Intermittent bass from S5

  • 21 December 2010
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127 replies

Davedsl,

I can point to a certain YAMAHA model that often failed in the first few weeks (sometimes on day one), was repaired, failed again in a different way, and quite often failed a third time in a still different way. It took a few months to track down the root cause. Once the root cause was fixed, the unit was good for 15-20 years. A production change prevented the issue for newly manufactured units. This issue did not bring down the company and I suspect that most of those customers have purchased additional YAMAHA products.
How can we be sure that a production change has occurred in the case of Sonos? There are people with much newer units than the latest person to post who have got the problem too.
JohnG,

I'm not aware of a definitive statement to this effect, but it seems pointless to not improve the product after identifying the cause of a reliability issue.

And, as I have pointed out in prior posts, we don't know what fraction of units in the field have failed or will fail. It is possible, but unlikely, that the entire universe of failures has been reported here. Just as unlikely is the possibility that all of the units will fail in this way.
JohnG,

I'm not aware of a definitive statement to this effect, but it seems pointless to not improve the product after identifying the cause of a reliability issue.

And, as I have pointed out in prior posts, we don't know what fraction of units in the field have failed or will fail. It is possible, but unlikely, that the entire universe of failures has been reported here. Just as unlikely is the possibility that all of the units will fail in this way.


Indeed, I'll shut up now 🙂 I'm just concerned that if I do buy one of these it won't last very long !
Userlevel 3
Dear Valued Sonos Customers,

The rate of PLAY:5 returns due to a hardware failure is very low, consistent with our other players. Furthermore, bass-related issues are a small fraction of all reported issues. That said, we take these reports very seriously and have been working to understand them. All PLAY:5s returned due to intermittent bass are sent directly to our engineering team for analysis. Although we have done extensive testing of all returned products, so far we have not been able to repeatedly reproduce the intermittent bass issue in our engineering labs.

We do acknowledge the trend of reports here on our Forums, we are taking this investigation very seriously, and we will continue to evaluate and test any products that are returned to us to identify trends and opportunities for product improvement.

Please contact our Support team at www.sonos.com/support for any product-related failures.

Sincerely
Mike
For those who want to claim that MikeC's comment is self serving, some intermittent issues are very difficult to diagnose.

I'm not going to identify the manufacturer or product, but there was an intermittent issue and the engineering team was not able to reproduce the issue. After a while it became clear that there was a cluster of repeated failures in the Southwest (USA) area and more failures were reported during the winter months than summer months from other areas.

For those not familiar with the Southwest (USA) area, it has very low humidity. In addition, relative humidity is typically lower inside homes during the winter heating season. After a while it became obvious that the unit was too sensitive to static electricity discharge and static discharge is more likely in low humidity. This is why there were repeated failures for some customers and no failures for other customers -- the replacement unit was thrown into the same toxic environment.

Obviously, it took some time before the correlation with season, geography, and humidity was noticed and there were a few very unhappy customers due to the repeated failures, but the problem was eventually resolved.

Since all manufacturers are loath to give out any exact failure rates, we'll have to take MikeC's comment at face value -- there have been relatively few failures. Meanwhile, I'm sure that the engineering team is trying to discover a correlation.
Mike. Thanks very much for your comments. It does make a difference to me to know that you do all read these forums and care about these things.

You might just have made my mind up to buy myself one now 😃
Userlevel 2
I would suggest that the scale of the problem is much larger than just the units spoken of on this board. It's been happening on my unit for a few months now (about 2 years old), but I thought it was a rate drop out as I was normally listening to the radio through it. I only found this thread today.

The nature of the internet is such that the sample who post is always much smaller than the number out in the real world who are experiencing things. So so sad as when it works it's amazing, but just can't put up with these drop outs. I loved sonos and evangelised about them to everyone before this. Now I'm going to have to tell everyone to steer clear. I refuse to pay £100+ just 2 years after the original purchase. And I refuse to ring customer services at a further cost when they won't even acknowledge this issue here. There should be an easy link on the website for anyone experiencing this KNOWN fault. Awful customer service!
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
I also now have this intermittent bass problem on one (black unit) of the four S5 units I have. Bainging the unit in an attempt to cure a "dry joint" does nothing - unplugging the unit and plugging it back in cures the issue but only for a while. I am going to swop over locations and see if that cures the issue.
Userlevel 2
Just want to make sure that my problem is also adding to the stats: My S5 - bought in Oct. 2010 - also started to have intermittent bass since several months and now problem is occuring within every song.
I have contacted SONOS support.
This is not a neglectable problem !
Userlevel 2
Just got the message from SONOS support that I can get an RMA for 141 Euros !! This is ridiculous!!
A high priced quality product with an obviously standard problem !!
This is not how I define product quality and customer satisfaction.
I will not buy any additional SONOS products. I recommended SONOS products to friends, but I will propose that they try to sell or refund the SONOS equipment as long as the product is in working order.
Userlevel 2
I am one more user experiencing this problem. Clearly Sonos is wrong when they say this problem effects only 1 in 100,000 and the problem is much more widespread. My Play:5 is out of warranty and I am not sure it is worth spending the money getting it fixed, since people seem to be saying this is a recurring problem.
Userlevel 2
+1 for this problem - I do think there's an issue with the S5 here that's not being acknowledged by the company; in my case, once they had the serial number, there wasn't even an attempt at a diagnostic - just an RMA , at a total cost (incl shipping, tax, ..) of around $160 (I think - they didn't [yet?] send a receipt ...).
It also took almost 3 weeks from reporting it to get the RMA.
John
I am one more user experiencing this problem. Clearly Sonos is wrong when they say this problem effects only 1 in 100,000 and the problem is much more widespread. My Play:5 is out of warranty and I am not sure it is worth spending the money getting it fixed, since people seem to be saying this is a recurring problem.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
With the addition of a Sub am I right in thinking this cuts the bass unit on the Play5.
If so could this not be a software issue or a problem with a batch of Play5s not fully compatible with the sub?
This problem predates the Sub by a couple years, and affects frequencies above where the Sub plays.

