Question

Thinking of getting the Playbar

  • 26 September 2017
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Userlevel 3
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Hi all!

I have a single Sonos Play 3, and love the sound. However, when looking for the soundbar for my TV and movies, I ended up buying the Qacoustics M4. It trumps the Playbar in terms of sound quality, IMO, I've heard both. But! The simplicity of Sonos is just not there. I plan to sell the QM4 and Play3, buy the Playbar and add maybe two play 1's later.
Does this sound like a good plan to you?

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17 replies

Userlevel 3
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Hehe! I keep finding posts where people complain that the TV volume is too low. I wouldn't wan't huge volume differences between deezer music and watching TV and movies. Also, The Playbar's bass is no where near powerfull as the QM4's. Still, you can not beat the Sonos experience 🙂
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Hehe! I keep finding posts where people complain that the TV volume is too low. I wouldn't wan't huge volume differences between deezer music and watching TV and movies.
That has not been my experience. There's minimal volume difference between DirecTV, Xbox, streaming music, and direct from TV apps.

I'm much more annoyed by the volume differences between individual Youtube videos... even on the same channel... darn Youtubers.

I found the Playbase without a sub to be 'good'. It really became a great listening experience with the Sub though. I suspect that room size is a critical factor with that too. I don't think base would be an issue to use a Playbase in a room that isn't large, but that's what you get with most living rooms.
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So, you own a Playbase? I like the form of the playbar more. i have a open space, living room, dining room and kitchen, some 55 square metres in total. For comparison, Play 3 on 70% of volume does just fine. So, I suppose the playbar will do as well.

Thanks for the reply

Neven

Yes, I have my television on a "black-topped" stand, and the Playbase virtually disappears on it. If I was mounting on a wall I expect I'd have gone with the Playbar.

I had a typo that might've caused some confusion on the volume / bass issue. I know some people have complained about overall volume of the Playbase, and I suspect there's multiple problems in play. Here's what I can say definitively, if the Playbase isn't loud enough for any normal setup (large room or otherwise) you need to get your hearing checked. At max volume I find it almost intolerable to be near it, and you certainly couldn't carry on a conversation in the room without yelling.

My thoughts were more around the bass from the Playbase alone. I found it lacking a bit in our large living room compared to our previous setup with a dedicated sub. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was a noticeable difference. I added the sub, and it took the listening experience to another level.
You're posting in a community of Sonos users... of course it sounds like a good idea 🙂
Userlevel 4
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Hi all!

I have a single Sonos Play 3, and love the sound. However, when looking for the soundbar for my TV and movies, I ended up buying the Qacoustics M4. It trumps the Playbar in terms of sound quality, IMO, I've heard both. But! The simplicity of Sonos is just not there. I plan to sell the QM4 and Play3, buy the Playbar and add maybe two play 1's later.
Does this sound like a good plan to you?


I recently went the other way and ditched Playbar from my main TV room.

What "simplicity" do you feel you are missing? I'm not familiar with the M4, so would be interested to hear what you think you are missing and how you'd gain by switching to Sonos.
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Hehe! I keep finding posts where people complain that the TV volume is too low. I wouldn't wan't huge volume differences between deezer music and watching TV and movies.
That has not been my experience. There's minimal volume difference between DirecTV, Xbox, streaming music, and direct from TV apps.

I have deezer and Kodi on Raspberry PI on which I play my media files.

I'm much more annoyed by the volume differences between individual Youtube videos... even on the same channel... darn Youtubers.

I am aware of that, It's ok for me. I only have a handfull of channels I follow.

I found the Playbase without a sub to be 'good'. It really became a great listening experience with the Sub though. I suspect that room size is a critical factor with that too.
So, you own a Playbase? I like the form of the playbar more. I don't think base would be an issue to use a Playbase in a room that isn't large, but that's what you get with most living rooms.

i have a open space, living room, dining room and kitchen, some 55 square metres in total. For comparison, Play 3 on 70% of volume does just fine. So, I suppose the playbar will do as well.

Thanks for the reply

Neven
Userlevel 3
Badge +7
Hi all!

I have a single Sonos Play 3, and love the sound. However, when looking for the soundbar for my TV and movies, I ended up buying the Qacoustics M4. It trumps the Playbar in terms of sound quality, IMO, I've heard both. But! The simplicity of Sonos is just not there. I plan to sell the QM4 and Play3, buy the Playbar and add maybe two play 1's later.
Does this sound like a good plan to you?


I recently went the other way and ditched Playbar from my main TV room.
And you put what instead?

What "simplicity" do you feel you are missing? I'm not familiar with the M4, so would be interested to hear what you think you are missing and how you'd gain by switching to Sonos.


Here's is my quick "review" of the QM4 experience.

1.
First 5 notches (clicks) of volume up from mute are almost not noticable. As you get to "normal" volume listening it does sound good, but if you want to hear it in full glory, you must crank it up. then the dialogue is excellent, but explosions are just to loud. I think that playbar will sound good at all volume levels.

2. You have to use the supplied remote. It PAIN to use. If I am near the TV cabinet, I can press the volume up or down. But very often I press the input select button and must cycle through BT, Aux to get to optical.

