Sonos Playbar sound projector review
Sonos is based in California, it is a market leader in audio and hi-fi products. This week, we will be closing the testing of the brand’s products with the Sonos Playbar sound projector.
Connected to modern flat-screen TVs, the Sonos Playbar has excellent sound. It is very easy to install using optical cables. Capable of both Dolby Digital sound and stereo mode, the Playbar. 6 center, 3 tweeters and 9 digital amplifiers (Class D) guarantee quality sound. The center speakers sound like a speaker array, so the sound coming from the speaker and the images on the screen are in harmony with each other. It is possible to download an application to your Android or iOS mobile phone with which you can easily connect to the speaker. This device also offers streaming capabilities, we can also use iTunes, Tidal, Deezer or Spotify applications. Of course, it is compatible with other Sonos products, so we can create a very serious sound system by combining the products of the brand. Wireless connectivity is possible thanks to Sonos BRIDGE. You can adjust the sound settings, adjust the bass, treble and volume. It has an auto play function that allows you to select whether or not the TV sound starts automatically.
It works with most infrared remote controls and can also be controlled with the Sonos Controller app – available from Android, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Plays all sources connected to the HDTV. (satellite set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and game consoles). The power supply: AC 100-240V, 50-60Hz. Dimensions: 900 mm x 85 mm x 140 mm, weight 5400 g.
Unfortunately, there is only one way to connect to a TV, and that is through a digital optical cable. There is also an advantage to this simplicity, as only one cable connects the TV to the Playbar – but this is a disadvantage when connecting devices with multiple HDMI inputs and HDMI outputs.
Sonos Playbar sound
This is a really nicely crafted and minimalist style unit. Can also be wall-mounted with an optional bracket or laid in front of the TV, the built-in accelerometers automatically detect the direction and adjust the sound accordingly.
Acoustic conditions at the test site were in order, courtesy of leather membrane sound-absorbing panels and acoustic wood diffusers. Bass traps in the corners provided proper handling of deep sounds. The acoustics of the rooms will be ideal if we also treat the walls, corners and ceilings with products made specifically for acoustic purposes. It is recommended to place acoustic curtains in front of the windows and the patio door. The way the speakers are placed and the distance from the wall or the student’s position are also key to the sound quality!
We also tried Sonos Playbar for watching movies and listening to music. In our experience, Playbar sounds best when directed outward with the wider rim.
Along with the other connections, the device also has a pair of Ethernet sockets that allow you to connect other devices to the Internet via the Sonos network, such as a smart TV. Thanks to the infrared sensor, you can set the Playbar to respond to the volume controls on the TV remote control, and even a repeater has been built in to get all the other remote control commands to the TV, even if the Playbar is in front of it. There is no voice control option. You will need Sonos Beam to use Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri.
The width of the tone is extremely impressive, the sound is dynamic, detailed and spatial. Sometimes it sounds like the sound is pointing upwards rather than the listening position, especially when placed flat.
The Playbar is capable of pretty decent depths in its category, although it has struggled with the lowest bass. If you want perfect bass, you might want to add a Sonos Sub subwoofer. Adding Sonos Sub to the system through the app is a simple process and the sound will clearly improve.
The Sonos system can decode Dolby Digital sounds or produce pseudo-surround sound from a stereo signal. It’s a shame, however, that it can’t handle DTS or higher-quality audio tracks like Dolby TrueHD – the latter can be due to the bandwidth limitations of the optical connection. It’s also worth noting that many TVs only transmit stereo audio optically. , so for proper Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, the set-top box or DVD / Blu-ray player must decode and connect directly to the Playbar.
Setting up the sound projector wasn’t always easy, it took some time, but after that it was an easy matter to control. Its appearance is clean, aesthetic, it can be mounted on the wall, but it can also be placed laid. It sounds pretty fair, although it’s also recommended to connect a Sonos Sub subwoofer for ideal bass. It significantly improves the sound of the TV and also offers music streaming options. It cannot generate a surround sensation on its own, but it decodes Dolby Digital signals coming to its digital inputs. In terms of sound (neither in terms of space nor volume) it does not approach the good old wired stereo world in itself, although due to its size it sounds “good” in the playbar category. It may not fit under a TV and it doesn’t matter how we place it in terms of sound.
The Sonos Beam is a more compact, high-sounding smart TV speaker, complete with voice control, in our opinion a better choice than the Playbar.
Written by Róbert Polgár