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How to Use a Sonos PLAYBAR Soundbar

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
This Guided Path® was written and reviewed by Support.com’s Tech Pro team. With decades of experience, our Tech Pros are passionate about making technology work for you. We love feedback! Let us know what you think about this Guided Path® by rating it at the end.

Introduction

Sonos is a home sound system of wirelessly connected speakers, that lets you listen to anything you want, wherever you want.
Sonos Playbar TV

1 How It Works

To control what you want to listen to on the Sonos sound system you need to use the Sonos Controller app for computers or mobile devices. The Sonos Controller app comes with the preconfigured TuneIn Radio service. Besides that, you can:

  • Add other Music Services that let you listen to radio stations, podcasts and on-demand music.
  • Play music that you have on a mobile device or create a music library with songs that you have on your computers or networked storage.
  • Use an existing sound system with the wireless Sonos speakers or connect existing wired speakers to the Sonos sound system.
  • Choose to listen to different songs in separate rooms, listen to a song in one room, multiple rooms or every room.

All the apps use the same concept but look slightly different depending on which device you're using. Looking at the interface of the Sonos Controller app for computers will help you understand much easier the concept behind how it all works as it shows an overall view of the entire system whereas the one for mobile devices shows less due to screen size limitations.

The Sonos Controller app for computers is split up into the following areas:

  1. Controls
  2. Speaker (room) selection
  3. Source browser and search
  4. Now playing
  5. Song queue

Areas of the the Sonos Controller main screen on computers

2 How to Proceed?

Please select an option to proceed.

? What do you want to learn about?

  1. Play Television Sound
  2. Play Music
  3. Manage Queue
  4. Add Music Service
  5. Add Music to Library
  6. Set Alarms
  7. Set Sleep Timer
  8. Using the controls on the Playbar

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Sonos is a home sound system of wirelessly connected speakers, that lets you listen to anything you want, wherever you want.
Sonos Playbar TV

To control what you want to listen to on the Sonos sound system you need to use the Sonos Controller app for computers or mobile devices. The Sonos Controller app comes with the preconfigured TuneIn Radio service. Besides that, you can:

  • Add other Music Services that let you listen to radio stations, podcasts and on-demand music.
  • Play music that you have on a mobile device or create a music library with songs that you have on your computers or networked storage.
  • Use an existing sound system with the wireless Sonos speakers or connect existing wired speakers to the Sonos sound system.
  • Choose to listen to different songs in separate rooms, listen to a song in one room, multiple rooms or every room.

All the apps use the same concept but look slightly different depending on which device you're using. Looking at the interface of the Sonos Controller app for computers will help you understand much easier the concept behind how it all works as it shows an overall view of the entire system whereas the one for mobile devices shows less due to screen size limitations.

The Sonos Controller app for computers is split up into the following areas:

  1. Controls
  2. Speaker (room) selection
  3. Source browser and search
  4. Now playing
  5. Song queue

Areas of the the Sonos Controller main screen on computers

Please select an option to proceed.

These steps will vary from television to television. Consult your television's user manual for exact instructions.

  1. Select the Settings button on your remote.
    Television remote with settings highlighted
  2. Select the Audio menu.
    Television on-screen menu with Audio highlighted
  3. Select to turn off your television's speakers, or enable optical out.
    Television audio menu with TV Speaker highlighted
  4. Your soundbar will take over playing sound.

You can always get more information about your Sonos Playbar by visiting http://www.sonos.com/support/productguide/en/playbar/index.html on your computer.

Playing music on your Sonos system is similar across all speakers. The following is a demonstration of how to play and control your music using the Sonos Controller app no matter which Sonos speakers you have in your home.

