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Beam, Playbase or Playbar with 2 sonos ones?

  • 22 February 2020
  • 31 replies
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Hello,

I have few questions. Right now I have 2 ones and a sub. I want to add beam or playbase or playbar. Which of these do you recommend for a 5.1 setting and playing music? I have a 30m2 living room. The center speaker is only for vocal right? So it’s not important how the sound quality of this center is? I also want to use the center and 2 ones for playing stereo music. Do you recommend that, and so which center speaker? 
 

is 2 ones and a center speaker more powerful for playing stereo music instead of 2 ones only?

 

2 ones and a center is like 2 fives only for sound quality ? I doubted between 2 ones + center and only 2 fives for playing music. 
 

thnx so far

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Best answer by Airgetlam 22 February 2020, 19:09

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31 replies

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

I might be misreading your post, but in a 5.1 setup, your ones will be rear speakers. 
 

The Beam, Playbar or Base will provide two front channels AND the center channel while the two ones should be placed behind you and will serve as rears for surround. 
 

I have all three devices. The Playbar and Playbase are rather similar and both provide louder, more filling sound than the Beam. 
 

Of the three three, the Playbar is the oldest and doesn’t support HDMI or Airplay 2 and doesn’t have a build-in mic for voice control. If you don’t need to hang the speaker on the wall, I would skip the Playbar. 
 

The Base is a bit newer and thus support Airplay 2 but still doesn’t have HDMI or a build in mic. 
 

The Beam is the newest one, with HDMI and build-in mic to control Alexa or Google Assistant. HDMI is nice as it allows for better control with various remotes, for instance you can control volume using the Apple TV remote from your phone. 
 

The sound of the Beam is a bit tiny, but combined with a sub and the two ones it will do well for tv and movies. For music, I personally find it a bit lacking. I tried switching my Beam with my Playbar in a complete 5.1 setup for a short period, but I missed the broader and more full sound from the Playbar and switched back. 

Sonos does not make a ‘center’ speaker, nor does their software allow a setup that uses any of their speakers to act as one. All Sonos sound bars contain the center, left, and right speakers in the same enclosure, so if you use a sound bar, then you can’t have separate left and right speakers up front, but you can use them as the surrounds. All of Sonos’ sound bars are good, each has a slightly different feature set, as they were developed at different times. You should look at the one that has the most features that match your needs. 

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Thank yo both.  You know the ones support AirPlay 2 so I can use Siri with HomeKit app. So it’s not a problem for me to use playbar. The other things like mic or google assistend are not so important for me. 

I only want the best setup for the best price for playing music and watch movies. Maybe my question was not so clear. I will give you guys some examples for best music quality:

1.) 2x ones + beam +sub ? 

2.) 2x ones + playbar + sub ? 

3.) 2x ones + playbase + sub ?

which of the above settings is the best for best experience playing music? 
==================
question 2: if you have 2 ones and a sub, will the sound quality improve for music when I add a playbar or a playbase or a beam? 

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question 3: Is the sound quality of 2 ones + bar or beam or base equal as only 2 fives ( nothing else more) when you play music? 
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question 4: When I have 2 ones + sub+ bar or beam or base, and i want to add only one play 5. I want then play music thru al these speakers. Is there still a possibility to play STEREO music, or is only multi room possible with this kind of setting? 

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

The Playbar does NOT support Airplay 2. So skip that. 
 

Q1: Best sound quality, with support of Airplay 2, will be the Playbase. Much better sound than the Beam for music. So no 3. 
 

Q2: Yes. Significantly. There will be a huge improvement. For music, you can set the Ones to play as either surround (background) or full. I use full. 
 

Q3: Very different approach. You will have music surrounding you with the 5.1 system. Two fives will be great, but I believe a 5.1 setup with a Playbase and the Sub will be better - but that might be a matter of taste. 
 

Q4: Only multi-room. You cannot add anything more to a 5.1 setup. You can only group that system with other speakers.
 

 

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Thank you both! This was very helpful👍🏻
My setup will be: 2x ones + sub + Playbase.

Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Another option would be a Sonos Amp, a good pair of conventional Right and Left speakers for the front, your Sub and your Ones as surrounds.