At the end I thing I have to sacrifice a bit of shear sound quality for the ease of use that only sonos provides.

Neven
Userlevel 4
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Here's is my quick "review" of the QM4 experience.

1.
First 5 notches (clicks) of volume up from mute are almost not noticable. As you get to "normal" volume listening it does sound good, but if you want to hear it in full glory, you must crank it up. then the dialogue is excellent, but explosions are just to loud. I think that playbar will sound good at all volume levels.



The volume issue is a common one across many sound systems. As production sound quality improves, so does the dynamic range used in the edit. They expect people to be able to handle loud explosions and still hear the dialogue. This often isn't the case and many home listeners don't want to have cinema style effects all the time.

Many modern AV receivers have some kind of dynamic volume levelling function, often known as compression. It levels out the volume by reducing output when it's loud and increasing output when it's quiet. It can work very well on a show that constantly switches between loud and near silence. I'm surprised the QM4 doesn't have such a function.

The Playbar has a "night mode" which attempts to do this. It's effective but I found the resulting sound very thin, even with a SUB. You go from too much bass to not enough. It's like it has a dynamic volume but not a dynamic EQ, the latter would boost bass levels when the volume was quiet to enable the effects still to be heard, just at a lower level.

I only used to use the Night Mode on Playbar when absolutely necessary as it reduced the audio quality so much. You're kinda wasting your money on such a good quality system if you don't use its full potential. My newer system has both dynamic EQ and a low/medium/high setting for dynamic volume. I have it enabled on low all the time for my TV sources but for blu-ray and music sources I have it disabled.

I'd recommend you audition the Playbar device again in Night Mode and see what you think. Without it, I don't think it will fix your issues with explosions. Alternatively, the Sonos money back guarantee is always worth a go - until it's in your own home you'll never know how it will suit.


2. You have to use the supplied remote. It PAIN to use. If I am near the TV cabinet, I can press the volume up or down. But very often I press the input select button and must cycle through BT, Aux to get to optical.

At the end I thing I have to sacrifice a bit of shear sound quality for the ease of use that only sonos provides.

Neven


If you find the app control method of Sonos meets your needs better, you're probably going down the right route. I bought a Harmony universal remote years ago and, after a little bit of programming, that's made the world a nicer place for control.
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[quote=RO53BEN]

The volume issue is a common one across many sound systems. As production sound quality improves, so does the dynamic range used in the edit. They expect people to be able to handle loud explosions and still hear the dialogue. This often isn't the case and many home listeners don't want to have cinema style effects all the time.

Many modern AV receivers have some kind of dynamic volume levelling function, often known as compression. It levels out the volume by reducing output when it's loud and increasing output when it's quiet. It can work very well on a show that constantly switches between loud and near silence. I'm surprised the QM4 doesn't have such a function.

The Playbar has a "night mode" which attempts to do this. It's effective but I found the resulting sound very thin, even with a SUB. You go from too much bass to not enough. It's like it has a dynamic volume but not a dynamic EQ, the latter would boost bass levels when the volume was quiet to enable the effects still to be heard, just at a lower level.

I only used to use the Night Mode on Playbar when absolutely necessary as it reduced the audio quality so much. You're kinda wasting your money on such a good quality system if you don't use its full potential. My newer system has both dynamic EQ and a low/medium/high setting for dynamic volume. I have it enabled on low all the time for my TV sources but for blu-ray and music sources I have it disabled.

I'd recommend you audition the Playbar device again in Night Mode and see what you think. Without it, I don't think it will fix your issues with explosions. Alternatively, the Sonos money back guarantee is always worth a go - until it's in your own home you'll never know how it will suit. [quote]

I will try out the playbar in every day use. That is what is all about. Real use, Music, TV and occasionaly movies at normal volume levels (my 6 month old son needs his sleep).

If you find the app control method of Sonos meets your needs better, you're probably going down the right route. I bought a Harmony universal remote years ago and, after a little bit of programming, that's made the world a nicer place for control.


I suggest you listen to QM4, you'll be surprised. I don't think playbar offers such power. But, power without control means nothing. And that is exactly QM4's problem. Either really quiet or crazy loud and difficult to control.
Sonos on the other hand works with existing TV remote (if I have a family member over they do not know why "volume is fixed" says on the TV :-)) and Sonos has the fantastic app. But... Sonos makes you think: I want to add more components. That is a good company strategy, I think... But bad for your wallet...

Best

Neven
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I will try out the playbar in every day use. That is what is all about. Real use, Music, TV and occasionaly movies at normal volume levels (my 6 month old son needs his sleep).


Worth pointing out that Sonos "Night Mode" and "Speech Enhancement" only works for optical input devices. For music, only standard EQ is available.

I decided never to turn down the TV for baby, they've got used to a noisier household. It means they now sleep through storms, parties and even smoke alarms :O)



I suggest you listen to QM4, you'll be surprised. I don't think playbar offers such power. But, power without control means nothing. And that is exactly QM4's problem. Either really quiet or crazy loud and difficult to control.


