Intermittent bass from S5

  • 21 December 2010
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127 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +9
Hello,

There is no design flaw after examining the several units returned to us via RMA in response to this thread and completing an internal investigation.

The problem is extremely isolated (less than a thousandth of a percent of units sold) and involved in the circuitry of the specific unit experiencing the problem.



Sonny

I appreciate you joining this thread to give the official SONOS view on this issue. It is reassuring to hear you say that the problem is not widespread. However, I have to say that I am rather sceptical of your data and the conclusions drawn.

I bought two S5's, a few months apart, and both exhibited the same fault after a few months of service. You say the problem applies to "less than one thousandth of a percent of units sold", = 0.001%, or 1 in 100,000 units. If there is no systemic problem as you say, then my chance of having bought two faulty units is 1 in 10 billion! I know I'm unlucky, but surely not that unlucky!

Look at it another way: SONOS recently advertised that it is now in 1 million rooms (congratulations, by the way), ie that 1 million units have been sold, of all varieties. Now even if all of these were S5s (which they clearly aren't), then your stat of less than 1 in 100,000 faulty units means there should be no more than 10 faulty S5's out there!! I had two of them, and there are 9 others reporting the same fault on this thread. I can't believe that everyone with a problem has taken the trouble to post on the forum. I would think it much more likely that they are a small proportion, with others just putting up with an intermittent fault.

I'm a huge fan of my Sonos system, and the company. I don't want to blow the problem out of proportion, but equally I hope that behind the scenes Sonos is looking more carefully at this issue, and reviewing its design/component/assembly choices to eliminate it from future production. It is a premium product, at a premium price, and rock-solid build quality should be our legitimate expectation.

One last thing - you do yourselves a big disservice when you say that your RMA process is "extremely inconvenient"! It is the most straightforward and convenient returns process I have ever used. The fact that you offer to ship a replacement unit before the faulty one is returned to you, and your speed of response, means that the inconvenience is negligible. Thanks for that!
Userlevel 1
I bought two S5's, a few months apart, and both exhibited the same fault after a few months of service. You say the problem applies to "less than one thousandth of a percent of units sold", = 0.001%, or 1 in 100,000 units. If there is no systemic problem as you say, then my chance of having bought two faulty units is 1 in 10 billion! I know I'm unlucky, but surely not that unlucky!

Actually there's no way of determining your likelihood of receiving two bad units solely from Sunny's comment. For example, if you bought both units from the same supplier there's a very good chance that, even with a few months space, that they supplied you from the same batch. If that batch happens to have a large number of affected units, due to a manufacturing issue than your chances of getting a second duff unit could be very high indeed. Even if you bought from two different suppliers, there's a possibility that both suppliers received units from the same batch run, so the above could still apply.
Userlevel 2
Badge
It is a statistical anomaly, but doesn't mean this is widespread or the sample size is flawed.

This issue was reported twice in last two years before this thread. I participated in the dis-assembly and examination of the units on behalf of Support with our Continuing Engineering department. The conclusion was physical damage or a failure that was different from what was reported (amp fault, PSU, etc).

On a related subject, it is important to note that warranty replacements are refurbished units and we are unable to prohibit a retailer from selling open box/demo/returned/or otherwise like new units. The history of these units are always "questionable" but still officially supported.

Cheers,
Sunny
Regardless of the number of failed units in the field, a given unit tends to fail in a specific way in each stage of its usable life. (There are early, mid, and, end of life failures that may be different from each other)

If you contact anyone who services a lot of different brands, once they know the model number involved, they probably can tell you what is wrong -- without hearing any of your symptoms. This does not mean that all of this model will break, only that those that do break are likely to have the same issue.

Forums are similar to a hospital emergency room, where there could be a room full of patients with broken arms, but this does not mean that "everyone's" arm will break.
Userlevel 2
Same problem here on a unit I bought from Richer Sounds this summer. About to contact Sonos Support.

Was a little disappointed when I read that any replacement units are reconditioned. :(

David, UK.
Userlevel 2
Got my first bass drop on my S5 (18 months old). Too bad for such an expensive product. I have logged a case with support but I think I'll put my screwdriver in the device by myself and see if there is a bad soldering or capacitor that has started to leak...
Userlevel 2
Got my first bass drop on my S5 (18 months old). Too bad for such an expensive product. I have logged a case with support but I think I'll put my screwdriver in the device by myself and see if there is a bad soldering or capacitor that has started to leak...

I recommend waiting for the response from us before you do that - if it is an issue we can RMA, we can get a part of the cost covered (even out of warranty) for repair, but if the screwdriver gets near it we can't touch it!

