Playbase vs. Playbar vs. Beam???

  • 7 June 2018
  • 8 replies

Can anyone tell me the difference between the Playbase, the Playbar, and the Beam? I’m confused at this point. I see there is a price discrepancy at $699, $699, and $399. What does that mean? Is it style preference? Is there a quality or audio difference? Etc.

Thanks for any help or insight provided!

Best answer by Chris 7 June 2018, 22:48

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8 replies

Userlevel 7
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Playbar - the original - 9 Amplifiers (3 tweeters and 6 mid-range). Toslink Digital input from TV.

Playbase - released last year - 10 amplifiers (3 tweeters, 6 mid-range, 1 woofer). A little better low end then original playbar. It's also a Gen2 device so it will support Airplay2 direct connections to (a little more future proof). Toslink Digital input from TV.

Beam - just announced - 5 amplifiers (1 tweeter and 4 mid-range). A Gen2 device so will support Airplay2 direct connection. Also has microphone array and voice assistant built in (currently Alexa - adding Google Support later this year). Toslink Digital input from TV or HDMI ARC input from TV.

I would shy away from the gen1 playbar because of the lack of Airplay support and not as future proof. I do have one and love it though.

If the Playbase layout (for below TV) isn't exactly what your looking for I would lean toward the Beam. Actually I would pretty much lean toward the Beam for price and abilities. No it will not sound as good as the Playbase unless you do things like Add sub or surrounds. But I think it will be good enough for TV and some music.
Is it correct to say that de Playbar is more high-end then the Beam? And, if so, could it be expected that the PlayBar gets an upgrade with HDMI Arc as well? Right now it feels to me that the Playbar is the better product but does not get AirPlay support because it's to old.:?
Depends on what you mean by high end. Chris did a good job of laying out the difference. And Sonos doesn’t share what’s next in their releases for either hardware or software, so it’s hard to say with any confidence that the PLAYBAR will get the HDMI upgrade or not.

As to which is the better product, that’s more of a “depends on your use case” to me. I have two PLAYBARS which work great. One of them could potentially be replaced so I have more targets for AirPlay 2, but on the other hand, both are connected to TVs that are connected to Apple TVs. So it’s a wash for me.
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I don’t really care about Airplay and I want a great sounding system with full base for Tv/movies/ music. My room is 14X12. I will get the sub for sure but is the Beam going to sound so much less than the PlayBar ?
Userlevel 3
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If adding a sub, ill expect the difference to be negligible, but this is one of those cases you have to try both and decide. Sonos does have an excellent returns program. Buy both and determine if the near 50% price difference is worth it to you.
I think the answer also depends on the room you're putting the product in. If it's a small to medium size room, I'd definitely lean towards the Beam. if you have a larger room, or an open concept with family room/kitchen together, I'd be less sure that the Beam is going to satisfy. Of course, I haven't heard it so am only going on what Sonos says about the product. That said, I agree that is a slight less sure time to get a playbar. since it's the oldest model of the three.
Userlevel 1
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I don’t really care about Airplay and I want a great sounding system with full base for Tv/movies/ music. My room is 14X12. I will get the sub for sure but is the Beam going to sound so much less than the PlayBar ?

Depends on your room of course, but the beam in my opinion is for smaller room, apartment, small condo. One only has to take note of far fewer speakers- almost half of the playbar, less than half of the base. Also consider the speakers in the base and bar some are angled in a manor to give better channel separation (stereo) . Seems to be quite abit of hype with the beam, for what Im not really sure. The Playbase would be a wise choice because of the sub...IMO
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I returned my Beam. Standing before my TV, it blocks the TV remote. Now I have a playbase (which I considered too expensive before I bought the Beam).