Question

In place of the Playbar

  • 4 October 2016
  • 7 replies
  • 423 views

I currently have the playbar, but I cannot use it in the main room of the new house without ruining the look of a custom built in bookcase/wall unit. The TV just fits into the spot so I am left with few options. I have the sub which I want to use in the setup and I do not need surround. I do want center channel. Has anyone used play 1, play 3 or play 5s as the left, right and center or a combination of them?

Nate

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7 replies

Userlevel 7
I was concerned that the detailed responses were giving encouragement to the idea and you are more than aware of the number of posts on this forum of people bemoaning the performance of 2 Plays for TV sound.

If you took offense I apologise.


THANKS....Stuart_W

Your response is most appreciated. I can see where you may have interpreted my post as... "Go for it and you won't be disappointed". My only intent was to give background information on how to accomplish what the OP was asking...not an endorsement. I'll be sure to look deeper as to how my responses may be interpreted going forward. That being said we can only hope than in the absence of a clear "Yes or No" our posts are properly understood.

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I was concerned that the detailed responses were giving encouragement to the idea and you are more than aware of the number of posts on this forum of people bemoaning the performance of 2 Plays for TV sound.

If you took offense I apologise.
Userlevel 7
Frankly, not going to mince words, it is a rubbish idea.

- You can't get left, right and centre separation using just the Play 1, 3 or 5

- There will be a minimum of 70ms lip sync delay added (Audio to video) - It is quite possible that in itself would make TV/films unwatchable.

- Whilst a stereo pair of Plays would be great for music playback so would 2 surrounds in a 5.0 or 5.1 set-up.

I'd urge you not to make this compromise and if you can't make the Playbar work then return it and use your TV speakers.


I won’t mince words either…for you to call the OP’s idea (question) RUBBISH is rude and uncalled for. By the same token if you are referring to the responses given by Kumar and me….you’re out-of-line again.

The OP’s idea (question) is not one that isn’t doable. It may not deliver the best results (which I support your right to express your opinion on), but it’s not for you to decide that the entire concept is rubbish. I believe enough facts (pro and con) were presented in the responses offered by Kumar and me that would allow the OP to make an informed decision on his own. I’m sure you you’ll have a response to this, but if it’s presented in the same tone (manner) in which your original response was given don’t expect me to join in a game of back and forth. It’s not worth my time. Enough said on that!

To Nate…regarding left/center/right channel separation….Stuart_W is correct…you will not get that by any combination of Play 1’s, 3’s or 5’s. By omission in my post I assumed it may have been inferred….if not…my apologies for not elaborating.

The Sonos Playbar only SIMULATES (by illusion) left/center/right channel separation. In order to have TRUE DD-5.1 surround you need separate left/center/right speakers and left/right surrounds with a sub. Put simply…a true center channel requires that an AMP with an internal processor decode the DD-5.1 source audio to separate the dialogue from the other audio tracks (which is the main function of the center channel speaker). While the Playbar does an above average job compared to other soundbars; it’s still not true DD-5.1 channel separation.

Stuart_W is correct in that your TV speakers may deliver a comparable audio experience to using Play 1’s, 3’s or 5’s. However, IMO only Sony at one time invested in a built-in speaker array for one of its TV’s that were actually above average. That set sold for $5,000 at BestBuy! Sony discontinued the set (per a Sony rep) because consumers were not willing to pay the extra for the speaker array when they already had a decent DD-5.1 or 7.1 surround system.

Bottom-line is that you’ll have to decide if using Play 1’s, 3’s or 5’s is a better option rather than sticking with the on-board TV speakers. If you already have the speakers then no worries…but if you have to purchase them…make sure you can return them if you decide against.

You probably already know this but I’ll say it anyway….

“The only dumb question is the one you fail to ask. It’s better to be POLITELY corrected versus going through life in ignorance”

Cheers!
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Frankly, not going to mince words, it is a rubbish idea.

- You can't get left, right and centre separation using just the Play 1, 3 or 5

- There will be a minimum of 70ms lip sync delay added (Audio to video) - It is quite possible that in itself would make TV/films unwatchable.

- Whilst a stereo pair of Plays would be great for music playback so would 2 surrounds in a 5.0 or 5.1 set-up.

I'd urge you not to make this compromise and if you can't make the Playbar work then return it and use your TV speakers.
You will also have to adjust for a slight audio delay (lip sync) as audio is over wireless versus direct with the Play 5's or Playbar.

