SONOS 5.2 is here

by Volker Weber

Ladies and gentlemen, update your SONOS players. 5.2 enhances two major areas:

Holiday shopping advice: buy two PLAY:1 and use them either in separate rooms or as a stereo pair. Play with your options. If you already have two SONOS players, consider buying a PLAYBAR for your TV and replace your old stereo. If you have two PLAY:1 and a PLAYBAR, get a SUB. Use SUB with your PLAYBAR and add the two PLAY:1 speakers on movie night while using them in different rooms throughout the week. You can take it from there. ;-)

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I would really consider buying more SONOS equipment if their support would not suck so badly. Trying to get them to figure out my Google Play Music integration problems (SONOS sporadically refuses to start playback) since October. No progress, phone calls with support representatives are never entered into the ticket, promised callbacks never happen. Just a big mess... :-(

If it works, SONOS is just great, if it doesn't you have a collection of bricks that no one really feels responsible for to fix.

Thilo-Alexander Ginkel, 2014-12-04 15:56

Yay for the multiple accounts - it might just stop the yelling through the house 'who's using Spotify?!' :-)

Stuart McIntyre, 2014-12-04 16:14

Thanks for the holiday shopping advice... now i'm considering buying a Play:1 to test the Sonos experience.

Here is what I fear: I will like the Play:1 so much that I want to put a Sonos speaker in all the rooms.


But here is the thing: My 5.1 system is right now connected to a Playstation, an Apple TV and a CD player (yes, a CD player which is used sometimes.)

How can I replace this kind of connectivity?

I have to route the audio from PS and AppleTV through my TV to the playbar, right? (and the CD player has to go...?!?)

ps.: the price tags are also give me some thinking...

Matthias Welling, 2014-12-04 17:13

Don't buy one. Buy two. Seriously!

The only CD player in the house is in my iMac. I have ripped all CDs to storage, but frankly, I don't use that much anymore with Spotify.

My TV renders all sources directly, but I also have hooked up an Apple TV, which I rarely use. Two technical limitations that would let you keep your existing 5.1:

- No support for DTS, "only" Dolby Digital.
- TV cannot route surround sound to a TOSlink.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-04 17:20

I have Playbar, Sub and 2 Play1 in the livingroom . I hear 30% Music and watch 70% TV. Sound for TV comes from 4 different sources via HDMI / TOSlink splitter.

My observations:

- Without the Play1's the sound is quite bad. The sub is very dominant even when I set the Sub volume to very low (I played with the settings for days with no success). Thin and somewhat unbalanced. But when I add the Play1's its really fine for us.

- No DTS (an no Dolby Digital plus, what Neflix is using, too) is a nightmare. I never thought that the impact would be so deep. My Blue-rays are nearly worthless now. I can choose between silence and poor stereo. I payed nearly 2k for the whole Sonos setup and I definitely would pay up to another 1k for getting a DTS and DD+ license. Or for a new Playbar (if it ever becomes available) with integrated HDMI and DTS management.

- Chromecast is also working in stereo mode only. I don't know why. When I connect it with my old 5.1 System, the display says 'Dolby Digital' but when connected to Sonon the controller tells me 'Stereo 2.0'. And it sounds like Stereo 2.0

I bought Sonon with the priority 'Minimal Cable'. And from that perspective I got a lot of value for my money. And I would buy it again. But from a sound enthusiast perspective there is much room for improvement.

Richard Kaufmann, 2014-12-04 18:33

"If you have two PLAY:1 and a PLAYBAR, get a SUB."
EXCEPT when your neighbors are only separated by a single wall.
They won't like the SUB ;-)

Manfred Wiktorin, 2014-12-04 18:38

Just updated to 5.2 (Playbar and one Play:1 in our household). I can't perceive changes on Playbar. But, it was quite good already before updating, just time and again I'm missing some more bass.

Yesterday I ordered a SUB (my holiday gift for myself) looking forward to some more bass. Hope that our cats won't dislike it. Luckily no neighbors to worry about.

Sven Bühler, 2014-12-04 20:44

I could not be more disappointed in the latest PLAYBAR update.

As if not supporting DTS wasn't enough, they've really changed the sound in a quite horrible way. Back in the 90s, when people got bored with graphic equalizers, HiFi vendors added those crappy "pseudo surround" buttons that gave a bigger soundstage but sounded like crap. Welcome to Sonos 5.2.

I've been with Sonos a long time, even introduced Volker to it, but it's now become mass market and appears to have lost its way. It's a real shame. They have some great people there, many I regard as friends, but the products just aren't leading edge like they once were.

I should add that the Play:1 is a great value audio product and still a recommended purchase, but you can get so much better for 2000 of your local currency than a PLAYBAR surround setup.

