorry,in all the excitement, i must have missed this info provided to me by sonos before purchase, when spending a fortune on my set up.
Absolute shocking.


In the interests of balance.

" but if you are grouping the TV sounds to the PLAY One, you will always encounter issues" - GROUPING other Plays with a Playbar whether it has a Sub and/or surrounds will NOT always give issues - What you WILL get is a latency of 70ms between the Playbar and the group. This would make, in my opinion, the grouped player audio unlistenable if the TV were visible and the Playbar system heard at the same time. If by "issues" you mean drop-outs then you have other network problems that need to be addressed - I listen to TuneIn and other music regularly through my Playbar/Surrounds and haven't had a single drop-out in 2 years.

And

"The PLAYBAR uses 5Ghz to communicate with the satellite speakers. 5Ghz is not efficient over longer distances. It is used to transfer a "lot" of information over a "short" distance, hence it is used as the means of communication between a PLAYBAR and its surrounds, to eliminate these issues of latency...

The Playbar will use SonosNet or your 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi when group additional speakers. As I said above. If you are having drop-outs that will be due to issues with your network configuration.
Userlevel 3
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" but if you are grouping the TV sounds to the PLAY One, you will always encounter issues" - GROUPING other Plays with a Playbar whether it has a Sub and/or surrounds will NOT always give issues - What you WILL get is a latency of 70ms between the Playbar and the group. This would make, in my opinion, the grouped player audio unlistenable if the TV were visible and the Playbar system heard at the same time. If by "issues" you mean drop-outs then you have other network problems that need to be addressed - I listen to TuneIn and other music regularly through my Playbar/Surrounds and haven't had a single drop-out in 2 years.

And

"The PLAYBAR uses 5Ghz to communicate with the satellite speakers. 5Ghz is not efficient over longer distances. It is used to transfer a "lot" of information over a "short" distance, hence it is used as the means of communication between a PLAYBAR and its surrounds, to eliminate these issues of latency...

The Playbar will use SonosNet or your 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi when group additional speakers. As I said above. If you are having drop-outs that will be due to issues with your network configuration.[/quote]

I understand what your saying and i think your missing the point. When i sent off a diagnostic of the problem, it was the response i got back that i found shocking.
" but if you are grouping the TV sounds to the PLAY One, you will always encounter issues" Where does it say that in the discription when purchasing the product??? Your saying it wont give issues, Sonos are saying you will. I also dont have a problem with latency and everything is in sync.
As for music i never get drop-outs, i am only talking about Grouping with the TV. Just because one person doesn't find the need to group with the tv some might, depending on room layout etc.
They asked me to ring them. Why?? when you have already told i will always encounter issues.:?
@melvimbe. Indeed. I have seen a few requests for an optional configuration in which the Playbar acts as centre only and two Play speakers handle FL and FR. A nice-to-have, certainly, but no idea whether we will see it one day.

IMO that would be an insanely expensive center channel speaker. My suggestion is to go with the playbar, sub, and rear play 1’s and be ready to have your mind (and ears) blown away!
Userlevel 7
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I'm not missing the point.

Sonos would not have said grouping a Playbar with Sub and surrounds to a Play:1 would always give you issues. They WOULD have said you will ALWAYS get latency on the grouped Play:1 wrt the Playbar.

You might call that an issue. Others might call it behaviour as designed (It's necessary to ensure in sync audio playback for grouped rooms).

But to be clear, YOU implied that Sonos said you would always get drop-outs when you group a Play:1 with Playbar. That simply isn't true and I would be amazed if Sonos told you that. (As I said latency YES, which is unavoidable but drop-outs are NOT normal and ARE indicative of network/set-up issues over which you have control). Ultimately, you are perfectly entitled to be disappointed if the system doesn't function as you would expect or like but that does not make the product defective.
Userlevel 3
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I'm not missing the point.

Sonos would not have said grouping a Playbar with Sub and surrounds to a Play:1 would always give you issues. They WOULD have said you will ALWAYS get latency on the grouped Play:1 wrt the Playbar.

You might call that an issue. Others might call it behaviour as designed (It's necessary to ensure in sync audio playback for grouped rooms).

But to be clear, YOU implied that Sonos said you would always get drop-outs when you group a Play:1 with Playbar. That simply isn't true and I would be amazed if Sonos told you that. (As I said latency YES, which is unavoidable but drop-outs are NOT normal and ARE indicative of network/set-up issues over which you have control). Ultimately, you are perfectly entitled to be disappointed if the system doesn't function as you would expect or like but that does not make the product defective.