I considered that and alternately using a non-Sonos sub here. When it came time to decide I went with the Beam (newest hardware) One SLs and a Sub. The integration and small system size won over the other concerns.

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Another option would be a Sonos Amp, a good pair of conventional Right and Left speakers for the front, your Sub and your Ones as surrounds.

I considered that and alternately using a non-Sonos sub here. When it came time to decide I went with the Beam (newest hardware) One SLs and a Sub. The integration and small system size won over the other concerns.

That’s indeed a good solution to use the amp but it will be more expensive. If I buy playbase then I’m finished. If I buy a Sonos amp then I have to buy at least 3 more speakers to get 5.1. But you are right… that’s another solution. 
 

The only downside of Sonos products is that they are expensive. For example you buy for 1800 euro a 5.1 set and after 8 till 10 years you have 2 change it or it’s broken. 

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Another option would be a Sonos Amp, a good pair of conventional Right and Left speakers for the front, your Sub and your Ones as surrounds.

I considered that and alternately using a non-Sonos sub here. When it came time to decide I went with the Beam (newest hardware) One SLs and a Sub. The integration and small system size won over the other concerns.

Mine is also 2 one sl’s with sub. I just need a playbase. So you are satisfied with your beam? Do you have room filling sound when you play music? Enough bass and volume? 
 

Sorry for my English. It’s not my native language and I’m from The Netherlands. 

Userlevel 7
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The only downside of Sonos products is that they are expensive. For example you buy for 1800 euro a 5.1 set and after 8 till 10 years you have 2 change it or it’s broken. 

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Mine is also 2 one sl’s with sub. I just need a playbase. So you are satisfied with your beam? Do you have room filling sound when you play music? Enough bass and volume? 

Why do you say that my Sonos gear from 2006 is still working just fine?

Have you been reading the click-bait scary articles about the coming Sonos Legacy modern device split and not the real info from Sonos?

I’m so satisfied with my Beam 5.1 that I bought two more after auditioning it for a few days. I have one in a 10x10 foot office, about 3 meters, another is in a 15x20 bedroom and the last in a big L shaped room about 20 wide and 30 down the arms. All do an excellent job of filling the room with music at reasonable levels, too old for party levels.

With the Amp you get a 4.1 system with a virtual center channel so you only need 2 front speakers.

The Amp advantage is the huge selection of speakers you can get, some make the Sonos speakers look like they only need an added strap to be headphones! My favorites at 105 dB: 1w/M https://www.klipsch.com/products/la-scala-al-5

 

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

It is really all down to personal preference. 
 

I had the luxury of having all of the Beam, Playbase and Playbar at the same time and was able to test them closely together. 
 

There is no doubt that the sound of the Playbase/Playbar is more satisfying than the Beam, especially for music.

 

The Beam is smaller and smarter which are also important factors. 

 

For pure sound quality, I believe the author has made a great choice. The fact that the Playbase supports AirPlay 2 also gives some comfort as to future use. Airplay will surely be around for many years to come. 

Remember, it actually is AirPlay 2, which replaced AirPlay. Sonos didn’t work with AirPlay directly, but does with AirPlay 2. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Hello,

I have few questions. Right now I have 2 ones and a sub. I want to add beam or playbase or playbar. Which of these do you recommend for a 5.1 setting and playing music? I have a 30m2 living room. The center speaker is only for vocal right? So it’s not important how the sound quality of this center is? I also want to use the center and 2 ones for playing stereo music. Do you recommend that, and so which center speaker? 
 

is 2 ones and a center speaker more powerful for playing stereo music instead of 2 ones only?

 

2 ones and a center is like 2 fives only for sound quality ? I doubted between 2 ones + center and only 2 fives for playing music. 
 

thnx so far

If you can I’d wait until May to see if anything new is being released soon. Sonos are clearly considering their options which quite honestly are being forced upon them by the increasing sophistication of the audio from the streaming services such as Atmos and DD+. They really are quite a lazy company who like to put as much of the responsibility onto the user as they can, they’re not going to get away with hiding behind poor excuses over DTS again as their customer questionnaire shows.

 

I like my Playbase 5.1 system but there can’t be any excuses for both the Playbar and Playbase not being updated so they both offer the same spec as the Beam so I’m pretty sure something’s going to be released soon.

