Intermittent bass from S5

  • 21 December 2010
  • 127 replies
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127 replies

Userlevel 2
Damn! I would find this thread after receiving 2 play 5s for christmas . I should of went with 4 play 1s instead. 😕
Damn! I would find this thread after receiving 2 play 5s for christmas . I should of went with 4 play 1s instead. =\

Don't forget that thousands of other people have Play5s and have no problems at all. This small number of people reporting problems here must be a very low percentage of the total sold 🙂
Userlevel 2
Damn! I would find this thread after receiving 2 play 5s for christmas . I should of went with 4 play 1s instead. =\

Don't worry I have had two Play 5s for more than two years and they work perfectly. While I think that these forums are very useful they do tend to distort issues as only those with an issue report, whereas the hundreds of thousands of us satisfied users are the silent majority!
Userlevel 2
I got it now, unit's been OK for 2 years, then started loosing bass, but volume up/down fixed it, now that trick does not work anymore..

Looks like we're going to try out Norways 5 year "reasonable time of operation" law
After reading this thread it makes it clear that one should stay away from buying a used or refurbished Play 5 on Ebay! I bet that's where out of warranty Play 5's with this problem are dumped.
Userlevel 2
I have 2 Play5 and had the issue 3 times (2 times with one and one time with the other Play5, always between one and two years). Exchange was never a problem and they told me this will be the case in the future (I hope so...).

They told me that this kind of case (one customer having so many issues) has never happened before. However only since last year summer it's an "official" hardware bug. And regarding the premium "claim" I'd have expected some kind of action concerning production. My connect Amp never had a problem! Same with the Play3.
Userlevel 2
Same problem here. Waiting to see what SONOS will do - I'm certainly not prepared to pay £100 to get the unit fixed, only for it to happen again.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
One of my Play 5s (purchased early in 2014) has just started showing the same problem.

I wont be back in a country that has Sonos service support until June this year so I dont know what will happen about that. Very annoying.
Report it to Sonos Support now and explain your out-of-country situation.
Userlevel 4
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I've opened a support question and sent a diagnostic and will see what they have to say.

The unit was bought in the UK and the warranty there seems to be 2 years, so at worst I will just have to wait until June to send it back for replacement when I am there.

The unit was first used in June 2014 so I'm surprised that this fault should occur so soon. I dont see how it can be a batch problem.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Sonos support suggested a factory reset. I replied that I would try it, test it for a while and get back to them.

The factory reset did seem to work for a few days but then the problem came back today. By this time they had closed the support ticket so I have had to open another one, referring to the original one in it.
Both of my Play5s have this issue that started post-warranty period. I haven't gotten them repaired yet.

Any anyone figured out if this is user repairable, for a sufficiently technically inclined customer?
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Support want to RMA my Play 5 unit. So when I go back to Europe in a few months I will be taking my faulty unit with me and they seem confident that they can complete the replacement procedure during the 7 days that I will be there.

Good service from Sonos support. 🙂 But a shame that this particular fault seems to be so widespread and affecting people over such a long time.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Any anyone figured out if this is user repairable, for a sufficiently technically inclined customer?

To me the problem sounds like it's just a bad connection to the bass unit, perhaps a dodgy bit of soldering? If so it ought to be possible to fix. If it is a problem on a circuit board then it might not be so easy.

If I had a faulty unit that was out of warranty I would be quite tempted to (carefully) open it up and have a look.
Userlevel 1
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Count me as yet another person with this issue. I got the unit in March of 2013, so I guess I am going to need to pay to get it repaired. Not too happy about that, especially since it seems Sonos hasn't changed anything with the design to make this not happen in the future.

I expect a 400 dollar speaker to function correctly forever or at least 10+ years. If the "computer" part of the speaker is what malfunctioned then I'd understand more, but the speaker itself?
danc27,

We don't know the exact cause of this failure. With other units (I'm not pointing to a specific manufacturer) exhibiting this sort of failure the root cause is often an incomplete cleaning process that leaves a trace of contamination behind -- resulting in a poor solder connection. Over time this connection fails. Another cause is a bad connection at a cable or plug inside of the unit.

Any of the above can be hard to track down because the physical stress of disassembling the unit might temporarily "cure" the fault. Eventually, someone figures out exactly where the failure occurs and it's usually easy to fix. If the failure point is inside of an integrated circuit, the fix can be much harder.

Note that SONOS will not repair a unit that has been opened in the field.

It's a guess on my part, but I suspect that the bad connection is somewhere between the amplifier module and the woofer voice coil. This bad connection may or may not be easy to spot and repair.

