Sonos tips and tricks: Get the most out of your multi-room speaker system - MrLiambi's blog


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Sunday, 29 August 2021

Sonos tips and tricks: Get the most out of your multi-room speaker system

Sonos has one of the strongest multi-room offerings out there. Its speaker line-up is not only plentiful, with several combinations possible, but the platform that controls everything is one of the best out there.

If you've opted for Sonos over its competitors, of which there are several, then you've come to the right place. This feature is all about making sure you get the most out of your Sonos system.

Some of these tips and tricks you might already know, but there are bound to be a few that you don't and anything that allows you to listen to your favourite music more easily is a bonus in our book.


Sonos installation tips and tricks

Turn on Auto Discovery

You can turn on Auto Discovery Popups to allow setup cards to automatically appear at the bottom of your smartphone display when new Sonos products are found nearby. 

Tap the Settings tab in the bottom right corner of the app > App Preferences > Toggle on (iOS) or Tick (Android) Auto Discovery Popups.

Add another speaker or Sub to your Sonos system

Bought a new Sonos speaker and want to add it to your existing system? This is easy. Tap the Settings tab in the bottom right corner of the app > System > Add Product and follow the instructions. 

Add a Boost to your Sonos System

If your Wi-Fi network isn't the strongest and has a couple of weak spots, you may have bought yourself a Boost to help get a signal in a particular room. To add a Boost, head to Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Add Product.

Get the best out of your Sonos speakers

Sonos offers a feature called Trueplay that will tune your speakers according to their surroundings, even if that's in a cupboard. To make sure you get the best sound out of each speaker in your Sonos system, head to the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select Room > Trueplay > Trueplay tuning > follow the instructions.

Make sure you tune all the speakers in your system and retune them if you move them. It's also worth noting this feature will only work on iOS devices so you'll need to grab yourself an iOS device to perform Trueplay. If you have the Sonos Move or the Sonos Roam - you don't need to do anything as they has Automatic Trueplay tuning.

Adjust the EQ to your personal preference

All about that bass, that bass, no treble? No problem, you can adjust the EQ settings for each Sonos speaker you have set up. To do this, head to the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select Room > EQ.

From here, you'll need to slide the bars to suit your preferences.

Change a room name

Changed your office to a bedroom, or moved your Sonos One into the bathroom? That's fine as changing room names in Sonos is simple. Click on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select Room > Name.

Set a volume limit for your speakers

If you want to make sure your Sonos speakers don't go above a certain volume, you can do this in the app nice and easily.

Tap on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select Room > Volume Limit.

Create a stereo pair

You can combine two of the same Sonos speakers together in the same room, in order to create left and right speakers of a stereo pair. Whether that's two Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Play:1, Sonos Move, Sonos Roam, Play:3, Play:5 or Sonos Five, the stereo pair setting is accessed through Room Settings. You can also create a stereo pair out of a Sonos One and Sonos One SL.

Click on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select the room with the speaker you want to create a stereo pair in > Create Stereo Pair > Follow the instructions. You need to have two of the same Sonos speaker available, or a Sonos One and Sonos One SL.

Make use of your existing Hi-Fi system

Investing in Sonos doesn't mean your existing Hi-Fi system has to become redundant. The Sonos Port has analogue, optical and coaxial digital audio outputs, as well as a line-in, allowing you to connect any device you want, from a turntable to a DAC.

There is also the Sonos Amp available in the Sonos range, providing a streaming upgrade for your favourite stand-alone speakers.

Play vinyl on your Sonos system

Got a favourite record you want to play on your Sonos system? No problem.

Connect your turntable's audio output to the Play:5 or Sonos Five's line-in port, or the audio-in jacks on a Sonos Port or Sonos Amp > Go to Browse > Line-In > Select your source. You can also find Line-In settings in the Settings tab of the Sonos app > System > Room with Play:5 or Five speaker > Scroll down to Line-In options.

Sonos setup tips and tricks

Find your Sonos Account information

You'll need your Sonos Account information if you want to control your Sonos system with your voice (more on that further down). It's also useful to know where to find it in case you ever need it. 

Tap the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > About My System.

Make sure your Sonos system is always running the latest software

Sonos delivers regular software updates, some of which are small, others of which are more significant, like Spotify Connect compatibility and the ability to control your Sonos speakers with your voice using Amazon's Alexa, or control it with your voice through Google Assistant. Running the latest software means you'll get the best experience from your Sonos speakers so it's a good idea to set your system up to automatically check for updates.

