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Opinions on Playbase/Sub/2 x One for listening to music


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Does anyone have the above set up and listen to a lot of music through it? 

I want to set up a 5:1 home cinema system but I am hoping that it will also work well for listening to music. Doing this will allow me to ditch the traditional hi-fi in the room and free up space.

As well as streaming from Spotify, I would probably link in my turntable & CD player as well through a Port.

How well does it perform as a music player and can it crank out a high volume without distortion?

 

Thanks

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Best answer by melvimbe 8 April 2020, 14:34

In my opinion, it works very well, but it’s really a subjective question.  The front channels doesn’t have the stereo separation you’re probably used to, but many don’t miss it.  As well, you have the option of playing full stereo, meaning stereo music coming through the rear channels as well as the playbase.  I’ve never had any distortion at high volume.

 

One option to consider is getting the Sonos amp instead of a playbase.  It can play your TV audio and has aux connections for your CD and turntable, so you would not need a Port as well.  You would be able to use your existing front passive left and right speakers, with a phantom center channel.  You can add the Ones and a Sub, same as you do with the playbase.   It’s not going to free up as much space as the playbase option, but if you’re hesitant to give up your current speakers, it’s a nice option.

 

 

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Actually it performs very well.   The sound is different as it is more spacial and room filling then a set of stereo separated speakers.

My opinion - great for parties and cranking up the volume.   But if your an audiophile type purist that wants to sit down and listen to the music with true stereo separation and no surround effect then your going to be disappointed.

Frankly - the room with my Sonos 5.1 setup is my favorite place to hear music loud.

 

 

In my opinion, it works very well, but it’s really a subjective question.  The front channels doesn’t have the stereo separation you’re probably used to, but many don’t miss it.  As well, you have the option of playing full stereo, meaning stereo music coming through the rear channels as well as the playbase.  I’ve never had any distortion at high volume.

 

One option to consider is getting the Sonos amp instead of a playbase.  It can play your TV audio and has aux connections for your CD and turntable, so you would not need a Port as well.  You would be able to use your existing front passive left and right speakers, with a phantom center channel.  You can add the Ones and a Sub, same as you do with the playbase.   It’s not going to free up as much space as the playbase option, but if you’re hesitant to give up your current speakers, it’s a nice option.

 

 

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Thanks for the quick replies.

Years ago I sat and listened to music through a quality hi-fi system for hours on end. But nowadays I just don’t get the chance to do this anymore and the hi-fi sits largely unused.

The TV is in one corner of our room so difficult to position the existing hi-fi speakers to use as part of a 5.1 set up. And they are very tall B&O Penta’s!

Normally I would go listen to some Sonos products in a store, but given the current Covid 19 situation in the UK, I can’t do this.

So I think I am going to order my proposed set up and try it at home. If it really doesn’t suit, then I can always return it under the 100 day trial arrangement.

90% of the time, we will be using it for home cinema or PS4 gaming, so a compromise on the music side is probably OK. The convenience of streaming and control through a single App appeals to me and I suspect the CD and vinyl collection will rarely see daylight!!  

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Sonos speakers tend to multiply quickly - you will probably get the urge down the road to get a Sonos Amp and put with the B&Os somewhere in your house.

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I think I’ll give the Sonos system a try  and then if I’m happy, I’ll sell the old B&O gear on fleebay.

I’m disappointed the Sonos Move’s won’t work as surround sound speakers because I had a thought that they could be used as such most of the time, but taken outside for BBq’s etc as needed.

However, I think you are correct Chris. Once I start with Sonos, I suspect they will multiply quickly :grinning:

There is a following for the older B&O kit, so it still has some value. The Pentas have their own Amps built in and take a pre-amp volume controlled signal from the main unit. They will take a regular amplified speaker input but then regulate that and amplify it again which I suspect screws up the sound quality. Whilst they are great speakers, they are very tall and have always been a bone of contention with SWMBO. Moving to the Playbase, a Sub behind the TV and the much smaller One’s as surround speakers will earn many brownie points as we remodel the sitting room and help justify the purchase! 

 

 

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Your Sonos Ones can be taken outside as well - you just have to plug into power outlet.

 

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That’s plan B !! It would have been handier with Move’s but no big deal to run an extension cable outside.

I like the idea that the Moves are water resistant as well. Less worry if there is a sprinkling of rain.

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I have several friend that have purchased a move since seeing mine 

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I’ve bitten most of the bullet and ordered the Playbase and two Ones. 

I am going to keep an eye on the refurbished section for a Sub as it doesn’t matter if it has a few marks and scratches as it will largely be out of sight.

Our TV is a relatively old Panasonic Plasma and as far as I can gather it doesn’t pass any Dolby Digital signals that it receives via the HDMI inputs through to the optical digital out port :disappointed_relieved: So I have ordered a three way optical switch and will connect the optical outs from the TV and PS4 to the switch, and then on to the Playbase. I’m not even sure if anything on regular UK DVB-T digital terrestrial TV is broadcast in 5.1, so TV viewing may be limited to stereo anyway. 

I’ll provide feedback on my thoughts about the system once I receive it and get it set up.

Thanks again for your input.

 

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The bug has already bitten. I have ordered a Sub as well, even before the Playbase and Ones have arrived! 

Delivery of all the components is due on Tuesday. Can’t wait.

