I'm new to the Sonos world - having waited for Google Play integration (thanks!) - and am generally very impressed, as it's a joy to use such well designed products. However, I've been surprised that Groups functionality is so weak compared to what I'd expected...
I have a large living room that has an LR Pair of Play:1s in it and a single Play:5. When playing music in that room, all three are *always* used together, but this has exposed design shortcomings of the current Groups functionality.
I'd anticipated being able to configure all the speakers in my living room (ie. all those speakers that are *always* used simultaneously) to form a "permanent" grouping, not too dissimilar to how you can "permanently" create LR pairs. Currently, Groups are what I'd term "soft", and this leads to the following shortcomings:
- THE PHYSICAL VOLUME BUTTONS HAVE BEEN RENDERED USELESS, SINCE THEY DO NOT CONTROL GROUP VOLUME. For example, despite my three speakers always being used together in a single Group, the volume control on the Play:1s only changes the volume on the Play:1 LR pair, and the volume control on the Play:5 only adjusts its own volume. This means that the carefully balanced volume levels I've achieved between the speakers in the Group are immediately messed up if I use the physical volume buttons, since the buttons change individual (or LR pair) volumes, not Group volume. Therefore, I cannot use the physical buttons, which is a real shame, and have to always resort to the App to change volume levels. I am really surprised at this shortcoming!
- GROUP CONFIGURATIONS (INC. RELATIVE VOLUMES) ARE LOST ACROSS POWER CYCLES SO NEED REGULARLY RECREATING. I try to operate as green a home as possible, so if I'm going to be away from home for a few days I power down pretty much everything in the house. That includes router and will include my new Sonos gear. It seems that LR Pairing and EQ data is retained across power cycles, but all Group data is lost. From my perspective, the three-speaker Group I have in my Living Room is a permanent group - I expected to configure this once (akin to how I configured the Play:1 LR Pair), and then have the system remember that - forever (across power cycles) - until I unconfigured that grouping. As it is, I'll keep having to establish that Group again, and keep having to set the relative volume levels in the Group, which will become pretty tedious after the Nth time!
I appreciate that the current "soft" Groups functionality will work well for speakers in a home that are only ever informally grouped together, such as for a party, or other occasion when you want different rooms playing the same music. But, there is currently no support that I can see for my use case: that of having a "permanent" Group of speakers that are always used simultaneously. Is my use case so unusual? I'm suprised if so.
Thanks for listening!