Click on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > System Updates > Toggle on (iOS) / Tick box (Android) Update Automatically. You can also choose when you want the update to take place. Your options comprise Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Overnight.

Since the launch of the Sonos S2 system software (called just Sonos on app stores), there are two Sonos Controller apps. The older version is now called Sonos S1 and is for people who want to retain some legacy kit as part of their setup. You can find out which kit will not work with Sonos S2 here.

The S1 software will not receive new features, but will be patched with security updates if needed. If you don't own any of the legacy devices, it is recommended you update to S2.

To upgrade to Sonos S2, you need to install the app separately, run it and it will update all of your hardware and transfer your settings automatically. Then you can delete the former app.

Override audio compression settings

Sonos presets the best audio compression for player Line-In and Sonos Dock but it can be overridden to be uncompressed or compressed. To do this, head to the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Scroll down to Audio Compression > Select desired setting.

Turn the LED light off

If you have a Sonos speaker on your bedside table or in your bedroom and you've chosen to play music to send you to sleep, you might not want the LED light on.

To turn it off, click on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select the room you want your speaker light off > Scroll down to toggle off Status Light (iOS) / Untick Status Light (Android).

Turn off touch controls

If you have a Sonos speaker with touch controls, such as the Playbase, Beam, second-generation Play:5, Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Sonos Move, Sonos Five or Sonos Arc, you can turn off its touch controls.

Click on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > System > Select the room with the speaker you want to turn the touch controls off for > Toggle off Touch Controls (iOS) / Untick Speaker Touch Controls (Android).

Double tap to skip

The play/pause button on your Sonos speaker doesn't just play and pause songs. Double tap it and you'll be able to skip to the next track, without opening the app.

If you have the second-generation Sonos Play:5, Playbase, Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Sonos One SL, Sonos Move, Sonos Five or Sonos Arc, a swipe left will play the previous track, while a swipe right will skip forward to the next one. For the Sonos Roam, a double press of the Play/Pause button will skip a track and a triple press will go back to the previous track.

Mute a single speaker

A press of the play/pause button will mute the speaker you are pressing it on so you can take a phone call in your office, but still have the music playing in your living room, for example.

Disable the swipe functionality

For those of you with the Sonos Five, second-generation Play:5, Playbase, Beam, Arc, Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Sonos Move and kids or cats who like to touch it or climb on the controls, you can disable the swipe functionality.

To do this, hold down the pair button for 10 seconds when the speaker is fully booted to disable the swipe interface. You'll then press it once to leave it in that state.

Enable volume control on your home screen

To get Sonos volume control on your Android device, tap on the three dots in the bottom right > Settings > Advanced Settings > Allow Volume Control on Home Screen.

To get Sonos volume control on your iOS device, tap on Settings > App Preferences > Toggle on Lock Screen Controls.

Use Apple's 3D Touch to Haptic Touch to play last song or radio station

For those with an iPhone 6S or newer, or an iPhone XR or newer, the Sonos app works with 3D Touch and Haptic Touch respectively, both of which present a shortcut menu when you long press on the Sonos app.

A long press on the Sonos app icon will allow you to pause or play the most recent track you were listening to without opening the app first. You'll also be able to launch Favourites or Search.

Sonos features tips and tricks

Control Sonos through Spotify

In the past, Sonos speakers had to be controlled via the Sonos app and that was that, but a software update introduced the ability to control your speakers directly through Spotify, if you have a Premium subscription.

Follow the instructions in our separate feature to get this all set up. Once sorted, you'll see your Sonos speakers listed in the Devices Available tab of Spotify.

Stream directly from your iOS device to your Sonos speaker with AirPlay 2

Sonos supports AirPlay 2 on the Beam, One, Playbase, Play:5 (2015), Sonos One SL, Sonos Move, Sonos Roam, Sonos Five and Sonos Arc, but if you have at least one of these speakers, you can stream to older Sonos speakers via it.

To stream your favourite apps, YouTube, Netflix, Podcast or Apple Music through AirPlay 2 to your Sonos speakers, follow the steps below.

Begin playing the content you want to stream > Swipe up from the bottom of your iOS device to launch the Control Centre, or swipe down from the top right if you have a Face ID iPhone > Touch and hold the audio card in the upper right-hand corner to choose which speaker you'd like to play to.

