Sonos :: Decisions, decisions, decisions

by Volker Weber


Two things made my previous chart obsolete: the new PLAY:5 goes to eleven, and Trueplay Tuning makes all speakers so much better. I am leaving behind CONNECT and CONNECT:AMP now. I a way I find it wasteful to invest in those as an intermediate solution. You will eventually want the other speakers. They have multiple digital amps, one for each driver. So they don't need analog crossovers and can be programmed to any sound. See above, Trueplay Tuning.

The PLAY:3 is now the oldest speaker and I do not see enough benefit over the newer PLAY:1 to recommend it. This shows at the PLAY:1 and PLAY:3 pairs. The other big change is with the PLAY:5 and PLAY:5 pair. I recommend them over any other stereo pair, even when combined with a SUB. The speaker goes so deep that a SUB can only add a lot of punch at a volume you will seldom be playing at.

I also recommend PLAY:5 over PLAYBAR if you only listen to music. When it comes to TV, that's a whole different story. PLAYBAR adds so much to TV sound, that it's hard to imagine. You can build out the room that has a TV with PLAYBAR only, then add a SUB for the deep rumble. And maybe build out the full surround experience for movie night by repurpasing PLAY:1s from kitchen and bathroom. When you break out the back speakers they remember what they were before and you just put them back.

I continue to recommend the PLAY:1 speaker. Trueplay Tuning has leveled the differences and you can now place the speakers where you see fit. Once you heard the new PLAY:5 however, you have lost. You will want it.

You can now run Sonos in two configurations: Wifi mode just connects through your existing Wifi. In bridge mode you need one Ethernet wire between the router and any one Sonos speaker. Then Sonos creates its own wireless SonosNet that can be extended with BOOST.



In your chart : 2*PLAY:5+SUB = PLAYBAR+2*PLAY:5+SUB = 12
Isn't there a mistake here ?


Gaston Annebicque, 2016-01-19 14:36

No. PLAYBAR does not support Trueplay (yet). I already give it some credit because it will eventually. Currently it is not possible to tune this elaborate setup to the room. So I would argue that without the PLAYBAR a PLAY:5 pair with SUB can deliver even better sound.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 14:37

So the Play:5s can be used as surrounds? That would be very, very tempting …

Tilkov Stefan, 2016-01-19 14:42

The new ones can.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 14:45

Volker, this is good. Thanks to you I now own a few Sonos Play:1 s and a Connect for my existing living room setup (which is very good). Looking at a few more Play:1s (as a second for my office to make a stereo pair - and for other places in the house).

I do disagree on the Connect. If you do (like me) have a great home theatre setup then there is no way I will remove the existing speakers. Also - and this is a big one - the Playbar (or Sonos in general) does not support DTS - all my movies play in DTS. So I have actually be advising my friends to get a great home theatre setup with the Connect and then the other speakers for the rest of the house.

Oh... and I'm on day 80 of my Move Streak.........

Wolfgang Kulhanek, 2016-01-19 15:46

The old DTS issue that I never came across. But I do not have any physical media. I used to use a Connect (then ZP80) before I moved all in. I think it is a natural transition.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 15:53

Right. If I was moving house I would strongly reconsider - also DTS may not be much of an issue then (my LG TV doesn't support it either...). But I would not advise anyone to replace an existing (high-end) setup. Connect keeps that alive and well integrated.

Wolfgang Kulhanek, 2016-01-19 15:56

I would. Anytime. Don't throw it away, just sell it. Get rid of all the cables and boxes.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 16:00

Well, there is the issue with wires in the walls, holes in the walls, ...

Wolfgang Kulhanek, 2016-01-19 16:01

You can leave those where they are. ;-)

But I understand. These things were expensive to put it. When we built our house, I also made provisions for backchannel speakers. But I never had to use them.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 16:04

I agree the convenience is worth it – e.g. I actually replaced my TV with one that sends out DD 5.1 via its optical output so that I could get rid of the ugly and inconvenient audio switch.

Stefan Tilkov, 2016-01-19 16:17

Someone looking for a decent Home Cinema System? - I would gladly sell my Onkyo HT-S7705 and replace it with PLAYBAR+SUB+2*PLAY:1

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2016-01-19 16:51

Dirk, this is the worst possible place to sell old surround systems. Unless Wolfgang knows somebody who wants a CONNECT and your existing setup.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 17:10

Actually I moved from an expensive surround system to a playbar, sub and play 3 as surrounds just a few weeks ago. It hurt a little to sell my beloved speakers but eventually they paid for the sonos purchase and myself and my girlfriend are happier than ever.

To get real 5.1 sound I've followed someone's advice and got a HDMI TOSlink switch. The PS4 remixes DTS to DD and everyone is happy. I just hope Sonos will eventually support DD Plus (maybe in their next playbar or an update) for Amazon Prime users.

And I've discovered a feature of the playbar that I've not heard of before: You can put your TV sound on any Sonos speaker in your house. Not a killer feature but nice nonetheless.

Dominik Mähl, 2016-01-19 19:27

The Playbar us case You describe sounds very familiar to me, Volker.

