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Playbase Dialog Issues


I’ve been using my playbase as the primary speaker for watching television for several months, and I am still unable to configure it to produce proper sound for dialogue.

This is extremely frustrating and disappointing. IT SUCKS!

I have meddled extensively with the EQ settings, voice enhancement , and night mode. The midrange sound produced by Playbase for dialogue is unacceptable, especially for such an expensive piece of hardware from a brand I’ve trusted & enjoyed for nearly a decade. Dialog sound is muddled, tinny, distorted and narrow.

I see on the boards this is a very common complaint, especially among audiophiles and existing Sonos customers who have enjoyed their other products.

The Playbase appears to be an epic fail.

I am at my wits end. I’m going to demand a full refund from Sonos unless this is resolved in the next 24 hours. I’m just sick of it.

???????
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Best answer by Jeff S 27 August 2018, 20:35

I’ve been using my playbase as the primary speaker for watching television for several months, and I am still unable to configure it to produce proper sound for dialogue.

This is extremely frustrating and disappointing. IT SUCKS!

I have meddled extensively with the EQ settings, voice enhancement , and night mode. The midrange sound produced by Playbase for dialogue is unacceptable, especially for such an expensive piece of hardware from a brand I’ve trusted & enjoyed for nearly a decade. Dialog sound is muddled, tinny, distorted and narrow.

I see on the boards this is a very common complaint, especially among audiophiles and existing Sonos customers who have enjoyed their other products.

The Playbase appears to be an epic fail.

I am at my wits end. I’m going to demand a full refund from Sonos unless this is resolved in the next 24 hours. I’m just sick of it.

???????


Hi there,

Welcome to the community. It's not normal for the Playbase to have muddled sound. In fact, my Playbase sounds great for dialog and music. It looks like you have Trueplay enabled, have you tried disabling Trueplay, or running through the setup again? Does it make a difference?

If not, it might be best to work this issue live with our phone team. Please give us a call, our phone number can be found here.
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I’ve been using my playbase as the primary speaker for watching television for several months, and I am still unable to configure it to produce proper sound for dialogue.

This is extremely frustrating and disappointing. IT SUCKS!

I have meddled extensively with the EQ settings, voice enhancement , and night mode. The midrange sound produced by Playbase for dialogue is unacceptable, especially for such an expensive piece of hardware from a brand I’ve trusted & enjoyed for nearly a decade. Dialog sound is muddled, tinny, distorted and narrow.

I see on the boards this is a very common complaint, especially among audiophiles and existing Sonos customers who have enjoyed their other products.

The Playbase appears to be an epic fail.

I am at my wits end. I’m going to demand a full refund from Sonos unless this is resolved in the next 24 hours. I’m just sick of it.

???????


Hi there,

Welcome to the community. It's not normal for the Playbase to have muddled sound. In fact, my Playbase sounds great for dialog and music. It looks like you have Trueplay enabled, have you tried disabling Trueplay, or running through the setup again? Does it make a difference?

If not, it might be best to work this issue live with our phone team. Please give us a call, our phone number can be found here.
What is the purpose of Trueplay technology if you’re suggesting I disable one of the device’s most publicized features?

In which situations is dialog sound improved by disabling Trueplay?
It's a test, to see in there's a potential issue with your hardware/software. The data from that might inform Jeff on some next steps to try.
What is the purpose of Trueplay technology if you’re suggesting I disable one of the device’s most publicized features?

In which situations is dialog sound improved by disabling Trueplay?


This is actually a good point. I'm absolutely having the same issue - dialogue is all over the map with my Playbase and two Play:1 setup - I don't like having to have 'speech enhancement' on all the time but it's absolutely necessary. I believe it might be better with Trueplay off but, exactly, why would I turn off this highly touted feature?
TruePlay is a feature that sets the speakers to a "normalized" signal, as determined by someone at Sonos. It can help if you have a situation in which your speakers are disadvantaged. It is not a 'fix-all' for all situations, and certainly won't set your speakers to the way you like them, unless you're a fan of "neutral-hear all the music as it is played" kind of person. It does provide a baseline for setup, after which you can then modify/tweak the settings to your ears and choice of music.

I'm not sure it's touted as a "turn this on or your speakers will sound like crap" kind of feature. It's just an additional assistant to setting a baseline of sound.

I'm not sure it's touted as a "turn this on or your speakers will sound like crap" kind of feature. It's just an additional assistant to setting a baseline of sound.


I feel like it kinda is - there's an annoying red dot notification in the app if you haven't set it up or after you've unplugged a speaker that begs you to set up or redo TruePlay setup. It makes it seem like you haven't completed your Sonos setup until you've done TruePlay. Once you've done it, it is okay to turn it off but I guess I just feel like if I took the time and effort to setup TruePlay then it should be a better experience using it than without using it.
How is your speaker wired for sound? I bought a Beam last week and was very disappointed when the dialogue was difficult to discern -that’s the whole reason why I bought it!

After doing some research and playing with my TV settings, I learned that my TV was the culprit. It’s a problem with many Samsung TVs (among other models as well). Essentially the TV receives both the audio and video through the HDMI cable and then sends the audio out to your soundbar over the optical wire. Well, my TV was re-encoding the sound before sending it out -essentially flattening the sound and distorting it however it saw fit. By the time it made it to my soundbar, my Beam was unable to properly separate the channels and highlight dialogue.

I did a test with the audio signal going (more) directly to my soundbar and the effect was substantial. Dialogue was clear and night-mode properly silenced loud noises. In my scenario, I bought an HDMI/Audio extractor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KBHX072/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_h4xHBbXFPNZRE) so that I could pull the the audio and send it directly to my soundbar -bypassing the TV.