I mentioned not adding a sub with the Play 5's for the reasons I stated...To be clear you can add a sub in either setup (i.e. Play 5's, Play 3's or Play 1's) as the speakers can still be used as an independent Zone for music.
Cheers!

A small correction: the slight delay will occur with a wire connected play 5 as well, to allow it to remain in sync with other wireless Sonos speakers when paired or grouped with them, or with - as you have pointed out - the Sub when it is bonded wirelessly to it. It did not bother me when I used a Connect Amp based configuration and it doesn't bother most people, but is something to know. Muting TV speakers is a must though because otherwise the slight delay is enough to cause a distracting echo with the out of sync TV speakers.
The centre channel will be a phantom one caused by the effect of two speakers in the listening sweet spot, and in that spot it works quite well for a center speaker to not be missed.
An advantage of this set up over the play bar is that music will sound better via two separated L/R speakers, supported by a Sub if these are the small 1 units. The 5 units will do very well on their own in stereo pair mode.
You will also have to adjust for a slight audio delay (lip sync) as audio is over wireless versus direct with the Play 5's or Playbar.

I mentioned not adding a sub with the Play 5's for the reasons I stated...To be clear you can add a sub in either setup (i.e. Play 5's, Play 3's or Play 1's) as the speakers can still be used as an independent Zone for music.
Cheers!

A small correction: the slight delay will occur with a play 5 as well, to allow it to remain in sync with other wireless Sonos speakers when grouped with them, or with - as you have pointed out - the Sub when it is bonded wirelessly to it. It did not bother me when I used a Connect Amp based configuration and it doesn't bother most people, but is something to know. Muting TV speakers is a must though because otherwise the slight delay is enough to cause a distracting echo with the out of sync TV speakers.
Userlevel 7
Hi Nate

You can use Play 1's, Play 3's and Play 5's with your TV if you so desire. Play 5's require the least amount of setup to connect to your TV as they have a line-in and will deliver the best audio. Play 1's and Play 3's would require the use of a Sonos Connect as a go-between to get the audio wirelessly to the speakers.

Assuming you already have Sonos setup via Standard or Boost mode using another Sonos speaker or Boost I'll limit this conversation to getting your speakers setup with your TV.

Using Play 5's in stereo pair (create a Zone) position them to the left and right of your TV. Run a RCA L/R to 3.5 mm cable from the L/R line-out of your TV connecting the 3.5mm input to one of the Play 5's line-in. Use your TV remote to control volume. The sound may have a stadium effect unless your TV will allow you to switch over to "external speakers" (muting internal speakers) and still control Volume. Worst case scenario you'll use the Sonos Controller by selecting Line-in. Click the link for more information on how to use Line-in on a Sonos Product:

https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1091/kw/line-in/session/L3RpbWUvMTQ3NTU1ODg0Ni9zaWQvQUVFTS1kKm0%3D

You can add a sub but I don't think it would be necessary as the Play 5's are only going to deliver 2.0 stereo (and have decent low-end) vs. the Playbar that would process the audio for simulated or DD 5.1 surround using Sonos Play 1's or Play 3's.

To use Play 1's or Play 3's you will again set them up as a stereo pair Zone (i.e. Play 1's x 2 or Play 3's x 2). Next you'll integrate a Sonos Connect by running a standard RCA L/R to RCA L/R cable between the TV audio RCA line- out to the RCA line-in of the Sonos Connect. Place the Connect on your Sonos network and name it TV Audio (or whatever name you like). Now group it with the Play 1's or Play 3's. In this setup you'll have to use the Sonos Control App to bring the Connect on line to control volume. The sound may have a stadium effect unless your TV will allow you to switch over to "external speakers" (muting internal speakers) and control volume with Sonos Controller. You will also have to adjust for a slight audio delay (lip sync) as audio is over wireless versus direct with the Play 5's or Playbar.

I mentioned not adding a sub with the Play 5's for the reasons I stated...To be clear you can add a sub in either setup (i.e. Play 5's, Play 3's or Play 1's) as the speakers can still be used as an independent Zone for music. Temporarily disconnect the line-in from the Play 5's or ungroup the Play 1's or Play 3's from the Connect.

I hope this answers your question. Please post back with your decision/results.

Cheers!