Sonos is a brand like no other. Its quality speakers and the flexibility of installing in any room makes it the preferred choice for many audio lovers. For those who’re on their computers most of the time, but want to use Sonos, it could be a problem because Sonos doesn’t offer computer-specific speakers — at least not at the time of writing this article. Moreover, from 2019 onwards, it has discontinued the feature of setting up the speakers from your PC as the company prioritizes mobile.
But does that mean it’s the end of the road for PC? Not really. You can still play music on the Sonos speaker installed in your room from the computer. In this article, we’ll explain to you how you can still set up the speakers.
See More: How To Connect Sonos To WiFi
Playing Audio on Sonos Speakers from Computer
Before you start playing audio on Sonos from your computer, you need to understand that Sonos is a closed system. This means that only Sonos controllers and apps can access and control the speakers.
It has exclusive partnerships with services like AirPlay, Spotify, and IKEA, among others, which allows these services to connect to Sonos via the S1 or S2 app. But that’s not the case with PCs and laptops.
Sonos no longer allows setting up the SonosNet system from Windows, or MacBook for that matter. This is now a mobile app-only feature. While the Sonos Controller App is still available and you can download it, you’d only be able to play music and not set up the system from scratch. So if you have already set up your system on your mobile, you can connect to it from the desktop app. Visit the Sonos Controller App download page and get the Sonos S2 or S1 app for Windows or macOS version.
If you’re setting up the SonosNet system, there’s no way but to set up the system from the app only.
However, if you want to connect directly to the Sonos speakers from your computer for the purpose of playing audio, you’d need third-party software. There are many software packages that enable this capability. But two of the main ones are SonoAir and SWYH or Stream What You Hear. SonoAir is for MacBooks while SWYH is for Windows. Here we’ll guide you through the process.
If you’re on MacBook and want to connect to Sonos, then you should be using the SonoAir project. It is an open-source project (technically speaking, a node.js module) that lets you stream audio from your MacBook over AirPlay. SonoAir also extends the AirConnect project, whose main goal is to play audio to Sonos, Chromecast, and other wireless devices directly from AirPlay.
AirConnect can connect to any device that has access to your local network. It will detect the Sonos speakers and act as a bridge.
Here are the steps involved:
- To start using SonoAir, download the software package on to your MacBook. Since this is not an official Apple app, you need to download it from its official website, which can be found here.
- Install the package and give it permission to whatever the requests are.
- Go to the menu and look for the AirPlay option. It should show you the Sonos speakers available in the network.
- Now get Sonos Connect and wire your PC to the line-in on the Connect. This will link the Sonos app to the computer’s audio output.
- In the AutoPlay menu, you must set the Sonos speakers as your default speakers.
The current version of SonoAir also works fine with High Sierra after it switched from AirSonos to AirConnect.
Since Sonos Speakers are designed to stream music, there might be a slight mismatch between the audio and video output. You can solve this from the Sonos Controller app using the Audio Delay feature. Check out this guide.
SonoAir is a community-based project and is supported by donations. This means, you’re supposed to do everything from end-to-end, and there might not be any support from the team.
The best alternative to SonoAir is AudioBridge. It offers a much simpler process, and there’s a paid version too that you can use.
If you’re running Windows on your PC, then your best option is Stream What You Hear. This is an open-source project and developed in .NET framework.
To get started with SWYH, here are the steps involved:
- Download the SWYH package on to your Windows PC.
- Install the package and launch the app.
- From the app’s icon menu, right-click on the system tray.
- Then navigate to Tools>HTTP Live Streaming.
- Here you’ll find a URL that you need to copy. Copy the URL to paste somewhere.
- Open the Sonos app and navigate into Manage>Add Radio Station
- Paste the above URL in here and save it.
Now you can use this “radio station” to play audio from your PC on your Sonos speakers. Just make sure that you have audio running on your PC. Otherwise, this feature may fail to detect it.
Please note that SWYH is an open-source project, and you might not get any assistance when you encounter an error. Therefore, it’s better to go with a paid application instead.
The final thing you should know that Sonos, as a company, do not recommend these methods. In fact, they’re against tuning your speakers and discourage users from doing so. The process explained to you is a workaround that has been using by many users around the world.
The closest you can get to computer-enabled speakers from Sonos is the Play:1 and Sonos One. While they don’t exactly function as a computer speaker should, you can connect to them using the Sonos desktop app. At least that’s what the official statement from Sonos is.
Since Sonos is distancing itself from desktop and focusing more on mobile instead, it remains to see what the future holds for PC users.