Grouping & Sonos: Best Practices

  • 1 June 2018
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Hello everyone!

We’ve seen some questions and discussion about room grouping come up recently. We have an FAQ that shows how to group along with the basics of grouping. This is a great resource that shows how to group rooms and some additional features. If you’d like a quick reference, check it out!

This discussion should serve as a “crash-course” on grouping in Sonos. If you have any questions or need anything clarified, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. We are happy to help. If you're having problems with grouping, feel free to create a new topic and the Community will take a look.

What is grouping?
Grouping allows you to play audio content from your favorite music services and sources on two or more of your Sonos speakers, at the same time. Players that are grouped share the same queue and will continue to do so until you un-group the rooms.

Amazon Alexa/Sonos One Users:
Grouping in Sonos is separate from Alexa groups and do not interact. You can create groups in Alexa, but they will not work alongside Sonos groups. This may change in the future, we but currently have no further information to share.

How do I group/ungroup rooms in Sonos?

Grouping with the Sonos app on iOS/Android:
  • Tap Rooms tab.
  • Tap Group and select the rooms you want to add and “Done.” If you want to group all the rooms, tap “Everywhere.”
  • Choose which music to play in the selected rooms from the prompt.

Ungrouping Rooms:
  • Tap the Rooms tab.
  • Tap “Group” next to the group you want to change
  • Uncheck the room(s) you want to remove from the group and click “Done.”

Grouping with the Sonos Desktop Controller:
  • From the ROOMS pane on the left side of the controller, click “Group.”
  • Select the rooms you want to add to this group, and then click “Done.”
  • Choose which music to play in the selected rooms from the prompt.

Ungrouping Rooms:
  • From the ROOMS pane on the left side of the controller, click “Group” next to the group you want to change.
  • Uncheck the room(s) you want to remove from the group and click “Done.”

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Advanced Topics: Bonding and Group Coordinator
What is Bonding?
Bonding is a term that describes a specific type of connection between Sonos players. Depending on the configurations bonding may use a different frequency band for player-to-player communications.

Bonding in terms of Home Theater:
  • Needs to include a Playbar, Playbase or Beam.
  • In this configuration, players that are bonded communicate over the 5GHz band instead of the 2.4GHz band like the other Sonos devices.
  • This allows the data to be transferred fast enough to keep up with most TVs and AV equipment

Bonding in regards to Stereo Pairing:
  • Still uses 2.4GHz
  • Similar to grouping, both players act as one pair with each having a left or right channel
  • Two rooms become one with the addition of (L+R) in Room Settings

Does it matter what room I start the group from?
The room you start the grouping command from is called the Group Coordinator (GC) and is responsible for distributing the signal to the rest of the group. In most cases, the GC should be as “close to the wire” as possible. For the best results, try grouping from the player that is physically closest to the router or (ideally) hardwired to the network via Ethernet cable.

For instance, I have a BOOST connected to my Apple AirPort Extreme. Off of the BOOST, I have my CONNECT hardwired to the network. This is because my CONNECT takes the line-out audio from my computer and is normally what I group from when playing computer audio through the entire household. This means that the data only has to deal with the wireless environment when sending data to the end speakers. If the CONNECT had not been wired, the signal would need to be sent from the source (my computer/CONNECT) wirelessly to the BOOST, then back to the CONNECT (since it is the GC) and out to Sonos.

Adding wireless "hops" like this to your signal flow can introduce or exacerbate problems with the wireless environment. If you are having problems with audio dropouts only while grouped, you may want to try selecting a different Group Coordinator.

Note: In general, the more rooms you add to a group, the larger the strain on the wireless network becomes. This can cause some problems in systems where wireless interference is already a challenge. In this case, try reducing the number of rooms grouped and see if playback improves.

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