Sonos Beam/Playbase /w Play 1's vs Bose Soundtouch /w Invis 300's (both with bass modules)

  • 14 August 2018
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So, anyone who is interested, I didn't really see many comparisons of the 2 systems. Most of what I read was simply hearsay.

Short background on myself, my wife, our 3 kids and myself recently moved into our new house with a media center. I have a Dolby Atmos system comprised of B&W speakers, Audiosource and Onkyo components. With the house, we had a lofted room built and wanted a simple system upstairs, when company is over, family time or just basic lounging around the house on the weekends. System was designed and built when the house was.

So, I had read and researched a bit, but not extensively, and went out on bought a Sonos Beam with Play 1's and the Sub. First things first, the set up is simply phenomenal. It's easy. It's short. It just plain works. I was impressed with that. The system looks good as well. What I didn't know, is it was not DTS nor any other Dolby configuration compatible other than 5.1.. That was one thing the person at my Best Buy failed to mention in the room where the Sonos was located when it was demo'd.

Now, with that said, the Beam sound quality I found to be fairly poor. It was extremely directional, muddy, highs lacked any real substance or volume, and the bottom mid, to low end was lacking for a $400 soundbar. The Playbase was much, much better after I returned the Beam. I chose the Beam based on the recommendation of the salesmen, after hearing the Playbase, he told me it "was not much different".. Nothing could have been further from the truth. As for sound quality as a whole in the Sonos, it was decent overall. The sub was okay, it was clean with good response. Didn't perform exceedingly well in movies, it seemed almost a little over bearing at times - loudness or sub level adjustments led to too much or to little. However, music was another story. The Sonos really shined listening to music, and that was a tough pill to swallow when we returned it. But ultimately, the lack of options for Dolby or DTS was the reason we returned the system. I didn't want switches or to replace my 4K player just to use the 5.1 features.

On to the Bose... The one nightmare of the Bose system was the setup. The app is very poorly configured with the system. The Wi-Fi to use the speakers with the app required me going in my router and changing a setting. The Sonos just flat away worked flawlessly, plug and play, basically.

Bose receives and incredible amount of hate across the board, all over the place. I asked the 2 guys who designed and built my media center, and both recommended I listen to both systems, neither were negative about the Bose at all. This led me to consider the system when I otherwise wouldn't have, just simply based on their reputation.

This is NOT your grandpappy's AM system from the 90's. The "no highs, no lows, it must be Bose" no longer applies to this system. Out of the box, the nightmare setup was enough to make me throw things, it just refused to work. Once that was finished, first thing was to listen to some music. While the Bose is not nearly as warm and natural sounding, it is very clean. Highs are high, but the sub seems to lack a bit in the upper bass frequencies. (Music sounds over processed. You can tell the DSP is working overtime. It sounds bright and manufactured.) I found some stuff to sound better than others, unlike the Sonos which everything sounded wonderfully. Still, the Bose is more than acceptable for music.

Now, movies, theater is where the Bose blows away the Sonos IMO. The DTS feature to work with my 4K player and ARC is wonderful. It's worth the price of admission right there. The sub in movies, is incredible. Granted, it is in fact $699, so it's not cheap, but it sounds fantastic. The lows in Jurassic Park hit you in the chest. It has incredible impact. It's deep, and it very responsive. It's far more balanced than the Sonos sub was. The soundbar performs wonderfully. The center adjustment is genius and the surround volume adjustments really allow that system to shine. Ultimately, this is why we chose to go with the Bose for this application.

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