Sonos 5.1 vs Heos 5.1


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So, had the sonos 5.1 (2 x play1 + playbar + sub).

Now i have the heos 5.1 (2 x heos 3 + heos bar(the big one) + heos sub).

Thought id share my experience.

Round 1: app interface

Sonos clear winner (there was a update some time back, that put the two apps on par for a periode, but now that sonos ended their absurd app-experiment, and are back to a user friendly app, sonos steamrolls heos). Sonos is so far ahead that i connected a sonos connect to the heos speakers, so that the heos speakers act as part of the sonos eco system.

Heos is NOT wife-friendly! I would almost go as far as to say Heos is wife-hostile!

Round 2: Esthetic/Looks

Sonos clear winner, heos looks like sh*t in comparisson. This goes for all heos products, except the sub, where heos is more discrete. The heos soundbar, and the heos 3´s look horrible. Any time we have guests over we put the heos 3 speakers in a drawer.

Round 3: music sound:

Close, but heos seems to have an advantage when exclusively pushing music from the soundbar+sub. Soundbar vs soundbar without sub is probably a draw. But when the sub is added, the tide turns to heos's advantage. There is something subtle yet present about the the heos sub, that i just dont know how to explain. Comparing music from the rear speakers in the setup would not be fair because i was using play 1, and now heos 3. But in 1v1 my sonos 3 sounds better than my heos 3.

Round 4: movie surround:

Heos clear winner. DD 5.1 sources sound far more emersive on heos, not to mention DTS, DD+ and magical HDMI ports.

Round 5: Functionality:

Heos clear winner. Heos has a lot of awesome features, that leave sonos in the dust. Bluetooth, nfc, aux, usb and the heos 1 battery pack. I have never used any of these awesome features, and i cant see myself using them any time in the near future, but i guess the features are nice to have.

Round 6 - stability

Sonos clear winner. Heos has gotten way better over the last few updates, but is no way near on par with sonos. Every now and then a heos speakers disconnects from the group, and i have to reboot heos speakers, power off, power on, or unpair surround, and then pair again. After the latest updates heos has become more stable, but still not there yet.

Round 7 - customisability:

Heos clear winner. You can tweak on pretty much anything. For audiophiles and enthusiasts customisability probably is awesome, but I am no pro, so I dont really use it (i made minor changes, minor!)

Round 8 - investment:

I know this sounds like a stupid category, but i felt an urge to share my experience. I sold my 3 year old sonos playbar and 2 year old sonos sub for 90% of the original price. My heos system is about 6 months old now, and id be lucky to get 66,6% of the original price.

Conlcusion:

I am satisfied with me new setup. For years a tried a myriad of work-arounds to get the playbar to output sound. I have spent more than 300€ on gadgets to make the playbar output sound.

My family are all happy for sonos, and we use sonos on a daily basis, but getting the playbar was a mistake. A mistake that i spent three years trying to justify by doing a number of different work-arounds. Getting the sonos sub was an even bigger mistake. I tried to add sub to make music and tv better, again to justify that i bought the playbar, but was disapointed. To be honest i didnt even feel a real upgrade going from playbar alone to playbar with sub. The sub might have a bigger wow-effect when used in conjunction with a stereo pair of play 5's or 3's, but for me the playbar was fine on its own.

I gave heos an honest shot, by buying the whole 5.1 package, and thought that I might be able to slowly push sonos out of the picture, one speaker at a time. This is not going to happen. Heos sounds amazing on video sources with surround sound, absolutely amazing compared to sonos 5.1 setup, but heos just doesnt seem as "ready" for the mass market as sonos. Its a bit like heos has launched a beta version of a product. Loads of potential, loads of ways to go, loads of options, Great sound, but heos seems like a product that isnt quite finished yet.

I am considering selling my heos package to buy a dedicated soundbar, sub and wireless rears, like samsung Hw-k960, and using the connect to make it part of the sonos eco system.

I used to be furious at sonos for not giving me HDMI or DTS support on playbar, and i was more than willing to pay extra for these features. Then the light dawned on me: Sonos connect + a receiver or soundbar with HDMI and DTS support = the whole package.

If you have any questions that i havnt touched on, just let me know.

