Best setup for combined Kitchen/Living

  • 22 February 2019
  • 8 replies
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Hi,

I'd like to ask some opinions about my Living Room / Kitchen setup. I know a couple of people have asked similar questions, so apologies for the redundancy!

I've attached a sketchup of our open plan combined Kitchen / living. It's quite a large space at 6m wide by about 13m long. At the bottom of the drawing the RHS leads to an open hallway. At the top the glass doors open onto a back deck. Unfortunately there's a lot of hard and reflective surfaces, particularly around the kitchen (shiny doors, marble bench, floordboards etc). The living room is a little better as it has a couch and rug, but there's still a lot of glass and bare floorboards.

Ideally what I'd like to get out of the space is to feel the nice warm sound that I fell in love with when I bought a Play:1 and put it in my small bedroom. I actually love the treble and the highs in music the most, but it's not the same without the depth and warmth of the bass. In terms of music I'll listen to almost anything ranging from Whitney Houston to Disturbed to Dr Dre. Michael Jackson and Ed Sheeran get pretty frequently air time with my partner.

I presently have two Play 1's beside the TV. They are great, but only for high, trebly music. My thought was this: buy a Playbar for the TV, mount the Play:1's to the wall opposite the TV (up high) for surround sound, and keep this setup for about 6 months. Next add a Sonos Sub near the TV, and eventually add 2 x Play 3's (where I have the Blue squares).

When listening to music I'll typically be 30% in the kitchen, 60% in the living room, 10% entertaining out back on the deck.

I'd like to know people's thoughts on this, especially:
- Am I going to notice / dislike the fact the sound is coming from various different directions? (ie I've heard someone mention this about music with surround sound)
- Would this setup ensure enough depth through the space, or am I just going to notice it mostly in the Living space?
- I'm not married to this setup (and music actually takes a higher priority than the TV sound), so would anyone suggest other setups?
- If the setup looks fine, would I be better placing the 3's somewhere else? ie on the kitchen wall a the bottom of the pic (so the sound is projected to the back deck as well?)

The only disclaimer would be - while I know the Play:3's don't get talked about here, I'm not sure I could justify buying 2 x 5's after having spent the money on everything else (unless the consensus was that the 3's are a waste, in which case I'd buy 1 x 5, or just wait a few years).

Thank you for any opinions!

Gavin.

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8 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi gfhawk

Below is a snapshot of options you might consider. Please post back with your thoughts. Looking forward to your reply.

Cheers!

Option 1_depends on outlets that are convenient to power Play 1’s or Sonos One’s *
Beam or Playbar or Playbase for TV
Move Play 1’s to left and right of Sofa placed on stands as surrounds
Add a Sonos sub

Option 2a *
Beam or Playbar or Playbase for TV
Leave Play 1’s on either side of TV for Music Only _Add Sonos Sub
Mount Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 on wall for surround
Note: Distance and height are critical in wall mounting to maintain adequate surround effect. Typically you would not exceed 6ft (2M) above floor level.

Option 2b
Beam or Playbar or Playbase for TV_add Sonos Sub
Mount Play 1 x 2 on wall for surround
Leave Play 1’s on either side of TV for Music Only

Use Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 in dining area. Play 3’s while still supported are discontinued. The sound produced by the Play 1’s or Sonos One’s is actually equal or superior to Play 3’s depending upon whom you ask.

Note: In any of the senarios above you can use TruePlay to adjust the speakers to the environment. So not to worry about glass, wood, carpet or any other surfaces. TruePlay does require the use of an iOS device as Android is not compatible.

* Sonos Beam and Sonos One have Alexa Voice assistant. When Sonos One’s are used as surrounds with a Beam the Alexa function in the Sonos One is disengaged in favor of the Beam. Therefore Play 1’s are recommended to be used with a Beam as surrounds.

* Alexa remains engaged on the Sonos One when used as surrounds with a Playbar or Playbase.
Userlevel 3
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I have pretty much the same setup as you do with some minor differences, my is flipped with the kitchen and attached deck at rear. my loving area is also not as wide with the sofa against the wall opposite the TV and there is an extra living area between the deck and the kitchen

My set up is as follows
Living area:
A 5.1 system with a beam and 2 play 1s on stands on either side of the sofa and a sub
Dining area:
A discrete play 5 gen 2
Kitchen area
I have 2 pairs of in-ceiling speakers driven by a connect amp

This setup works for me as it allows an immersive movie watching experience in the living area and while the 5.1 setup is not bad for music, it is not my ideal choice but until Sonos allows the possibility to mute the beam and turn my 5.1 to 2.1 or I can convince my better half to allow more "horrible black boxes in the living area " I have no other choice.

The single 5 in the dinning area allows for very good quality background music when having intimate dinners with a few friends and I sometimes turn it up to music listening in the living room, usually with the TV on mute.

