I tuned 56 on May 18. It's an age-old problem: What do you get for the man who has nothing? My wife got me a Sonos PLAYBAR as a birthday gift. This is a device that hooks to your TV and improves the sound. I liked it so much that I bought a set of companion components to really improve the sound. Though I was able to eventually get through it successfully, I had some challenges, so I wrote Sonos support. The story has a happy ending, so I thought I would share what I learned in case you too get a Sonos system.
On my daughter's (Stephanie) recommendation, my wife (Sheryl) got me a Sonos PLAYBAR for my 56th birthday. I hooked it up to my Samsung HD television via the optical cable. I got no sound at first (which I thought was odd since sound flows through the cable, not wireless), so I downloaded and installed the Sonos app on my iPhone, configured the device, and it worked splendidly. It worked so well, that I immediately went to your web site and ordered the remaining components. From the descriptions there, I was not sure if I needed a BOOST or not, but since it was described as improving performance and was only $99, I ordered one.
Everything arrived very quickly. I got a BOOST, a SUB, and two PLAY:1s to use for surround sound. Though your pictures never show the power cords, although the components get sound wirelessly, I see that the PLAY:1s need power. No problem, I have a spot where I can put them. Though it may be in your documentation, and I missed it, to use a SUB requires a BOOST when using a PLAYBAR. No problem. I happened to have ordered one. After opening the BOOST, I see that it must be connected to my network via an Ethernet cable. This is a problem since my Linksys wireless router is upstairs, and my Sonos set up is downstairs in the family room.
Since I was so anxious to play with my new toys, I created a temporary set up. I ran a long Ethernet cable down our stairway to make the connection from the Linksys to the BOOST. I set everything up and got it working. Easy peasey. It sounded great. It is so good, it makes my TV without it seem silly. For a permanent set up, I ordered a TP-Link Powerline Adapter and had it shipped 2nd-day air.
When the power adaptor arrived, I plugged one part in a wall socket upstairs and connected it via an Ethernet cable to my Linksys. Then I plugged the other part into the wall socket behind my stereo. I then connected my laptop to the power adapter and was able to browse the internet. Using my electrical circuitry as an Ethernet cable works. So I unplugged my BOOST from the long temporary Ethernet cable and plugged it into the power line. Nothing but the PLAYBAR worked. No SUB. No surround sound.
Not to worry. I probably just need to tweak some settings. When I fired up the Sonos app on my iPhone, it said I had no system. Nothing found. I tried a variety of "create new system" and "add to an existing system" combinations for 2.5 hours. Still no joy. All the while, the PLAYBAR was still working. Since the PLAYBAR was working, and I remembered how it did not when I first connected it, I knew I was not back to the initial start-up state. I wanted to get back to that but how? In addition to what is on the support page, I was able to google various topics and found the trick for holding down the button while unplugging the power and plugging back in the PLAYBAR. That worked. I didn't find a similar trick for the SUB and PLAY:1s, but stumbled upon some sequence that reset them via trial and error. About an hour later, I got it all working again and am a happy customer.
I am writing this email because I believe your written materials are over-simplified. You should show pictures that depict power cords associated with the PLAYBAR, SUB, BOOST, and PLAY:1. You should state that the BOOST is required. You should show an Ethernet cable associated with the BOOST. I know you don't want to scare off potential customers, but when placing an order, people need to know these things when considering how they will locate components that comprise your system. But most importantly, I think your printed materials should include a page of troubleshooting steps and how to totally start over if necessary.
Thanks for listening.
Scott Sheppard http://labs.blogs.com
P.S. It is funny that had I waited before ordering right away, I could have taken advantage of your emails I have since received for discounts on the PLAY:1 units. The early bird does not always get the worm I guess.
I got a reply which lead to this exchange.
Thank you for contacting Sonos Customer Care and for your feedback about our written materials that are available online. In order to use the home theater setup with your Sonos system, you do need to have one of the components wired to your router and I will pass on your comments to my management regarding how you feel about the written instructions being over-simplified. It would quite possibly work fine for you if you were to wire the BOOST to your router upstairs as the signal should reach your system downstairs so I would suggest doing this as the power line adaptors that you are using can sometimes cause problems with Sonos. Please try wiring the component to your router and let me know how the performance of your system is and if it is not good then please submit a diagnostic and send me the seven digit number so we can take a look at your system for you and see if there are any practical methods we could take to get the best performance out of your Sonos system for you. This FAQ will show you how to submit diagnostics. Again, I would like to thank you for your feedback and if there is anything we can help you with please do not hesitate to contact us. Your reference number for this incident is 150524-000308.
Sonos Customer Care
Sonos Online User guide:
As far as I can tell, my system is working great. My diagnostic is 4587750. It is not possible for me to reach my Linksys which is upstairs in our master bedroom with a traditional Ethernet cable from my Sonos which is downstairs in our family room. The power adapter solution will either work or not. So far, so good.
Thank you for contacting Sonos Customer Care and allowing us to assist you! The diagnostic looks great and you did a great job setting up the system. We appreciate your feedback, and I will relay your message on make our online instructions more "robust." Please do not hesitate to reply back to this email or contact us again if you have any other questions or concerns. Your reference is 150524-000308.
Sonos Customer Care
So the moral of the story is:
- Make sure you can place your surround sound speakers in locations where they can be plugged into an electrical outlet - unlike on an end table in the middle of the room as depicted in the Sonos diagrams.
- Make sure you purchase a BOOST if you are adding surround sound to a PLAYBAR.
- Make sure you can locate your BOOST in a location that can be connected to your home network via a proper Ethernet cable.
Sonos has a 45-day return policy. So I have until I am 56.123288 years old to see if my electrical wiring as an Ethernet cable solution is compatible with the BOOST.
Surround sound is alive in the lab