How to unlock AirPlay for non-compatible Sonos speakers

As we mentioned above, AirPlay is only supported on the newer Sonos speakers but if you have one of these, you can use it to stream to older Sonos speakers.

Start playing content from Airplay to a compatible Sonos speaker > Open the Sonos app > Tap on Rooms > Group non-compatible speakers with your AirPlay-compatible speaker.

To do this automatically, head to the Settings tab in the bottom right of the Sonos app > System > Airplay > Toggle on Group Non-Airplay Speakers.

Make sure Dolby Atmos is working on Sonos Arc

The Sonos Arc should detect a Dolby Atmos audio signal automatically, through HDMI ARC or eARC when connected to a TV that supports it.

If the source content has a Dolby Atmos soundtrack - such as 4K Blu-ray or supported Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+ or Disney+ show - you will see the Dolby Atmos icon appear on the playback screen in the Sonos app. If it does not show in the app, it is not receiving a Dolby Atmos track.

Control Sonos with your voice through Alexa

It's possible to control your Sonos system with your voice using Alexa, if you have the Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Sonos Move, Sonos Roam, Sonos Arc, or Amazon Echo, Echo Dot or another Alexa-enabled device.

Follow the more in-depth instructions in our separate feature and you'll be able to ask Alexa to start playing music on your Sonos speakers or follow the quick instructions below for those with an Amazon Echo device or Alexa-enabled device.

Set up your Amazon Alexa device > Enter your Sonos account information > Open the Alexa app > Tap Skills > Select Sonos skill > Enable.

The Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Sonos Move, Sonos Roam and Sonos Arc, all have Alexa built-in for instant voice control, as well as voice control of existing Sonos speakers. 

Control Sonos with your voice through Google Assistant

The Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Sonos Move, Sonos Roam, and Sonos Arc don't just have Alexa support, they have Google Assistant support built-in too.

As with an Amazon Echo device, you'll be able to control your Sonos speakers through a Google Assistant-enabled device too, like Nest Audio or the Nest Mini. 

Use Siri to control Apple Music on your Sonos speakers

You can ask Siri to control Apple Music on your Sonos speakers too, assuming you have a subscription to Apple Music, an iOS device and AirPlay 2-compatible Sonos speakers.

Get your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV and say "Hey Siri, play [insert music request] [insert room name]", for example "Hey Siri, play Ed Sheeran everywhere".

You'll need to add your AirPlay 2-compatible Sonos speaker (see above) to the Apple Home app. To do this, open the Home app and tap Add Accessory > Choose Don't have a Code or Can't Scan > Tap the speaker you want to add > Done.

How to turn off the microphone on your Sonos-compatible speaker

If you have a Sonos speaker with voice control, so either the Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Sonos Move, Sonos Roam or Sonos Arc, you can turn the microphone on and off. If the light is on, the microphone is on and listening, allowing you to use voice control. If the light is off, the microphone is off and you won't be able to use Alexa or Google Assistant.

To turn the microphone on or off, just tap or press it on the speaker.

Set parental controls

Sonos allows you to set parental controls in order to restrict explicit content. It's currently only available for Amazon Music and Apple Music but no doubt this will expand to other services eventually. 

Tap the Settings tab in the bottom right of the Sonos app > System > Parental Controls > Filter Explicit Content > Type in your Sonos Account password to turn on or off.

Add a playlist to My Sonos

My Sonos is great for those playlists you love listening to all the time. Adding your favourites to My Sonos makes them much more accessible, requiring just a quick tap in the bottom left of the app. Once added, there is no need to search for them or open your chosen music streaming service to find them. It works for playlists, songs, radio stations, bands and artists.

To add a playlist to My Sonos, tap on the respective playlist > Click the top three dots in the top right > Add Playlist to My Sonos.

Add a song to My Sonos

Just like adding a playlist, adding a song to My Sonos makes it easier to find. Find the song you're looking for > Click on the three dots in the top right > Click on the three dots to the right of the song title > Add Song to My Sonos.

Edit My Sonos

If you want to edit the order of what appears in the My Sonos tab, this is nice and simple. 

Head to My Sonos > Click Edit in the top right. From here you can long press to rearrange the order in which things appear such as moving Sonos Playlists to the top, and tapping on each category will also allow you to delete things from the respective categories. Be sure to press Done in the top right when you're finished.

