Question

To sub or not to sub...

  • 10 October 2016
  • 18 replies
  • 1460 views

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I realise at the outset that views shared here will be entirely subjective, but...

I've finally taken the leap to Sonos (from a Heos Home Cinema) and I couldn't be happier at the moment. Everything has been flawless so far... simple setup, perfect integration, amazing sound quality.

I initially went with a Playbar, two Play 1's as surround, and a Play 3 in the master. I opted NOT to go for the sub initially given the relative cost.

With both the Heos and it's predecessor (a Pioneer system) I had a separate sub. Although the bass is clearly present when playing music on the Playbar, I'm not so aware of it on TV/films. So I'm looking for views from others both with the same config (playbar/play 1's) both with and without the sub. Did it hugely impact your experience adding the sub? Or maybe you're on the other side and don't feel the sub is necessary?

For reference the listening room is a 'large' lounge (by UK standards), but the listening position is fairly close to the TV/Playbar - within a few meters.

Thanks in advance for any views. :)

Tom

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18 replies

Did it hugely impact your experience adding the sub?
You could say so. At times I have feared for the structural integrity of the house...
Userlevel 3
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Did it hugely impact your experience adding the sub?
You could say so. At times I have feared for the structural integrity of the house...


Lol... thanks. That does of course point out another consideration... I live in a block of flats with neighbors above and below me. Am I going to get us evicted?
And yet you can leave a cuppa on the sub and not see waves...

Yes, the sub is great when added to a Playbar and two Play 1s. It fills in the bottom end in a way the Playbar just can't do.
It works well for movies, and also for music.

If you can trial the sub with an option to return it, just do it! It's unlikely you'll be making that return trip.
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Thanks Peter... I had a feeling the replies might lean toward positive! Maybe I'm just looking for decision support here. 😉
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Agree. As long as you feed the Playbar Dolby 5.1. I added a sub to my Playbar with Play1 surrounds and it is fantastic - But it does depend on the audio track - Not all 5.1 tracks are mixed as well as others - Eg the stuff I hear on BBC dramas is way better than that on Channel 5 HD
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Some non sonos sub owners, stand them on granite chopping boards, supposed to dampen it from going through hard floors to downstairs flats.
The sub will get it's own .1 soundtrack, as film maker intended.
Tell us more about your experience with Heos, why did you change etc etc.
You seem to be the first Heos owner to venture in here.
Userlevel 4
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I ran 5.0 for a month before the argument in my head persuaded my to buy the Sub. So glad I did, even though I thought the bass from the Playbar alone was great, the addition of the Sub was amazing. Buy it, you won't regret it.
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The sub is a great addition. And it can be paired with different speakers when you want to give music etc. that addional bass.

I'm a big fan of the sound (in such small size) of the sub.
Userlevel 3
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Some non sonos sub owners, stand them on granite chopping boards, supposed to dampen it from going through hard floors to downstairs flats.
The sub will get it's own .1 soundtrack, as film maker intended.
Tell us more about your experience with Heos, why did you change etc etc.
You seem to be the first Heos owner to venture in here.


Thanks :)

To be fair to the Heos, I didn't *dislike* the sound quality, but I found it quite flaky. I also had it set up multi room with a Heos 1 in the master, the Home Cinema and sub in the lounge. My initial experience with it was fairly good, with the various services all being added through the app etc., but ultimately it's nowhere near as mature as the Sonos (of course I didn't know that until I bought the Sonos!). Among the various issues, the main ones:

- Frequently lost the grouping of rooms, then refused to group them
- Sometimes randomly sent TV audio to another room (first time scared the h*ll out of me as thought someone was in the other room when I was home alone!)
- Sync was not seamless when rooms were grouped
- (and the biggest) no support for Apple Music, despite repeat promises and the capability clearly being there
- Had a tendency to self-update in the middle of the night, at which point we'd be awoken by a huge flashing yellow light

Also in fairness to them, they do have a completely wireless solution in the form of the Heos1 with Go pack, but I didn't get the chance to try this. I suspect it still would have been limiting though as I believe the Heos 1 only then works by bluetooth (so no multi-room).
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Forgot to add, the one other thing the HEOS has in its favor is connectivity for the Home Cinema. As opposed to the Sonos, it also offers hdmi, aux, etc. unfortunately either due to the TV or the Sonos, I gave up on hdmi anyway. I kept losing audio, having devices behave randomly, TV switching inputs when it shouldn't have. For what it's worth, it's a very new tv so I doubt it was the problem.
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Thanks twuk, always good to hear other peoples experiences of different audio kit. Sonos users are always asking for portable and hdmi connections etc.
I think your reply will be repeated on here quite a lot :D
Look at the workarounds with hdmi switch boxes to optical etc ,in here, for the playbar, as getting true 5.1 out of it can be a struggle as a lot of tvs do not pass thru DD5.1
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Thanks Paul. Fortunately I believe my TV (Samsung UE55KS9000) does support DD pass through.

In any case will find out very shortly as I ordered the Sub this morning. 😃
DD5.1 only matters for the specific LFE channel. For all other content -- stereo, DD2.0, etc -- the SUB is just as busy, since the PLAYBAR filters off the low frequencies and sends them to the SUB anyway.
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I want a new Sub, A sub one, the current one is too big and I have nowhere to put it.
They now have a white one but no smaller one.

I can wait , it may be a while if ever :)

But subs are dam cool, I have a surround system on my PC with a sub and wow
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The sub is a great addition that adds a great deal. I too live in flats and placed the sub on an old spiked speaker stand base to isolate it from the floor. Not only for TV, it really peps up music too. You notice it when you switch it off rather than when it is switched on - if that made sense!
The bass on Interstellar could bounce your block of flats nto the middle of the road.

I have bass set to what many would call low so it fills in music nicely and adds punch to films.
placed the sub on an old spiked speaker stand base to isolate it from the floor.

You notice it when you switch it off rather than when it is switched on - if that made sense!

I am not sure that a stand is needed to isolate it such that nothing seeps down to the apartment below - evidenced by nothing vibrating if kept on top of it and, in my case, no complaints from a Sub on the floor in vertical mode; perhaps if it is kept flat on the floor with one port facing downwards, it might be a problem downstairs. No harm done by placing it your way of course.

As to the latter, that is the classic description of a well set up Sub - that you don't notice its presence, but feel its absence once you have felt the presence once.
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Brief update... the sub arrived today and I love it - no regrets whatsoever. Thanks all for the feedback, comments, and advice.
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placed the sub on an old spiked speaker stand base to isolate it from the floor.

You notice it when you switch it off rather than when it is switched on - if that made sense!

I am not sure that a stand is needed to isolate it such that nothing seeps down to the apartment below - evidenced by nothing vibrating if kept on top of it and, in my case, no complaints from a Sub on the floor in vertical mode; perhaps if it is kept flat on the floor with one port facing downwards, it might be a problem downstairs. No harm done by placing it your way of course.

As to the latter, that is the classic description of a well set up Sub - that you don't notice its presence, but feel its absence once you have felt the presence once.


It's tucked away in a corner so I never even considered checking is the cabinet vibrated or not. Thanks for the heads up on it doesn't really matter.
I've always liked well integrated bass rather than it pounding away killing everything. I like the way it fills the flat up with the bass when music is on everywhere.

As an avid music lover I come from a not too shabby hi fi set up and blown bass always annoyed me. Listening to Sonos at a friend's house and it's convenience sold it to me. And it sounds great!

Rather like Trueplay, I find you notice when you switch it off rather than when switching it on.