Can you send me your contact information (via PM) with maybe the ticket number you have from our system so I can take a look?
Userlevel 2
I just experienced a loss of bass from my S5 today. Turning the unit off and on again has fixed the problem for now, but from what I've read here it sounds like an intermittent hardware fault. Fortunately still within warranty so will be contacting support.
Userlevel 2
Well my S5 is 8 days out of warranty and now I have this problem. Definitely a hardware snag. Just hope SONOS support me. Disappointed as very impressed with the gear. Recently added the play 3 for my kitchen which is brilliant.
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
Remain positive wheelspanner. As another forum member said to me recently, "Sonos Support are the dog's ***locks"!

I had an identical problem recently with my first S5. Now as it happens I had reported its bass intermittency to Sonos as an aside within the warranty period while trying to resolve a serious fault with my SonosNet network topology. With that fault now fixed (fingers crossed), the bass problem occurred again the other day and I was delighted and impressed with Sonos Technical's immediate offer to replace this S5. No quibble, despite it being just out of the official warranty period. The RMA was instigated yesterday, and by next week all will be well. My loss of bass did not happen often enough for it to be a real pain, but nevertheless it's reassuring to know that Sonos took it seriously.

Really -- have faith -- they are good!
Userlevel 2
Another one with the "loosing-bass" problem....
Got my S5 for a few months and always worked perfect until about 3 weeks ago.
Last night I got so irritated I started a google session and discovered I'm not the only one....
I only use my Play5 for internet radio so at first i figured the bass problem was some problem related to the radio station I was listening to since switching station also recovered the bass !

Most of the times my Sonos 5 is in ambient mode with relative low sound level. Next to switching radio station, Turning up te volume or switching the play5 off/on always brings back the bass. But for such a pricey product its a pretty annoying problem...
Really hope this is a software issue and Sonos is working hard on it, since I hate going into the warranty process.
Userlevel 2
To both wheelspanner and Mirage,

Feel free to private message me some of your contact information so I can reach out and get these issues looked at for you.

-Clay
Userlevel 2
To both wheelspanner and Mirage,

Feel free to private message me some of your contact information so I can reach out and get these issues looked at for you.

-Clay


Clay,
Many thanks however action is in hand to replace my S5 with a reconditioned one for £100.

Thankyou,

Wheelspanner.
Userlevel 2
Disappointed to note that another one of my S5 units has developed the intermittent bass problem three weeks out of the warranty period.

Already had one replaced last year, really hoping that Sonos support will replace this one free of charge.

Such a shame for a premium priced unit! 😞
Userlevel 2
Even more disappointed to find that the RMA Sonos have created is chargeable at over £100 for a unit just weeks out of warranty.

This is disgraceful - I am so disappointed at this response after spending out over £1,000 on this system and already experiencing the bass issue with another unit.

I would much appreciate a Sonos representative to look in to this - I was a real advocate of your product but this and the charge presented to me has completely changed my opinion - unless this is rectified, I will never, ever recommend or purchase a product from Sonos again.
Having same issue turn it up... bass comes back. Just adding my note because the problem exists and Sonos should not ignore it.

Called support and the level 1 support guy kept saying bass and pronouncing it "bas" like the fish... there's a confidence builder :)

I am now waiting a comment from level 2 support. Hopefully they will be more help - has all the earmarks of a h/w issue NOT a s/w issue.

Good luck to me and all of you!
Userlevel 2
I have noticed that a firm bang with your fist on the left side of the S5 solved the problem without adjusting the volume.
As I haven't received any feedback from Sonos Support (two requests open since November and PM:s have been sent to Clay but no reply there either) screwdrivers and soldering iron will be out tonight.

The unit is +18 months old so... Hopefully I'll learn something as I have another S5 (about 14 months old) that have the same issues.

The first unit is now at 75% non-bass sound and it pi**es me off. (Good for podcasts and spoken as the S5 has always been heavy in the bass registers) but listening to Wrecking Ball on the unit now - it sounds like the Boss' ba**s are wrecked 😛
I'm having the same problem. After a good feeling about the first play5 in combi with play3 I bought another play 5.

I have issues in my sonos system since then.

first the bass drops out frequently on the last bought play5. Only increasing the bass, or setting loudness on returns the bass and thereafter the bass stays on, only to be lost a hour of a few days later...

second, when I create a stereo set with the other play 5 recently(and frequently) I can only use the faulty play5.. sure they connect but there is only sound coming from the faulty play5.