Ben Rose, 2014-12-04 22:20

I agree with the complains about the Playbar. For such an expensive piece of HW, it is quite limited in regards to the supported audio formats. Furthermore, while my remote control was recognised during the first part of set up the playbar lost it in the second part of setup.
And the iOS Apps (iPad and iPhone) are wasting a lot of space by this split Screen design instead of using the available space to display Folder names correctly. Navigating through folders in a comfortable way is only possible using the Desktop App for my point of view.

Christian Henseler, 2014-12-04 22:36

Ben, I am probably too mainstream. Just listening to "Begin Again" on PLAYBAR+SUB with 2 PLAY:1 and am enjoying it tremendously.

I understand why other people are missing DTS. But I never owned a Blu-ray disk, so I am not one of them. Happy camper after all those years.

Christian, you are navigating folders? Why?

Volker Weber, 2014-12-04 22:46

Out of interest, is your PLAYBAR horizontal or mounted vertically?

Ignoring the DTS stuff, that subject has been done to death, I'm finding the music audio just awful. I've lost my rich bass and my clear treble. Just a load of mushy middle. It's like night mode is engaged permanently.

Ben Rose, 2014-12-04 23:05

It's horizontal.

Putting on "Your latest trick" by Dire Straits at 20% Volume, all equalization set to zero, loudness on, SUB on middle level, no placement adjustment, PLAY:1 on Ambient with middle level. And it all sounds great.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-04 23:19

Regarding the "TV cannot route surround sound to a TOSlink." issue: has anybody seen a list of TV's that support this? My Panasonic doesn't unfortunately.

As far as I understand I can only get surround sound if I play videos directly with my TV's own apps. Not with Playstation, not with an Apple TV, not with anything externally. This doesn't increase my demand to add players for a 5.1 setup.

Oliver Regelmann, 2014-12-04 23:33

It's a DRM encryption issue. Only if PLAYBAR had HDMI-in this could be resolved. Since it does not, the only workaround is a TOSLINK switch and a bunch of ugly cables.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-04 23:43

My girlfriend once played me "Your latest trick" on her saxophone. She is now my wife and mother of my two children :)

Ben Rose, 2014-12-05 00:39

Two days ago I took delivery of a PLAYBAR and two PLAY:1s, first impressions:


- Beautiful packaging, easy to handle & unpack.
- Love the cute, bassy setup sound. :-)
- Love the thoughtful (flat) cable design.
- Easy setup of PLAYBAR. (In my case wired to the router.)
- It’s nice that the white indicator light can be turned off, it was bothering me in the living room & bedroom.
- PLAYBAR build & sound quality: looks & feels very well made, sounds good but not fantastic... now I want the SUB and two more PLAY:1s in the same room. :-)
- PLAY:1 build & sound quality: looks & feels very well made, impressive sound for such a small form factor! The PLAY:1 might be the best Sonos product.
- Easy setup of additional players, in my case (so far) two PLAY:1s. for kitchen and bedroom.
- I love the radio station integration, incl. international & recent shows, sweet!
- The room synchronization is very cool!


- The iOS app UI looks dated on iOS 8.1.
- The Controller App for Mac UI looks dated on Yosemite.
- Some of the Cover Art that is perfectly fine in iTunes (and MediaMonkey) does not show up in the Controller App for Mac and the iOS app. (I know, cover art meta data management is a mess.)
- After adding the PLAY:1s (at first) I did not easily find them in the iOS app, ‘Rooms' are not obvious enough.
- iOS app navigation model weirdness:
1. getting to EQ is far too difficult, having to go to e.g. Settings/Room Settings/Living Room/Equalization is very awkward.
2. why is there no 'Rooms' top-level menu (like in the Controller App for Mac)?
- It would be fantastic if the Controller App for Mac
1. could target non-Sonos speakers that are connected to the machine that the Controller App is running on (in my case an iMac that hosts all of my music, and that has nice Bose Companion 3 Series II speakers connected.) I know, I am dreaming.
2. could integrate with iTunes and played whatever plays using iTunes. (I know, obviously also a stretch, both Sonos & Apple like the walled gardens.)
- It would be great if all players accepted non-proprietary line-in connections, plus HDMI on PLAYBAR. This would make it easier for customers to make worry-free long term investments.
- Considering how inexpensive “traditional” quality audio equipment has become all Sonos prices seem a bit too high, except for the PLAY:1.

I’ll probably order the SUB and a few more PLAY:1s. :-)

Ulli Mueller, 2014-12-05 05:22

Two observations from my side (apart from the fact that I love my SONOS player...):
- Sonos advertises heavily in Germany right now. This could really lead to their breakthrough.
- Many competitors showing up and copy their approach: Bose, Harman-Kardon, you name them... I suppose they will also suffer from the "iPhone effect"... just too late. But let's wait and see...