I have the Q Acoustics speakers, but chose the 7000i model over a PLAYBAR - fed by a Denon amp. It gives the level of control I need, along with loads of power and quality. There is usually a compromise with Soundbar options.


Sonos on the other hand works with existing TV remote (if I have a family member over they do not know why "volume is fixed" says on the TV :-)) and Sonos has the fantastic app. But... Sonos makes you think: I want to add more components. That is a good company strategy, I think... But bad for your wallet...


Important to note that the TV remote won't work to control Sonos music, only volume in TV mode. You'll need to use the Sonos app for anything music related and to switch back to TV when you are done - unless the auto-switch works for you. Universal remotes are the king when it comes to this kind of thing, especially when the babysitters are trying to make the TV work :O)

Sonos is a great music solution, I went from a few zone players in 2004 to then having players in every room, even the bathrooms and utility room. It's hard to stop buying until all your home is filled with music.
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My TV temote controls the volume on music. Why would it not as it controls the playbar volume?
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My TV temote controls the volume on music. Why would it not as it controls the playbar volume?

If this now works, I stand corrected. It never used to and I've been using a universal remote for many years since so it may have been fixed.
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[/quote]

Worth pointing out that Sonos "Night Mode" and "Speech Enhancement" only works for optical input devices. For music, only standard EQ is available.

I decided never to turn down the TV for baby, they've got used to a noisier household. It means they now sleep through storms, parties and even smoke alarms :O)

Hehe! We do have a JRT who barks like crazy... You have a point there.

[quote]


I have the Q Acoustics speakers, but chose the 7000i model over a PLAYBAR - fed by a Denon amp. It gives the level of control I need, along with loads of power and quality. There is usually a compromise with Soundbar options.

I gave up that idea. I want minimum fuss with the wires, and I ask for better sound that TV can give me. Sonos does that, I am sure.


Important to note that the TV remote won't work to control Sonos music, only volume in TV mode. You'll need to use the Sonos app for anything music related and to switch back to TV when you are done - unless the auto-switch works for you. Universal remotes are the king when it comes to this kind of thing, especially when the babysitters are trying to make the TV work :O)
Fine by me.

Sonos is a great music solution, I went from a few zone players in 2004 to then having players in every room, even the bathrooms and utility room. It's hard to stop buying until all your home is filled with music.

The best solution I can think of right now is selling QM4, buying the playbar and replacing Play3 with pair of Play1.
Wishes, wishes...

Thank you for your reply

Neven
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The best solution I can think of right now is selling QM4, buying the playbar and replacing Play3 with pair of Play1.
Wishes, wishes...

Since no one showed interest to buy my Qacoustics M4, I found a elegant solution. I've bought a Logitech harmony remote which will allow me to control the speakers and the TV. It will arrive in a few days, will inform you how it goes.

Off course, I still want to own a Sonos speaker. Since I own a play3, Would it be wiser to add another play3, or maybe invest in a Play 5 (gen1 or 2)? Stereo imaging is not a top priority.

Neven
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The best solution I can think of right now is selling QM4, buying the playbar and replacing Play3 with pair of Play1.
Wishes, wishes...

Since no one showed interest to buy my Qacoustics M4, I found a elegant solution. I've bought a Logitech harmony remote which will allow me to control the speakers and the TV. It will arrive in a few days, will inform you how it goes.

Off course, I still want to own a Sonos speaker. Since I own a play3, Would it be wiser to add another play3, or maybe invest in a Play 5 (gen1 or 2)? Stereo imaging is not a top priority.

Neven
I started Sonos with a play3, was impressed with the sound quality and added another play3 for stereo and separation. Half a year later, I added the the playbar. If you are planning to switch to the playbar once your QM4 is sold, I recommend getting another play3. Once you are ready for the playbar, you can pair all them up for surround. In which a surround setup would trump the a play5 Gen 2.
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I started Sonos with a play3, was impressed with the sound quality and added another play3 for stereo and separation. Half a year later, I added the the playbar. If you are planning to switch to the playbar once your QM4 is sold, I recommend getting another play3. Once you are ready for the playbar, you can pair all them up for surround. In which a surround setup would trump the a play5 Gen 2.


Maybe replace Play 3 with a pair od play 1's?
What about Play 5 gen 1, how does it compare to my Play3?
I find it hard to convince myself on a Sonos playbar/playbase, My Qacoustis sounds superior, especially the dialogue and bass in movies. However, I want the Sonos for my music. I just love the sound my Play 3 produces, only want something that could fill my room easier (or several rooms for that matter)
Neven
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Maybe replace Play 3 with a pair od play 1's?
What about Play 5 gen 1, how does it compare to my Play3?
I find it hard to convince myself on a Sonos playbar/playbase, My Qacoustis sounds superior, especially the dialogue and bass in movies. However, I want the Sonos for my music. I just love the sound my Play 3 produces, only want something that could fill my room easier (or several rooms for that matter)
Neven


I haven’t really had a chance to listen for a store demo of a Play 5 Gen 1 since they are discontinued in Canada. Just a side note on the Playbar/Playbase, there is advanced audio settings through the app where you can adjust the base and treble. As well as, Truplay which helps a lot.