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Sound Bar stereo or surround

  • 21 December 2016
  • 7 replies
  • 7035 views

I'm thinking of purchasing a sonos sound bar and was curious about the sound input options available. My dvd player gives me the option to play stero sound or 5.1 sound. Does the sound bar work better with one or the other. Does it make a difference in the sound played by choosing one or the other. Does the sound bar simulate surround sound or do you have to buy more speakers to achieve that surround sound feeling?
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Best answer by Stuart_W 21 December 2016, 16:05

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7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21
A Playbar on it's own is essentially a DD 3.0 system. You won't notice a huge amount of difference between a stereo and DD5.1 audio input thought the DD5.1 would likely have better audio separation with proper central dialogue - With a stereo input the Playbar tries to create a 3.0 "surround" from the information.

Personally I found the Playbar sounded better (depending on the source) when fed 5.1 rather than stereo but obviously the biggest benefit will come with a Sub and surrounds.
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
You will want tv sounds as well as just dvds playing?, so playbar connects to only tv via optical lead.
This is where the problems start as not all tvs output DD5.1 via optical lead. You need to check yours does to get true DD5.1 or you might regret not buying another soundbar.
There are other ways around it with optical splitters etc ,so dvd optical and tv optical can both go into 1 sonos playbay optical in.
Thanks for your reply paulw123. Yes your right about my TV's output and I will definitely use an optical splitter.
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Hey guys, thanks for jumping in, I just wanted to clarify one point. The PLAYBAR will use a full 5.1 signal itself when it's fed one, you definitely will hear a better sound than if it's just stereo. The PLAYBAR doesn't discard any audio channels and was designed to use the side speakers to send rear channels out and around to the back of the sound stage. Having a full 5.1 with surround speakers is going to be better, but the PLAYBAR on its own does a great job of not dropping channels and doesn't just play 3.0 when given a 5.1 signal.
Thanks for the reply Ryan S. I will feed the sound bar a steady diet of 5.1
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Thanks for the reply Ryan S. I will feed the sound bar a steady diet of 5.1

Perfect. That's its preferred diet after all. 🙂
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Just make sure that it's a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal. This isn't an issue for most TV/cable/satellite services, but some Blu-Ray players may not offer the ability to convert all of the audio to just Dolby Digital.