It's a hardware failure, which is why the units must be replaced.
Userlevel 2
You can add another user to the list.

I have a black S5 and there have been a couple of occasions where the bass has dropped out. A quick flick of the volume button has restored things. The unit is not in a low humidity environment (I used to be an atmospheric scientist so I can bore you for hours with grammes H2O per cubic meter).

My S5 was serving as the ethernet connected component so the issue has nothing to do with the wireless network. I have just bought a second S5, additional Bridge and a Sub so look forward to hooking everything up as a stereo system when I get the chance.

I am a huge fan of Sonos so please believe me that I am not "having a go" at what I consider to be an excellent product. Having now spent over £1,500 on the product, the prospect of having to pay to fix a problem that should be a recall does not sit well. Can Sonos please do two things

1. Publish a range of serial numbers that they believe are vulnerable to this problem.
2. Come up with a recall / replacement strategy that is in keeping with their first class but flawed product. If the numbers are so low as has been stated, this would be a small matter. The customer has nothing to gain other than a reliable S5.

all the best

B

(As a footnote, my lawyer will be in touch concerning structural damage to my house. I fired up the Sub and I think the foundations have cracked. That is one powerful unit !)
Userlevel 2
Seems like I'm having the same problem too. Cranking up the volume temporarily fixes the problem, until it occurs again. Not enjoying the prospects of paying up for a fix if this occurs a few months down the road outside of warranty. The Play 5 is honestly a very good product otherwise, and the apps are being improved all the time, but why are they not fixing or addressing this issue? Seeing as how it stretches all the way back to more than 2 and a half years ago. At least extent the warranty for users who experience this known and well documented problem.
Userlevel 2
I'm experiencing this problem as well with my 1,5 year old Play:5. I will create an RMA today.

Has anyone had the same problem with the S3/Play:3? I'm worried that mine will start acting up after the warranty is over.
Userlevel 4
Badge +14
Has anyone had the same problem with the S3/Play:3? I'm worried that mine will start acting up after the warranty is over.

No report on this forum regarding the Play:3. It's also a very different unit, if the midrange/bass element was to give up, it would go almost silent anyway (only the tweeter would remain), so it wouldn't just be a loss of bass. Unless of course just one of the mid-range drivers would fall out.

The Play:5 is a 3-way speaker, with a "dedicated" bass-element.

Either way, if you experience it, file a support request with Sonos as soon as possible, even though it would be resolved by a volume ramp. That way you would have a documented report that might be within warranty even if the problem becomes permanent after the warranty is out. I have 1 unit that acted up once a few months ago, but has been working since, they instructed me to do a factory reset and of course it works after that, it usually always work after a reboot or volume ramp.
Userlevel 2
I've had my play 5 less than 2 months and it has developed same problem.

Will try the factory reset but may have to return it if that doesn't work
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
Will try the factory reset but may have to return it if that doesn't work

Be aware that the factory reset may appear to fix the problem temporarily, but if you have the same fault as reported here by me and several others, the problem will return (much the same as briefly turning volume to high, or any of the other temporary fixes mentioned in this thread).

I'd advise you to follow jishi's advice below. Listen to the unit carefully in the days after the reset, and if the fault repeats, contact Support and log the fault while you are within warranty.
Userlevel 2
My Play 5 has today started to drop its bass on a more regular basis ( it has done it in the past, but so infrequently I did not think it was a hardware fault, but rather a software glitch. Using the IPad controller volume is an art form!) .
The unit is 13.5 months old, I have raised it with Sonos today. I have just found this thread this evening after a a Google search for Sonos Play 5 problems.
This is now becoming a concern and a disappointment to me, I really like the product, but having just read about this issue on here, it is beginning to shake my confidence in it!
... but having just read about this issue on here, ...

Be careful about your conclusions. If one walks through a hospital it is obvious that "everyone" must be sick.

Each model has a failure signature. If you call a service center that works on your model and say that you have model XYZ, they can probably tell you what is wrong with the unit before you relate any symptoms. This does not mean that all model XYZ's will fail, only that when they do fail, it is usually because of [...].

On the forums we only know that a few bass failures of S5 have been reported. Unfortunately, we do not know what percentage of the general population of S5's this represents.

Your next step should be a call to SONOS support.
Userlevel 2
My Play 5 has today started to drop its bass on a more regular basis ( it has done it in the past, but so infrequently I did not think it was a hardware fault, but rather a software glitch. Using the IPad controller volume is an art form!) .
The unit is 13.5 months old, I have raised it with Sonos today. I have just found this thread this evening after a a Google search for Sonos Play 5 problems.
This is now becoming a concern and a disappointment to me, I really like the product, but having just read about this issue on here, it is beginning to shake my confidence in it!

I contacted Sonos and it was no problem to get an RMA. As I had two years warranty I printed the mail confirmation from Sonos and brought it to my local dealer. 5 min later I walked out with a new unit. No problem with it so far...
Userlevel 2
Am having the same problem since yesterday, same symptoms and same 'cure' (turn up the volume shortly and the bass is back for an unpredictable while).
I bought my play:5 4 months ago, this thread was started almost 3 years ago. So in the 2.5 years between Sonos has not been able to solve the underlying design issue. A bit disappointing to my taste.
Anyway: I have contacted support, let's see how they're going to solve this.