Sonos is on the offensive, fending off the ever-growing wave of smart speakers that are vying for our living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. But Sonos is still a leader in home audio, offering some of the best sounding speakers in the game â and a great multi-speaker setup; and there are many nooks and crannies to explore.
Learn these, and you'll be an unstoppable force of multi-room power.
Take time for Trueplay
iOS users have a bit of an unfair advantage over those who worship at the altar of Android. Sonosâ Trueplay feature is only available for the Apple cohort and allows users to calibrate their speakers to the room. Trueplay uses the microphone on the iPhone or iPad to test how sound bounces off walls, furniture and other objects, tweaking the acoustic production of the speaker so itâs performing the best it can. Sonos will suggest you do this during setup and we thoroughly recommend you do.
If you didnât set this up initially, head into the Sonos app, select the More tab, tap Settings then RoomSettings. Choose the room you want to tune â if thereâs a red dot next to it, that means it hasnât yet been done.
Cut all the wires (if you canât, get a Boost)
It used to be mandatory to have a Sonos Bridge connected to your router, which the rest of your speakers would wirelessly connect to. But these days everything can connect direct to the Wi-Fi, no need to tangle yourself in any cables.
That said, if your home is a little less modest than most â or you just have poor Wi-Fi â you might find the signal getting lost. In that case, we recommend picking up a Sonos Boost, which plugs right into the router and creates a dedicated network for your Sonos speakers. Itâs basically the new version of the Bridge, and should keep that connection running smoothly.
iPhone users, AirPlay is your friend
Earlier this year Sonos rolled out AirPlay 2 across its latest speakers, meaning iOS users have an easier way for streaming music and grouping speakers. If youâre an Apple Music subscriber, it also means you can ask Siri to play songs on your Sonos system.
Read this: The best AirPlay 2 speakers
While the Sonos app is much better than it used to be, the iPhone owners of Team Ambient rarely find themselves opening it these days. AirPlay is super easy to use, letting you choose the speakers you want to play on, and means you can stream from your music service of choice. The Sonos One, Sonos Beam, second-generation Sonos Play:5 and Playbase all support AirPlay 2.
No AirPlay 2 support? Piggyback another speaker
If, however, you own an older Sonos speaker, you can still use AirPlay 2 so long as you have at least one supported model. To do this, you just need togroup your older speaker(s) with the AirPlay-friendly model, so you're essentially piggybacking off its AirPlay connection. Just go to the Rooms menu in the app to group them together.
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Or just stream from Spotify or Tidal
AirPlay 2 allows you to stream from the iOS Control Panel, but you can also stream from other third-party apps. Spotify and Tidal both offer this feature. In the Spotify app, hit the Devices Available button in the Now Playing section to select your Sonos speakers. In Tidal, tap the Cast button and choose the rooms you want it to play in.
Connect your existing Hi-Fi system
If you already own a Hi-Fi system and don't want to stop using it for Sonos, the good news is that you can make it part of the Sonos family. But to do so you'll need to buy a Sonos Connect and link it to an existing stereo or receiver, or a Connect:Amp if you want to hook up individual speakers.
Adjust the EQ
Trueplay is a great way to calibrate your Sonos system to the room, but you can further adjust the EQ balance of each individual speaker. Head into the More tab at the bottom right, tap Settings, Room Settings, then slide the EQ bars to adjust.
Mute any Sonos speaker
Each Sonos speaker has a play/pause button on it, but did you know you can long-press on it to mute the speaker? Now you do. Note that, if you're playing music through multiple speakers, you'll only mute the one you've pressed on.
Create a stereo or surround sound setup
If you have a pair of Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5 speakers, you can create a stereo setup to split the audio into left and right channels. The Play:3 and Play:5 speakers can sit vertically or horizontally, and you'll want to be sure they're oriented the same. Then go into the Sonos app, hit the More tab, go to Settings, Room Settings, select one of the speakers you wish to pair and select Create Stereo Pair.
Want the full surround sound setup? For this you'll need to connect a Beam, Playbar or Playbase to a pair of Sonos One, Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5 (second-gen) speakers. You can also do it if you're using a Connect:Amp to power two non-Sonos speakers. Head into Room Settings as above, but this time you need to select the room the speakers are in and hit Add Surround Speakers.
Use the sleep features
You know that feeling when youâre out in public, hear someone elseâs phone ring, recognise it as your morning alarm sound, and are suddenly hit with a jolt of rage? Yeah, us too. So why not try something new? Sonos has a cool alarm feature. In the Sonos app, head to the More tab, scroll down to Alarms, hit New Alarm. Youâll be able to choose your wake-up song, the rooms you want it to play in, and how frequent you want it to be. When the alarm goes off youâll get a notification on your phone, which you can use to switch it off.
âŚand the alarm
As well as the alarm feature, thereâs a sleep timer that will automatically turn off your music after a specified time â perfect if you like to fall asleep listening to music or podcasts. To enable this, tap the Info & Options section from the Now Playing screen and tap Sleep Timer.
Stop Alexa from listening
If you have a Sonos One or Sonos Beam, Alexa comes built in for music and smart home control. Handy, but there might be times when you don't want Amazon's assistant to be listening out for directives. For a quick way to mute it, just tap the mic icon on the speaker itself. If the light is on, Alexa is listening; if it's off, it won't be able to hear you. Tap it again to turn Alexa's ears back on.
Previously, if you had, say, an Echo Spot in your bedroom along with a Sonos Play:1 and you wanted to listen to some music, you'd have to say something like, "Alexa, play The Spin Doctors, in the bedroom." You can now ditch that extra bit, and simply say, "Alexa, play The Spin Doctors," with the output coming directly from the Sonos speaker. To do this you just need to group the Sonos speaker to an Echo device in the Alexa app and set it as the preferred device.
Use Alexa and Siri together
You can use Siri with Sonos but, just like with the HomePod, the assistant is very much locked in with Appleâs services. So if youâre an Apple Music subscriber, Apple Podcasts user, or have a decent iTunes catalogue, Siri can control playback on these â otherwise, youâll need to use Alexa.
All that said, did you know that these two assistants can work together? If you start playing music with Alexa, you can use Siri to pause/play, skip track and rewind, even if youâre playing from Spotify, Tidal or another third-party service. This works if youâre speaking to Siri on the HomePod, which can connect to other Sonos speakers via AirPlay 2. Oh, and this works vice-versa: if you have a HomePod connected to the group, and ask Alexa on the Sonos One to skip track, itâll do so on the HomePod too. Nice when everyone just gets along, huh?
Vinyl is back â and Sonos users don't have to be left out. The Play:5 has a line-in, so you can directly connect the turntable audio that way. If you want to connect to other Sonos speakers, you'll need to connect your turntable to a Sonos Connect or Connect:Amp.
Shh! Turn on Night Sound
Anyone who's tried watching movies when the kids are in bed will be well skilled in the volume up/down dance routine, keeping the explosions as quiet as possible while also trying to hear what people are saying. If you have a Sonos Beam, Playbase and Playbar, the days of subtitles are over. All come equipped with something called Night Sound,. which tweaks dialogue to make it clearer while also reducing the intensity of loud sounds.
To turn it on, click the More tab at the bottom of the app, click on TV, then hit the moon icon.
More Sonos guides
More Sonos guides
How to set up and use AirPlay 2 with your Sonos speakers
How to add your Apple HomePod smart speaker to your Sonos system
How to use old Sonos speakers for AirPlay 2 multi-room music
How to control Sonos with Google Assistant
How to associate Sonos and Echo speakers and create groups
How to use Sonos and Alexa: Everything you need to know