Next Sonos: Play:3 for Stereo vs Beam vs PlayBase

  • 16 December 2018
  • 9 replies
  • 574 views

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Hello,

I am an existing Sonos user and my current setup is:

* Living room = Play:3
* Bedroom = Play:1
* Kitchen = Play:1

I recently purchased a Beam but have not yet opened it and I am considering returning it, the reason for this is that music in my living room is one of my main priorities, and I am concerned that a Beam setup won't be adequate.

I ideally want a setup where I get the benefit of a soundbar and good music playback in my living room, ideally from a stereo speaker setup.

What would you recommend as the best option for me?

I am currently considering:

Option 1 - Cost approx £400-450
* Living room = 2 * Play:3 as a stereo pair for music + a £200 sound bar from another manufacturer for TV.
* Bedroom = Play:1
* Kitchen = Play:1

Option 2 - Cost approx £520
* Living room = Beam + 2 * Play:1 for surround sound.
* Bedroom = Play:3
* Kitchen = Play:One

Option 2 - Cost £500 as Playable currently on sale
* Living room = Playbase
* Bedroom = 2 * Play:1
* Kitchen = Play:3

Thanks for any recommendations

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9 replies

I would personally choose option 2, as it provides the otion of AirPlay to all Sonos devices and voice control for a compatible HDMI-ARC TV and streaming music services.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I would go with option 2 myself as well. While the Beam doesn't do well on its own with music. Paired with Play:1s in Full mode it sounds really good.

Another option would be take back the Beam and replace with a Sonos Amp if you have some good speakers you could use with the TV. My main TV is setup this way with Sonos Amp and 2 B&W bookshelf speakers.
Badge +3
Thanks for the responses.

My main concern about option 2 is that it may be too light on the bass, and unfortunately I can't see myself buying a SUB in the future due to the cost.

I really like the idea of a Beam and 2 * Play:1, but I know that the main drawback of both those speakers is that they are slightly lacking in bass.

Are there any other options I should be considering?

And purely from the stance of best music playback, would option 1 be the best option?

Thanks again
Thanks for the responses.

My main concern about option 2 is that it may be too light on the bass, and unfortunately I can't see myself buying a SUB in the future due to the cost.

I really like the idea of a Beam and 2 * Play:1, but I know that the main drawback of both those speakers is that they are slightly lacking in bass.

Are there any other options I should be considering?

And purely from the stance of best music playback, would option 1 be the best option?

Thanks again
it sounds like you’ve perhaps made your mind up already, but I would personally still go with option 2. The decision though is yours at the end of the day.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I gave another option.
Badge +3
I gave another option. I had a look at the Amp options yesterday, and whilst it sounds like a great solution, I think by the time I had added speaker it would probably be too expensive. I'm really looking at the £400-£500 region.

it sounds like you’ve perhaps made your mind up already, but I would personally still go with option 2. It isn't a case that I have made my decision already, in fact I am may be starting to lean towards option 2. I just want to make sure I have considered the various options before making a decision and ensure I haven't missed anything.

Out of interest, if playing music through a Beam + 2* Play:1 setup, will the Play:1s be used as a stereo pair to create true stereo separation?

Also, how is this setup rated for music playback? Is it considered to be good?
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Yes when you play music (set to full mode) the Play:1s are a full stereo pair playing along with the beam. I think it sounds very good for room filling music - for critical listening where you are sitting in chair and want a stereo soundstage - it is not good for.
If you purchased your Beam direct from Sonos (via the website) I think you have their 100 day return policy, if you are not happy with their product. So you could test your Beam in that situation.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
Hi Hoogie

Everyone knows that listening to music can be a very subjective experience. However, I feel most will agree that audio from a $200 (USD) setup by a brand name manufacturer most likely won't sound as good as their $1000 (USD) setup; assuming you have any can kind of ear at all for music.

As an avid Sonos fan IMO neither the Playbar, Playbase or Beam are suitable for CRITICAL music listening. Bonding a set of Play 1's, Sonos Ones or Play 5's as rears (set to full) is not suitable for CRITICAL listening. Ask yourself...when have you ever gone to a concert and had the musicians/orchestra positioned to the left/Right or behind you?

Getting back to Sonos...if you just want to fill a room with sound then the Playbar, Playbase or Beam; bonded to Play 1's, Sonos Ones or Play 5's as rears IMO will suffice (add a sub and it gets better).

On the other hand if you are serious about your music and want to get the best experience (as was intended by the artist) then you'll go with the traditional set up of two speakers up front and possibly a sub. My recommendation (for music) would be Play 1 x 2 or Sonos One x 2 with a sub; or Play 5 x 2 with the sub being optional.

I realize all I've said depends on your budget; so you'll have to decide if you want to build your system gradually; or go all in straight away. I have a Sonos HT setup w/sub and Play 5 x 2 w/sub in the same room. Best wishes with your decision.

Cheers!