Add a playlist to Sonos Playlists

Sonos Playlist works in a similar way to My Sonos but it is all about playlists, making them nice and accessible. To add a playlist to Sonos Playlists, find the playlist you want to add > Tap on the three dots in the top right corner > Add to Sonos Playlist.

Create a new Sonos Playlist

The Sonos Playlist section will not only allow you to add curated playlists, but also make your own. Click on My Sonos in the bottom left of the app > Click on edit in top right > Click on Playlists > Click on New Playlist at the bottom > Name Playlist.

It will then appear in the Sonos Playlist section of the My Sonos tab ready for you to add songs to it.

Add a song to Sonos Playlists

Adding a song to a Sonos Playlist you've created or a playlist that has been created by somebody else but added to the Sonos Playlist section is easy. Find the song > Tap the three dots > Add to Sonos Playlist > Select the playlist you want to add it to.

Edit Sonos Playlists

You might have really liked a playlist a few months ago, but now every song within it drives you nuts. No problem. Tap on the My Sonos tab in the bottom left of the app > Scroll down to Sonos Playlists > Tap on the Playlists title > Tap on the Playlist you want to edit > Click the three dots in the top right-hand corner > Edit Playlist. From here you can delete songs or reorder them.

See Recently Played music quickly 

My Sonos will also show your music history, if you let it. Recently Played, when on, will allow you to access music you've played recently quickly in the My Sonos section of the app.

Click on My Sonos in the bottom left > Scroll to Recently Played > Turn On.

Clear your Recently Played music

You might have played Ed Sheeran on repeat for the last two months and now you're sick of him so you don't want to see him appear in the Recently Played section of My Sonos. No worries.

Click on My Sonos > Tap on the Recently Played header > Click on Edit in the top right > Delete the songs you don't want to see appear, or press Clear All at the bottom.  

Add songs to Queue

The Queue is for those days you want a selection of random songs rather than selecting a specific album or playlist you or someone else has already built.

Tap on the Search tab at the bottom of the app > Select Songs in the bar at the top > Type in any song title into the search bar > Tap the three dots to the right of the song title once you've found it > Add to End of Queue.

Edit the Queue

If you want to edit the Queue, or see what songs you've added to the Queue, you'll need to head to the Rooms tab at the bottom centre of the app. From here, expand the now playing section at the bottom and tap on the two lines next to the room name at the top. You can then Clear, Edit or Save the Queue by tapping on the respective option at the bottom of the screen.

Edit will allow you to drag and drop the songs into the order you want, while Save will enable you to save the Queue as a Playlist and give it a name. It will appear under Sonos Playlists so you can find it easily next time you fancy that random mix.

Create a group or ungroup speakers

The idea of a multi-room system is to allow you to play music in multiple rooms. To group speakers together or ungroup them, tap on the Rooms tab at the bottom of the app > Your Sonos speakers will then appear in a list > Click on the square symbol with the arrow in the top right of the Room card of whichever speaker you want to group > Select or deselect various speakers > Done. Those ticked will play the same music.

It's also possible to group rooms with a touch. To do this, press and hold the play button on any Sonos speaker to group it with a room that's already playing. If different music is playing in different rooms, press and hold play on the speaker you want to group until you hear the sound you want.

Play different music in different rooms

To play different music on different Sonos speakers, you just need to select what you want each speaker to play and group the speakers you want to play the same music together. Once grouped, you can select what you want each group of speakers, or singular speaker to play.

As mentioned above, speakers are accessed by tapping the Rooms tab at the bottom of the app. From here you can group them, or ungroup them.

How to send music from Roam to another Sonos speaker with Sound Swap

The Sonos Roam has a feature on it called Sound Swap that allows you to press and hold the Play/Pause button on the Roam when on Wi-Fi - for about five seconds - to send its music to the nearest Sonos speaker. 

You can read more about Sound Swap and how it works, as well as what Sonos speakers are compatible in our separate feature.


Add a music service

Sonos supports over 100 music services, from the usual suspects like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, to the lesser known services. It's worth adding all the services you are subscribed to if you want the best possible experience.

To add a music service, head to the Settings tab in the bottom right of the app > Services & Voice > Tap Add a Service under Music and Content > Tap the respective music service from the list or search using the search icon in the top right > Add to Sonos > Sign in.