How will you transmit DTS over an optical connection? I’ve never seen anything that indicates that is possible, but admit I haven’t looked extensively. 

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

How will you transmit DTS over an optical connection? I’ve never seen anything that indicates that is possible, but admit I haven’t looked extensively. 

By  “update” I think Beagle means release of new, updated hardware to replace the Playbase/Playbar. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

How will you transmit DTS over an optical connection? I’ve never seen anything that indicates that is possible, but admit I haven’t looked extensively. 

How will you transmit DTS over an optical connection? I’ve never seen anything that indicates that is possible, but admit I haven’t looked extensively. 

DTS can be transmitted over optical no problem, but Sonos have to pay the licence fee. They always said it wasn’t offered as they were all about streaming, not disc based systems. This made anyone wanting a decent surround experience buy a player that could transcode DTS to DD if the Blu Ray was a DTS only sound track. I knew this when buying my Playbase but am not about to thank Sonos for having to buy a new Blu Ray player. These days you’d probably have to buy an Xbox. I don’t think Sonos will ever offer it although some speculate they might when the DTS patent expires.

DD+ can be sent over optical, anything else needs hdmi And this is where I think Sonos are going with greater band width needed for movies and even Atmos music. Only guessing, perhaps we’ll know more in May!

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Hello,

I have few questions. Right now I have 2 ones and a sub. I want to add beam or playbase or playbar. Which of these do you recommend for a 5.1 setting and playing music? I have a 30m2 living room. The center speaker is only for vocal right? So it’s not important how the sound quality of this center is? I also want to use the center and 2 ones for playing stereo music. Do you recommend that, and so which center speaker? 
 

is 2 ones and a center speaker more powerful for playing stereo music instead of 2 ones only?

 

2 ones and a center is like 2 fives only for sound quality ? I doubted between 2 ones + center and only 2 fives for playing music. 
 

thnx so far

If you can I’d wait until May to see if anything new is being released soon. Sonos are clearly considering their options which quite honestly are being forced upon them by the increasing sophistication of the audio from the streaming services such as Atmos and DD+. They really are quite a lazy company who like to put as much of the responsibility onto the user as they can, they’re not going to get away with hiding behind poor excuses over DTS again as their customer questionnaire shows.

 

I like my Playbase 5.1 system but there can’t be any excuses for both the Playbar and Playbase not being updated so they both offer the same spec as the Beam so I’m pretty sure something’s going to be released soon.

So you think we will get new Sonos stuff in may? So maybe i have 2 wait then. Is this update every may? 
you’re talking about specs between beam and base. The only thing that the base doesn’t support is voice commands. I can do that with Siri/AirPlay2. You can even connect googles nest to add voice control. So that’s not a huge problem right? 

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The Playbar does NOT support Airplay 2. So skip that. 
 

Q1: Best sound quality, with support of Airplay 2, will be the Playbase. Much better sound than the Beam for music. So no 3. 
 

Q2: Yes. Significantly. There will be a huge improvement. For music, you can set the Ones to play as either surround (background) or full. I use full. 
 

Q3: Very different approach. You will have music surrounding you with the 5.1 system. Two fives will be great, but I believe a 5.1 setup with a Playbase and the Sub will be better - but that might be a matter of taste. 
 

Q4: Only multi-room. You cannot add anything more to a 5.1 setup. You can only group that system with other speakers.
 

 

Doesn’t matter if the playbar does not support airplay2. If ones support AirPlay 2 it wil also go to playbar 

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

The Playbar does NOT support Airplay 2. So skip that. 
 

Q1: Best sound quality, with support of Airplay 2, will be the Playbase. Much better sound than the Beam for music. So no 3. 
 

Q2: Yes. Significantly. There will be a huge improvement. For music, you can set the Ones to play as either surround (background) or full. I use full. 
 

Q3: Very different approach. You will have music surrounding you with the 5.1 system. Two fives will be great, but I believe a 5.1 setup with a Playbase and the Sub will be better - but that might be a matter of taste. 
 

Q4: Only multi-room. You cannot add anything more to a 5.1 setup. You can only group that system with other speakers.
 

