Sonos has rolled out a new software feature today that will allow anyone who owns a Sonos speaker to tune it specifically to the room it is in. In a similar way to how someone might tune a professional hi-fi system, Sonos has essentially brought this technology to the average consumer in an easy to manage and understand format.
There are plenty of factors that affect the way a speaker will sound when placed in a room. The idea of Trueplay is to recognise these factors and calibrate itself accordingly in order to sound as good as possible with these factors considered. In the words of the company's vice president of product marketing, Tom Cullen, Trueplay allows people to achieve their design goals with the "sound of snobs".
Here we are looking at a breakdown of what Sonos Trueplay is, what it does and how it works.
What is Sonos Trueplay?
Sonos Trueplay is designed to allow you to put any Sonos speaker wherever you want. You could place a Play:1 behind the curtain or a Play:3 in a cupboard and the idea is that it shouldn't matter in terms of the sound output.
The company says you shouldn't have to think about where you put a speaker. You should be able to put it wherever you choose and Sonos has made this more possible with Trueplay.
How does Sonos Trueplay work?
In order for Trueplay to make your Sonos speaker sound as good as it can in the environment it is in, you have to go through a tuning process. Unlike other tuning processes though, Trueplay takes around two minutes and while it makes you look a little silly for these 120 seconds, it's very simple and easy.
The Sonos app will prompt you to start tuning and after following the steps, which we have detailed in a how to feature, it will eventually emit a series of test sounds. These sounds are made up of three properties - brown noise, pulse sounds that allow for echoes and a sweep of frequencies.
The microphone in your iOS device detects how these sounds react to the room you are in by measuring how the sound waves reflect off the walls, furnishings, glass and other surfaces. This information is then used to determine the layout of your room and the tuning will take place automatically.
Sonos says the speaker knows what it should sound like and Trueplay tells it what it doesn't sound like, allowing it to tune itself to sound better. The company also says that Trueplay won't change anything that doesn't need to be changed.
What do you have to do to tune Sonos Trueplay?
As we mentioned, the app will prompt you into steps. The room you are tuning needs to be as quiet as possible in order for the process to work, but Sonos has added algorithms that will cancel out noises such as a dog bark.
There is a video in the app to show you what to do, but when the sounds we referred to above begin, you're required to hold your iOS 7 or above device in your hand and move it up and down, whilst walking around the room.
You need to make sure you walk around as much of the room as you can, but not too quickly and you also need to make sure your arm is moving up and down as the video shows you, otherwise the sounds will stop and the app will tell you to try again.
It takes 45 seconds to do the actual tuning bit if you do it right and you won't need to do it again unless you move the speaker into a different room. Even in a power cut, the speaker will remember the room configuration.
What do you need to tune Sonos Trueplay?
Sonos Trueplay requires an Apple device that runs on iOS 7 and above. It can be an iPad, iPhone or an iPod Touch and you only need it for those couple of minutes we mentioned earlier to do the setup. If you are on Android or Windows and have no Apple devices in your house, you'll need to invite an iOS buddy round and ask to borrow their device for a few minutes to get Trueplay setup.
Sonos is working on making Trueplay tuning work with Android devices but there is currently too much variation in Android devices when it comes to the microphones. The company says that even the same device on a different carrier will deliver varied results and therefore it is taking longer to configure.
Is Sonos Trueplay worth doing?
We had a couple of demos with Sonos Trueplay and both times, we noticed a big difference after the speaker had been tuned to the room and its surroundings. A Play:1 was placed in a cupboard and when Trueplay was turned on, there was certainly a noticeable improvement in the sound output.
It doesn't take long to do, it's very easy to do and if it is going to make an existing speaker better, then why not?
Sonos Trueplay is now available for free for the existing Play:1, Play:3 and Play:5, as well as the new Play:5 through the software update. The Playbar is not yet on the Trueplay compatibility list, but it will be eventually we were told.