Question

Sonos power consumption

  • 19 December 2016
  • 29 replies
  • 9464 views

Hi,
i'm new to SONOS community and going to get my first Sonos Play:1 very soon as Christmas gift.
I've a couple of questions about the product i was not able to found in the forum (sorry if i miss them in case already asked/answered)

1) i found that power consumption of Sonos Play:1 is 3.8W when in idle mode, no music playing (+0.3W if connected by ethernet). Is it possible to put the speker in sleep mode and wake it up by a WOL magic packet?

2) as i plan to not use the wifi, is it possible to disable the WIFi functionality of the speaker?

Thanks
Simone

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29 replies

1) i found that power consumption of Sonos Play:1 is 3.8W when in idle mode, no music playing (+0.3W if connected by ethernet). Is it possible to put the speker in sleep mode and wake it up by a WOL magic packet?
Sonos doesn't support WOL. The processor remains active, and indeed so does the wireless interface, so as to be able to respond instantly to a controller.

2) as i plan to not use the wifi, is it possible to disable the WIFi functionality of the speaker?

This practice is not officially supported by Sonos at all, but google will find the instructions for you. Allegedly disabling the radio can reduce idle consumption by up to 2W.
So, i'm close to conclude Sonos products are not applicable to my case. The play 5 2nd gen seems to have reduced power consumption to 1W when in idle, that is good, but the cost is too high.

BTW, as electronic engineer, i can say that adding the WOL function is very easy and making it configurable by user just enlarge the audience without sacrifice usability in other use cases. When WOL is active all the rest of circuits can be turned off and the whole unit consumption can be less than 0.5W!

Probably if Sonos didn't implemented WOL til now is because they designed the HW without support for this function, otherwise it was just a matter of firmware change to add this functionality, that do not to change the philosophy of their mesh system.

If Sonos tell me they will implement WOL on play 1, i'll buy it immediately, otherwise i'll look for something else.
Sonos is a wireless music system. Ethernet WOL would be of interest to a vanishingly tiny minority: those with an all-wired system. In SonosNet mode the wireless nodes depend on the wired nodes to be fully active so they can actually communicate.

Reducing idle consumption is clearly a Sonos priority since, as you observe, the later models (BOOST, PLAY:5 Gen2) have considerably lower figures. If a matter of a watt or two really bothers you, good luck with your search for an alternative product.
So, why Sonos provided ethernet port on each of their product, if this system is just thought to be wireless?
WOL can be applied also to WiFi, not just ethernet. As it can be made configurable (enabled/disabled), it's just an end user choice how to use the system. If they had this implemented, they surely enlarge the audience, with very low efforts, as i said.
About the wasted 1 watt or 2... it depends on the usage one will make of the product. In my case, that maybe is not just the case of a vanishingly tiny minority, i cannot accept to keep the audio system idle consuming a couple of watts 20 hrs/day (for each speaker): assuming i can listen music/watch TV 4 hours/day, that is a lot, with those figures energy consumed when system is idle is the same as when the system is playing music -> very poor efficiency!
Come on, we're in 2016 and there are ways to make it better! And WOL is one method, also considering that probably the Atheros controller used for ethernet already has this function, and from design point of view they just need to route a couple more wires and pay few hours of firmware development to implement the feature. They've redesigned Play 5, why not redesign also the other products to meet next generation performances?
But, after all, they will make their choice, i'll make mine, i just need to know what can be done and what cannot be done, and decide the way to go.
Thanks
From http://www.sonos.com/system:
What is Sonos?
Sonos is the wireless home sound system that fills as many rooms as you want with great-sounding music, movies and TV.

The Ethernet ports are there primarily to allow the system to operate in SonosNet mode (the original wireless mesh connection method) where at least one node must be wired.

The operating principle behind SonosNet is that each node can act as a relay for the others, for which its CPU must be functional. Waking wirelessly on demand, even if possible, doesn't fit that model.

