Switching TV from Beam to Playbar and loss of functionality

Hi yall, looking for help! System in room, Beam, Sub, 2 Play 1s.  Got a great deal on a used playbar so thinking about moving Beam to another room and replacing with Playbar.  I know it won’t affect the surround setup, but I would lose voice control. 


Main question...if I replace a Play 1 with a One would I regain the same voice control and TV integration I have with the Beam?  Are there any other consequences of replacing a Beam with a playbar?



Best answer by 106rallye 17 June 2021, 18:59

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6 replies

Userlevel 7

When you use a Sonos speaker as a surround speaker, it disables the surround speaker’s microphone so the voice assistant cannot be used.

The only big differences between the Beam and Playbar, other than the number of drivers and voice assistant, is the Playbar isn’t AirPlay compatible. But you can AirPlay to the Beam and then group the Playbar with the Beam in the Sonos app. The Beam can also connect via HDMI ARC while the Playbar is limited to optical.

Here’s a good article comparing the two speakers:

Thanks, this is really helpful.  Ideally I would move the Beam to my deck and use it as a single speaker for an outdoor TV.  In that case I wouldn’t want to group the Beam and Playbar?  I like the simplicity of my current setup and Beam works as the one smart device (we use Alexa) in our living room. So might just move the Playbar to the outdoor TV?

Userlevel 7

If you don’t use an iOS device and don’t use AirPlay to stream audio, then the AirPlay functionality doesn’t matter.

But grouping the Beam and Playbar might come in handy if you ever want to stream the same music in the living room and outside especially if you are entertaining guests.

I would test each soundbar in your living room to see which one you and your family prefer. If you prefer the sound of the Playbar, you could always add an Echo device like the Dot or Flex in your living room to control the Playbar using Alexa.

If you use Sonos Ones with Beam/Arc the mics are switched off on the surrounds, that’s not the case when bonded with the PlayBar/PlayBase. So my understanding is that you can still use them with a voice Assistant (Google or Alexa).

Note however that Sonos Ones can’t be used as AirPlay speakers when bonded to a PlayBar/PlayBase. The Playbase is already Airplay capable, so no need for the surrounds to be, in that instance.

Userlevel 7
Badge +17

And you can’t use a One and a Play:1 together as surrounds. Speakers need to be of the same kind. A One and a One SL (since you only need one microphone) can be set up as surrounds though.

Userlevel 7

@Ken_Griffiths is correct. I was unaware of how the surround speaker microphones work with a non-voice-enabled Sonos home theater product.

From Sonos:

“The microphones will be disabled on voice-enabled products used as surround speakers with a voice-enabled Sonos home theater product.