Dolby 5.1 input with just a Playbar + Sub (ie. without rear speakers)

  • 2 October 2016
  • 4 replies

Badge +1

I have had a playbar for about 6 weeks. Ultimately I caved in and bought a SUB to go with it today. It sounds great, but I have a question.

The Playbar + SUB is a 3.1 system. However, the audio into the playbar is 'Stereo' according to the Sonos app. When I set my DVR to output surround sound, I see Dolby 5.1 as an input to the playbar according to the app. The audio quality becomes softer with this setting. Is this because the rear speakers sound is completely lost? Or will the playbar 'downsample' the 5.1 input onto the 3.1 setup?

Put in other words, what is a better input for a 3.1 system? 'Stereo' or 'Dolby 5.1'?


Best answer by Craig L 3 October 2016, 16:10

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4 replies

Userlevel 1
Badge +2
Hi Apurva, glad to hear you're enjoying that new SUB's sound! You're right in saying that the PLAYBAR will mix down a 5.1 signal when there are no surrounds connected, though whether this will sound better or worse than just inputting stereo to the PLAYBAR is largely down to personal preference. Either way, no audio would be lost when playing 5.1 through a 3.1 system so feel free to experiment with each to see what sounds better in your setup. Happy listening!
Badge +1
Thanks for the answer Craig! I think dialog in movies sounds more distinct when choosing 5.1 audio, especially when there are other sound effects going on. But that may just be a bias I have, and it may just be due to the movies I have watched with the sub 🙂
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I assume the soundbar takes the surround info and mixes it into the side speakers and tries to simulate the surround (not losing info but redirecting).
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Here is article on how soundbars work in general.