Moreover Sonos' approach is to limit the configuration options wherever possible, to make it simple to use and to minimise the support requirements. It doesn't take a genius to figure that the idea of users being able to effectively hibernate some or all of their units could increase support calls dramatically when the system doesn't work as expected. As I said before, Sonos won't even officially condone the disabling of the radio.

IMO there is zero chance of WOL being implemented, whether or not it's a "few hours of firmware development". And we've seen enough of the "only a few lines of code" claims to last a lifetime.

Good luck with finding a comparable multiroom music system which supports WOL. Let us know what you end up with.

In the meantime the few watts my system burns when idle can continue to help heat the house. 🆒
🙂
So, i've made some research, it seems no one had the idea to save power with WOL function. If this will be implemented they've to pay me royalties... 🆒
Seriously, other manufacturer have idle standby power around 4W or more (Heos, BlueSound, Bose...). Yamaha musiccast claims to have just 2 watt in idle mode, that is good. Sonos Play 1 is rated for ~4W idle (and 2W if WiFi is disabled, but this function is not officially supported by Sonos). Sonos play 5 seems to be just 1W consuming, but also this figure come from a user in the forum and is not officially documented.
Considering all other aspect, including the fact that Yamaha musiccast system has an open API that allow to heavily customize audio system operation, my choice defentively goes that way.
I'm interested in the WX-030 speaker and, when i'll win the lottery, in the NX-N500 😃
Good luck. By my count, this is the third go round for Yamaha and multi-room music, the first attempts being miserable failures. But if you are willing to give up reliability, reputation, cutting edge engineering, market leading sales figures, etc. for a couple watts power savings, I admire your dedication to green living.
If we had been talking in kilowatts here, I could have made some sense of this thread........
Such planet-saving effort for the sake of a couple of watts (which isn't wasted anyway if it heats the house) would be totally wiped out by the environmental impact of manufacturing a replacement system. Since the words "Sonos" and "system replacement" are non sequiturs I reckon that puts most Sonos customers well up the scale in terms of eco-credentials.
Userlevel 5
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4W in idle mode which is...erm...erm....£5 a year cost assuming you do not use your speaker at all. Vs the cost of the speaker...erm...
Guys,
at the end the 2 watts more or less was just a part of the story*.
To tell it fully, its a couple of weeks i became interested in such audio systems, found Sonos as the number one initially, and i subscribed this forum being convinced at last to buy the first piece, a Play 1. I was also impressed by the sound quality as i tested it at the media shop. But, understanding how the system works, mainly relying on a wireless network that is kept ALWAYS active just to maintain itself, made me think twice about that.
In the mean time, thanks also to this forum, i discovered there were other similar systems. No much difference in the connection philosophy, all those products are categorized as wireless speaker even if the right name, IMO, should be network speaker. Maybe they have a better appeal if focus is on the wireless part, and i think everyone can agree that most users rely on that because they lacks wired connections between house zones. But, it's also obvious, at least to me, that cable is a best choice for several reasons, when available, and i'm trying to replace all wireless in my house with cables. Where i was able to do that, i noticed great performance increase in terms of speed, reliability and power, that's why i'm trying to limit wireless usage, and Sonos system goes exatly opposite way (even if they have ethernet, they do not reccommend/allow to disable wifi)
Finally, last couple of days i spent some time at the media shop comparing the sonos and yamaha, and surprisingly i found that the sound produced by wx-030 was tasting better to me than sonos play 1 and play 3, and at less price! Play 5 was another category but it's another category also in terms of price, so out of the game for now.
Adding the fact that the musiccast control is fully customizable thanks to their API, and summing all aspects above, i made my choice. Time will tell me if i invested my money in a reliabie, reputation, cutting edge engineering product, or if it will be a complete failure.

