Convince me to buy Sonos Playbar over Bose 300

  • 21 April 2017
  • 69 replies
  • 108903 views

Hi All,

My wife likes the Sonos Playbar, while I like the Bose 300.

I have owned Bose products in the past.
Listening to the demo at Best Buy, the Bose sounds better. The sales people say the Sonos demo is not very good.

Being a professional nerd, I research everything.

I have been monitoring both user support sites and I am having second thoughts about the Bose.

There sure SEEMS to be a lot of basic issues with software updates on the Bose side. Slow or no responses.

Both are the same price so nothing to go on there.
As we get "older" it is more important to have clear dialog and not knock pictures off the wall when a car explodes.

We mostly watch movies, sports and TV. Some music but not the priority. Harmony remote and Alexa.

My main question is, from the communities perspective, would you buy it again and any comments of why Sonos is better than Bose? How has the support been? Are they listening to you? Do updates break more than they fix?

Another Note: My wife will ONLY be accessing through Harmony remote and maybe Alexa.
She is not a smart phone kind of gal.

Thank you for any guidance!

69 replies

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Don't do it!! I've only had limited experience of the Bose system in highstreet stores, but the customer support can't be worse than Sonos.

To explain here's my review on GooglePlay:

"
I spent almost £3k with Sonos just before Xmas and it's the worst decision ever. It's a shame because the sound quality is superb and doesn't skip a beat in terms of room syncronisation, BUT I've wasted so many hours trying to resolve the many issues encountered; 1.No option to 'share with / send to / cast to' (i.e. music must be managed from within Sonos app only), 2.Sonos mini apps have limited functionality so familiar interfaces and functionality can't be enjoyed (TuneIn radio doesn't even allow you to login to your own account!), 3.No access to world's most popular steaming service YouTube (inc. YouTube Red), 4.Viewing music on local device 'by folder' option not available (but option is available in the library), 5.PowerLine network not supported, 6.Room volume limits cannot be set, 7.Cross-fade option not available, 8.Updates more often than Microsoft Windows! 9.Customer support is quick to respond to simple queries (i.e. issues found in the FAQ) but refuse to address or even acknowledge everything else.

SUMMARY: Sonos you really must try harder, you've been around for a while so your customer experience should be a example to other manufacturers. At the very least provide a formal explaination for the above issues which are repeatedly being discussed in forums (i.e. update your FAQ). Ultimately the customer and manufacturer relationship is symbiotic, customer feedback helps manufacturers design better products (and generate more revenue), hopefully the Sonos support team pass this feedback to the Product Manager and we see improvement in the near future.

#NotHoldingBreath
"
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You don't say whether or not you would be looking to make the system 5.1 (IE Add a SUB and surrounds). Either way the biggest "challenge" may be to ensure that if you are concerned about getting 5.1 then you need to ensure that the Player is fed a DD5.1 signal - Some TVs won't pass through DD5.1 (They convert it to stereo) and if the Player receives DTS (Say from a BluRay) then you won't get any sound.

That being said. My experience is the polar opposite of MrPassey. The ease of setting up, sound quality and access to thousands of radio stations, all your music and many streaming providers means that you risk having a mini Sonos expansion very quickly.

NONE of the "limitations" mentioned by MrPassey have ever caused me any problems - There aren't that many updates and besides how can you on the one hand complain about lack of functions and then moan when new facilities are added (Think TruePlay, Spotify direct play and soon to come voice control)?
Thank you both for your input.

I currently have a 5.1 surround running through my receiver. Everything goes through that so the receiver is on all the time. Lots of heat. The wife hates the wires and stands for the surround speakers and wants them gone. The compromise is that I get a good sound bar with sub. I can see adding the 1 speakers though. Adding speaker in other rooms is intriguing. My TV is a Sony that is about 5 years old and has an ARC hdmi output. I am looking at running all the hdmi (Cable box, PlayStation 3, receiver) to the TV (has enough ports) and only turning on receiver when we want to listen to local radio.

I am in an analysis paralysis!
I share Stuart_W's experience. And your Sony TV should be fine, I had a couple of them that were around 10 years old, and they were exceptional TVs, and passed 5.1 just fine.

