Have 2 Play 5. Get Beam or Playbar for TV?

  • 26 September 2018
  • 6 replies

So I already have 2 play 5's for music. I am looking for a sound bar for my TV and thinking of putting the play 5s with either a Beam or Playbar for a 5.x system.

The TV and sofa are in 14 foot by 14 foot space, with the left extending further into the dining area.

Which setup would you guys recommend?
1) a beam with the 5's for a 5.0
2) a Playbar w the 5's for a 5.0
3) 1)+ sub for 5.1
4) 2)+ sub for 5.1

I am leaning towards the beam because of HDMI ARC. But got a feeling the 5's will overpower it

Comments and recommendations are much appreciated. 🙂

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6 replies

I'd start with 2), and then add the SUB later.
Hmmm... What would you recommend to replace the HDMI ARC functionality? IF the playbar had HDMI ARC, it would be a no brainer for me.

And to clarify, adding the sub later is to see the need for one? Or just to resuce cost?
Userlevel 7
Hi tenoid

There's is nothing that will replace the HDMI-ARC functionality on a like for like basis. Click the link to learn more about the Sonos Beam and HDMI-ARC benefits.

If you are using the Play 5's for music getting the Beam or Playbar will require you to move them to the rear as surrounds if your aim is a 5.0 setup. The question becomes are you willing to change your music listening environment. Know that you can still get full sound for music even with the Play 5's set as surrounds by setting them to FULL in the Sonos App when playing tunes.

You may want to consider the Beam, sub and Sonos One's x 2 or Play 1's x 2 for a 5.1 setup dedicated to HT. Just an option depending upon your funds. BTW the sub will always make a 5.0 setup sound better.


Userlevel 2
Badge +2
Just a thought. Have you already tried using the 2 Play 5s on either side of the TV for TV sound also? If not would encourage you to try to see if you can make that work for TV also before getting a soundbar. I use the 2Play5s (+ sub) for TV and music in my living room by connecting headphone out of the TV to the line in on one of the Play 5s. The result is excellent - I use the uncompressed setting for the line in, which means there are no lip sync issues and the sound is astonishing.

In another room I have (just) a Beam so I can compare - even though the Beam produces nice crisp sound as well, set of Play 5s wins hands down also for TV stereo purposes. The obvious advantage for adding a Beam to the 2 Play 5s would be the capability of setting up a surround system. However, should you go for Beam + 2 Play 5s and connect them as surround set thinking that you can then use full stereo mode for music: while factually correct this option is only available for streaming music. This option is not available when listening to music (or any other sound) via the TV and also not when connecting any device to the line in of one of the Play 5s. When the Play 5s are set as surround speakers the line in is disabled. I listen to ‘music via tv’ quite a bit and am more than happy with the sound of the Play 5s.

Having added the sub to the Play 5s might seem overkill to some, but has really improved the overall sound substantially (I do have a fairly large living room though).

To me, the ultimate set-up would be a dedicated center, play 5s as front left and right and play 1s as surround, but that unfortunately does not seem to be in the cards any time soon.
For me, the SUB later is only a cost measure. If you can go for the SUB immediately, it really adds a significant punch to the system.
I was stuck on whether to get the Beam or Playbar. I ended with with Playbar. I don't care about ARC support because I control my media with a Harmony report and didn't want it to get out of sync by using ARC controls on top of it. (The Harmony is hooked up to other smart home systems, so I can still use some voice commands.) I do with the Playbar had Airplay support though. In the end, I decided that it's all about sound and to just get the biggest option. I got the SUB too.

As you's using Play:5s for the rear channels, I would suggest that you pair those with the Playbar so the output is a little more comparable. In 5.1 TV mode, your primary audio is coming out of the front speakers / soundbar, so the Beam might be out of scale to the Play:5s.