Please DO NOT tell me that sonos would not say this.
I copied and pasted the email above but here is one email in full for you to read.

I think it would be most beneficial to get in contact on the phone. We can help assist further with the troubleshooting but if you are grouping the TV sounds to the PLAY One, you will always encounter issues.
When you are calling you need to be at your Sonos system.
Our opening hours and contact information can be found at: http://www.sonos.com/contact
Do make sure that you are calling the correct number for your country by selecting the correct region in the top right hand corner of the web page.

Can you please interpret this for me as you say sonos would not say this.
Userlevel 7
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They MEAN you will have latency.

You've assumed they means drop-outs.

If your system is working properly there is NO reason why you shouldn't have perfect playback of TV audio through grouped speakers. Albeit there WILL be a 70ms delay
Userlevel 7
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First off, I don't think we can assume OP intended to play TV audio in the other zones. So that may or many not be a concern. To @Nando010 point though, I do think it's a common problem when trying to group play TV audio. There is latency of 70 ms which is always going to be an issue. There also seems to be, potentially, an issue of dropouts. I don't know if this is wireless interference. Probably is, but I'm not an expert in that area. What I have seen is that you can change your setting from automatic or uncompressed to compressed and it seems to resolve the issue. It also will increase the 70 ms delay to a couple seconds. Heck, I could be way off on this as I only started playing with this and could have the settings off. I played with the settings, didn't like it, and went back to automatic.

The point is that if you don't mind the extra delay, perhaps because your second zone is not near the tv/video source, then no problem. For me, the second zone is outside and can see the tv through a window, and possible synced with a second tv outside...it just won't work. I've got other solutions in mind for my situation.
Userlevel 3
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The point is that if you don't mind the extra delay, perhaps because your second zone is not near the tv/video source, then no problem. For me, the second zone is outside and can see the tv through a window, and possible synced with a second tv outside...it just won't work. I've got other solutions in mind for my situation.[/quote]

I have already said i have no problem with latency or sync and i have an open plan area.:?:?
Userlevel 3
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They MEAN you will have latency.

You've assumed they means drop-outs.

If your system is working properly there is NO reason why you shouldn't have perfect playback of TV audio through grouped speakers. Albeit there WILL be a 70ms delay

I dont have any delay, it is in sync and it sounds good to me, apart from the drop-outs.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
They MEAN you will have latency.

You've assumed they means drop-outs.

If your system is working properly there is NO reason why you shouldn't have perfect playback of TV audio through grouped speakers. Albeit there WILL be a 70ms delay

I dont have any delay, it is in sync and it sounds good to me, apart from the drop-outs.


Drop-Outs are most likely to be a problem associated with your set-up. It is NOT normal to have drop-outs. I'm surprised you don't find latency to be distracting if you are passing TV audio through your Playbar and then grouping other Sonos speakers located in the same room. Some people aren't sensitive to lip-sync delay whilst others are. But I certainly have a significant echo if I group Sonos Plays in my next room with the TV. Unless I tuned the volume of the Playbar way down it would be unlistenable!
Userlevel 3
Badge +6
They MEAN you will have latency.

You've assumed they means drop-outs.

If your system is working properly there is NO reason why you shouldn't have perfect playback of TV audio through grouped speakers. Albeit there WILL be a 70ms delay

I dont have any delay, it is in sync and it sounds good to me, apart from the drop-outs.


Drop-Outs are most likely to be a problem associated with your set-up. It is NOT normal to have drop-outs. I'm surprised you don't find latency to be distracting if you are passing TV audio through your Playbar and then grouping other Sonos speakers located in the same room. Some people aren't sensitive to lip-sync delay whilst others are. But I certainly have a significant echo if I group Sonos Plays in my next room with the TV. Unless I tuned the volume of the Playbar way down it would be unlistenable!


Thats the thing, i have no echo and it sounds in perfect sync. Just asked the wife to have a listen and she says the same, sounds spot on. The other funny thing is i have two play 5s in another room and if i group that to the tv( which i never do, just for the record.) i dont get any drops. Its just the new play one which is closer to the playbase than even my rears.
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I have the full 5.1 setup with play 1s for surround, and while the output for movies is fantastic, I felt music was lacking a bit. So I added a couple of Play 5s and now when I play music, I group the two. I can balance the volume of the groups independently and it sounds AMAZING!. "Music Room" (play 5s) at about twice the volume of the 5.1 "room" = an incredibly immersive experience. I don't know what this dropping thing is all about, but I don't have that issue at all.