I'm a fan of Bose only for their Noise Suppression headphones. But I'm concerned about the lawsuit just announced claiming that Bose has been selling customer information improperly. And the fact that they've changed their music software several times over the last several years makes me thing they're still looking for a good streaming solution, where Sonos has been solid since they've released, and still supports most of the equipment they released.

Frankly, neither company is perfect. But if I were to recommend something to my friends today, it would be Sonos. All day, every day.
7.Cross-fade option not available [...]
Positively! 🙂


My wife likes the Sonos Playbar, while I like the Bose 300.

Listening to the demo at Best Buy, the Bose sounds better.
Another Note: My wife will ONLY be accessing through Harmony remote and maybe Alexa.
She is not a smart phone kind of gal.

Some more points to mull over:
1. Domestic harmony usually trumps all else
2. In just a little while, people get used to what is being used where audio sound is concerned, so focus more on features/ease of use/system stability and the like
3. Using Sonos is best done using a smart phone. I can't comment on how Bose will work via the quoted interfaces.
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To be fair I started off with just one Sonos device, a Playbar in the living room it sounded great, and was even able to bypass the Youtube issue by accessing it via the TV, life felt good. Then I made the mistake of expanding, the aspriation being to connect all the main rooms in the house, and this is when the dissapointment really started.

Alas, as you're probably already aware, there are some super serious Sonos advocates in this forum, and I confess I am envious they appear to have found their audio utopia, BUT before you make your final decision I seriously recommend first speaking face-to-face with friends, colleagues, anyone who already have Sonos. I say this because I ignored the advice mine gave me, arogantly thinking I'll buy the latest greatest and everything will be fine. My wife mocks me now as I type, sarcastically telling me life is full of lessons, before proceeding to turn on the old Marantz stack system and plugging the jack cable into her iPhone.

NOTE1: only one of four friends appears to have Sonos working reliably (probably because they have just a Playbar located right next the wifi router and only play Spotify or their phone content).

NOTE2: it's all about the customer support, and the large number of customers with unresolved issues on this forum suggests this is not a priority for Sonos.

#KeepItSimple

P.S. I'm now saving up to hardwire the house, thus am willing to sell all of my four month old Sonos equipment at pre-March prices 😉

NOTE2: it's all about the customer support, and the large number of customers with unresolved issues on this forum suggests this is not a priority for Sonos.

Unfair and inaccurate comment; where is your data to back this up? - with unresolved issues being defined to be systems that aren't working as they should even after posting diagnostics here or elsewhere with Support, and not issues related to desired features that are not being implemented. There is always plenty of noise about the latter, some perhaps justified, but that is a different subject.

I have a 4 zone system that has worked flawlessly for 99% of the time since 2011. Some attention from my end to glitches and solving them as they arose with help from users here and from Support is responsible for that satisfactory up time. And there are many such people here and elsewhere. How else could Sonos be on an increasing sales curve for 12 years?
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You can cast google play music directly to sonos using an android controller/tablet, avoiding the sonos app if you prefer (although other people have recently reported problems on here)
My sonos play1's never have missed a beat in 2years .It really is all down to how good your house wifi is. SkyQ forum is also full of people whose wifi is problematic, happy customers do not post online much.
If you are hardwiring your house with Ethernet, your sonos should be super reliable.

My playbar/playbase problem would be lack of DTS support ie no sound from PS4/PS3 blu-rays/UHD discs, which bose can support.
The op should look into whether new playbase would sound better as well.
It really is all down to how good your house wifi is.
Quite right. And for Sonos and for every make that offers streaming audio, the house WiFi needs to be working better than for most other uses for it, where small issues don't get noticed. Therefore the nature of the tech is such that some attention may be needed at times. If that can't be given for whatever reason, wireless streaming isn't for such people. Never mind who makes the kit.
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As we get "older" it is more important to have clear dialog and not knock pictures off the wall when a car explodes.

We mostly watch movies, sports and TV. Some music but not the priority. Harmony remote and Alexa.


After a week or two with the Playbase, I am happy. I had to go through some hoops to get 5.1 via my TV (using an HDMI switch) and add a Harmony Remote, but things are working well. Sound wise it fits the bill - I needed something that would deliver clear dialog, reasonably deep bass and integrate in my current Sonos environment. After two Trueplay tunings, the Playbase sounds full and clear. I have separate HT setup with projector for bog screen movie viewing, but for most viewing, the Playbase on my 50" plasma is prefect for someone who wants a single box solution that delivers a clear, full representation of all forms of TV content.