Search for a song/album/artist/station/podcast

Searching for a song, album, artist, radio station, podcast, composer or even genre on Sonos is really easy. Using the search function within the Sonos app will search all the music services you are signed into, enabling you to play whatever you've found with just a couple more clicks.

Head to either the Browse tab at the bottom of the app to search through a specific music service you have signed into or open the Search tab, also at the bottom of the app, and start typing into the search bar at the top, ensuring you have selected which type of music you are searching for, such as song or album.

Turn Crossfade on

Want to make sure your home or office is never silent? You can turn the Crossfade feature on when listening to an album, enabling one Beyonce song to blend directly into the next. To do this, tap on the three dots to the right of song's title in the Now Playing screen > Toggle/Tick Crossfade on.

Set an alarm

Want to wake up to your favourite song, get your Playbar, Beam, Playbase or Arc to fire up when a match starts so you don't miss kick off, or play some songs half way through the day to stimulate your pet? Tap on the Settings tab in the bottom right of the Sonos app > System > Alarms > Add Alarm > Set the time, room, music, frequency and volume > Save.

You can choose how long you want the alarm to play for and turn Snooze Alerts on or off in Options. It's also possible to send the alarm settings to other Sonos speakers in other rooms by tapping on the room and toggling or ticking Include Grouped Rooms. Different alarms can be set for each Sonos speaker in your home too.

If you set an alarm through voice command, you'll find this in the Alexa or Google Assistant app rather than the Sonos app.

Set a sleep timer

If you like falling asleep to music, you can get your Sonos speaker to play you a lullaby, or your version of a lullaby. Choose the album, song or station you want to fall asleep to and open the Now Playing screen, which is the one with the album art and volume control.

Following this, tap on the three dots > Select Sleep Timer > Choose the Duration. You get the option of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour or 2 hours.

Make the most of Sonos Radio

Sonos Radio is free on Sonos (unless you opt for the HD version), but it isn't just useful for listening to your favourite radio station. You could use it to replace the TV commentators with your favourite radio commentary team instead, for example.

Tap the Browse tab at the bottom of the app > Sonos Radio > Select category or search for the station you want. Don't be afraid to try new stations, it's free after all.

Catch every comment

If you've got a Playbar, Arc, Beam or Playbase, there is a feature called Speech Enhancement that will boost the sound of voices, ensuring you'll hear commentators, or actors and actresses in films.

Tap on the Room tab > Tap on the room with your Sonos home theatre speaker in > Tap on the square speech icon and turn it white to turn Speech Enhancement on.

Use Night Sound for more considerate late-night viewing

This is another one for those of you with a PlayBar, Arc, Beam or Playbase. Turning Night Sound on will enhance quiet sounds and suppress louder sounds to make sure you don't have neighbours knocking on your door asking you to turn the volume down.

Tap on the Room tab > Tap on the room with your Sonos home theatre speaker in > Tap on the moon icon and turn it white to turn Night Sound on.

Hear your favourite TV programme all over your house

Want to hear the football commentary from the bathroom, or have MTV playing throughout your house? If you have a Playbar, Beam, Arc or Playbase, group it with the other Sonos speakers in your home where you want to hear what's playing on your TV.

Open the Rooms tab at the bottom of the app > Tap on Group on the room where your Playbar, Arc, Beam or Playbase is > Tick the speakers you want linked up to it. 

Bring your own music

Love your friends but hate their taste in music? No problem, just play your own good music through their Sonos speakers. You'll need to get onto their Wi-Fi, but once you're on, open the Sonos app and add the songs you love to their Queue.

Use Sonos for a bedtime story

We say bedtime story, but it could be any recorded message from family, friends or loved ones that you want to fill your home with. Ask the recorder to send you the MP3 file, sync it with your music library and you'll be able to play it using the On this iPhone/Device feature.

Find out what you listen to most on your Sonos system

If you want to know how often you listen to Taylor Swift or Fleetwood Mac, signing up to online is the way to find out. Sign in to within the Sonos app and it will show you your listening habits.

Join the Sonos Beta Program

If you want to test out the latest features before they are launched properly, you can sign up to the Beta Program to try out pre-release software. To join, head to the three dots in the bottom right of the app > Settings > Advanced Settings > Beta Program > Join Beta Program.

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