One of the first things I like to do when having a new speaker, is blast out the THX theme. It’s one of those core memory that is linked forever to watching movies for me. The low rumble rising up for the ultimate crescendo! Because, sound is one of the most important things of a movie. In fact, I can put on a movie while working, and not watch a single frame, but listen to every line of dialogue, the ambient, everything. Having that sound be excellent is just paramount to me.
Long time readers know we have a thing for SONOS products, and when the opportunity came to test the SONOS PLAYBAR, I jumped at it.
First of all, as we are known from SONOS, it’s a high quality product that works great in the SONOS family. When not in use for watching TV, you can just blast your music through it like you would on any other SONOS speaker. That truly is a core strength. Because, what’s the use of an audio system if it doesn’t work well in the other rooms of your home.
Installing it is a breeze, it connects over WiFi, just like any other SONOS speaker, and it gets its TV audio from the included S/PDIF cable. Great!
What I don’t like, which is not SONOS’s fault, is that you can set the audio levels of the PLAYBAR with your TV remote (or in our case, the AppleTV remote). That works brilliantly, but for this to work you’ll have to disable the audio output on your TV, and on our TV that gave an error warning each time I wanted to change the audio. And you don’t want a huge pop-up in that epic scene in the final Game of Thrones episode. You know which one I’m talking about.
Sound wise, the PLAYBAR does a neat trick that tries and create a 3D sound so you will get a richer sound from just one speaker. Sound purists may not like it, but for me it works.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Price. It’s not a cheap system. For the PLAYBAR alone, you pay €799, which you will pay as well for the optional SUB. If you want a true 5.1 surround system, add 2x €229 for two PLAY:1’s as rear speakers. That’s a total of €2056, which gets you in the high-end tier of home-cinemas.
Though, for that price, you get a well-built speaker, a system that works together flawlessly, and is well designed!