As an aside, the support for Sonos is a factor - forums like this help facilitate a better listening experience.
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Back to your original post - yes, the Sonos store demo is terrible.

I've been using the Playbar in a 5.1 setup for about 6 months. Contrary to the 2 previous soundbars/surround setups I tried (Sony and Vizio) the Sonos system just plain works. I've never had to reset it or deal with any software glitches. With the Sony & Vizio systems this was almost a daily occurrence. I never tried the Bose system though. But I did listen to the Bose Soundtouch 300 in a store and thought it sounded as good as the Sonos.

My main gripe with the Sonos Playbar is the lack of an HDMI input and support for the newer codecs like DTS, Atmos. Do you plan on using a 4K Blu-ray player in a 5.1 configuration? If so I recommend the Bose system. With the Playbar only supporting the aging Dolby Digital 5.1, I had to spend a lot of time finding a 4K Blu-ray player that had the feature to transcode all of it's audio to DD5.1. So, I had to settle for the Samsung K8500 and couldn't get the player I really preferred.

If the DD5.1 isn't an issue for you, then I recommend the Sonos Playbar with the sub-woofer. It really sounds good and the software/firmware is very stable.
Thank you ALL for your help! The good and bad.
I have very fast wifi so that is not an issue.

Besides wanting great sound today, i want this system to work with any future equipment.
It seems like the Sonos has some limitations that concern me.

Time to make a decision! Next week, maybe.
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Well, you said it right there - "I want this system to work with any future equipment". No way you can go with Sonos. They've proven with the recent release of the PlayBase that they're sticking with old tech.
On the other hand, Bose is on the third generation of their multi-room system in a little over three years, with some older features now unsupported. Whereas Sonos units going on 12 years old are still supported fully.
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On the other hand, Bose is on the third generation of their multi-room system in a little over three years, with some older features now unsupported. Whereas Sonos units going on 12 years old are still supported fully.


Yes, tom12 is entitled to feel disappointed that the Playable didn't tick HIS boxes but that is NOT to conflate disappointment with lack of flexibility or expandability.
Currently I have a Sony model KDL55NX810, PS3 that is used for games as well as watching DVD/Blu Ray and streaming.
Charter HD cable box and Yamaha receiver. We do have the Alexa and would be very beneficial to control volume using that.

Everything is connected to the receiver with the TV being connected to the ARC HDMI.
That means the receiver is always on.

At some point the TV, PS3 (Maybe just get PS4) will be upgraded.
I want this soundbar to continue to function as expected.

I am sure the people at Best Buy are getting tired of me stopping buy.
I am not a big fan of anything fancier than a 2 channel amp driven speaker pair for TV so I am not affected by all the formats and the churn and the "progress" and its consequences for audio kit for TV. And Sonos may not meet all these expectations.

But for music in the home, I believe that Sonos is adequately future proofed. Voice control too will be an added feature to kit bought even ten years ago. Life is lot simpler for music lovers.
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I exist in both worlds, Bose and Sonos.
I have a Sonos music system which does exactly what it says on the tin and what I bought it for, music that is.
I also have a bose soundtouch 130 which is the precursor to the 300 system.
The bose is dead easy to use and sound really good with tv, movies and such. But when it comes to music I really don't care for the bose.
Thing is, I bought the bose system over the sonos playbar because and only because of the apparent lack of connectivity in the playbar. I actually preferred the sound from the sonos playbar by a small margin.

The bose still sounds excellent and when I had owned it for a year and a half I deceided to try the soundtouch app for the first time.
Took me about 5 mins to set up.
Both systems are stable on my network but for music I prefer Sonos.
Tv and movies, it's a matter of taste. For me I'm not missing anything using the Bose.

if I were to do it again knowing what I know now I would go with the playbar.
If you intend to listen to music using either of these systems, the playbar sounds better in that regard.

I think that connectivity limitation is a lot smaller problem than I first thought.

My main use of a tv is streaming, netflix and all that so a playbar would be all I needed.
But if you are a blueray fan and want an epic home theater set up, neither of these will do.

I hope this helps.

