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How to set up a 5.1 home theater system with Sonos for Android

Sonos Playbar
Sonos Playbar (Image credit: Android Central)

Sonos speakers are smart. "How smart?" you ask.

So smart that, when you combine a Sonos Playbar, Sub, and either two Play:1s, two Play:3s, or two Play:5s (gen 2), you can turn all the individual components into a bumpin' home theater system!

Note: Your rear surround speakers must both be the same model or this just won't work.

There are a couple different ways to do this, especially if you have an existing system that you're adding to. We're going to show you the easiest way to set this up. Here we go!

How to set up a 5.1 surround home theater system with Sonos for Android

To make life easier, you're going to want to factory reset all of the speakers that you have set up already.

Once that's done we're going to start by setting up the Playbar, which will prompt the setup of the rest of your home theater system.

  1. Launch the Sonos Controller app from your Home screen or from the app drawer.
  2. Tap Set Up a New Sonos System.
  3. Tap Next on the welcome screen.
  4. Tap Standard Setup so everything stays wireless.

  1. Tap Next on the "Standard Setup" screen.
  2. Tap Set up this player. Choose the Playbar from the list, if it prompts you.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Tap Next.

  1. Tap I see an orange light once you see the orange light flashing on the side of the Playbar.
  2. Tap Next on the "Wireless Setup" screen.
  3. Enter your Wi-Fi password into the field.
  4. Tap Continue.

  1. Tap Next once the Playbar has been added to your network.
  2. Tap the dropdown menu.
  3. Tap the room in which you'll have your home theater setup.
  4. Tap Next.

  1. Tap Next once your TV is turned off.
  2. Tap Add a Sub.
  3. Tap Next once you have plugged in your Sub. As the screen says, it can take up to 30 seconds for it to register (it's not kidding).

  1. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  2. Tap Next once the Sub has been added.
  3. Tap Add Surrounds.

  1. Swipe left and right to choose which players you have.
  2. Tap Set up these players, once you've chosen the Sonos model that you have.
  3. Tap Next on the "Add Left Surround" screen, once you've placed the speaker where you like it.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions.

  1. Tap Next on the "Added Left Surround" screen.
  2. Tap Next on the "Add Right Surround" screen.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.

  1. Tap Next on the "Added Right Surround" screen.
  2. Tap Next on the "Audio Setup" screen.
  3. Tap Next once you have moved to a central location in the room from which you will watch TV.

  1. Tap No Difference if the alternating tones don't change in volume.
  2. Tap A is louder if the Sub sounds louder when the letter "A" is highlighted.
  3. Tap B is louder if the Sub sounds louder when the letter "B" is highlighted.
  4. Tap the play button to start the bass tones.
  5. Tap the bass setting that is most pleasing to your ear.
  6. Tap Next.

  1. Less than 2 feet
  2. 2 feet to 10 feet
  3. More than 10 feet
  4. Tap Next on the "Audio Setup" screen.
  5. Tap Next on the "TV Sound" screen, once your Playbar is connected to your television via optical cable.

  1. Tap Next once you have your TV turned on to a movie or show.
  2. Tap Next after setting your TV speakers to external. This can be done using your remote in your TV's sound settings.
  3. Tap Next.

  1. Tap Successfully disabled, once you have your audio output set to external speakers.
  2. Tap Next.
  3. Tap Next on the "Remote Control Setup" screen.

  1. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  2. Tap Next once your remote is set up.
  3. A message is displayed
  4. A volume level is displayed
  5. Nothing is displayed

  1. Tap Next on the "TV Messages" screen.
  2. Tap Add Another Player if you wish to do so and follow steps 3-13. Otherwise, tap Not Now.
  3. Tap Next on the "Sonos Registration" screen.

  1. Enter your email address.
  2. Check or uncheck the checkoxes, depending on whether or not you'd like to receive software and company emails from Sonos.
  3. Tap Next.

  1. Tap Use Current Location to allow Sonos to use your location as part of the registration process.
  2. Enter your zip/postal code.
  3. Tap Next.
  4. Check or uncheck the checkbox, depending on whether or not you'd like to send usage data to Sonos.

  1. Tap Next.
  2. Tap Next on the "Registration Complete** screen.
  3. Tap Set Up Music Services if you wish to set up a music service. Otherwise, tap Skip to Sonos Menu.

It was a long road, but we got there! Now you can enjoy immersive 5.1 surround sound thanks to Sonos!

Mick is a writer and duty editor for Android Central. When he's not on the job, he can usually be found vacuuming up pet hair or trying to convince his wife that he needs more guitars.
15 Comments
  • The only problem I see with this is the fact that Sonos speakers are very overpriced. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I might invest in a Bose system... Bose is kind of pricey too but I like their products. I had their old QC 20 noise canceling headphones, upgraded to the new QC 25 and I've been happy with both. So I figure, if I paid $300 for headphones, I'd be okay w/ paying $600-$800 for a sound system. And yes I know, people will say 'for that same price you can get this or that', but you know what? My philosophy is, if something works for me and I like it, I don't mind paying the price. Plus our living room is small, so a small sound system would suffice for now. My $0.02 *6P 64 gb Graphite (AT&T)*
    *iPad Air 2 64 gb Space Gray (AT&T)*
  • Plus, a good sound system is something that will last you for a VERY long time. So even if you pay more for Brand X than you might pay for an equivalent product from Brand Y, it's probably not a big deal over the life of the system.
  • Yep. I've bought Play:1 and Play:3 speakers as housewarming gifts for a couple of family members, and they really are nice. Sound is good, build quality is nice, software is well-designed, and they're attractive enough to have them sitting out in the open. That said, I bought those for some pretty tech-illiterate people. I have my house synced up using better, MUCH less expensive speakers and Chromecast Audios, and that's the method I suggest for most people.
  • Step 1: Spend an buttload of cash! Posted via my Nexus 6P on fi
  • Came here to post this. I considered Sonos so I wouldn't have to run wires everywhere. Priced it out at over $2k and then bought a roll of speaker wire instead.
  • I know you guys hate wires, but it's the only way. Posted from Nexus 6
  • Obviously not
  • Step 62- tap keg Posted from Nexus 6
  • How many people are sat in houses full of Sonos speakers, clueless as to how to set them up, to the point that they need a guide from Android Central to get them utilising their investment? I found the instruction set included with each and every speaker more than adequate, and the Android App itself completely idiot-proof. Pointless article. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That all equals one extremely overpriced 5.1 system which my
    Pioneer Elite receiver and 5 Polk Audio speakers and Yamaha sub outperforms at a lower price
    and I'm not limited by Sonos support for anything.
  • Truth Posted from Nexus 6
  • Same here except with Denon and Klipsch.
  • How about an in depth article on how to set up a 5.1 home system using Chrome Cast audio? Including the best speakers to use, how to make it all connected including the Chrome cast T.V. MrC05
  • Connect CC audio to your 5.1 receiver and your are done. Speaker are completely a budget issue, hard to recommend without a price point.