If you’re an owner of Sonos speakers, you’re going to like an update that is on its way, because it will offer better sound tailor made for the place where your speakers are sitting, and you won’t even have to pay a thing.
Imagine if the speakers you already owned could sound better just from a simple downloadable update, much like how your phone suddenly gets a little faster or receives an extra feature or two from a firmware update.
That appears to be happening for the millions of Sonos owners out there, as the company prepares an update to its Play speaker range that has the potential to analyse the room a speaker is in and change its acoustic profile to better match the materials making up that room — walls, basins, floors, etc — as well as any objects sitting inside the room.
It’s a release that Sonos is calling “Trueplay”, and it will be made available later this year to owners of the Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 speakers from Sonos, with the feature able to be switched on and off depending on your preferences, and also so you can see what the technology is doing when it’s in use compared to when it isn’t.
“We are convinced that software can drive many more years of innovation in sound, making speakers sound better in any environment – smarter, more aware, and reactive to their environment,” said Marc Whitten, Chief Product Officer at Sonos, adding “which is why we’re so excited to be launching the first chapter of this innovation with Trueplay.”
“It’s a major step in making sound itself smart,” said Whitten.
The technology isn’t just something Sonos has been working on by itself, either, collaborating with Giles Martin on the area, son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin.
This collaboration has resulted in Sonos being able to tweak its sound and the Trueplay sound calibration system to match what audio engineers are trying to achieve when they produce and master tracks.
“Our remit at Sonos has evolved from constantly working to improve the general sound of all of our speakers to customising them,” said Martin, adding “first by room, and in the future, by person, activity and content.
“We are obsessed with improving the home music experience, which must take into account acoustically unfriendly rooms,” he said. “Tuning a room is the first of many software enhancements that make the experience richer and more personal for listeners whilst giving artists a whole new creative arena.”
Sonos let GadgetGuy test out exactly what the system sounded like ahead of time and wow, you do come away from the demo being reasonably impressed.
First there’s the setup, because that’s part and parcel of what Sonos has to do to get your Play speakers working their best.
To do this, you’ll need an iPhone, an iPad, or an iPod Touch, and you’ll be using this to measure the sound where your speaker is placed. Using the Sonos app, your speaker will play a sound test, and as it plays, you’ll wave your device and its microphone about the room picking up on the sound in various places and measuring how the sound bounces and falls on various materials.
At the moment, this procedure is an iOS only affair, and speaking to Sonos on the matter, it was because there was a consistent microphone quality on Apple products, which itself helped the team come up with consistent and stable results when audio levels were measured. An Android version would be coming for various devices later on, but right now, if you want Sonos TruePlay to be tested for your home, you need an iOS-based product, meaning an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad of some sort.
Once the test has been done and your phone or tablet has analysed the sound profile where your speaker is sitting, they information to calibrate the setup is sent to the Sonos speaker, which in turn changes its acoustics to better match your room.
The result is a Sonos speaker that sounds better when Trueplay is switched on, with a listening experience capable of making the slightly hollow sounds of a Play:1 found in the echo-chamber of a bathroom more like the experience you get when you’re in a living room or somewhere that bounces sound far less.
Of course, you don’t have to use Trueplay, and even when it is setup, you can choose whether to have it switched on or off; it’s your call and your choice, but Sonos believes its focus on a software fix for its speakers will make customers happier in the end, providing an upgraded sound experience that doesn’t require you to hand over extra money.
Trueplay’s release isn’t going to be totally immediate, that said, and after reading this article, you won’t be able to login to the Sonos app and just expect the patch to be there.
Rather, Sonos tells GadgetGuy that this will be rolled out in the coming months, appearing later in the year for the Play:1, Play:3, and Play:5 speakers, making sure the Sonos products released in the past few years made for music are all taken care of before moving on to other areas where Sonos can have its Trueplay technology make a dent on.