Brg

Geiri
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Currently I have a Sony model KDL55NX810, PS3 that is used for games as well as watching DVD/Blu Ray and streaming.
Charter HD cable box and Yamaha receiver. We do have the Alexa and would be very beneficial to control volume using that.

Everything is connected to the receiver with the TV being connected to the ARC HDMI.
That means the receiver is always on.

At some point the TV, PS3 (Maybe just get PS4) will be upgraded.
I want this soundbar to continue to function as expected.

I am sure the people at Best Buy are getting tired of me stopping buy.


Sonos have designed their soundbar solution with the simplest of connectivity - It connects to the audio source using an optical cable and can decode various audio formats (Stereo, PCM, Dolby Digital 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1). Given the Sonos track record we can assume that further iterations of the Sonos product line will still, at least, support those formats and inputs.

It is this simplicity of set-up that is at the very heart of much of the fiercest criticism for the Playbar - No HDMI audio input. This has 2 direct consequences - 1) The Playbar cannot support DTS nor Dolby Digital + 2) Many TVs do NOT pass through a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal OUT through their optical audio connection.

In other words Sonos rely to a large extent on how TV manufacturers deal with the audio signal that they receive via HDMI and then output via optical. Obviously in an ideal world all TVs would simply pass through what they received in terms of audio input and/or recoded to the format of the user's choice. But given that many TV manufacturer's also have TV soundbar offerings it is self evident that they would not necessarily design their hardware to function perfectly with that of a competitor - In other words there are also complicated commercial imperatives at play here.

That being said, if you take on board my first paragraph I don't think you can go far wrong.
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Lack of HDMI on Sonos has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of DTS decoding. Optical can pass that through just fine - it was just a decision that Sonos made, for whatever reason.
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Lack of HDMI on Sonos has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of DTS decoding. Optical can pass that through just fine - it was just a decision that Sonos made, for whatever reason.

You're right, my bad.
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Lack of HDMI on Sonos has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of DTS decoding. Optical can pass that through just fine - it was just a decision that Sonos made, for whatever reason.

You're technically correct. But I don't think there's a TV on the market that passes DTS out it's optical port. Hence the need for an HDMI input. I think we all accept the fact that the Sonos Playbar/Sub/Play1 would be an inferior DTS or Atmos system. compared to a discreet system. But, we just want the ability for the Playbar to accept these formats so we can enjoy some semblance of surround sound instead of what we get now - either no sound or just stereo.
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Lack of HDMI on Sonos has nothing whatsoever to do with lack of DTS decoding. Optical can pass that through just fine - it was just a decision that Sonos made, for whatever reason.

You're technically correct. But I don't think there's a TV on the market that passes DTS out it's optical port. Hence the need for an HDMI input. I think we all accept the fact that the Sonos Playbar/Sub/Play1 would be an inferior DTS or Atmos system. compared to a discreet system. But, we just want the ability for the Playbar to accept these formats so we can enjoy some semblance of surround sound instead of what we get now - either no sound or just stereo.

Sorry I don't follow. While an HDMI port would be nice, Sonos believes it wouldn't be 'simple' enough to connect to a system with one. I don't happen to agree with that but can see a tiny bit of what they mean. However, if people say the reason we have no DTS is due to the lack of HDMI port, it should be corrected because they're completely unrelated. There is no link - and if the Playbar/Playbase decoded DTS then things would undoubtebly be very, very much simpler for pretty much everybody. There would be no need for an optical splitter, no need for a new BD player to transcode DTS to DD - and ironically, probably LESS cabling and potential for confusion. It could even be directly connected to devices easier. It would also play full discrete 5.1 audio from DTS-HD discs too as that audio also carries the core DTS signal too.
I really don't at all see that most would agree that if the system with a Playbar and Sub and Play 1's that could decode DTS/Atmos would be inferior to a discrete system. Why do you think most would - I think the addition of DTS with a Sub and P1's would make a great system with many benefits above a 'discrete' system.
Oh, regarding there being no TV's on the market that pass through DTS, erm, mine does and I'm pretty sure there are others too. I take a DTS signal into my TV's HDMI and it passes it through the optical port into my Amp.
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Agree with everything sjw says.
My Lg oled B6 also passes DTS from HDMI to optical, also noticed DTS:X appear from some blu-rays through PS4.

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