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Listen to Vinyl on Your Sonos Speakers? You Need to Adjust This Setting

How to stop the delay when the needle drops.

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Gear Patrol

Welcome to Product Support, a column devoted to helping you get the most out of the gadgets and software you already use.

If you have a Sonos speaker system and want to connect a turntable (must have a built-in preamp) so you can wirelessly stream vinyl across all your speakers, you have a few options. You can buy a Five ($499) or older Play:5 ($399, refurbished), as they are the only Sonos speakers with a line-in connection. Or you can buy one of Sonos's two wireless amps, the Port or the Amp.

Either way, however, you're going to run into the same issue that has plagued many a listener: it's called audio delay.

You'll notice that when you get your system up and running, there will be a one-to-two second playback delay with the sound. This means when you drop the stylus, you'll see it hit the record and then there will be this one-to-two second pause — which seems like forever — and then you'll hear the sound.

The reason for this audio delay is that the Sonos speaker (or wireless amp) is doing some digital signal processing (or DSP) to optimize its sound and prevent distortion. According to Sonos, the audio delay "reduces the chance of audio issues occurring when your Sonos products are playing line-in audio in a group."

The problem is that this audio delay defeats a lot of the purpose (and joy) of analog audio — people want to hear the music right when the stylus hits the record. And if you have a high-quality turntable and preamp, you likely don't really need Sonos to tweak the audio settings.

Fortunately, you can adjust the audio delay within the Sonos app. Here's how.

How to adjust Audio Delay on Sonos

sonos app settings
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  1. Make sure the Line-In connection is set up properly with your Sonos product. (See here.)
  2. Open the Sonos app > select Settings > and select System.
  3. Select your speaker or wireless amp with the Line-In connection.
  4. Scroll down and select Audio Delay > select Low (75ms).

    In this menu, there are four different audio delays that you can choose from: Max (2,000 ms), High (150 ms), Medium (113 ms) and Low (75 ms). By default, the Line-In connection of your Sonos speaker or wireless amp is set to Max, which is 2,000 milliseconds or two second; this allows for the most time for the Sonos product to optimize its sound.

    The Low setting has an audio delay of 75 milliseconds. It's still a delay, but it's far less noticable. (I have my Play:5 set to the Low setting and can't notice a delay at all.)

    If you're thinking about building a modern hi-fi system that can play both analog and wireless, and you're really concerned about this audio delay, maybe Sonos isn't the right ecosystem to build your system around. A good alternative would be to buy active speakers, like KEF LSX ($1,250) or KEF LS50 Wireless II ($2,500), which you can connect to a turntable (with a preamp) and not experience this audio delay.

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