Just to summarize reasons of my choice in few lines:

Yamaha vs Sonos
- Sound quality (weight 45%): the winner is yamaha (comparison made by myself at the media shop, personal opinion)
- Price (15%): the winner is yamaha (it's a fact)
- Open API to control the system (15%): the winner is yamaha (full api to control every function/device/audio source).
- Wired/Wireless enable/disable option (10%): the winner is yamaha, natively allow to enable disable wired/wireless
- Power consumption (10%): the winner is yamaha (numbers from datasheets, website and forums, few watts, but enough to win)
- System expansion capabilities (3%): winner is Yamaha (personal feeling looking at product portfolio)
- Design (2%): winner, sonos for the play 1, but yamaha wx-030 looks better than play 3. Materials looks good for both vendors (personal opinion)

Aspect with 0% weight that didn't have a role in my decision:
- previous history of products/brand (i would have choosen Sonos just for its reputation, if i didn't start comparing it with others)
- mobile app usability
- reliability (i thrust both to have made a robust product)
- support (just to notice that Yamaha quickly reply to my requests, no answer from sonos that simply ignored me)
- risk that product disappear from the market (unknown at this time)

End of the story...

*BTW, even if it's not a matter of kilowatts, they became kwh considering 2W x number of devices x hours x days x years ( x number of customers...), more if including also 2 watts saved here and there from all other appliances that should stay enabled/suspended 24/7... And, if WOL was implemented, 2 watts saving increase to 3.7W x device x ..... Summing that all you save more than 2W...
So you went on and on about power usage, when it was really all about irrational fears of deadly WiFi rays?

Well, I guess that decides it. But I can't leave your analysis as stands, without correcting a glaring error:

Full API: Sonos has recently announced its own full API for not only control by third party Home Automation systems, but also via Alexa voice control. No other system has this. Winner: Sonos

Also, putting 0% of a purchasing decision to the history of a brand, usability, reliability, or whether or not their products have the nasty habit of disappearing from the market belies any logic. Is this trully what you meant to say? If so, it seems the deck was stacked from the start; with all the areas in which Sonos excells conveniently given no weight in the decision. Good luck with your Yamaha.
Userlevel 7
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- support (just to notice that Yamaha quickly reply to my requests, no answer from sonos that simply ignored me)

Sounds like you've done a lot of individual analysis which is always a good way to go. We're here if you have any questions but when it comes to some questions we like to let the community answer as we think a community recommendation is the most important thing.

As to the power consumption itself, you've got all the right information so far, so we don't need to correct anything there. We're always looking to improve regarding this, and as already mentioned, the latest products to have come out have our best yet power rating.

Let us know if you have any questions, and if you wind up picking up something else, we really hope you're happy. No matter what, we just want everyone to be able to enjoy their music.
No fear about Rf rays, i work with rf each day and probably i've absorbed more radiations than everyone in this forum (now everything is clear, you may say :D:D:D).
Just knowledge about how it works and how inefficient it can be compared to cable/fiber :D
More wireless means more interferences and more probability to have inefficient, unreliable communications. Even if, apparently, you see it working well.
No fear about Rf rays, i work with rf each day and probably i've absorbed more radiations than everyone in this forum (now everything is clear, you may say :D:D:D).
Just knowledge about how it works and how inefficient it can be compared to cable/fiber :D
More wireless means more interferences and more probability to have inefficient, unreliable communications. Even if, apparently, you see them working.


My apologies, then. We have had many posts inquiring/complaining about the unsupported option to turn off wireless, and prior to yours they were all from folks who feared WiFi death rays beaming through their homes. Sorry I assumed the worst.

As i said, good luck with your choice.
Let us know if you have any questions, and if you wind up picking up something else, we really hope you're happy. No matter what, we just want everyone to be able to enjoy their music.

Finally, the one and only eligible to answer my questions :D

Any plan to redesign play 1 and play 3 to update performances at least as it seems they re on play 5?

What about the idea of WakeOnLan function? Is it really of no interest for the totality of your customers? (assuming that current hw support it and it can be implemented by fw upgrade)
Thanks
Simone
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
No fear about Rf rays, i work with rf each day and probably i've absorbed more radiations than everyone in this forum (now everything is clear, you may say :D:D:D).
Just knowledge about how it works and how inefficient it can be compared to cable/fiber :D
More wireless means more interferences and more probability to have inefficient, unreliable communications. Even if, apparently, you see it working well.


