Sonos Beam PCM or 5.1

  • 19 January 2021
  • 1 reply

Hi folks,


Recently upgraded my Play 5 Gen 1 for a Sonos Beam. 

Fairly happy with it though music playback was probably better on the speaker. 


Anyway my question is regarding TV audio input. 

I am only using the beam for my TV audio (ie no extra surround speakers). 

Would I get any benefit from using Dolby 5.1 source from my TV ARC output or am I better sticking to PCM stereo? 

I have read a lot of conflicting things online. 

It seems there are less issues with dialogue sync using PCM but Dolby 5.1 is better "quality" - however I am not sure if this makes any difference if I am only using the beam on its own. 


Thanks in advance if anyone knowledgeable can help!

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1 reply

Userlevel 7

The Sonos Beam alone is just a 3.0 channel sound bar meaning it will separate the left front, right front, and center channel audio from a multichannel source like Dolby Digital 5.1. The biggest benefit from this setup is dialogue will have it’s own dedicated center channel which could produce clearer dialogue than a two-channel PCM Stereo setup.

Is there a big difference in audio quality between DD 5.1 and PCM 2.0 on the Beam alone? I would say that is dependent on your ears and what you think sounds best. But if you are experiencing bad lip sync issues with 5.1 content, I would stick to PCM Stereo.