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32 Sonos tips, tricks and features

32 Sonos tips, tricks and features
(Image credit: Sonos)

The Sonos multi-room speaker system remains one of the best ways to get whole-home audio. Available in a wide range of products, from wireless speakers to soundbars, the Sonos system is versatile and simple to use. 

Despite being so simple to set-up and to use, there are plenty of neat Sonos features tucked away, with which even long-time users may not be familiar.

So if you've just unboxed your first Sonos speaker or simply want some inspiration for getting the most out of your existing set-up, we've rounded-up some Sonos tips, tricks and features that you may not have tried.

Not sure what we're talking about? Learn all about Sonos in our complete Sonos buying guide.

Set-up

1. Go wireless

You no longer need to connect a Sonos product to your router to get started. So, if you're confident your wireless network is up to it, and you don't live in a palatial mansion, you can put that first Sonos speaker wherever you want without worrying about running a wire back to your router.

2. Sonos in stereo

If you own more than one Sonos One, Sonos One SL, Sonos Move, Play:1, Play:3 or Play:5, then you can turn two speakers in to a stereo pair. Set them up in the app as a pair and they will act as true, left and right, stereo speakers.

3. Standing up or lying down

Got a Play:3 or Play:5? They can be positioned horizontally or vertically and the sound will be adjusted accordingly, giving you a bit more flexibility if space is at a premium.

4. Sonos your existing system

Want to get the functionality of Sonos on your existing hi-fi system. Originally you had the option of a Sonos Connect to connect to an amplifier, or the Connect:Amp to connect directly to a pair of speakers. These have now been replaced by the Sonos Port and HDMI-toting Sonos Amp. Hey presto, Sonos functionality on your hi-fi system.

5. Turn off the lights

The white light on the front of any Sonos speaker or component is handy for letting you know you're connected but should you want a more stealth appearance once you're up and running - you might not want a bright white light on a speaker in your bedroom - head in to Settings in the Sonos app where you can toggle off the Status Indicator light.

Music services

6. Add streaming services

Sonos' Mission Statement is to play 'all the music on Earth', so you'll find a whole host of streaming services at your disposal. Scroll to Settings, select My Services, then hit 'Add another account' to see the services at your disposal. You will need a premium subscription on services such as Spotify and Tidal in order to hear them on Sonos. The every-growing list includes Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Audible, Bandcamp, Classical Archives, NTS Radio, Kiss, Global Player, Mixcloud, Qobuz, Stitcher, Triple M and Worldwide FM, to name but a few.

7. Update your app's playlists via Sonos

The most popular streaming services are increasingly well-integrated on Sonos. One neat trick is the ability to add tracks you listen to on Sonos to your Spotify (or other music service) playlists, which will then be ready for you in your Spotify app. Right-click on the track on the desktop app to add it to a Spotify playlist, or hit the three dots to call-up this option within the mobile app.

8. Soundcloud favourites work on Sonos

Similarly, the Soundcloud integration on Sonos allows you to add to your Soundcloud 'Likes' from inside the Sonos app. Hit the heart symbol and the track will appear in your Soundcloud likes when you access the Soundcloud app or website.

9. Sonos playlists from multiple music services

Are some of your favourite tracks missing on one service but available on another? Create a Sonos playlist to have tracks from different music services - Soundcloud, Spotify, Tidal, for example - all in the same place for a seamless listening experience.

10. Calm down with Sonos

A relatively recent addition to Sonos is the Calm app. This delivers your fix of soothing sounds and meditation session directly through your Sonos speaker. Ideal for dozing off or for starting your day the right way.

11. Direct playback

Google Play Music can stream music directly from the Play Music app to any Sonos speaker. As long as you're on the same wireless network - and on Android - you can stream over WiFi what you're listening to on your phone to a Sonos speaker, without even opening the Sonos app.

12. Spotify and Tidal, too

Similarly, you can send music straight from the Spotify or Tidal app to a Sonos speaker. The Sonos app will of course catch up and update to the track you're playing accordingly.

13. Download on 7digital, stream on Sonos

It's not all about streaming services. Add your 7digital account details to the Sonos app and you can play all the music stored in your 7digital locker on Sonos. Buy new music on 7digital? It will be added straight away and available to stream.

Features

14. Send TV sound around your house

Got a Beam, Playbar or Playbase? Then don't forget you can send your TV sound to other Sonos speakers in your house. So you don't have to miss the football commentary when you're in your bedroom, and you can take advantage of any music channels on your TV set-up.

15. Play the music stored on your phone

If you've put new music on your phone or tablet and want to play it on your Sonos speakers the minute you step through the door, you can. Scroll down to 'This Mobile Device' on the Sonos app and you will see all your locally-stored music. Sadly, this is now only on Android not iOS.