  1. If you have multiple Sonos speakers in your home, begin by selecting the speaker you wish to play music on. Tap on the room (speaker) name at the top of the screen then select the speaker you wish to play music from using the drop down menu.
    Speaker selection in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, just click on the speaker you wish to control from the ROOMS column.
      Speaker selection in Sonos Controller for computers
  2. To find what you want to play, you can select an available source to browse through them, or use the search feature.
    Source selection, browsing or searching in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, simply select a source from the source browser on the right side of the screen, or use the search feature.
      Source selection, browsing or searching in Sonos Controller for computers
  3. The search feature on the Sonos app will return search results from all available sources at the same time. Search filtering can be applied by selecting from the available categories that will appear beneath the search field.
    Search results in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, the search function only searches one at a time. Click on the source icon in the search field to select from available sources.
      Search results in Sonos Controller for computers
  4. Once you've found what you want to listen to, tap on its name and select Play Now from the drop down menu. If you like what you're listening to, you can also select Add to Sonos Favorites from the drop down menu for future listening.
    Options for how to play a track in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, multiple songs can be selected by placing a check in the box next to their name. Click the downward-facing arrow to open the menu for all the songs you've selected.
      Track selection and dropdown symbol placement in Sonos Controller for computers

To Group or Ungroup Multiple Speakers

If you have multiple Sonos speakers in your home, you have the option of playing different songs on each one, or you can choose to group speakers together to play the same songs at the same time throughout your home.

  1. Tap on the room (speaker) name. To sync the speakers, tap on the Group button next to a speakers name.
    Sonos Controller for mobile devices showing speakers playing different sources
  2. On the Group Rooms popup you can select speakers one by one or all at once. If you uncheck them all and tap on Done the music will stop playing in the room that you tapped Group on.
    Speaker grouping on Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, you would see something similar when grouping speakers.
      Speaker grouping on Sonos Controller for computers
  3. Put a checkmark next to each speaker that you want to add to the group then tap Done.
    Checking off speakers to be grouped together in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  4. The speakers will show up grouped like below.
    Sonos Controller for mobile devices showing speakers grouped together
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, you would see something like this when speakers are grouped together.
      Sonos Controller for computers showing speakers grouped together
  5. Or you can tap on Select All to add all speakers to the same group.
    Selecting all speakers to be grouped together in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  6. And they will show up like this. To ungroup the speakers tap on the Group button again and uncheck the ones you want to remove or tap on Unselect All then tap on Done.
    Sonos Controller for mobile devices showing all speakers grouped together

To Control the Volume of Speakers

Controlling the volume of speakers can be done remotely using the Sonos Controller app as well. Speaker volumes can be adjusted individually or collectively if you have speakers grouped together while listening to music. 

