Need alternative to playbar or playbase for above fireplace TV

  • 6 June 2017
  • 2 replies
  • 1256 views

I've heard the playbar with sub and I think it sounds great. However, I'd like to avoid cluttering up my mantel with a soundbar. I have built-in cabinetry on each side of the fireplace. I'm thinking about using a connect: amp along with some high quality book shelf speakers and sonos sub. It's my understanding that the line out from the tv can go to the connect amp. Anyone do this and can tell me about the sound quality? I realize this is only a 2.1 stereo sound. I have a home theater in my basement for serious surround sound. I'm just looking for good quality stereo sound with good voice/dialog for casual TV viewing. I'm concerned I won't get that without a center channel speaker, but if I have to add a center channel I'll be back to square one and might as well go with a playbar.

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2 replies

One thing you should bear in mind is that any Line-In connection incurs 75ms of delay. The CONNECT:AMP's speakers could thus be perceptibly behind the TV picture.

By contrast PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE keep latency down to 30ms, which many wouldn't notice.
I realize this is only a 2.1 stereo sound. I have a home theater in my basement for serious surround sound. I'm just looking for good quality stereo sound with good voice/dialog for casual TV viewing. I'm concerned I won't get that without a center channel speaker, but if I have to add a center channel I'll be back to square one and might as well go with a playbar.
In my HT room, a 55 inch TV is very adequately supported by just a 2 channel NAD stereo amp, and a pair of quality stand mounts - Quad 11Ls to be specific. I don't miss a Sub, much less surrounds. I don't have Sonos in that room, but if I wanted it I would just wire a Connect to the stereo amp for music, and not have any latency issues anywhere.

The phantom centre channel effect, with the TV speakers muted is excellent with dialogue appearing to emanate as it should from the centre, but there is one problem with this set up - for all dialogue to be heard without straining to do so, the other sounds in noisy movies of today can be too loud for my ears/tastes. I therefore often use subtitles for even English movies as a workaround. The only way to address this fully is to have a dedicated centre channel + speaker so that it can be turned up without turning up the other channels. From reports here, I have found people with play bar also facing this problem. The full solution to this for you would be a AV receiver, with 2 main speakers and centre speaker wired to it, but then you would need a third party wired Sub as well for effects that would no longer otherwise be heard; in my case since all the sound from movies is reduced to stereo, the effects are also delivered to the front speakers that do a good enough job with them. A Connect wired to the receiver, with latter set to stereo mode, would then deliver music from the two main speakers, in sync with any other Sonos units in your home. Or, you could use the workaround I do for dialogue and use a stereo amp with a speaker pair and a Connect as the front end for music play.