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How does Beam music sound quality compare to One / Play 3 / Play 5?

  • 18 July 2018
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Hi all,

So I currently have a Sonos One in my (fairly small) living room and I love the sound quality on it.

I'm thinking of upgrading to a Beam for the living room though as my TV needs a soundbar and it seems like the perfect fit.

My question: Is the sound quality of music on the Beam good enough to replace the Sonos One I currently have (and I could then move the One to another room)? How does the sound quality for music on the Beam compare to the One / Play 3 / Play 5?

Many thanks
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Best answer by melvimbe 18 July 2018, 14:28

Sound quality is a matter of opinion, but I'd say it's very to say that the beam is somewhere in between a play:3 and a play:5, sort of what you'd expect given it's size and price point. That said, and again it's a matter of opinion, a stereo pair of play:1s, sonos ones, play:3s, or play:5s is going to sound better than the beam. Of course, since you can't incorporate the tv into the mix with those pairs, functionality is going to factor in.

The good news is that you have a 45 day return policy so you could try it out to see what works best for you.
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Sound quality is a matter of opinion, but I'd say it's very to say that the beam is somewhere in between a play:3 and a play:5, sort of what you'd expect given it's size and price point. That said, and again it's a matter of opinion, a stereo pair of play:1s, sonos ones, play:3s, or play:5s is going to sound better than the beam. Of course, since you can't incorporate the tv into the mix with those pairs, functionality is going to factor in.

The good news is that you have a 45 day return policy so you could try it out to see what works best for you.
I have paired with my Play1's and I think it sounds stunning (With 1's as Surround, haven't tried with all Stereo). I would say it sounds better than my 5.1 set-up in another room, albeit that set-up is more for Movies/Sport.
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IMHO not quite as good as a pair of ones and not nearly as good as 5s. But still pretty good for the price. I’m quite impressed with the sound in my small bedroom setup. Those who want mega bass will be disappointed, but I find the Beam has more bass than I expected and enough for me. Be sure to do Trueplay tuning.
I’m more than happy with my new Beam .. I would certainly put it on a par with two 'Sonos Ones' in a stereo pair, but having the advantage of playing TV audio and also the ability to expand into a 5.0 or 5.1 surround sound setup.

It’s a great PlayBar for small and medium sized rooms, like a main bedroom, for example.

I’m currently using mine in a dining room that can seat eight to ten people comfortably around a dinner table and it more than fills the room with great sound by itself, but sounds even better when I added two Play-1’s to it for all around sound.
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The Beam makes an effort to provide stereo sound which a single Play 1 or 3 doesn't so I'd probably prefer the Beam in that situation.

The Play 5 also attempts to provide stereo sound and I find a single one acceptable for my music listening where the single 1s and 3s just don't sound good to me. The single 1s or 3s are acceptable to me in the bathroom or as a portable unit but not something I love.

If you need the TV speaker go with the Beam unless you can afford a Play Bar or Base, for just music the Play 5 is my choice although a pair of Play 3s is pretty good and a pair of Play 1s is acceptable.
I have just added a Beam to two Sonos Ones for the living room. The stereo set up for the Sonos Ones for music playback is very impressive for this room. The Beam definitely enhances the tv experience and while I am testing a 5.1 surround sound experience, I am still on the fence about music playback with the sonos ones in surround sound placement and open to any feedback or suggestions for placement for optimal low (10-20%) music playback and separation.
I have just added a Beam to two Sonos Ones for the living room. The stereo set up for the Sonos Ones for music playback is very impressive for this room. The Beam definitely enhances the tv experience and while I am testing a 5.1 surround sound experience, I am still on the fence about music playback with the sonos ones in surround sound placement and open to any feedback or suggestions for placement for optimal low (10-20%) music playback and separation.Do you prefer the rear speakers set to 'Ambient' mode or 'Full' mode for music playback? See the Beams 'Room' 'Advanced Audio/Surround Settings/Music Playback'

Your post is just a little unclear as to your preference and what you are trying to achieve?

Once you have made the choice between Ambient and Full you can also move the 'Music Level' slider bar to shift the audio between the 'front' and 'rear, till you find the setting that suits your own personal listening experience.
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Hey Nick, I’m new to Sonos. So I started with a One, and when I tested it I’ll just say it blew my mind. We have that in common - One is a strong device and I’ve been amazed with its performance. I’m in a smallish apartment, so I really didn’t want that to limit what system I bought into or it’s abilities because I’m moving to a large home next fall so I want all of my components to have a use somewhere, in the long run. Today I installed a Beam and have gotten a very good peek at its abilities. I think it’s a solid addition, and installed it in the bedroom. It linked up immediately to my AirPlay 2 environment, coordinating with a Panasonic Blu-ray, Apple TV 4 & TV with CEC. It’s sound is a great spread, I’ve actually reduced bass quite a bit and also tested night mode which does reduce the extremes - something I’ll use now and then though sound doesn’t transfer to my neighbors, in general. The quality I’m experiencing is clean, and very nice but there are so many things I need to test and optimize and I’m very sure I’ll be satisfied In all areas - tunes, cinema, etc... I honestly don’t think Beam is in any way disappointing and when I add rears it will be superb.

Another thing, grouping Beam with a single One in an adjacent room expanded the sound perfectly as expected, but, it went beyond too! It’s almost like the One anchored the sound in part of my place, and I’m going to run it through all my A/V streaming services to see exactly what these pieces will do! So far, I think this is perfect for me. With music I’m all over the place in genres so i think this is going much better than expected. I retuned Real Tune in both areas, and left windows and doors open to capture the worst case scenario. I’ve got the air conditioning on now, with windows shutting the city noise out but I’m feeling that was a good setup considering urban noise is always shifting.

I plan on having two beams, both with rear pairs and a One in the kitchen. Here, in this home, the rears may not be effective though I may be purchasing them before the move so they’re in place. In the meantime I think Beam is a perfect piece - I was prepared to buy a Playbar but these tv’s don’t have optical, nor do the Apple TVs so it wouldn’t work out in my case. Though the Playbar is more capable by design, I didn’t want to get tied into it when I’d be likely compromising it if using an optical switch. There seems to be a few high end switches people here use but that’s not the best option. Good luck with the setup.