Ingo Seifert, 2014-12-05 07:42

Maybe the 5.2 update for the PLAYBAR shall increase SUB sales, just joking...

As stated above, I couldn't find changes on sound - except maybe a bit "thinner" sounding, with less volume / bass.

One thing to keep in mind for SONOS shoppers: The Deezer voucher (one year free, current promo in DE) won't be issued for SUB buyers. You will need to purchase a SONOS PLAY* or a CONNECT:* - no SUB.

Sven Bühler, 2014-12-05 08:50

Although DTS support would make my SONOS life much more comfortable, I definitely love my SONOS speakers/soundbar!

If you happen to have an iOS device, why not vote for this:

Could make SONOS even better.

Thomas Schmutz, 2014-12-05 13:58

Quick update:

Sonos support looked at a diagnostic from my system and we appear to have found a bug. It seems that the TV audio settings are being applied when playing music - e.g. speech enhancement is enabled when I play from my music library.

This would go a long way towards explaining why I get far too much mid-range frequencies but not enough of everything else.

It's beyond me how none of the testers noticed this.

Ben Rose, 2014-12-05 14:07

I have never used speech enhancement. But I can imagine why your setup sounds bad and mine doesn't.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-05 15:38

Other forum users, with similar problems, have now confirmed this bug.

- From TV source, enable speech enhancement on PLAYBAR.
- Switch to a Sonos music source.
- Music audio sounds incorrect.
- User unable to disable speech enhancement as this isn't a music function.

The only workaround is to switch to TV input, disable speech enhancement and then switch back to music again.

When switching back to TV, re-enable the speech enhancement.

I'm told this bug also includes night mode - both are being incorrectly applied to music mode.

I'm guessing an entirely different EQ/surround set-up is normally applied for Music & TV and if these profiles are being applied in error, it's no wonder it sounds quite so odd.

Hoping this bug gets fixed soon.

Ben Rose, 2014-12-05 16:59

Simple workaround: don't use speech enhancement until the bug is fixed.

Going back to your original rant: "HiFi vendors added those crappy pseudo surround buttons that gave a bigger soundstage but sounded like crap. Welcome to Sonos 5.2." We can now conclude that 5.2 does not really sound crappy. Only if you encounter your music with speech enhancement situation, right?

Volker Weber, 2014-12-05 17:43

I am using folder navigation, because my mp3 naming scheme/organization is based on folder and file names.
That's application/platform independent and I don't rely on MP3 tagging. I've started using MP3s back in the early 90th and I don't want to change a mp3 organization system that works for me for more than 25 years and that does not rely on any application/format that might be invented (when I started, there was no MP3 tagging like ID3) and that might force me to update the whole library (which would need weeks/month).
Furthermore, ID3 tagging is not a hard standard, so it might vary between applications.
As a result, I primarily have to complain about the waste of available space in the iPad app and that one is not able to change the vertical split.
The way the iPad app is designed right now I have a lot of White space on the left, but not enough space on the right and there's no way to change that.
As far as I remember the title/file Name was floating in pre 5 that is not available anymore...

Christian Henseler, 2014-12-05 17:49

No metadata, that is ... Interesting, Christian. What would you lose if you a traversed your directory tree and injected the correct metadata into your files? This can be automated.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-05 18:00

I'm led to believe that if I turn off dialog enhancement in TV mode and then switch back to music, it should sound rather more normal. I have yet to verify this.

This does not, however, explain why my TV audio also sounds so badly. Dialog enhancement is designed for this but I even turned it off when testing. It improved things but didn't prevent the "crappy pseudo surround" effect I was experiencing when watching The Sopranos.

Having not been part of the beta, I'm not sure what the intended result is. If the sound ends up being at least as good as it was before, I will be happy. Currently that is not the case in either mode.

Ben Rose, 2014-12-05 18:16

Thx for the info in regards to the bug, good to know.
I may give it a try. Could you recommend a Windows Based Tool?

Christian Henseler, 2014-12-05 19:44

Thx for the info in regards to the bug, good to know.
I may give it a try. Could you recommend a Windows Based Tool?

Christian Henseler, 2014-12-05 19:46

No, I am not a Windows user. But it is a common problem and there are apps that solve it.

Volker Weber, 2014-12-05 20:28

First impressions after two days listening to PLAYBAR in conjunction with SUB: it's a fair value for the money. Depending on the music genre You're listening to, it's nearly not noticeable improving low frequency sounds (until You switch off the SUB) up to impressive.

In my setup, SUB amplification slightly below middle, equalizer bass slightly less than neutral, loudness on for normal volume shows best results for my personal taste.

On high volumes it rocks like an earthquake, but without noticeable acoustic distortions. Well, under these conditions our cats escape to the farthest reaches.

I'm gonna keep it. Definitely.

Sven Bühler, 2014-12-07 13:08

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