Also when using the faulty play5 in a multiroom session creates problems. Still it's the only zone giving sound. Next to that I think it also messes with my spotify connections, cuz when played via the other play5 I keep connection, and when played through the faulty one.. stuttering and dropping outs.

So I'm thinking the play5 is "broken".

Since I bought the play5 via my work I'm going to opt a trade in since the play5 is only a few months old.

How long does repair normaly take via Sonos?
How long does repair normaly take via Sonos?

If you are in the Sonos Warranty period, they will replace the unit. Once the RMA has been authorized, the timeframe is just shipping the product to you.

Call or email Sonos Support for the next steps. Or just return it to where you purchased it for an immediate replacement.

Best of Luck
Userlevel 2
Just to add another case of bass dropout. Bought the S5 from Richer Sounds last December, took it back to them a couple of months ago and got them to test it. They hooked it up to their network and whacked the volume up - of course it worked fine, it's almost like they knew if they set the volume high then the problem wouldn't manifest itself (am I just being cynical here??). Anyway, it's now happening on a regular basis and so contacted support, and they have instigated an RMA.
Userlevel 2
Having been a victim of the CR200 faulty screen issue twice, about 6m about my S5 (just out of warranty of course) experienced the bass problem. Support weren't able to help as I bought the unit in Hong Kong but now live in Australia. So the unit was a total write off.

I perhaps foolishly bought a brand new S5, and now, 6 months later, the exact same bass problem has occurred.

Sonos have a major quality control issue, to me this cannot be ignored. It is NOT normal for 25% of the hardware I bought from them to fail (4 items, 2 controllers, 2 S5s).

I will buy no more Sonos until they acknowledge the production problems they have an advise what steps they have taken to resolve. I love the kit when it works, but the quality issues really kill the enjoyment.

Tom
I perhaps foolishly bought a brand new S5, and now, 6 months later, the exact same bass problem has occurred.
The unit would be under warranty and should be replaced. Contact your retailer or Sonos.

Sonos have a major quality control issue, to me this cannot be ignored. It is NOT normal for 25% of the hardware I bought from them to fail (4 items, 2 controllers, 2 S5s).

On the S5, Sonos commented earlier in the thread on their findings.

I will buy no more Sonos until they acknowledge the production problems they have an advise what steps they have taken to resolve. I love the kit when it works, but the quality issues really kill the enjoyment.

I suspect you've simply been unlucky, though things might conceivably have been weighted against you if you received replacements from the same batches as the originals. There will always be some field failures. What differentiates a supplier is how they deal with it.
Userlevel 2
Hi Ratty,

Appreciate your response.

I have contacted Sonos support and am now commencing the RMA process - the chap on the phone confirmed it was a fairly common problem.

Sadly, Sonos here in Australia outsource their support to another firm, and I'm not convinced that the level of service we get here is up to scratch with the US, despite the premium we pay for the units.

They've advised all postage costs have to be covered by me (expensive on a heavy S5) and that they certainly won't ship one out until they've received it, done full testing and a report. They even told me that if they don't find a problem, they will simply send the faulty unit back to me. Not impressed with Sonos support so far on this issue.

I did see the comment earlier in the thread about it being a thousand of 1% chance of getting a faulty unit. The problem is, getting it twice, in units sold in different countries, nearly 2 years apart, makes those odds seem a little far fetched (though of course, anything is possible). When you factor in also getting 2 faulty CR200s (not sure if similar failiure oodds have been quoted by Sonos on these) - again those odds just seem a little far fetched.

More than any of that, the issue is as much around confidence as hardware performance. I know that my CR200 will die - at least, I'm convinced that it will. I now strongly suspect that my next S5 will die too, based on what's happened so far. As you say, if support is good, then this does mitigate things slightly - but based on my experience so far, it just isn't...

Tom
They've advised all postage costs have to be covered by me (expensive on a heavy S5) and that they certainly won't ship one out until they've received it, done full testing and a report. They even told me that if they don't find a problem, they will simply send the faulty unit back to me. Not impressed with Sonos support so far on this issue.
Would your statutory consumer rights not entitle you to reimbursement for shipping costs in the event of the warranty replacement of a faulty unit?
Userlevel 2
Thanks for the suggestion - worth a look but I've not heard of this in Australia - consumer laws here are less developed than the US and UK, which is party why we rely on suppliers and manufacturers to go 'above and beyond' with warranties etc.

I do wish Sonos would offer a similar level of service to all customers, and indeed I wonder if they're even aware of the service discrepancy between their US operation and their outsource solution here in Oz...