You might consider this relatively cheap fix to see if it resolves your problem. If you have more than one video sources, this solution doesn’t scale as well.

Another nice solution is if your TV has a setting to allow a pure pass through of the audio to your optical out. It’s sometimes labeled as ‘bitstream’ or ‘raw’ audio format in your TV audio menus. My TV didn’t support this. This solution is nice because you don’t need to buy any new hardware or changing your wiring scheme.

Hopefully one of those options help. If you have another TV to test on, you could also get an indication of whether your current TV is the problem. By the way, how does music sound (like Spotify or any streaming service) through your soundbar. If that sounds good, then there’s a decent chance your TV is the problem when it comes to muddled TV dialogue.

Andrew
Andrew, thanks - I'll look into this more, didn't think about those settings for the tv. Not sure about op and sorry to hijack the thread but I'm using an AppleTV 4K for all content (DirecTV Now, Netflix, Hulu) to my Vizio M65 tv. Music does sound great when AirPlayed from my phone.
I too have an Apple TV 4K. Just a word of warning that the DirecTV Now app may not output Dolby’s Digital. I haven’t done too much testing to see what non-Dolby Digital signals sound like through the soundbar. The point is, sound quality can vary a lot even within Apple TV sources/apps. But I suspect the fewer ‘electronics’ you put between the audio source and soundbar, the better chance you have for optimal sound quality.
I'd wholeheartedly agree, although slightly modify that statement to be "the fewer modifying processes you put between the audio source and the soundbar, the better". Every additional thing that is done to change the sound profile takes time, and just delays the signal getting to the Sonos.
One final note to AppleTv users. If you decide to use an HDMI audio extractor switch, get one that supports CEC. This will allow you AppleTV to turn your tv on/off with the Apple TV remote. The switch I reference above does not support this. 😠
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I’m having the same issues with the Sonos play base. I purchased it precisely to improve the speech playback, and unfortunately I have to use subtitles all the time.
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How is your speaker wired for sound? I bought a Beam last week and was very disappointed when the dialogue was difficult to discern -that’s the whole reason why I bought it!

After doing some research and playing with my TV settings, I learned that my TV was the culprit. It’s a problem with many Samsung TVs (among other models as well). Essentially the TV receives both the audio and video through the HDMI cable and then sends the audio out to your soundbar over the optical wire. Well, my TV was re-encoding the sound before sending it out -essentially flattening the sound and distorting it however it saw fit. By the time it made it to my soundbar, my Beam was unable to properly separate the channels and highlight dialogue.

I did a test with the audio signal going (more) directly to my soundbar and the effect was substantial. Dialogue was clear and night-mode properly silenced loud noises. In my scenario, I bought an HDMI/Audio extractor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KBHX072/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_h4xHBbXFPNZRE) so that I could pull the the audio and send it directly to my soundbar -bypassing the TV.

You might consider this relatively cheap fix to see if it resolves your problem. If you have more than one video sources, this solution doesn’t scale as well.

Another nice solution is if your TV has a setting to allow a pure pass through of the audio to your optical out. It’s sometimes labeled as ‘bitstream’ or ‘raw’ audio format in your TV audio menus. My TV didn’t support this. This solution is nice because you don’t need to buy any new hardware or changing your wiring scheme.

Hopefully one of those options help. If you have another TV to test on, you could also get an indication of whether your current TV is the problem. By the way, how does music sound (like Spotify or any streaming service) through your soundbar. If that sounds good, then there’s a decent chance your TV is the problem when it comes to muddled TV dialogue.

Andrew
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thx anschoe
This sounds plausible… I’ve just ordered a piece of kit from Amazon and I’ll give it ago. Fingers crossed!
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How is your speaker wired for sound? I bought a Beam last week and was very disappointed when the dialogue was difficult to discern -that’s the whole reason why I bought it!

After doing some research and playing with my TV settings, I learned that my TV was the culprit. It’s a problem with many Samsung TVs (among other models as well). Essentially the TV receives both the audio and video through the HDMI cable and then sends the audio out to your soundbar over the optical wire. Well, my TV was re-encoding the sound before sending it out -essentially flattening the sound and distorting it however it saw fit. By the time it made it to my soundbar, my Beam was unable to properly separate the channels and highlight dialogue.

I did a test with the audio signal going (more) directly to my soundbar and the effect was substantial. Dialogue was clear and night-mode properly silenced loud noises. In my scenario, I bought an HDMI/Audio extractor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KBHX072/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_h4xHBbXFPNZRE) so that I could pull the the audio and send it directly to my soundbar -bypassing the TV.

You might consider this relatively cheap fix to see if it resolves your problem. If you have more than one video sources, this solution doesn’t scale as well.

Another nice solution is if your TV has a setting to allow a pure pass through of the audio to your optical out. It’s sometimes labeled as ‘bitstream’ or ‘raw’ audio format in your TV audio menus. My TV didn’t support this. This solution is nice because you don’t need to buy any new hardware or changing your wiring scheme.

Hopefully one of those options help. If you have another TV to test on, you could also get an indication of whether your current TV is the problem. By the way, how does music sound (like Spotify or any streaming service) through your soundbar. If that sounds good, then there’s a decent chance your TV is the problem when it comes to muddled TV dialogue.

Andrew

 

That’s the whole reason for my purchase too.  I wonder if it’s the same if you use HDMI directly rather than going to optical (I have not gotten mine yet).  Did you try that by chance?  I am really struggling on whether to buy the Beam or Base (cancel what I already bought) and what impact my TV will have on it.  I also have a Samsung TV (only 32” because of tunnel vision), and so I am sure it will have the same issues.

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