11 tips and tricks to awesomise your Sonos setup

This lot will be music to your ears (sorry)

People talk about multi-room audio systems as if they’ve only been around for a year or so, but Sonos - which has been in the game for years - laughs in their faces.

All the thousands of hours spent in making the Sonos ecosystem work have resulted in more little easter eggs than you’ll find on Windows versions through the years. Plenty have been added recently as part of the Sonos app's overhaul.

If you want to squeeze a bit more multi-room juice out of your Sonos setup, check out these tips and tricks, and thank us while relaxing to the sweet, sweet sound of improvisational banjo jazz.

1) Control it without unlocking your iPhone

The latest Sonos update frees up its controls to make the system feel more like a normal media app rather than the streamer equivalent of a moody starlet. Even with an iPhone, you can finally control your Sonos speakers right from your lock screen.

When a speaker is being used, these playback controls will just appear automatically. You get the same control with an Android device in addition to widget controls, if that’s what you prefer.

2) Use 3D Touch to play last the track/radio station

3D Touch for iPhones is a funny thing. It got us excited at first, then we ended up forgetting that it exists. Sonos has embraced it well, though.

A hard press on the Sonos app on one of the latest 3D Touch-enabled iPhones brings up a little pop-up menu that lets you instantly play the last track or radio station you were listening to. It’s the quickest way to get back in the groove.

This Force Touch menu also lets you skip straight to the Favourites and Search parts of the app too, making 3D Touch properly useful at last.

3) Skip tracks on your smartwatch

Sonos is a tight, picky system - you can’t just plug in whatever you like. However, it can be controlled from outside the Sonos app.

Until recently, you needed a third-party app for this along with a bit of hacking magic, but now there’s native support for control with an Android Wear watch or Apple Watch.

It’s part of the Sonos app itself and piggy-backs off your phone’s lock screen controls, letting you skip tracks directly from your wrist.

4) Use the sleep timer for bedtime listening

As speakers with no displays and almost no buttons, you might not think of placing a Sonos on your bedside table. But they are ready for the job.

Head into the Sonos app’s settings menu and you can set an alarm using your favourite music to wake you up from your sweet slumber. Fancy being rick rolled every morning? No problem.

There are also options for those who like to fall asleep to music. A ‘sleep’ mode, found in the Settings menu, lets you set the Sonos to automatically turn off after a certain period of time. Pro tip: an hour of Enya before bed. Can’t beat that.

5) Complete your surround sound setup

Sonos initially seemed like a totally non-friendly choice for home cinema fans. However, The Sonos Playbar has changed all that.

The bar can be upgraded to a full surround system with the help of a couple of small friends too: a pair of Play:1s can function as rear surround speakers.

Group together a Sonos Playbar and two Play 1s and they’ll provide a decent mini cinema experience. Add a wall-shaking Sonos SUB and you’ll have a flat-out great one. 

6) Customise the sound of your Sonos speakers

Sonos is a closed shop software-wise, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your stamp on the sound.

Tap on the name of the speaker you want to tweak, then hit the Settings cog. You’ll find an option to EQ the sound, letting you raise or lower the bass and treble.

If you have a Sonos Play:5 you can also use a feature called TruePlay, which automatically tweaks the sound to your room. It uses an in-built mic and blasts out sound waves at various frequencies to work out the tonal balance you need.

7) Turn out the lights

Don’t want a light flashing away while you’re trying to watch a movie or go to sleep? Sonos speakers only have little LED light indicators, but you can turn them off if you want some peace.

Go to the Room Settings Menu, tap Choose Room, then tap Choose Room and White Indicator Light. This toggles the main power LED off and on.

8) Become a beta tester

Are you brave enough to go off the beaten path? Sonos releases software updates all the time, but you can check out a few features that haven’t been officially added to the roster yet.

There are two sides to this. Go to the My Services section and you can filter the streaming spots by ‘Beta’, letting you see the services that aren’t actually officially supported yet, like Bandcamp and Classical Archives.

You can also sign up to get software updates early if you don’t mind a few bugs.

9) Track your listening

Sonos doesn’t offer a way to see exactly how many times you’ve listened to “I Will Always Love You” as you cry into your midnight burrito. However, one of its services does.

Login to last.fm and it’ll start scrobbling the tracks you play. And, no, that’s nothing weird, it just means the tracks you play on several of the top streaming services get tracked on your last.fm account.

10) Make an ambient sounds playlist

Sonos doesn’t always have to involve blasting out the latest Drake tunes. There are loads of ways to make a meditative playlist that’ll chill you out or send you to sleep.

An easy way to mellow out is to make a playlist of relaxing soundscapes from a bunch of different sources.

11) Using 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down'

See those thumbs up and thumbs down icons when you’re listening to a track? Sonos has been pretty clever on this one.

If you see these icons, it means you’ll tell the streaming service if you like or dislike the tracks. Your votes will then alter the kind of recommendations you’re given on the platform.

Don't like Adele? Give her the thumbs-down.