Is Sonos Fit For Purpose?


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As a music lover and ex-DJ the idea of having synchronised music around the home has always been a dream for me.

Before Sonos I invested considerable time, effort and money into hardwiring speakers in all main reception rooms to achieve it, especially for parties.
 

When Sonos arrived I bought in straight away - it seems like my dream had come true.


Though I have had spells of reasonable performance a consistent theme has always been and still is regular drop outs of some sort or another.

I have a total of 12 Sonos units deployed (and 4 others awaiting deployment) and have invested £1,000’s in Wi-Fi and other technical solutions / input only to find that a new front opens up with Sonos typically blaming something non-Sonos for the new problem.

So - is Sonos still fit for purpose? (in the average modern home, given the proliferation of tech and Wi-Fi therein).


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As a music lover and ex-DJ the idea of having synchronised music around the home has always been a dream for me.

So - is Sonos still fit for purpose? (in the average modern home, given the proliferation of tech and Wi-Fi therein).

For the quoted use case, I’d say it is still the best in the market where wireless is concerned. And with as many units as you have, it should be possible to get a stable system with music play uptimes that are better than 99%. 

What does your Sonos set up look like - as in, to start, how many units are ethernet wired to the core Wifi network?

What is your music source?

Do your Sonos units have reserved IP addresses in the WiFi router?

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For what it’s worth I think Sonos fails to live up to expectations, great sound but riddled with issues and a lack

DFTT

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@ratty Is that a Yes or a No?

@ratty Is that a Yes or a No?

It wasn’t directed at you, but at a well known negative character who simply lurks and jumps on threads trying to stir up trouble.

 

To your original question, I’ve found it fit for purpose for nigh on 14 years. Note however that Sonos needs a decent network. Clutter at 2.4GHz can be a problem, as indeed is filling rooms with humans who, being mostly water, are rather good at blocking 2.4GHz.

@Kumar raised some valid queries about your setup. Have you also consulted Sonos Support?

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@ratty Thanks - I had googled it and gathered it wasn't complimentary! 

I have had input over the years from numerous sources including Sonos and I am lucky enough to have input from the IT support provider to my business (supporting my ‘home office’) but as you say pretty much everything in the modern home is a potential conflict to Sonos - the irony of your comment about humans is that when you would most want Sonos to perform at a house party the house should be full of them!

Every day I come home to hear my wife say ‘bloody Sonos’ or worse - she has even resorted to listening to Radio on the TVs due to drop outs….

If I’m going to ethernet connect Sonos units I may as well go back to hardwiring speakers as I did 30+ years ago.

  the irony of your comment about humans is that when you would most want Sonos to perform at a house party the house should be full of them!
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If I’m going to ethernet connect Sonos units I may as well go back to hardwiring speakers as I did 30+ years ago.

The challenge with a people filled environment is for WiFi in general, and if Sonos has trouble with that, so will every other wireless system. If you search this forum for example, you will see that anyone that asks for guidance for using Sonos at a wedding, is advised not to. 

The difference, for the second part of your quote - if ethernet wiring is the solution to this challenge, unlike in the case of hardwired speakers, not all units in the home need to be ethernet wired once things have been thought through.

As to the comment from your wife, one assumes it occurs in the course of day to day living as well when the house is not full of people. Bloody Sonos or should it be something else? - seeing that you have had the system for years but haven't knuckled down to getting it to work as it can. As my 12 units system has since 2012; I bought it in 2011, suffered some issues, and with a lot of help from here and some from Sonos support, had fixed these issues by 2012. Thereafter, there has been the occasional glitch, but uptime is north of 99%.

I now find that in many cases, Echo devices serve me just as well, but for my open space apartment core that has three zones to address needs for music there, Sonos still rules for slick and in perfect sync music play across the space using three zones.

If I’m going to ethernet connect Sonos units I may as well go back to hardwiring speakers as I did 30+ years ago.

Not necessarily. All it takes is for one device to be wired and the system (apart from the Move and Roam portables) will switch over to Sonos’ dedicated wireless mesh, SonosNet. The mesh is self-extending and self-reinforcing, and shifts audio to a separate wireless channel.

SonosNet was the original operating mode; direct connection to a WiFi came later. You might find it beneficial. All you’d need do is wire one unit then wait 5 mins or so for the system to recognise the change.

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@Kumar I bought my first Sonos speaker in 2010 and when Sonos works I love the sound quality and control but drop outs have been a bugbear since the outset.

I have the bit between my teeth and I’m determined to crack it once and for all or to throw it out and start again.

Believe me I have knuckled down many times before but never seems to get to full resolution - just a tolerable stability which is enough to take me off the case pro-tem.

My IT support took out the Sonos boost saying that they thought it better for everything to be on the Tenda Mesh Wi-Fi. I even have a wish list of Sonos additions for the house but clearly this is on hold until everything works consistently.