The in ceiling speakers allows for full coverage on the kitchen area where people are often moving around and is also ideal when friends are over as it has become the defacto hang out area.


Future plans:
In the warmer months when the deck will get more use, the plan is to move the play5 outside and when having a proper party to move the sub to the kitchen and bond it with the connect amp.
I have a play bar and TV waiting to be installed in the rear living area to ask as the kids play area and for some tv watching while in the kitchen, no surround needed.

I did lay down some speaker cables from my electronic cabinet (under the stairs) to the garden with the plan to get another connect amp and 2 pairs of outdoor speakers at some point in the future (highly speculative but it only cost the price of the cables)........ Thinking about it now, I may just get a pair of external speakers for the deck area and from time to time swap them with a pair of the in ceiling speakers... maybe, more thinking still required.

I hope my use cases helps you with your plans and decision making

C
Userlevel 7
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I don't disagree with anything said above, or really with the general layout you have. There really is a lot more good choices than bad choices I think.

The one change I would make is considering places the play:3s (or whatever speakers you go with) along the kitchen wall instead of the dining room wall, assuming you have plugs available. I like this approach because that will put all of your 'main' speakers along the same wall giving you a cleaner sound stage, if that makes sense. I also tend to think that dining spaces are usually best suited for background/lower volume audio, since you'll usually have conversations there. Since the speakers need to cover kitchen/dining area, you wouldn't want to silence dining room conversation to get audio to the kitchen. Yes, conversation happens in the kitchen as well, but typically not as much.

My setup is a little different in that my kitchen is 'behind' the living room, thus my play:3s are covering surround and full stereo when playing music. The dining room is off to the side and get's plenty of music from that setup without drowning conversation.

But you have the option of trying different position to see what's best.
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Thanks everyone for your input!

From what I’m gathering, the Play 1’s / Sonos Ones are decent for spreading around the house, and would be probably good enough with a couple on the kitchen bench added to the plan above (in place of the 3’s). Thanks @melvimbe for that suggestion of having them in the kitchen I think you’re right about background music in the dining area.

Thanks @Contemplative, it seems like maybe I’m overthinking it, and that I don’t need to question the setup!

@AjTrek1 thanks, it sound like what you’re saying is it doesn’t really matter whether I put the 1’s as surround sound, or if I leave them by the tv (I’ll try out both). Thanks for the tip about the 6ft high mounting as well. I think for now I’ll add a side board on the back wall and try the speakers on there.

What does everyone think about the Playbar as the biggest speaker for music? In the store it sounded stunning, and even more so when the sub was added and the sound frequencies were separated a bit more. Does it do that with the 1’s as well? ie shuttle more of the treble to the 1’s, while the Playbar does the mids and the sub does the bass (generally speaking)? If so I might have found exactly what I’m looking for.

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to reply!
Userlevel 7
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@AjTrek1 thanks, it sound like what you’re saying is it doesn’t really matter whether I put the 1’s as surround sound, or if I leave them by the tv (I’ll try out both). Thanks for the tip about the 6ft high mounting as well. I think for now I’ll add a side board on the back wall and try the speakers on there.

You certainly received some good suggestions from the other members which should afford you every opportunity to make informed decisions 🙂 I just want to clarify a few things in my suggestion. My comment about the Play 1's is that you have options in the following ways:

Play 1's x 2 upfront dedicated to music only. You would still use a Beam, Playbar or Playbase with the TV which would require a second set of Play 1's for surrounds. You'd have to decide if you wanted to use a Sonos sub with the Play 1's that are dedicated to music or with the Beam, Playbar or Playbase that is connected to the TV with the second set of Play 1's being used as surrounds. You could in theory switch the sub between the two set ups but you would eventually grow tired of the back n forth setup procedure. In the end (out of frustration) if you wanted more low-end on both you'd probably wind up purchasing a second sub :8

What does everyone think about the Playbar as the biggest speaker for music? In the store it sounded stunning, and even more so when the sub was added and the sound frequencies were separated a bit more. Does it do that with the 1’s as well? ie shuttle more of the treble to the 1’s, while the Playbar does the mids and the sub does the bass (generally speaking)? If so I might have found exactly what I’m looking for.

IMO using a single Playbar as a main speaker for music does not provide the same expansive sound stage as two Play 1's in stereo pair especially so if you add a sub to the Play 1's. The caveat to that is a Playbar with surrounds which can be set to switch over to FULL speaker mode automatically will envelope you with music when seated between them. In that scenario you may prefer it over two Play 1's in stereo pair with or without the sub. FYI, in my main media room I have a dedicated sub for my Play 5's (used only for music) that sit on either side of my TV with Playbar, surrounds and dedicated sub (used only as a HT setup).

The Playbar, Playbase and Beam provide L/C/R channels. There is no way to bring in other Sonos speakers to handle L/R channels and dedicate the Playbar, Playbase or Beam as a Center channel only.