16. iTunes and Podcasts, too

Use an iPhone? You can stream your purchased iTunes music, as above, but you can also stream directly from the Apple Podcasts app directly to your Sonos system, bringing a whole world of podcasts to Sonos.

17. Fall asleep to tunes

Use the 'Sleep' function to set your Sonos speaker to turn itself off after a set amount of time. Ideal if you want 30 minutes of rain sounds to help you drift off.

18. Wake up to music

And you can set the 'Alarm' function on the Sonos app to wake up to your favourite music or internet radio station at a given time.

19. Mute button multiple functions

If you still have an older speaker with a mute button, well the mute button isn't just a mute button. Press it once to play/pause your tracks, press it twice to skip to the next track or press and hold to mute just a single speaker.

20. Touch and go

The touch sensitive buttons, first introduced on the 2nd-gen Play:5, don't just do play/pause and volume. Slide from left to right to skip forward a track or right to left to skip back.

Upgrade

21. Trueplay room calibration

Ask the powers that be at Sonos for the best way to upgrade your sound, and they'll say – the completely free – Sonos Trueplay. Use the Trueplay room calibration to fine-tune your Sonos speakers to your space. It's available on the Sonos app but only on iOS - so you'll need an Apple device to give it a whirl.

22. Add a DAC

If you're using a Sonos Connect or Sonos Port then you can take advantage of the digital output and add a dedicated external DAC to take care of the crucial digital-to-analogue conversion. Arcam's SonLink was built especially for that purpose, though it's now pretty hard to find, so we'd suggest you instead choose from our round-up of the best DACs to find an upgrade option.

23. Stream in CD-quality

Streaming services don't have to mean low-quality compressed music any more. CD-quality, lossless streaming services are now available, and now available on Sonos - namely, Deezer Elite, Qobuz and Tidal. Sadly the hi-res audio streams of Tidal Masters are not yet available on Sonos, though that could soon change with the Sonos S2 platform plans.

24. Sonos surround sound

Connect a Beam, Playbar or Playbase to a pair of Play:1 or Play:3 speakers and a Sub for a Sonos 5.1 surround sound system. Or as close as you can get. It's an expensive way to get some surround sound action but if you're committed to the Sonos family it's one way to enhance your TV experience, especially with films and games.

25. Loudness

All of Sonos’ speakers have a 'Loudness' feature that’s enabled by default. In some cases it’s sensible to turn it off, but not in the case of the Sonos Beam. It acts like an old-fashioned bass-boost function and, while that tends to be something we avoid, on the Beam it's more sophisticated and results in a weightier, fuller, more engaging sound.

26. Talk to Sonos

The Move, One and Beam support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, bringing the ability to voice your music requests (provided you're using a compatible music service, such as Amazon Music and Spotify). You can then command this music all around your system, bringing a sort of voice control to legacy Sonos products. The addition of Alexa on the Beam means you can also use it to turn your TV on and off, thanks to the HDMI connectivity. And thanks to Apple Airplay 2, you can use an iOS device to use Siri to control Sonos, too.

27. Talk to Spotify

If you want to avoid Sonos playing Amazon Music rather than Spotify, you can set Spotify as your default music provider. Head to the Alexa app and choose Settings > Music & Media. You can switch between Amazon Music and Spotify here.

28. Just add Fire

If you want to take the voice control further on the Sonos Beam, you can add a Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. Once connected, you can issue commands such as, “Watch Stranger Things” and the show will start playing. Again, this is only with compatible streaming services, such as Netflix.

29. AirPlay 2

Some of Sonos’ speakers are now compatible with Apple’s AirPlay 2 streaming standard. As well as bringing the latest AirPlay functionality for those who prefer it, it also adds the option of creating a mix-and-match multi-room system containing Sonos speakers and those from other manufacturers. And, as mentioned above, it brings the ability to use Siri, via an iOS device, to control Sonos.

30. Height speakers

Want your Sonos speakers to look more like hi-fi speakers? You could always try a pair of stands. We quite like the look of some of these Flexson stands.

31. Boost your network

Suffering with skips or delays? It might be your network. The Sonos Boost is designed especially to combat this and should provide a more vigorous network connection for smooth streaming.

32. Back to the future

You can play vinyl through Sonos, too. Sort of. Connect any turntable with a built-in phono stage to the Play:5's line input, or the inputs on a Sonos Connect, Connect:Amp, Port or Amp. Then head to the settings to adjust your source. Just don't expect to skip tracks on the app...

Have you got your own Sonos tips to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

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