Best Setup for Home Theater AND Stereo music

  • 19 December 2016
  • 6 replies

Userlevel 2

I am considering getting a Sonos Playbar so that I can orientate the TV and it's sound to either the lounge (primary consideration for sound quality) or the dining room (secondary) using a cantilever bracket on the wall between the two rooms with the Playbar hung below the TV on the bracket.

If at all possible, I would also like to be able to consolidate and simplify my stereo system and associated AV receiver, speakers and wires into the mix too, so that I have one integrated system for both my Home Theater and (importantly) a great sounding stereo music system too. If anything, good quality stereo sound is more important than the Home Theater side of things for me.

I have heard the Playbar on it's own and whilst it is great for TV, it is not strong enough for what I am looking for musically, it is improved by linking it with the Sub for a bit more oomph, but even after adding the Sub, it still does not give that proper stereo separation (wider sound stage) with the music filling the room for my taste.

Initially, I thought that perhaps a Playbar for the TV and a couple of Play 5's (situated in the lounge) for stereo music which would also add a bit of oomph to the Playbar would be the best solution for me, but (if my understanding is correct?) it is not possible to link the Play 5's with the Playbar other than in a Surround Sound configuration. Hence, I could not link the whole lot together for both music and home theater - I would only be able to use the Playbar for TV or the Play 5's for Music, which seems a bit of a waste and a shame.

It seems that the other option would be to go for the Playbar + Sub + 2x Play 1's so that they can all be used together, but in this configuration, I would want the Play 1's on the wall behind my couch in the lounge, to get the benefit of Surround Sound, but then they would be very poor for music (as they would be situated just behind the sitting position and close to you when sitting on the couch, rather than in front of you as you would want for a good stereo sound).

I am starting to think that trying to get a reasonable Home Theatre setup and a good sounding stereo music system from a Sonos setup is just not possible.

I am wondering if anyone can advise me?

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6 replies

Userlevel 2
Is there no one who can help me with this?
OK, I'll jump in. What you're asking for is a subjective comment, bot an objective one. The bottom line here is what suits your own listening style, not anyone elses.

That being said, I'll tell you about my setup in one room in my house. I have the Playbar plus sub and two Play:1s for the TV, This works fine for most things. When I'm doing more critical listening, I have also set up a pair of Play:3s for better stereo separation. But in all honesty, in another room, I have the full 5.1 setup for a TV, and I didn't feel the need for another pair of speakers there, because the sound from the Playbar et al for music is good enough, especially when I set the surround speakers to "Full" rather than "Ambient", which basically makes them a stereo pair that duplicates the stereo coming from the Playbar.

So it's entirely up to you. If you purchase from an authorized reseller, or Sonos themselves, you frequently have the option of returning them if you don't like them. Why don't you pick which setup seems to be most important to you and start with that, and then you could add if you felt it necessary, and return what you didn't feel like you needed/wanted?
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
One extra thing, if you have a PLAYBAR bonded with surround PLAY:5 gen2s you can have the music set to play Full instead of Surround. This would have the PLAY:5s playing stereo along with the PLAYBAR and really fill up the room.
I'm getting this set up delivered tomorrow. if you set music to play full instead of surround does the sub still work? Also is it possible to turn the playbar off when you want to play music?
Yes to the sub. It will be "bonded" with the playbar setup, so if you're playing music, it will use the sub.

No, there's not a separate volume control for the Playbar so that you could be using the sub and the surrounds as stereo (that I can think of....I'm not at home to check).
Userlevel 2
To close this out, I ended up purchasing a Playbar for the TV/Home Theatre and a couple of Play:5's for Music.

I find that I much prefer music playing through the Play:5's on their own as you get a much better stereo separation and the quality of the sound is fantastic.

I do use the Playbar at a lower volume than the Play:5's for a bit more room filling sound (along with the other Play:3's) around the flat when I have people round for a party or I am floating around all the rooms - I do love the Multi-Room audio!

I don't use the Play:5's with the Playbar when watching TV as they introduce a delay in to the sound that I don't like.

I doubt I will need a Sub (I was considering sharing one between the Playbar and the Play:5's) as both the Playbar and the Play:5's are both pretty capable in that department on their own.

Altogether very happy with the Sonos kit I bought.