  1. When speakers have been grouped together, you can raise or lower the group volume by moving the volume control slider at the bottom of the screen. Volume controls for each individual speaker within the group will appear, giving you the ability to adjust individual speaker levels to achieve a better audio mix between rooms. Tapping the speaker icon allows you to quickly mute and unmute speakers or groups altogether.
    Volume control in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, you would see something like this when controlling the sound volume for grouped speakers.
      Volume control in Sonos Controller for computers
A queue is a list of songs that you want to listen to, which you can arrange the way you like. Managing the queue on the Sonos system is similar across all devices. This guide will show you how to do it on tablets and cover briefly the differences on how to do it on smartphones as well.
  1. Select the music source, whether it's your Music Library or a music service that allows you to pick the songs you want to listen to. Browse for what you want to listen to.
    Source browsing in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  2. Select an individual song or the complete album then choose an option from the popup menu:
    • Play Now - Adds your selection to the queue after the current song and starts playing it.
    • Play Next - Adds your selection to the queue after the current song.
    • Add to Queue - Adds your selection to the end of the queue.
    • Replace Queue - Clears the queue and adds your selection to it.
    Track playing options in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  3. You'll get a confirmation once your selection has been added to the queue. You can wait for it disappear or tap on it to go away.
    Confirmation screen when adding tracks to queue
  4. To bring up the queue you need to tap on an empty space on the Now Playing area at the bottom of the screen.
    Bottom bar in Sonos Controller for mobile devices brings up the current queue
  5. This will bring up the Now Playing and Queue screen.
    Queue listing in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  6. Similarly, on a smartphone you would have to tap the Now Playing area at the bottom of the screen.
    Same bottom bar in Sonos Controller for mobile devices but on a smartphone
  7. On the Now Playing screen tap on the Queue button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
    Playback screen shows less on smartphones due to screen size limitations. Queue button placement is highlighted.
  8. This will bring up your Queue screen.
    Queue listing in Sonos Controller for mobile devices on smartphone
  9. If you'd like your songs to play in a random order then tap on the Shuffle button. To re-shuffle, tap it again to deactivate it then tap it once again to reactivate it.
  10. If you'd like your music to play continuously tap on the Repeat button which will start the queue over when it reaches its ends. If you tap it again it will show a number 1 in the middle of the button and loop the selected song.
  11. If you'd like to reorganize the queue tap the on the Edit option.
    • To remove a song tap on the minus symbol to the left of the songs name then tap Delete.
      Removing a track from the queue
      Confirming the track removal
    • To change a songs position in the queue, tap and hold the three horizontal lines to the right of the songs name and move it up or down.
      Repositioning track in queue
    • When you're finished editing the queue tap on Done.
  12. If you'd like to listen to this queue in the future you can tap on the Save option, type in a name for the playlists name then tap on Done on the on screen keyboard and Save at the top.
    Saving queue to playlist
  13. To remove everything from the queue tap on the Clear option then confirm your choice.
    Clearing the queue
  14. To return to the Sonos Controller main screen tap on the downward pointing arrow on the top left corner of the screen.
    Placement of dropdown symbol to return to main screen
  15. To play music from any of your saved playlists go to Sonos Playlists and add individual or all tracks the same way we showed up before.
    Playlists in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
Adding music services on the Sonos system is similar across all devices. This guide will show you how to do it on smartphones and cover briefly the differences on how to do it on computers as well.
  1. Open the Sonos Controller app.
    Sonos
  2. Open up the menu from the top left corner of the screen.
    Placement of menu symbol in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  3. Select Add Music Services.
    Menu in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    • Using the Sonos Controller app on a computer, you can find the same option in the source browser on the right side of the screen.
      Music source selection  in Sonos Controller for computers
  4. Search for the music service you want to add and tap on it.
    List of music services that can be added to the Sonos Controller
  5. Tap on Add Account.
    Adding music service in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  6. Create a new account for the music service or login with an existing one.
    Adding account for music service
  7. Login with your music service credentials.
    Logging into music service account
  8. Once your account is verified you'll get to the setup completion screen. Then set a nickname for this account.
    Setting account name
  9. Once set up you can add another account for the same music service or tap on Done.
    Finishing up or adding another account for music service
  10. The music service will now show up in your Sonos Controller across all devices.
    Music service showing up in source selection list in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  11. If you added another account you can select which one to use by tapping on the nickname you set earlier. Another way to add another account is by following the same steps from the beginning to add the same music service but with the other account.
    Placement of account switching option for music service
  12. Select the account you want to use from the Change Account menu at the bottom.
