Beam Music Quality

  • 29 December 2018
  • 12 replies
  • 1035 views

Badge +1
I have mixed feelings about the music playing abilities of the Beam. Sometimes it’s quite impressive, and at other times I’ve been thinking something sounded off. Then I finally found a song where I could easily identify and reproduce a section where my Beam falls flat.

With the song “Hope She’ll Be Happier” by Bill Withers at 2:37 in (this is the song in the Bill Withers Essentials playlist on Apple Music); When he hits a certain pitch and holds it for a while, the sound starts to get very distorted. I’ve played this section at about 50% volume.

Do you guys hear this as well, or does it sound fine on your end?

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

12 replies

Badge +1
What are you guys’ take on it?

I’m not trying to bash the product - overall I’m super happy with it. But I’d like to get to the bottom of the music playing ability and find out if this is how it is, or if it’s maybe something with my unit / its calibration
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I don't think the Beam does well with music. However, with two play:1s as rears (in full mode) after trueplay its a pretty good system. Beam alone never impressed me.

I previously had my 5.1 system setup as Playbar, Play:1s, Sub. I had Beam in living room on its own. Didn't like the performance so moved the Beam into the 5.1 system and there is does well (its needs the help of the other speakers). Moved the Playbar to the stand alone (which it excels in).

So my take is Beam great in 5.1 system but weak on its own. Nice package though and better TV sound then pretty much any TV speakers.
Badge +1
I don't think the Beam does well with music. However, with two play:1s as rears (in full mode) after trueplay its a pretty good system. Beam alone never impressed me.

I previously had my 5.1 system setup as Playbar, Play:1s, Sub. I had Beam in living room on its own. Didn't like the performance so moved the Beam into the 5.1 system and there is does well (its needs the help of the other speakers). Moved the Playbar to the stand alone (which it excels in).

So my take is Beam great in 5.1 system but weak on its own. Nice package though and better TV sound then pretty much any TV speakers.


I have have to get those play:1s. I just don’t have the room to put them behind the couch as rears, but perhaps could put them on the side of the TV.

Would it be possible to connect to HomePods instead though? Or would that not be ideal in terms of convenience since they are 2 separate systems?
Would it be possible to connect to HomePods instead though? Or would that not be ideal in terms of convenience since they are 2 separate systems?

The Beam supports a pair of Play:1 OR Sonos One speakers as the rear pair. Not mix’n’match and certainly not non-Sonos devices.

Not sure that you’ll get the intended effect when watching TV if you put the “rear” speakers alongside the TV as surround sound timings will be a bit out. I don’t have space behind the sofa but do have space on bookcases either side of the sofa (so speakers are to my side, not behind me). Works great and recommend setting the music playback to Full to get best effect.
Badge +1
Would it be possible to connect to HomePods instead though? Or would that not be ideal in terms of convenience since they are 2 separate systems?

The Beam supports a pair of Play:1 OR Sonos One speakers as the rear pair. Not mix’n’match and certainly not non-Sonos devices.

Not sure that you’ll get the intended effect when watching TV if you put the “rear” speakers alongside the TV as surround sound timings will be a bit out. I don’t have space behind the sofa but do have space on bookcases either side of the sofa (so speakers are to my side, not behind me). Works great and recommend setting the music playback to Full to get best effect.


Cool. I’ll have to look into that. Maybe I can make some room. The thing is that one speaker would likely be placed quite a lot more off to the side compared to the other (one would be behind the corner of the couch, but the other might be further back + further multiple meters away from the couch). Do you think that would be an issue or does the calibration setup take care of that?
The thing is that one speaker would likely be placed quite a lot more off to the side compared to the other (one would be behind the corner of the couch, but the other might be further back + further multiple meters away from the couch). Do you think that would be an issue or does the calibration setup take care of that?

Hmmm... can’t really help with that. My setup is having sofa back against long wall with pair of Sonos Ones, each on top of a high bookcase. They’re not exactly at the same height but are about the same distance from the sofa. The calibration does improve things greatly for my setup but can’t really comment on your, possibly extreme, setup.
If you have the ability to run TruePlay, it might take care of that issue.
Badge +1
Gotcha, thanks guys. Appreciate the input!
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
Maybe repeating the previous, but on its own it is not that good with music. Great for television though. I paired it from the start with 2 1's, and in full range mode it is acceptable. Currently I use the beam (for music) in conjunction with a group containing a sub and 5's in stereo. It fills the room with a little extra, but again, on its own, no ... not for music.
Badge +1
I’m starting to notice some rare occasions where the sound in movies also fall flat. It gets quite “cringy”. I’m watching Vikings now, and particularly one of the actors’ voice triggers it.

It’s the same “cringy” sound I noticed in that Bill Withers song mentioned in my first post. This is getting me even more interested in getting those 1s to add to my sound system. I have 2 questions though:

1) My Beam is connected to the TV with HDMI to ensure that image and sound is 100% in sync. By adding the 1s wirelessly, will they “jump on” to the Beam and thus also be 100% in sync? Or will there be a delay between them and the Beam / image?

2) Before Sonos I had a Pioneer receiver and a 5.1 setup. I always thought the rear speakers were cool but only played small details. They didn’t carry a lot of the weight of the entire sound experience (just sound effects behind me and such). In this thread I was recommend to add to Sonos 1s as rear speakers to my Beam. My question here is if these speakers will carry more weight compared to my old rear speakers? My thinking is that my setup will only be 3 speakers (Beam + two rear 1s) and therefore more of the sound will be distributed out on each speaker - but meanwhile the Beam will carry less than it does now as a stand-alone unit. Does that make sense - and is it correct, or completely off? ?
Userlevel 7
Badge +22
@All

Read my two cents on the Beam here: https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/beam-vs-playbar-playbase-my-opinion-6814520

Cheers!
Userlevel 1
Badge
I'm not on my system at the moment and I don't listen anywhere close to 50%, so I haven't tested high SPL response. However the Beam by itself very much lacks the mid and low end response. With being supplemented by other speakers in full range , or IDEALLY the Sub, its wouldnt impress for music.