Sonos 5.1 Setup Worth It?

  • 16 January 2018
  • 16 replies
  • 7631 views

I recently purchased the Playbar and sub and have been happy with it so far. I’m contemplating purchasing 2 Play 1’s to set up as a 5.1 system but am wondering hoping for some input on those of you that have went this route. Is it worth it?

I mostly use my system for Netflix, Movies streamed from Apple TV, and DirectTV broadcasts. I have a Sony x850e if that weighs in at all with what audio channels it transmits in. I just don’t want to spend the money on Play 1’s to have very little broadcast in true 5.1 surround.

16 replies

I think a 1 pair added for surround effects will be more worthwhile for music play when using Full mode to provide room filling music. So I would add them if the set up is also extensively used for music play, where the value for money is more audible.

For just TV, what you have is very decent short of going down the AVR + wired speakers 5.1 route.
Userlevel 3
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If you mostly watch Netflix and Apple TV, then I think it's a great investment. If the rears are too low, you can go into the settings and lift them up a bit. The end shootout in Episode 1 of The Punisher is a fantastic demo scene to show off your system.
Userlevel 1
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Definitely worth it. You have already done the heavy lifting in investing in the playbar and the sub.
I agree and now if you check Best Buy for some good deals. Sale price plus open box leaving room to purchase extended warranty if you like! I returned some I because I bought too many. Ended up exchanging some for a pair of Sonos Ones (on sale). The only issue I had with not really hearing surrounds was while watching TV via my cable company’s TIVO DVR.
Userlevel 4
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I have a similar set up. Mine is the x850D and combined with the Apple TV it's superb. The Apple TV handles 5.1 brilliantly with the Sonos 5.1 system and converts pretty much anything thrown at it. I also have a Plex server and the Android TV system, along with a Fire TV I had for a while, both struggled with some conversions. You're already deep into the cost with a Playbar & Sub, so you'd be foolish not to add a couple of Play 1's.
Amazon Prime has the Play:1 for less than $140. Totally worth it.
Thanks everyone. I think you’ve successfully convinced me!
Userlevel 1
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Hi,

Now I’m sold on the 5.1 Upgrade!
I would wait on buying anything new right now. This last update screwed everyone up. In fact, the last couple updates have caused a lot of problems for many users including myself. Technical support has been disappointing (to say the least). Up until recently, I have two rooms set up for 5:1 and love it; it is (was) worth the purchase; however, I would keep checking the community posts before making another purchase.
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Thank you for the update. Not planning on the 5.1 Upgrade just yet as I have just invested in a sub for my Play5 pair.
you cant get 5.1 surround sound from bluray players/movies with playbar. Dont buy.
You certainly can, if the Blu-ray in question has a Dolby Digital soundtrack, which is as much a 5.1 signal as DTS is. They are different codecs, certainly, but both consist of 5.1 channels of information.

There has been much discussion about the lack of support of DTS by Sonos and the optical connection over the years since Sonos introduced the PLAYBAR. I recognize that you’re unhappy about the situation, but I’m not convinced that spamming your feelings across multiple threads is extraordinarily useful.
Not spamming. Sorry. But any bluray movie that you buy or rent today only supports DTS. There is no way to convert it into DD 5.1 unless you spend another 250$ and replace with BRP that converts on the fly.
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Hello,

I have an ATV 4th Gen + Screeneo 1510 + Beam + surround play:1 (Truesound done).
I have played movies from Plex (5.1 files) as well as from Netflix.

In the Ambiance mode, I find the sound coming from the surround very faint.
Of course, when in Complete mode, the volume is the same on the Play:1 as on the Beam.
So in Complete mode, the addition of the Surround Speaker is a real plus, but in Ambiance mode...

I am a bit perplex, 'cause for a true 5.1 experience, I guess I should be using my set-up in Ambiance mode.
Hello,

I have an ATV 4th Gen + Screeneo 1510 + Beam + surround play:1 (Truesound done).
I have played movies from Plex (5.1 files) as well as from Netflix.

In the Ambiance mode, I find the sound coming from the surround very faint.
Of course, when in Complete mode, the volume is the same on the Play:1 as on the Beam.
So in Complete mode, the addition of the Surround Speaker is a real plus, but in Ambiance mode...

I am a bit perplex, 'cause for a true 5.1 experience, I guess I should be using my set-up in Ambiance mode.

Ambient and Full mode is for music playback only ... it has no effect on your DD 5.1 TV audio output. Some users have mentioned that they would like to see a similar 'Full' mode for PCM stereo TV audio output, but no sign of that happening from Sonos at the moment.
Userlevel 1
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Hello,

I have an ATV 4th Gen + Screeneo 1510 + Beam + surround play:1 (Truesound done).
I have played movies from Plex (5.1 files) as well as from Netflix.

In the Ambiance mode, I find the sound coming from the surround very faint.
Of course, when in Complete mode, the volume is the same on the Play:1 as on the Beam.
So in Complete mode, the addition of the Surround Speaker is a real plus, but in Ambiance mode...

I am a bit perplex, 'cause for a true 5.1 experience, I guess I should be using my set-up in Ambiance mode.
Ambient and Full mode is for music playback only ... it has no effect on your DD 5.1 TV audio output. Some users have mentioned that they would like to see a similar 'Full' mode for PCM stereo TV audio output, but no sign of that happening from Sonos at the moment.


Hello Ken,
Thks for your answer.. but now I am more confused !!
Indeed, when I am playing a movie in 5.1, I can hear a difference between the tow modes, so i guess the settings have an impact as well, and not only for music...

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