"Permanently" Grouping Speakers that are Always Used Together (Beyond LR Pairs...)


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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!

65 replies

While it is an old thread, the feature is not yet implemented. The age of the thread has nothing to do with the specifics. In fact, this thread is pretty good at laying out the need. It is also a great demonstration of how long users have been waiting for this feature.
I believe a lot of the things were indirectly addressed through the new “Alexa Enabled Groups” feature, which automatically and dynamically Groups/Ungroups Speakers depending on the particular voice utterance, but perhaps no good to you, if you’re not using the Sonos voice services.

So, is Sonos going to make this happening?This is a 4 year old thread....what's your question:? You'd be advised to start your own post with more specifics.


While it is an old thread, the feature is not yet implemented. The age of the thread has nothing to do with the specifics. In fact, this thread is pretty good at laying out the need. It is also a great demonstration of how long users have been waiting for this feature.
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So, is Sonos going to make this happening?

This is a 4 year old thread....what's your question:? You'd be advised to start your own post with more specifics.
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So, is Sonos going to make this happening?
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Followup: I returned all 16 Amps (sorry Sonos, get your act together) and instead purchased 3 Dayton MA1260 amps with Sonos Connects (no amp) for each unique "Sonos zone" I wanted to create.

These amps are awesome and exactly meet my needs unlike the Sonos amps. They also sound a lot better!

My large room with 16 speakers is now occupying 4 of the 6 zones on 1 Dayton. With 4 speakers wired on each zone in parallel. You can add one Sonos Connect to the "Input 1" and set those 4 zones' source to that input. (there are 2 global inputs or 6 individual zone inputs on the amp so any configuration is possible)

Anytime a Sonos signal comes on (via playing through the app), it will automatically turn on the amp and start playing through all 4 zones (amp zones) but it treats the room like a single "Sonos Zone" called "Family Room".

Volume controls also work via the app. You do need to set your max gain levels on the amp for each zone and then the volume in the Sonos app will max out to match. This is particularly useful for setups with mismatched speakers or speakers further away from others. You can set the gain for each individual channel so that you get an evenly distributed sound for the entire Sonos Zone.

If you're worried about power draw, the Daytons turn off automatically after 15 minutes of no signal. So no need to do anything but use the Sonos app.

Lastly, I can now use Alexa to say "play x in the family room" or "play x at the pool" and it will play on all of the speakers in that Sonos Zone which is actually 4 unique zones and 16 speakers via the amp (for the family room).

Hopefully this helps someone else with this lame Sonos handicap.

-Dylan
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What’s a shame. I just purchased 16 Amps for whole house audio based on the salesperson telling me this capability was available.

I really enjoy the Sonos app but missing out on this feature removes Sonos from competing in the high end audio market.

We have a large room with high ceilings and 16 ceiling speakers installed. Based on the power consumption of each speaker and Sonos’ own 4-speaker limit I’m using 4 amps for this single room.

The fact that I can’t permantely link each of these zones into a single room group is a dealbreaker.

I guess I’ll be returning the amps and going with my original plan of a multi channel amp with the Connect for Sonos supports.
If you use iOS devices to control Sonos, you may want to take a look at the SonoSequencr app..

It would be great if basic features like this were supported natively in sonos. Using Alexa or voice control should allow you to play whole home audio on your whole home audio system that advertises voice control.
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If you use iOS devices to control Sonos, you may want to take a look at the SonoSequencr app..
Wow, can't believe persistent groups are not available. Heard so many great things about Sonos, finally bought several, and can't even do a simple "Upstairs" and "Downstairs" pair of groupings. My wife teaches music in part of the home, and we assumed we'd each be able to safely consistently pick a group before anything starts playing, such as "Studio" for a piano piece for her, and "Non-Studio" for something else for me.

Totally rethinking the purchase, versus waiting for calamity to prove the lack of Sonos capability is truly an issue.
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This has got to be the craziest missing feature in the Sonos system. If I were implementing it, I would allow arbitrary groups of speakers to be named, and then treated as a single virtual speaker. List them along with the room speaker names (give them a little "group" indicator icon) and allow them to be selected and volume controlled together, just like any speaker. Why isn't this available? The current primitive controller setup makes my 8-speaker Sonos system frustratingly fiddly.

This is exactly right. Great hardware, great sound, but the lack of this simple and intuitive feature in the controller is maddening. I have 10 speakers around the house, everything but a sub, but I use them in standard groupings. I'm glad to know about the "AutoPlay Off" thing, but would still like to see the ability to create custom groups. It can't be that hard to program.
Completely agree. Ungroup on Autoplay = solid way to address this request.
Settings->Room Settings->(Playbar room name)->Ungroup on Autoplay = Off.

Not so strange, baffling, or a workaround after all.
Its really crazy this has not been considered or even worse has been and then ignored. I have a Playbar and a single rear Play1. Every time I turn on my computer or TV I have to regroup speakers to do anything?

