Review: Sonos PLAYBAR

Having dominated networked audio since inception in 2002, SONOS is coming after your TV! The company’s range of high quality audio speakers – the PLAY:1, PLAY:3 and PLAY:5 has now been joined by two home theater components – the SONOS PLAYBAR and the SONOS SUB.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be taking a look at SONOS’ home theater credentials in some detail, with reviews of the PLAYBAR and SUB and how to guides which will help you get up and running with SONOS and your big screen TV. Today, we kick off with a look at the SONOS PLAYBAR.

While many tech enthusiasts and music lovers are huge fans of the SONOS range, their speakers is most certainly positioned at the premium end of audio category, and the SONOS PLAYBAR is no different. Retailing at $699/£599, the PLAYBAR isn’t the most expensive soundbar on the market today, but it’s sold at a significant premium to mainstream competitors – but then, you’re not just getting a overly long speaker for your TV. There’s much more to discover.

Talking of which, let’s open up the box.

What’s in the Box?

Either you or your local delivery driver is in for some heavy lifting when you purchase the SONOS PLAYBAR – it’s well protected in a wide, branded carton that takes some lifting. Happily, there’s an integrated handle which makes life easier.

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As is common with Sonos devices, the PLAYBAR is very securely packaged with large foam pads and a soft bag protecting the soundbar itself from knocks and scratches.

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Unpack the contents carefully and inside you’ll find:

  • The SONOS PLAYBAR
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Optical audio cable
  • Power cable
  • Quickstart guides and brochures

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The SONOS PLAYBAR itself, as you’d expect from a soundbar, is wide and reasonably flat (3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 inches  or 85 x 900 x 140mm) but unlike other soundbars which can be light to pick up, this home theater speaker has some weight – 11.9 lbs. (5.4 kg) of it, in fact. That’s not a problem – it’s reassuringly heavy, you could say.

Unlike other models in the SONOS range, there are no colour options to choose from – black and silver is what you’re going to get. The resulting design is professional and understated, but there’s more than a little touch of class too.

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3 comments

    1. As mentioned in the review… no, there’s not going to be DTS support for the Playbar. Given that you’ll generally find a Dolby Digital version on most releases, it’s not a huge headache – but it’s a frustration for those that prefer DTS mixes.

  1. A couple of watch-outs:

    The majority of TVs cannot output the 5.1 signal it receives from HDMI connected devices (e.g. Satellite box, DVR, streaming boxes, consoles, blu-ray players). In this scenario, the audio that the Sonos playbar receives will be downgraded to stereo only. There are workarounds, but the only elegant solution is to have a TV that doesn’t have this limitation. Otherwise you will need to deal with additional wiring and an optical switch box.

    You rightly mentioned the lack of DTS support, which is going to be an issue for those with Blu-Ray collections. You can get around this by using a blu-ray player that can transcode DTS to DD (e.g. some Samsung blu-ray players as well as Xbox One).

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