Note: A sub will always make any setup sound better whether used to enhance a stereo pair or bring out the LFE in movies with a Sonos HT setup.

I hope this clears things up and alleviates any misconceptions I may have spawned in my original post. Cheers!
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Ah! Thanks AjTrek1. That makes sense.

I think, given this, I'm leaning towards:
- Buy Playbar, mount to wall under the TV
- Put 2 current Play 1's on a sideboard behind the couch
- Add a Sub later
- Add another 2 Play 1's (or One's) for the kitchen in a couple years
(I guess I could also leave the current 1's in the kitchen, and get surround sound 1's in a couple years)

Sounds like that will give enough for a great sound in the living room, enough volume to get out to the deck for entertaining, and a nice sound in the kitchen with the extra 1's.

Btw for the living room - If I had Playbar+pay1's+sub, but decided to mount the play 1's either side of the tv (and not have surround, but instead just use them for music), is this a pain? Does Sonos create a separate "when TV is playing" and "when music is playing" setting, or would I have to keep pairing and unpairing them? Probably not a big deal tbh, I could just put them in the surround (behind couch) position.

Oh, last question - does the Playbar make TV voices way better? I think my missus would kill me if I spend 1k on a sound bar and the voices were still sh1tty :|
Userlevel 7
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Hi gfhawk....Here my answers to your questions. Cheers!

I think, given this, I'm leaning towards:
- Buy Playbar, mount to wall under the TV
- Put 2 current Play 1's on a sideboard behind the couch
- Add a Sub later
- Add another 2 Play 1's (or One's) for the kitchen in a couple years
(I guess I could also leave the current 1's in the kitchen, and get surround sound 1's in a couple years)


Either of the above arrangements would work. However when adding the extra speakers I'd opt for Sonos One's to get Alexa voice assistant; if that interests you. Also, I'd place the additional Sonos One's (or Play 1's) in the Kitchen. More on that later.

a nice sound in the kitchen with the extra 1's.

The Play 1's or Sonos One's that you place in the Kitchen are basically portable. You could actually move then to the deck if there is electrical available. Note: If they are setup as a stereo pair in the Kitchen you'd have to move both to the deck or you could break the stereo pair which IMO is a real pain going through the pairing process again. If they are set as singles in the Kitchen you could just move one to the deck. However, setting them as singles in the Kitchen doesn't make sense.

Btw for the living room - If I had Playbar+pay1's+sub, but decided to mount the play 1's either side of the tv (and not have surround, but instead just use them for music), is this a pain? Does Sonos create a separate "when TV is playing" and "when music is playing" setting, or would I have to keep pairing and unpairing them? Probably not a big deal tbh, I could just put them in the surround (behind couch) position.

If you had Playbar + Play 1's + Sub (and taking your statement literally) you would have BONDED all components together as a unit. Which means the Play 1's would not be mounted to either side of the TV as they would be on the board behind the sofa..

If you chose only to BOND the Playbar and Sub then yes, you could place the Play 1's on ether side of the TV and they would be dedicated to music. In that scenario they would not interact with the TV unless you GROUPED them to the Playbar. Doing so IMO would produce a terrible sound. To save you money regarding the Living room I call your attention to a statement I made in my previous post:

A Playbar with surrounds which can be set to switch over to FULL speaker mode automatically will envelope you with music when seated between them.

NOTE: YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE BREAKING A STEREO PAIR NOR UN-BONDING SPEAKERS ON A REGULAR BASIS. IN FACT AFTER THE FIRST TIME YOU'D REALIZE THE FOLLY OF YOUR EFFORTS 😞 :P

Note: Each Speaker, Stereo Pair or Bonded Units (ie. Playbar, Sub and or surrounds) are designated as a room (zone). Rooms can be GROUPED to send the same audio signal to all speakers. Grouping unlike Pariing or Bonding can be broken at any time. Sonos is designed to allow grouping and un-grouping of rooms (zones) with ease.

Oh, last question - does the Playbar make TV voices way better? I think my missus would kill me if I spend 1k on a sound bar and the voices were still sh1tty :|

In general for 99% of the world population....Yes! Don't ask me where I got that statistic...just pulled it out from you know where :8 Seriously, there has been on rare occasion a post or two in this forum of complaints about the vocals with the Playbar. IMO it's more to do about the room and the signal. There are adjustments for lip-sync and overall sound characteristics for the Playbar in the Sonos app. Don't forget about TruePlay tuning I mentioned in my original post. We wouldn't want the wife to go ballistic ;)

Final Note: Using Sonos One's as surrounds can be problematic as the mics may pick-up Alexa or words that sound like Alexa and disrupt your TV enjoyment. Therefore, I strongly recommend using Play 1's for surrounds.
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Brilliant, thanks! Decided, I'll start with the Playbar and go from there 🙂 Thanks so much for your help (I love the tip about bringing out the speakers to the back deck for a bbq too, that's perfect!)