At first I thought it was a bug and updated all firmware and software, but nope this is 'by design'. Nice one!

If you are reading this strange Sonos humans please re-consider this baffling decision or provide us with a workaround 😞
This has got to be the craziest missing feature in the Sonos system. If I were implementing it, I would allow arbitrary groups of speakers to be named, and then treated as a single virtual speaker. List them along with the room speaker names (give them a little "group" indicator icon) and allow them to be selected and volume controlled together, just like any speaker. Why isn't this available? The current primitive controller setup makes my 8-speaker Sonos system frustratingly fiddly.
that is a great idea! I recently purchased a playbar and my #1 gripe is that my 3 Play 1 speakers will not stay grouped with it. I have to manually re-group them 10-12 times a day which has gotten really old.
Go into the PLAYBAR's room settings and disable "Ungroup on Autoplay".
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I agree with trying to develop this concept. I like to listen to my TV while showering, so having my play:1 (in bathroom) linked to my playbar/sub/2 play:'s (in living room) would be ideal... messing around in the app every morning 'grouping' things together is a pain. Even a group until 'ungrouped' would be helpful. Thoughts?

that is a great idea! I recently purchased a playbar and my #1 gripe is that my 3 Play 1 speakers will not stay grouped with it. I have to manually re-group them 10-12 times a day which has gotten really old.

... and I'd love a new thread that actually taught me how to do that! 'Cause I'm interested in toying with things like that if I can find a decent primer to get me started... But I'm thinking that may not be the solution for the typical not-computer-technical user... Now... thinking of it for a moment, I'd guess automation solutions will be rapidly developing anyway... so they may evolve to be mainstream....


In my opinion within 3 years the first question the average user is going to ask when they buy a new piece of audio gear is not "will it work with my favorite streaming service?" but rather "will it work with my homes device ecosystem?". Technologies like Smart things, Hue, Nest, Wink, and so on (or their successors in some cases) will be considered simple, pervasive, and even necessary to the regular "non-techie" user who will view music listening as part of their integrated home tech experience.

For a preview just note how many car commercials emphasize the tech features in a new vehicle more than they do performance and handling. Home tech is on a trajectory to assume a similar dominance.
Even a group until 'ungrouped' would be helpful. Thoughts?
PLAYBAR defaults to 'ungroup on Autoplay' for TV sources. You need to disable this setting to preserve the group.
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It is pretty simple these days to use an automation controller to set up a routine that changes the Sonos player groupings back to a known state each day at a certain time. If you set this for 3 AM each morning it would be all ready for you when you got up. Probably not worth waiting for Sonos to provide a native option when you can already accomplish the same thing now.


... and I'd love a new thread that actually taught me how to do that! 'Cause I'm interested in toying with things like that if I can find a decent primer to get me started... But I'm thinking that may not be the solution for the typical not-computer-technical user... Now... thinking of it for a moment, I'd guess automation solutions will be rapidly developing anyway... so they may evolve to be mainstream....
It is pretty simple these days to use an automation controller to set up a routine that changes the Sonos player groupings back to a known state each day at a certain time. If you set this for 3 AM each morning it would be all ready for you when you got up. Probably not worth waiting for Sonos to provide a native option when you can already accomplish the same thing now.
Even a group until 'ungrouped' would be helpful. Thoughts?
It is that way today if you leave the units powered on as they are designed to be.
I agree with trying to develop this concept. I like to listen to my TV while showering, so having my play:1 (in bathroom) linked to my playbar/sub/2 play:'s (in living room) would be ideal... messing around in the app every morning 'grouping' things together is a pain. Even a group until 'ungrouped' would be helpful. Thoughts?
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Apple working on Amazon Echo-like device to control your home through Siri

http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/138936-apple-working-on-amazon-echo-like-device-to-control-your-home-through-siri
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Well it kind of groups the 3 or 4 of you up.
Makes me wonder why you have stayed around so long, maybe an employee in disguise, the beauty is we will never know ;)


You do realise the more of these petty and childish posts you make the sooner you'll be a Rock Star right? You're well on the way to being a Rising Star, puffs chest, just like me!

You won't be able to stay down and dirty with the kids anymore then will you? The noobs will think you're a plant!
Well it kind of groups the 3 or 4 of you up.
Makes me wonder why you have stayed around so long, maybe an employee in disguise, the beauty is we will never know ;)


An employee in disguise? If I am, I'm doing a piss poor job of it in the 4.6 Tap to Play discussions. If your tin-foil hat conspiraciy theory is true, there's a couple "Rock Stars" in that thread who are going to be out of a job. Or maybe we are just fans of the product, have our own opinions, and like to help people out. Nawwww, what fun would that be? :rolleyes

It's posts like these that make me long for the old ignore feature.

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