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What is Sonos Trueplay? The audio tuning tech explained

Got a Sonos speaker at home? Then you may be familiar with the Sonos’ Trueplay technology.

There are several factors that can affect the sound from a speaker, and Trueplay is a piece of software that aims to make sure the speaker is sounding as best it can.

Launched alongside the Play:5, Trueplay has been a mainstay of the Sonos system ever since. But how does it work and what are the benefits?

What is Sonos Trueplay?

Trueplay is a piece of software that measures how sound reflects off of walls, surfaces and fixtures within a room that could affect sound. It uses this data to tune the speaker’s sound to compensate and optimise the speaker’s performance for wherever it’s placed.

Sonos knows that in most rooms, speaker placement is far from ideal and that most of us with multi-room set-ups value practicality and discretion over audio quality, which is why speakers get shoved into less-than-optimal positions.

Your One Gen 2 speaker might be tucked away in a corner of your kitchen or perched on a windowsill, and Trueplay will take the speaker’s positioning into account, so when you start the process, the idea is at the end of it you won’t have to worry about the sound being compromised.

How does Trueplay work?

Trueplay calibration is only supported on iOS devices. There’s no Android version because Sonos believes the wide-ranging number of OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in the Android market allows for inconsistency in the quality of microphones used across devices. A microphone in an affordable Android smartphone may not be of the same quality as one in a premium device, whereas microphone quality in iOS devices is more consistent.

The whole process of calibrating a speaker takes three minutes, and involves walking around the room the speaker is in and gently waving the iOS device up and down from your head to waist while tones across the frequency range are played from the speaker.

Sonos Trueplay iOS calibration

Your iOS device will pick up these tones and detect how they sound being bounced and reflected off surfaces in the room. This helps Trueplay understand the set-up of the room in relation to the speaker’s position and compares it the optimal sound the speaker would produce. With these measurements it can make the appropriate adjustments to fine-tune the speaker’s sound.

It needs a quiet room to work, so try to avoid bumping into things or making noise with your feet (or footwear). Sonos also suggests covering as much area as possible, and if you’re listening in a smaller room you should focus on the area where you’ll be listening to the speaker the most.

Which devices support Trueplay?

It’s easier to ask which products don’t support Trueplay. Only the Port, Connect, and Roam SL lack support for calibration technology due to these products lacking microphones needed to optimise the sound.

Trueplay is also supported when speakers are configured in a stereo pair, surround sound system or with a subwoofer connected.

What is Automatic Trueplay?

Automatic Trueplay, or Auto Trueplay, automates the calibration tuning process. It is supported by the Move and Roam portable speakers and jumps into action when the speaker is moved about or when new content is played, automatically re-tuning the sound to compensate for its new surroundings.

Like the standard version, Auto Trueplay works with speakers paired together but the microphones on both products must be enabled for it to work. Sonos says that it is disabled on the Move in Bluetooth mode when Google Assistant is added to the product.

Auto Trueplay can be disabled in the settings of the device in the Sonos S2 app.

Sonos Roam in garden bed

Is Sonos Trueplay worth it?

Changes in the performance can be subtle and not easily detected, and unless you’ve put the speaker in a strange place (like inside a drawer), you won’t always hear massive changes in the profile of the sound.

It is dependent on the acoustic profile of your room or environment, so it’s worth experimenting and listening with Trueplay on and off to hear the impact of it. You may find it works with it on or that it sounds better with it off, at least you have the option of finding out what’s best for you.

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