 

Doesn’t matter if the playbar does not support airplay2. If ones support AirPlay 2 it wil also go to playbar 


That is unfortunately not the case. When the ones are connected to the Playbar as rear speakers for surround, the Playbar will control that group and will be the only speaker showing up in your apps etc. You will not be able to airplay to the ones connected to the Playbar as rears. 
 

Have a look at this previous post:

 

https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/will-airplay-2-ever-be-supported-via-surround-with-playbar-and-ones-6809385

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Hello,

I have few questions. Right now I have 2 ones and a sub. I want to add beam or playbase or playbar. Which of these do you recommend for a 5.1 setting and playing music? I have a 30m2 living room. The center speaker is only for vocal right? So it’s not important how the sound quality of this center is? I also want to use the center and 2 ones for playing stereo music. Do you recommend that, and so which center speaker? 
 

is 2 ones and a center speaker more powerful for playing stereo music instead of 2 ones only?

 

2 ones and a center is like 2 fives only for sound quality ? I doubted between 2 ones + center and only 2 fives for playing music. 
 

thnx so far

If you can I’d wait until May to see if anything new is being released soon. Sonos are clearly considering their options which quite honestly are being forced upon them by the increasing sophistication of the audio from the streaming services such as Atmos and DD+. They really are quite a lazy company who like to put as much of the responsibility onto the user as they can, they’re not going to get away with hiding behind poor excuses over DTS again as their customer questionnaire shows.

 

I like my Playbase 5.1 system but there can’t be any excuses for both the Playbar and Playbase not being updated so they both offer the same spec as the Beam so I’m pretty sure something’s going to be released soon.

So you think we will get new Sonos stuff in may? So maybe i have 2 wait then. Is this update every may? 
you’re talking about specs between beam and base. The only thing that the base doesn’t support is voice commands. I can do that with Siri/AirPlay2. You can even connect googles nest to add voice control. So that’s not a huge problem right? 

I don’t know when Sonos will bring out new products. But given the Atmos survey and their intention to concentrate new features on their newer gear, and an announcement in May I’d wait if you can.

Optical connections can’t support much more than compressed DD & DTS, for anything else you need hdmi. They could get away with just supporting Atmos music streaming and high res audio but that would stretch their home cinema claims beyond credibility. I’ve always maintained that Sonos are lazy and try and push as much onto the user as possible for instance making you use the tv as a hub rather than having ports on the playbar/base/beam. I don’t think that will change but support for high bandwidth audio formats is inevitable and certainly the playbar/base will not be able benefit from anything via your tv.

In the end it’ll be down to what features you want and when you want to buy.

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Hello,

I have few questions. Right now I have 2 ones and a sub. I want to add beam or playbase or playbar. Which of these do you recommend for a 5.1 setting and playing music? I have a 30m2 living room. The center speaker is only for vocal right? So it’s not important how the sound quality of this center is? I also want to use the center and 2 ones for playing stereo music. Do you recommend that, and so which center speaker? 
 

is 2 ones and a center speaker more powerful for playing stereo music instead of 2 ones only?

 

2 ones and a center is like 2 fives only for sound quality ? I doubted between 2 ones + center and only 2 fives for playing music. 
 

thnx so far

If you can I’d wait until May to see if anything new is being released soon. Sonos are clearly considering their options which quite honestly are being forced upon them by the increasing sophistication of the audio from the streaming services such as Atmos and DD+. They really are quite a lazy company who like to put as much of the responsibility onto the user as they can, they’re not going to get away with hiding behind poor excuses over DTS again as their customer questionnaire shows.

 

I like my Playbase 5.1 system but there can’t be any excuses for both the Playbar and Playbase not being updated so they both offer the same spec as the Beam so I’m pretty sure something’s going to be released soon.

So you think we will get new Sonos stuff in may? So maybe i have 2 wait then. Is this update every may? 
you’re talking about specs between beam and base. The only thing that the base doesn’t support is voice commands. I can do that with Siri/AirPlay2. You can even connect googles nest to add voice control. So that’s not a huge problem right? 

I don’t know when Sonos will bring out new products. But given the Atmos survey and their intention to concentrate new features on their newer gear, and an announcement in May I’d wait if you can.