I’m happy to try anything and, within reason, spend whatever it takes to get Sonos to do just what it should do.

It is the level if IT tech input / understand that I find daunting - not that I’m not reasonably tech savvy just that I bought a music system not a IT system.

Tech not doing what I know it should do remains the most irritating and frustrating thing for me.

@BobP it would be a shame to have all the kit you have and for it to not deliver satisfaction and even delight.

I could help, but if he can find the time, @ratty will do this faster, and probably better.

Let's see if he chips in...

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I have 10 Sonos devices scattered throughout my home with one Sonos Play:1 wired directly to a standard Motorola cable modem/router. All of my Sonos speakers work great and my house is loaded with at least 30-40 different smart home devices and electronic gadgets.

Despite our earnest hopes Sonos has unfortunately never been able to change the laws of physics.

 

Do you have any control over the Tenda mesh wireless channels? Many of these WiFi meshes take the position that they know best and won’t let you change the channels. 

Sonos doesn’t always get along very well with these meshes. Optimal performance in Sonos groups (and stereo pairs) depends on the relevant nodes sharing the same channel, so they can communicate directly peer-to-peer. If Sonos nodes attach to different mesh access points, which in turn are using different channels, the P2P optimisation is defeated.

I would recommend reinstalling the Boost, at least as an experiment. Wire it to the primary Tenda unit. Try alternative SonosNet channels.

There are hidden tools which a user can access to get a flavour of how well SonosNet is doing, but these are limited. Sonos Support can see much more from a submitted diagnostic.

 

By the way, which version of the software are you running? Your profile lists Play:5/gen1, which only runs S1, and Five, which only runs S2.

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@ratty Thank you very much for your help.

I will share you message above with my IT support team.

I’m running S1 as I have too many old units to switch to S2. I have no interest in Alexa or similar so it it doesn't represent any disadvantage to me. I have noticed though that newer units do seem to cope better than older ones…

It has been suggested that if you don't need the new functionality of S2, S1 is just as good for everything else.

Would you recommend reinstalling the boost connected directly to the DrayTek router or the Tenda unit nearest the router? Or, would I be better off connecting one or more speakers to Tenda units?

Do multiple boosts and or wired units help?
 

The Tenda Mesh is tri-band with all three frequencies in use across 4 access pint with a fifth planned.

Surely, this will make it impossible to put Sonos on an exclusive frequency?

I’m running S1 as I have too many old units to switch to S2. I have no interest in Alexa or similar so it it doesn't represent any disadvantage to me. I have noticed though that newer units do seem to cope better than older ones…

 

Alexa and Google Home will work with both S1 and S2 systems, just FYI.  And yes, the more modern units will have more modern WiFi radios in them.

Would you recommend reinstalling the boost connected directly to the DrayTek router or the Tenda unit nearest the router?

The Tenda unit nearest the router.

Unless you’ve explicitly put the Tenda into bridge mode, a Boost wired to the Draytek would be on a different subnet from the WiFi, so the system would be inaccessible.

 

Or, would I be better off connecting one or more speakers to Tenda units?

Don’t wire to any of the satellite Tenda units. It can cause all kinds of problems.

 

Do multiple boosts and or wired units help?

Sometimes, yes. But such extra wired Sonos units (a) need to be wired as above, not to any WiFi satellites and (b) they’d need to be decently spaced out from the primary Boost to be worthwhile.

 

The Tenda Mesh is tri-band with all three frequencies in use across 4 access pint with a fifth planned.

Surely, this will make it impossible to put Sonos on an exclusive frequency?

It sounds like Tenda makes its own mind up, which as I say can impair Sonos performance if it uses the mesh WiFi.

For SonosNet there are 3 channel choices. See which performs best.

 



I will share you message above with my IT support team.

If I may make a suggestion: leave such people out of it. A complete noob, I fixed my network issues myself back in 2011-12 via learning enough about network hardware to do this, and to keep Sonos working fine till now through additions of things like WiFi access points in the home to extend WiFi reach for other gadgets. Or to fix any small glitches that very occasionally arose in that time.

All it takes is some logical thinking. And help at times, that, as far as Sonos operations are concerned, is of better quality here, I would say.

I even learnt how to make my own ethernet cables from bulk cable and loose terminals, but I doubt you will need to do that!

The other point is that none of my fixes, other than ethernet wiring of some units, needed the spending of any money and neither should yours as long as you still have the Boost with you.

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I have 8 units on "normal" WiFi, not Sonosnet and never had a problem with dropouts or dead speakers.

Even 30 meters down the garden with the Move (or Play:1).

I'm on S1 and sticking with it as long as possible.

 

Virgin Media Superhub 2 router as well so nothing flash (declined the SH3).

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