Hope this helps,

Cheers!

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15 replies

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Minor detail, but it annoyed me alot. Look at adapter comparison. Built in adapter in sonos, and big clunky adapter with heos.


Even though i seem to be praising sonos, and downing heos, i want to make clear in no way regret selling my playbar+sub
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I gave Sonos a fair chance. They have some great ideas. I was ready to switch over. There are simply different lines suited to different audiences.

Absolutely. So I assume you will be posting over in the Heos forum for the benefit of the Heos audience now?


I will, Im gonna post this comparison on their forum.
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Thanks for the info, your observation are right in line with what I expected.

But it was a bit of an unfair comparison heos 3 is better then the play 1 for music as Atari Prime pointed out. Think it would be a better to compare play3 to heos3 for music.

Totally agree with the Home Theater, Sonos is lacking in this department. Maybe the Beam will help things out. But a new playbar and playbase with full dolby supports is what is needed to match the Heos big bar.

Enjoy your new system.


Trust me friend, the sound from heos-setup on standard DD 5.1 content sounds way better than from the same sonos 5.1 setup, way better. And movies with DTS HD-MA soundtracks are on a whole new level of immersion compared to Dolby 5.1 content.

Beam has nothing to offer me. I am not their target audience for this product.

Consider going for a non-multi-room tv audio setup, and use the sonos connect (NOT connect AMP) if you insist on your soundbar being part of the eco system.

You can get non-multi-room soundbars on par with sonos and heos for half price, and then hook up your connect, and you get it all. DTS, HDMI, Sonos ecosystem. I wish i had thought about the connect+soundbar before i ever got a playbar.

I have compared the following speakers play 1, play 3 and heos 3: i had same experience as atari play3 > heos3 > play1

Cheers,
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@Atari_Prime

Some like them big, some like them small, some like them skinny, and others like them busty. Every man to his own taste

The sonos multiroom solution was never ment for audiophiles, and the home cinema was ment for your "average" user. I just thought that if i paid 1600€ for soundbar and sub i would get something that could everything. But i was never the target audience for the sonos home cinema. I have different needs. My wife never needed DTS or HDMI support. She never even needed a soundbar....... "our tv sound fine". But i wanted propper surround (or as close to propper as wireless will get you).
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Round 1: app interface

Agreed that it is better by a significant degree, however my wife does not seem to have any issues. It works, just not as well.

Well, the lets say sonos is mother in law friendly, or granny-friendly :)

Round 2: Esthetic/Looks

Of course people will disagree on looks. Our home is decorated in scandinavian minimalistic design - all wood, and the heos just dosnt seem to fit in. I could imagine if home was decorated in a modern style, the heos would fit in better.

I never really thought about it, but your right about the design of the play 3 and 5. They do look weird (my play 3 is hidden in the kitchen, so only see it rarely). There was always something off about the design of the play 5, but now you mention it the play 3 also looks a bit clunky.

But the playbar and the play 1's i used for my setup just looked way better in my home. I know its not completely fair to compare 3's with 1's, but.....



I started with Heos as sound quality is most important to me. And I haven’t been disappointed. Denon makes great speakers. The lawsuit threatened that and Denon removed some functionality as a result. But that functionality has now been restored. I was going to switch but the launch of the Beam rather than a new Playbar reinforced that Sonos is playing catch up to its competitors in several areas and because they are the market leader, are being a bit lazy in making strides forward. So, now I’m back to Heos and selling the Sonos speakers that I had picked up.


Playbeam is nothing worth noticing for me. 1 HDMI port and still no DTS. I am definitely not the target audience for this product, and the sonos bar+sub were never ment for people like me, or you!

The guy i sold my playbar+sub to, seemed like the right customer for the sonos 3.1 or 5.1, i wasnt.

Cheers,
Badge
Latest choice is not by far the best in terms of wires and aesthetic, but....
Very helpful review of the systems.
I expect a comparison with the 3 choice.
Thank you
Camillo


I dont have the option to run speaker cables in the living room, so i have to go with something wireless. I promise to update if i decide to toss the heos. If you can recommend any system with a soundbar + wireless rears (preferably manufactured for tv surround and not multiroom) i would love to know.