Optical connections can’t support much more than compressed DD & DTS, for anything else you need hdmi. They could get away with just supporting Atmos music streaming and high res audio but that would stretch their home cinema claims beyond credibility. I’ve always maintained that Sonos are lazy and try and push as much onto the user as possible for instance making you use the tv as a hub rather than having ports on the playbar/base/beam. I don’t think that will change but support for high bandwidth audio formats is inevitable and certainly the playbar/base will not be able benefit from anything via your tv.

In the end it’ll be down to what features you want and when you want to buy.

Thank you for your comment. So the Sonos does not support high def music? Only until 16 bit? Ok I will rerun my ones en sub tomorrow. So it doesn’t support high def, dts, Atmos , HDMI and etc… I will return it for sure. I will wait until end of may and maybe I will buy demon home 150. It has hd sound and maybe later 5.1 and Atmos. Other brand is blue sound. These are better then Sonos. What do you guys think? 

Userlevel 5
Badge +7

Since you are in the Sonos-forum, I am quite confident that must users will prefer Sonos to other brands. 
 

Sonos has been making multiroom, smart speakers for a seriously long time. 

 

People call Sonos lazy, slow, ignorant...but I guess that is because they have gotten used to the fantastic development that has always been a guarantee with Sonos. 
 

They support almost any music service you can think of (for instance, they were the first manufacturer other than Apple that supported Apple Music). 
 

They are to date the only manufacturer that supports all three of Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri with built in mics. 
 

They offer such a wide range of speakers plus the AMP and the port, if you prefer passive speakers or require an advanced surround receiver for surround etc. 

 

Sure, Bluesound has some advantages, but they don’t support Atmos etc. either. I don’t think any of their products support voice commands via build-in mics yet (although it should be coming) so for now you need additional devices to enable voice control. They don’t support Apple Music (in fact they are telling customers that Apple does not allow third-parties like Sonos to add their service, despite Sonos having some just that...) and I am sure there are many other shortcomings. 

Denon is clearly better in terms of supported file formats and supports DTS, Atmos etc., but they have other shortcomings. Limited support of music services is one. In my opinion their app is less than elegant. Built in support for voice control is also said to be enabled in 2020, but still hasn’t arrived as far as I know. So not exactly front runners either.

Generally, I just believe I am better prepared for the future with Sonos. More than 10 years in and they haven’t disappointed yet. Oh - and their speakers look pretty great :)


 

 

Note that Sonos sued Denon for patent infringement, and won. Details of the settlement were not disclosed, to my knowledge, at least, but I would assume that Denon is likely paying Sonos some amount for every speaker sold. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

As I am “some people” I stand by not upgrading the Playbar to airplay 2 and hdmi after 7(!) years in production as really, really lazy. And not paying the licence fee for DTS is cheap when Sonos is anything but.

That doesn’t mean I dislike the sound quality nor do I underestimate Sonos multi room functionality.

But other manufacturers are closing the gap on what made Sonos unique. More than one company has thought they were too good to fail and rested on their laurels. They tend not to disappear overnight rather become less relevant over time. Maybe in May we’ll see what their plan is but as I’ve already said if it were me I’d wait before investing more money in their products.

 

I’m curious as to how they could afford to pay the license fee for all of the already sold devices, and In the case of the PLAYBAR, I have to wonder if there’s enough processing power or a chip to handle it. 
Would love to get DTS from Sonos, for sure. Just not sure I know enough of the needs requires to know if it’s feasible. Certainly should be on any future hardware, though. And I wonder about the Dolby Atmos market penetration. Is it enough to push Sonos into that area, as well? We’ll have to see. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

I’m curious as to how they could afford to pay the license fee for all of the already sold devices, and In the case of the PLAYBAR, I have to wonder if there’s enough processing power or a chip to handle it. 
Would love to get DTS from Sonos, for sure. Just not sure I know enough of the needs requires to know if it’s feasible. Certainly should be on any future hardware, though. And I wonder about the Dolby Atmos market penetration. Is it enough to push Sonos into that area, as well? We’ll have to see. 

Regarding DTS other manufacturers manage to pony up the money, I just bought a player that transcodes DTS to DD saving Sonos the trouble.

I think you’re right that the Playbar is lacking necessary components but that would be why it should have been updated. 
 

I’ve got a significant amount of Sonos kit, appreciate what it can do but am deeply frustrated by what it can’t. As you rightly said we’ll have to see what Sonos plan next!