 

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Well I have to say I am very impressed with the setup I ordered. (Playbase, Sub, 2x Ones.)

It all arrived today and I wasted no time with the installation.

Your descriptions of the sound were spot on Chris & Melvimbe.

For listening purely to music It does lack the true separation you get from a pure stereo hi-fi set up.

But it isn’t an unpleasant sound and those Ones certainly punch above their weight. I am amazed at the sound quality from such small speakers. For most people sat in our awkward shaped room the music will sound better than the old stereo set up as that was optimised for just one seating position. (mine!!!) 

My TV doesn’t pass any 5.1 audio through to it’s optical output, but after connecting the optical lead directly to the PS3, I was bowled over with the 5.1 sound stage when playing a BluRay of Phantom of the Opera in DD5.1.

I have ordered a three way optical splitter so I can take the optical outputs from the TV, PS$ and PS3 directly to the Playbase and maximise the DD5.1 playback opportunities.

 

I am glad I bought the Sub as although the bass response is pretty good from the Playbase, the Sub takes the audio experience to a different level, particularly when watching films.

After much searching on the web, I was able to find how to access the secret “Hotel” menu for my old Panasonic Plasma TV and through this could set the max TV volume to zero. There is no setting on the TV to disable the internal speakers, unless a Panasonic Viera Link Amp is used. With the internal speakers limited to zero volume, I could then program the existing remote to control the volume and mute functions on the Playbase.

 

Next step is to get to grips with the rest of the App functionality. I think I am going to set it all up on an old iPad air mini and have that sitting on a stand in the room.

Thanks again for all the previous replies and info.

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You’d already commuted to purchase when I saw this thread, but I fully agree with your comments. I’ve come to Sonos from a Linn system, and started with the Playbase. The narrow soundstage took a bit of getting used to, but with the One rears and the Sub it’s a great setup! 

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I’ve just spent an hour listening to more of my old favourites downloaded from Spotify at the highest quality setting.

I have also loaded the Sonos App on the old iPad mini and used the Trueplay tuning. The sound is certainly different when listening to the same tracks as before. More spatial is probably the best way to describe it.

I have the Ones set to “Full” on music playback rather than “Ambient” as I think they improve the sound quality for music when set in this way. I just need to let my brain adjust to the fact that the main guts of the music is coming more from the sides and not the front.

But it really is impressive sound and plenty loud enough when cranked up. I don’t think I will be availing myself of the 100 day trial return :grinning: .

It is also so convenient not to be messing round with CD’s and to have access to so much music on Spotify. I’m interested to see how things develop with S2 and higher definition audio.  

   

It really is a marvelous experience, delighted to read about you going through it.

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It’s been a week now since my Sonos equipment arrived.

The more I listen, the more I am impressed! As a surround sound Playbase system I don’t think it will ever replace the true stereo effect from a quality music hi-fi system, but it does a pretty good job. It has transformed the TV experience though when watching  films with a 5.1 soundtrack.

The 3 way optical splitter with remote arrived yesterday, so I am now able to connect the TV, PS3 & PS4 through their optical outputs to the Playbase. It was only a cheap one so the remote is pretty flimsy but it all works OK. At some point I will change the TV and I will make sure that there is pass through to the TV optical out, or an HDMI ARC output that I can get the 5.1 optical signal without the need for a splitter.

I spent many hours over the weekend ripping my entire CD collection (close to 3000 tracks) into FLAC format and have saved all the files on a cheap NAS drive. These are now accessible through the Sonos Music Library and complement other music that I have through my Spotify account.

 

Hoping this feedback may be helpful to anyone else contemplating a similar move to Sonos.

 

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Quick update : Sonos Connect (Gen2) now added to the system :grin:

I picked one up in really good condition from fleebay and it arrived today. 

As I type, I’m listening to John Illsley’s Never told a soul on LP. There’s something about LPs that I still find enjoyable even though most of my LP collection got duplicated by CD’s over the years.

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You might want to keep the optical splitter even if you do get a tv with DD 5.1 pass through. My tv has passthrough but it introduces a very slight delay between picture & sound so I still use the optical splitter (I have a playbar not playbase).
 

I also bought a cheap optical splitter but it works fine & I programmed my harmony remote so I don’t need to use the flimsy remote that came with the splitter.

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Further update :

After listening to more music over the past few days, I’m afraid I have concluded that I’m not 100% happy with the audio experience. :sob:

There is no doubt when watching movies that the Playbase/Sub/2x One works very well in providing an immersive audio experience. 

But for music on its own, I’m finding the Sub to be overpowering and the One’s lacking a depth of sound. I have tried dialling down the Sub volume and playing around with Trueplay and the EQ settings, but I just can’t find a sweet spot.

I am a convert to Sonos and love the concept so I am going to persevere with it.

I am going to return the Sub and Ones under the 100 day trial arrangement and replace them with a pair of Fives. I have watched some movies with the Sub removed from the system and I’m not missing the low down bass of the Sub that much. I’m hoping the Fives will add back in some of the bass missing from the Sub, but will provide a much better audio experience when listening to music on its own. If the Fives are overpowering when viewing movies I can always reduce the sound level to them as surrounds.

I gather there could be a Gen3 Five being released any day now, so I will wait before placing an order.

I will report back once the revised kit arrives.

 

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