Just a note to add here, though Sonos players are intended to have the wifi on all the time, if a player has a connection to the network through a wired source it'll default to use that to get the audio data. The wireless is still active and available for other devices to connect to it, but the player itself is using the wired connection for the purposes of playing audio. Players use STP to determine the quickest and most direct path to the network and their music sources. A wired path is almost always going to win out for STP.

Well, I guess that decides it. But I can't leave your analysis as stands, without correcting a glaring error:

Full API: Sonos has recently announced its own full API for not only control by third party Home Automation systems, but also via Alexa voice control. No other system has this. Winner: Sonos


Ok, that can be a draw when the API will be released.

Also, putting 0% of a purchasing decision to the history of a brand, usability, reliability, or whether or not their products have the nasty habit of disappearing from the market belies any logic. Is this trully what you meant to say? If so, it seems the deck was stacked from the start; with all the areas in which Sonos excells conveniently given no weight in the decision. Good luck with your Yamaha.

I mean that i don't bother the brand, reliability and success because my feeling is that both companies are step ahead on those topics. I do not expect to get low qualities clones from unknown vendor whatever the product is Sonos or Yamaha.

And about other aspects i've weighted in my list, i do not pretend to make them as a bible, just thoughts sometimes confirmed by documented info, sometimes just personal taste. As said, i'm just looking at those kind of products since a couple of weeks, and in any case i'm not an expert with the knowledge/experience to declare a final winner. But i want to have something in my hands soon so i've to choose, and my choice is driven by evaluations derived by discussions in this forum and others forums, reviews, and also device testing at the shop
The API is operational as of version 7.0.

As to the other, if I knew that one of the companies I was considering had two previous forays into the market ending up disasterous failures, it wouldn't give me good feelings about their current product, especially compared to the reputation of Sonos. All the tick boxes in the world mean nothing when the company drops the product after a short time. The company history of support, reliability, and viability of their products is far above any one particular feature in my book. But that's just me, other's mileage may vary.
By now, the competitor system is on the market for more than one year and looking at reviews and comments, they got better as time passed (comments started with more cons than pro, now the trend seems to be inverted). BTW i can agree there are two ways to go: the easy one is select the long time market leader of this segment, second is trying something else and this can be a bet. Failing to hit the market 2 times in the past may also give them experience on how to improve it the 3rd time... on the same edge, in italy we say: 2 doen't exists without 3, meaning that 3rd tentative will not be different from previous 2! 🆒
But, now, sorry to being gone off topic with those thoughts!
At the end, i've open this thread about power consumption because it was not answered in previous topics of some years ago, but, apart for the play 5 that has been redesigned, this still remain with no answer (the WOL idea is not mine, it was proposed in another old thread, and make sense to me). At least they can say "currently there's no plan to implement it" or "currently the HW cannot support it". But, will you imagine a statement on Sonos boxes saying: "Less than 0.5W power consumption when operating in ECO-mode!". It will be an extra-killer for the competitors (adding to other figures like sound quality, easy of use etc etc etc).
Hello!
I am new in this forum, (i bought sonos play 1 and play3 for the last Christmas). I'm happy with my purchase.
I use sonos only at the week end (the others days I'm not at home for work reasons); my culture on energy consumption has led me to see (after purchase) consumption of sonos in idle mode. It is not so much but I would prefer a lower consumption.
My choice for now is to disconnect completely from the power "sonos 1-3" from Monday to Friday, then turn it back on Saturday and Sunday.
For now it works; Comments?
Thanks and bye

P.S. I agree that such value (power consumption) is necessary on the Product Specifications (do not tell it is how to deliberately hide; I ask: why?)
That would be my suggestion. If power consumption bothers you, simply unplug when you're not using them. Problem solved.
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simply unplug when you're not using them.
Power recycling shortens considerably the lifespan of all electronic devices.
The five bucks a year he saves by doing so will allow him to purchase a new unit when he kills it.