I have recently put together a Sonos Surround System of Beam, Bass and two Sonos Ones linked to my Sony Bravia TV. The benefit to watching TV has been outstanding so I have experimented and directed my Roon to pick up this “device” rather than my Naim Uniti Nova + Spendor A7’s primary music source. For both I use my MacBook Pro as Core. The illusion of surround sound is really satisfying, although obviously not to the primary source quality, and seems to reflect the higher quality of the Roon source. Are there any “tricks” I could consider to enhance this surround effect using Roon DSP or an alternative wheeze?
I’m not up to date when it comes to Sonos surround. How does that work, do you feed it two channel stereo and Sonos automatically upmixes that to multichannel ?
Or can you feed it actual multichannel files ? (Last time I checked, this was almost impossible. Only ac3 accepted. Nothing else, no DTS, no multichannel flac etc).
If the former : then there is nothing you can do inside roon, to improve your illusion of surround. After all, Roon only knows about those 2 channels, and has no idea about the others. Those are created by Sonos, and thus not modifiable from ‘outside’. Perhaps there are some settings inside the Sonos itself… ?
The most obvious thing to do in Room, has nothing to do with surround. Which is : use eq and/or convolution, in an attempt to change the sonic balance to your taste, and to try and tame a few boomy room modes.
The playbar, and i expect also the beam, only accepts ac3 signals on the optical port. You cannot stream multichannel audio to the sonos. Upmixing is done by a proprietary algorithm which has only a single setting in the Sonos app: you can choose between ‘full’ and ‘ambiance’ (if i translate correctly). That’s it. To Roon it is indeed just a stereo system.
Hi Marco & Alex
Thank you both for your inputs. The Sonos system I have delivers 5.1 surround from my TV sources by feeding the bass to the separate Sonos Subwoofer and the left and right surround sounds to the two Sonos Ones. The Sonos Beam delivers the rest connected to the HDMI (Arc) port on the Sony Bravia TV. The Subwoofer and Sonos Ones are connected to the mains and wirelessly to the same network but not to the Beam. A lot of Sky, Amazon Prime and Netflix output is in 5.1 and is stunning through the Sonos system.
Although Roon is only stereo the effect of playing through the Sonos system does give an illusion of surround sound although nothing as defined as when viewing 5.1 TV.
Marco’s comment regarding altering the sonic balance in the Roon DSP is along the lines of what I was considering, but I wondered if anyone with a similar Sonos set-up had gone down this road before.
The Sonos App on my iPad provides the set up and balance options to optimise the system for both TV and music sources.
I do have the same setup as you have, except I don’t have a Beam but a Playbar. I also tinkered with the DSP to equalize the room like explained elsewhere on the forum.
I don’t know whether it is a limitation of the current firmware or of the hardware, but the Sonos components are only able to stream and play stereo music. For the Beam/Playbar/Base there is one exception: they can accept 5.1 signals on the optical or HDMI input. Therefore Roon sends a stereo signal that is upmixed by the Beam. I don’t know what algorithm is used, but a surround mix is created from a stereo signal by the Beam. Every effect the DSP has on the sound gets upmixed as well, so will also be applied somehow to the surround channels. However, as Roon sends only a stereo signal, there is no way the DSP can influence the surround effect (unless maybe someone is aware how exactly the algorithm works; cf Dolby Pro Logic)
It’s perfectly possible to enhance the sound, as I’ve tried to do, but be aware that this will influence the sound of the Beam as well as the surround speakers at the same time. (And they may not need the same correction.)
Thank you Alex. As I said previously, I use my Naim + Spendor hifi combo for my main music listening, so experimenting with the DSP on Roon when using the Sonos surround will be an entertaining distraction. Obviously I tried the Roon DSP through Naim + Spendor but concluded that the natural sound was my preference so I might conclude the same with the Sonos.