    Account switching screen for music service
To set up a music library you have to use a computer and it needs to be done on every computer that you want to include music from into the library. After that, you can manage the music library from any computer or any mobile device. Here's how to add music to the Music Library using the Sonos Controller app for computers. The Mac and Windows apps look similar with minor differences which will be pointed out along the way.
  1. Click on Manage in the Apple menu and select Music Library Settings...
    Music Library Settings option in Sonos Controller menu on Mac
    On a Windows PC you'd see the menu in the controller app itself.
    Sonos Controller menu placement on PC
  2. On the Preferences screen click on the + sign.
    Music Library Settings on Preferences screen on Mac
    On a Windows PC you'd click on Add instead.
    Music Library Settings on Preferences screen on PC
  3. Select the location from where you'd like to add the music files from. If you're using iTunes or you're not sure, just select In my Music folder then click Next.
    Source location selection in Sonos Setup
  4. To adjust the file sharing settings click on the lock icon. On the new popup type in your administrator username and password then click OK.
    File sharing adjustment in Sonos Setup on Mac
  5. Choose whether you want to adjust energy saver settings so the computer doesn't go to sleep while playing music then press Next.
    Energy Saver Settings adjusment in Sonos Setup on Mac
    On a Windows PC the last two screens would be combined in one screen. If you get another popup asking for permission to make changes to the computer, click Yes.
    File sharing and Energy Saver Settings adjusment in Sonos Setup on PC
  6. The time needed to add the music to the library depends on how much music you're adding. Give it time to complete then click Done on the completion screen.
    Sonos Setup completion screen
  7. The newly added music folder will show up in the Music Library Settings.
    Music sources showing on Music Library Settings screen
  8. You'll be able to access the newly added music by going to the Music Library in the controller app in the source browser area.
    Music Library listed as a source in the Sonos Controller
    Browsable categories in Music Library
  9. If you've added more music to your original music folder and want to listen to it right away in Sonos, you'll have to update the Music Library manually. In the menu click on Manage then select Update Music Library Now. You'll get a popup asking you to confirm whether you want to update. Just click Yes.
    Music Library manual update feature in Sonos Controller menu
  10. To have the library updated daily automatically go to the menu and click on Manage then select Music Library Settings.
    Music Library Settings option in Sonos Controller menu
  11. Go to the Advanced tab, check the box next to Library Updates and set the time when you want the automatic updates to occur.
    Advanced Music Library Settings screen
Setting alarms on the Sonos system is similar across all devices. This guide will show you how to do it on smartphones and cover briefly the differences on how to do it on computers as well.
  1. From the Sonos menu, select Alarms.
    Menu in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
    On a computer you have to click on Alarms at the bottom right corner of the Sonos Controller app.
    Placement of Alarms option in Sonos Controller for computers
  2. Tap on New Alarm. On a computer you would click on the Add button or the button with the plus sign "+".
    Alarms screen in Sonos Controller for mobile devices
  3. Tap on each option to set your alarm preferences. Set the Time, select the speaker to play the alarm from Room, choose the Music to play during the alarm, set the Frequency of the alarm and the sound Volume of the alarm.
    New Alarm settings customization screen in Sonos Controller on mobile devices
    On a computer you would see something similar.
    New Alarm settings customization screen in Sonos Controller on computers
  4. Under Music, you can select the default Sonos Chime, your favorite music or radio station.
    Alarm sound selection screen
  5. If you go into Advanced you can set the Duration of the alarm and you can enable the Include Grouped Rooms option to play the alarm on multiple speakers. When you set the music to other then radio, you get a third option which allows to Shuffle Music.
    Advanced Alarm Settings screen
  6. Once you're done setting your alarm preferences tap on Save and your new alarm will be scheduled. You can add multiple alarms and enable or disable the ones you want to go off at the set time. Tap Done when everything is set the way you want.
    Alarms list in Sonos Controller
Setting the sleep timer on the Sonos system is similar across all devices. This guide will show you how to do it on smartphones and cover briefly the differences on how to do it on computers as well.
  1. Tap on the Now Playing bar at the bottom of the screen, from anywhere within the Sonos app.
    Bottom bar in Sonos Controller highlighted
  2. On the Now Playing screen, tap on the three dots.
    Placement of the More symbol highlighted on the Now Playing screen
  3. Tap on Sleep Timer at the bottom of the menu. To the right it will show whether the timer is off or how much time is left until the Sonos system is put to sleep.
    More options menu
  4. Select after how much time the Sonos system should go to sleep.
    Sleep timer duration selection screen on mobile
    On a computer you just have to click on the Sleep Timer button at the bottom right corner of the Sonos Controller app.
    Sleep timer duration selection screen on computers
  5. You will get a confirmation message in the middle of the screen
    Confirmation screen after setting the sleep timer

Most options for your Sonos Playbar are accessed through the Sonos app. There are some basic controls on the right side of the soundbar itself.

Control Panel
Sonos Playbar TV on-speaker controls
Play/Pause
Plays or pauses the musing currently playing.
Status Indicator A small light, indicating your soundbar is turned on.
Flashes when connecting a device.
Volume Up
Increase the volume.
Volume Down
Decreases the volume.