Building a 5.1 system - slowly!

I've just bought a playbar, my 1st Sonos device and have to say that I'm impressed, it sounds way better than the bose stuff it's replacing. I'm wanting to slowly expand it to a 5.1 system as funds allow. What would people recommend to buy next? The sub or a couple of play 1's for the rear channels?

Also I can't mount the rear speakers behind the sofa as it's up to a wall, would the sound be right if they where out to the sides around 8' high and angled down to the seating position?


14 replies

In a 5.1 setup, the surrounds should be to the sides of the main seating area, not behind it.
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Go for the Sub next!
In all honesty, that's a hard call. When I first dipped my toe in the pool, I did the surrounds first (and you have to have a pair, just one won't work). Later on I added the Sub. I didn't expect the sub to be such an earth shattering difference (pun intended), but it really was. So, I'd tend to go with CapnLes, and suggest the sub, and then things become easier later to pick up a pair of Play:1s to act as surrounds.
Userlevel 2
Yes, I agree. Go with the sub first.
Thanks all, that was my feeling as well, just the £700 putting me off.
The bright side is I can sneak one in and put it behind the corner TV unit and my missus will never know that I've been spending money on more speakers! 😀
Userlevel 1
I think go for the sub first and you can avoid the impact of the dreaded DTS issue for longer as stereo PCM won't impact you as much. Hopefully by the time you get around to adding the surrounds there'll be more work around options for the surround sound issues.

Also the sub is absolutely awesome.:D
Is the DTS thing a big issue for a non-audiophile?
I've read about it but can't say i really understood it! All I know is that the playbar on its own whips the pants off the acoustimass system/onkyo av-amp I've replaced.
Userlevel 4
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Depends on the person. For me it is no big deal and I do not notice it at all, for others????
Userlevel 3
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I'll add my vote for the SUB first.. it really transforms the audio from the Playbar... (on a side note... that transformation is enough I can't image your significant other won't notice ;) )

when you eventually add them, place the "surrounds" to the side of your sofa - and they do not need to be/should not be elevated too high. I have mine on side tables and they are awesome (subtle though.... they are not primary audio, but provide ambiance so there isn't a lot of audio directed through them.)

as for the DTS issue.... I don't play discs for my movies.... so it is a non-issue for me... but that thread had been written many times on this board....
Being an impatient type of person, I've ended up with the play1 surrounds first. Only got them added to the setup yesterday, but 1st impression is good. Had to mount them high due to room layout, but on flexson mounts, so they are tilted down as far as possible.

Wifey is worried a sub will make it 'boomy' and wake the kids, we are in a bungalow so one of them is just across the corridor. I'll probably sneak one in anyway when funds allow.
Heh. Welcome to the addiction :)
Userlevel 1
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Reggit wrote:

Is the DTS thing a big issue for a non-audiophile?
I've read about it but can't say i really understood it! All I know is that the playbar on its own whips the pants off the acoustimass system/onkyo av-amp I've replaced.

Yes DTS is a massive issue for movies and bluray if you not willing to fiddle and work around. I manage to work around and manage to transcode all the dts movie sound to Dolby on the fly

I wouldn't recommend it if you not willing to put in the effort to get around the limitation.
Very impressed with the system in 5.0 guise, not even convinced it needs a sub.

As to DTS, 99% of what we watch is streamed either through an Apple TV 4 or Netflix. Think ATV only outputs in Dolby, that maybe why I dont see a problem?
I thought the same way, Reggit, until I purchased my first SUB. And I do still thinlk the Playbar does a fine job. It's just the transformation with the SUB makes it almost transcendental :)

Your opinion is the same as Sonos' claim. Nothing wrong with that, as long as 99% of what you watch is streamed, and only in Dolby Digital, but there's a large number of folks in our community who do like physical media, particularly Blu-ray, and are extreme audiophiles who want something a little bit more from Sonos. Both sides are "right", and it boils down to what Sonos feels is feasible with their technology stack, and what they're willing to produce and support.

I hold out hope for more, without complaining (too much) about the current implementation. Yes, I watch a lot of movies. But yes, I listen to a lot of music.


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