Cheers,
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Thanks for the info, your observation are right in line with what I expected.

But it was a bit of an unfair comparison heos 3 is better then the play 1 for music as Atari Prime pointed out. Think it would be a better to compare play3 to heos3 for music.

Totally agree with the Home Theater, Sonos is lacking in this department. Maybe the Beam will help things out. But a new playbar and playbase with full dolby supports is what is needed to match the Heos big bar.

Enjoy your new system.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Thanks for sharing your feedback guys!

I gave Sonos a fair chance. They have some great ideas. I was ready to switch over. There are simply different lines suited to different audiences.

Absolutely. So I assume you will be posting over in the Heos forum for the benefit of the Heos audience now?

Everyone's welcome to share here, let's not go chasing anyone off for having an opinion.

Whatever solution you decide to go with, I hope you wind up enjoying where you land, and maybe someday you'll see something from Sonos that piques your interest. It's all about finding something that fits your home and lifestyle the best, whatever that might be.
I gave Sonos a fair chance. They have some great ideas. I was ready to switch over. There are simply different lines suited to different audiences.

Absolutely. So I assume you will be posting over in the Heos forum for the benefit of the Heos audience now?
Badge
I gave Sonos a fair chance. They have some great ideas. I was ready to switch over. There are simply different lines suited to different audiences.
Does that mean we no longer have to read your constant pimping of Heos in here?
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"Round 1: app interface

Sonos clear winner (there was a update some time back, that put the two apps on par for a periode, but now that sonos ended their absurd app-experiment, and are back to a user friendly app, sonos steamrolls heos). Sonos is so far ahead that i connected a sonos connect to the heos speakers, so that the heos speakers act as part of the sonos eco system.

Heos is NOT wife-friendly! I would almost go as far as to say Heos is wife-hostile!"


Agreed that it is better by a significant degree, however my wife does not seem to have any issues. It works, just not as well.

"Round 2: Esthetic/Looks

Sonos clear winner, heos looks like sh*t in comparisson. This goes for all heos products, except the sub, where heos is more discrete. The heos soundbar, and the heos 3´s look horrible. Any time we have guests over we put the heos 3 speakers in a drawer."


Can’t agree with you here. The Sonos One looks great but every other single speaker in the Sonos line looks terrible, like something you would buy at Ikea. It is retro-modern nonsense. With the exception of the Heos:1, the Heos speakers are some of the best looking on the market.

"Round 3: music sound:

Close, but heos seems to have an advantage when exclusively pushing music from the soundbar+sub. Soundbar vs soundbar without sub is probably a draw. But when the sub is added, the tide turns to heos's advantage. There is something subtle yet present about the the heos sub, that i just dont know how to explain. Comparing music from the rear speakers in the setup would not be fair because i was using play 1, and now heos 3. But in 1v1 my sonos 3 sounds better than my heos 3."


The ranking generally goes as follows: Heos 7 > Play 5 >/= Heos 5 > Play 3 > Heos 3 > Play 1 > Heos 1

"Round 6 - stability

Sonos clear winner. Heos has gotten way better over the last few updates, but is no way near on par with sonos. Every now and then a heos speakers disconnects from the group, and i have to reboot heos speakers, power off, power on, or unpair surround, and then pair again. After the latest updates heos has become more stable, but still not there yet."

Agreed.

"Round 7 - customisability:

Heos clear winner. You can tweak on pretty much anything. For audiophiles and enthusiasts customisability probably is awesome, but I am no pro, so I dont really use it (i made minor changes, minor!)"

Agreed.

I started with Heos as sound quality is most important to me. And I haven’t been disappointed. Denon makes great speakers. The lawsuit threatened that and Denon removed some functionality as a result. But that functionality has now been restored. I was going to switch but the launch of the Beam rather than a new Playbar reinforced that Sonos is playing catch up to its competitors in several areas and because they are the market leader, are being a bit lazy in making strides forward. So, now I’m back to Heos and selling the Sonos speakers that I had picked up.
Userlevel 5
Badge +12
Latest choice is not by far the best in terms of wires and aesthetic, but....
Very helpful review of the systems.
I expect a comparison with the 3 choice.
Thank you
Camillo