Often, a very sneaky way to temporarily "repair" this sort of intermittent issue is to play music at just below the destruct level, then suddenly interrupt the music. With PLAY:5 I would use an external source of highly compressed music with a strong bass line, such as a rock-n-roll radio station. Repeat 20-30 times. It is not necessary to play the music for more than an instant because the cleansing action occurs at the instant of interruption, not during play. One must very suddenly interrupt the music. In this case using Mute or Volume will not interrupt the music fast enough.
Userlevel 1
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buzz,

Thanks for your comments. I can understand things can go wrong, but it is just troublesome this same issue keeps occurring. I'm not going to burn Sonos at the stake here, it is just very disappointing.

I don't plan on opening up the unit at all. Starting the conversation with Sonos support and we'll see what they do here. Interesting that in the last page on this thread it says that Sonos considers this an official bug now.
Userlevel 3
Badge +1
Having had this problem previously, I found Sonos Support provided their usual sympathetic help. Be optimistic!
Userlevel 1
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Having had this problem previously, I found Sonos Support provided their usual sympathetic help. Be optimistic!

I haven't had to use their support yet, but have always heard good things. We will see what happens.
danc27,

Each unit has its own failure "signature". I am familiar with a very interesting failure of a speaker (the manufacturer has since left the market for unrelated reasons). The midrange would simply fall apart within the first two or three months after manufacture. Initially everyone figured "Oh well, things happen", but it was soon clear that this failure was widespread. Even the replacement parts would fail in the box during shipment. It took a couple months for all of this to unfold, but the failure was eventually traced to a single individual, on a range of days, who was not following proper surface preparation procedures on the production line. Once the parts that he touched were removed from production and repair stock, the issue abruptly ended. This speaker problem surfaced quickly. The production issue occurred in June, failures started in August and about at the end of September was fully understood. I'm sure that the failure rate was 100%.

In the PLAY:5 the failure is not instant and in this case I don't have any insider data. By now I think that SONOS has a good idea about a manufacturing dates of units involved. SONOS can track all of this by serial number.

The true mettle of a company shows when situations such as this pop up. I can't speak for the SONOS company, but my observation has been that they take care of their customers.
My Play 5 just developed this fault. Offered a “replacement” for £350. Sonos are having a laugh, a 30% discount to fix a know fault and get a new, ok updated, play 5 that could do the same. Bye bye Sonos, it’s was nice while it lasted but that;s just crap. I’ll stick to audio kit that works and can be repaired it faills, never mind develops a designed fault.
withanee67,

I think that SONOS support is your best bet.

This is a classic "bad connection" issue. This can happen anywhere, but in this type of unit I expect that it is a crimped connector that is not quite right. There is a fragile connection that breaks down due to temperature changes or oxidation. Turning up the volume causes a tiny arc that burns away the oxide (oxides are usually insulators) and throws a tiny ball of metal across the void, making a very fragile repair. On the next physical stress, probably due to a temperature cycle, repeat the above.

This sort of problem can be very hard to locate because any physical stress could "repair" or unrepair the unit. The physical stress of sending a unit to a service center could "repair" the connection. The problem could be unique to a particular unit, limited to a particular batch, or generic to the model. Typically, a service center will need to see a bunch of similar failures before they can discover the pattern. Eventually, someone will figure out that for Model A, connector B is responsible for the issue and connector B should be replaced for any unit exhibiting intermittent output.

In any case, SONOS support will take good care of you. You can help support by sending a diagnostic and noting the confirmation number. Reference the confirmation number when you contact support.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
Thanks Buzz. Pretty much along the lines of what I was thinking, unless there was any possibility that the digital equaliser could be glitching somehow.

Sonos support have been great to me in the past, as most people have found, so looks like I will be adding to their Christmas workload!
Userlevel 2
I have exactly the same problem with my S5 intermittently losing bass. I tried two local dealers, who both referred me back to Sonos.

So I contacted Sonos support, who advised a factory reset. The bass returned on it's own before I did the reset, stayed for a while and then disappeared shortly after the reset.

The only other option available through Sonos is a return and replacement unit for which I've been charged £98. I realise that repair outside of warranty is generally going to involve a charge, but then this seems a bit steep for what may turn out to be a loose connection.
Userlevel 4
Badge +9
neatr,

Sorry to hear your story. Won't make you feel any better, but fortunately I have another 30 days left to run on my warranty. I'll be contacting Sonos support shortly.

Since our units date from a similar time, there's always a chance that this could turn out to be a faulty production batch - in which case I guess there's a (very slim) chance that you might be able to appeal to Sonos's goodwill and get some of the cost back.

That said, although it's pretty galling to shell out £98 just one month after your warranty has expired, it's probably a fair reflection of the cost to Sonos of the repair/replacement. If it is a hardware fault/dry solder joint, it could be difficult to track down. Will be interesting to see if you get a new replacement unit (in which case you can think of it as having paid £98 for a year's rental of your last S5...) or a refurbished unit.