I just wonder what could be the benefits of WiFi connectivity (except for those users who can't connect at least one speaker to wired Ethernet).

The Play:5 might be something for my home office.

@Dominik, how can You share TV sound on other speakers? Time and again I miss that feature.

Sven Bühler, 2016-01-19 20:02

PLAYBAR (und die anderen verbundenen Speaker, etwa SUB) ist ein Raum. Den gruppierst Du mit anderen Räumen und dann spielen die das, was die PLAYBAR spielt. Wenn es TV-Ton ist, dann halt TV-Ton. Wenn sie gerade Apple Music spielt, dann ist das Apple Music.

Ich lege mal noch einen drauf. Nehmen wir an, Du hast in irgendeinem Raum einen PLAY:5, einen CONNECT, oder einen CONNECT:AMP. Diese drei Modelle haben einen Line-In. Hängst Du da eine Quelle dran, etwa einen CD-Spieler oder einen Apple Airport Express, dann kannst Du diese Quelle abspielen. Und zwar nicht nur auf *diesem* Player, sondern auf *jedem*. Beispiel: Dein PC spielt was ab. Kabel vom Kopfhörerausgang an Deinen PLAY:5. Bei der Konfig hast Du angegeben, das der PLAY:5 sofort auf diese Quelle umschaltet, wenn er da was hört auf dem Draht. Das änderst Du jetzt. Du sagst Deiner PLAYBAR, sie solle bitte das abspielen, was auf dem PLAY:5 am Eingang anliegt.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 20:38

Das ist so simpel, dass man es erst gar nicht kapiert. Der Speaker, an dem der Line-In benutzt wird, muss selbst keinen Ton von sich geben. Der ist einfach nur die Quelle.

Und wem das noch nicht reicht, der probiert mal

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 20:41

Looking at my set of Elac speakers... and moving one step closer. I have been considering throwing all my home cinema gear out (well, on eBay) on going all in on Sonos for a while, but the DTS issue is really holding me back. Dominiks comment is really helpful, but if I make the jump I really want to simplify things (i.e., no Playstation, tosslink switch, etc.) to convert DTS to DD.

(Plus the behavioral issue of just having spent a ridiculous amount of money for a wired speaker system when we built the house a year ago. I guess that's why you call it "sunk cost").

Christian Andres, 2016-01-19 21:41

Sunk cost is the real issue. Not so much in money, but you have to reverse a decision.

The problem with DTS is IP (intellectual property). Sonos would need to license every single player they sell. (See above: play TV sound everywhere). If you know the product mix you will immediately understand this is not an option. Suffice to say: they sell a whole lot more speakers than PLAYBARs. Sonos found a much simpler solution: they bought back the PLAYBARs from people who could not live without DTS. You could count them on two hands. There are exceptions, but the market is generally moving towards streaming, where DTS is not used. If you are the exception, SONOS is not your solution.

I thought (until I learned new information) that TOSlink was a problem. It no longer is. More recent TVs route proper DD Surround out the TOSlink port.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-19 21:52

@Sven As Volker said, when you set up a playbar there is a new music source named TV which you can play on any or all speakers in your system. It's effectively the same as the line in on Connects and Play 5s. I was stunned by that simplicity :)

@Volker You're half right :) Most modern TV output DD via TOSlink but only from their internal sources (Smart TV apps, internal tuner). Everything coming in via HDMI is regulated by copy protection rules to be converted to 2.0.

So there is still a case for an HDMI based Playbar. Maybe not for everyone but at least I still like a console or external player (Apple, Android or Fire TV)

I get Sonos's concept of simplicity and really like it. But a properly executed HDMI Playbar would still be nice. As it is now it was not such an easy decision for me. But you know the outcome :)

If someone from Sonos reads this: Maybe a Connect HT with HDMI inputs is a good idea. You could hide it with the rest of your equipment and simply set up speakers for the individual channels.

Dominik Mähl, 2016-01-19 23:00

So when these "more recent TVs" still only route their internal sources as DD to TOSlink, I am either condemned to use their shitty streaming apps or still only get 2.0 from HDMI sticks like Chromecast or Amazon Fire. And with DD+ (AFAIK used by Netflix, Amazon Prime) I won't get 5.1 also. Correct?

Volker, what are you streaming with?

Oliver Regelmann, 2016-01-20 00:00

Actually, no. I was told that they *route* DD to TOSLink. My previous knowledge was that they would convert to 2.0.

I am streaming from my Samsung TV.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-20 00:18

Just looked into Amazon Prime for you and checked the input signal that PLAYBAR reports: Dolby Digital 5.1.

Volker Weber , 2016-01-20 00:36

Volker, would you mind posting your TV brand and model number?

Dominik Mähl, 2016-01-20 06:08

vowe would you please stop now. I can not resist to do what you recommend, but sooner or later I will be killed for having sonos all over the rooms. Just let me recap, first it was playerbar, sub, 2xPlay 3, when the Play 1 came it was playerbar, sub, 2xPlay 1 now it sounds even better with playerbar, sub, 2xPlay 5 new. You are right no need for connect. The only good thing not more than 32 parts from sonos in a setup.

Wolfram Votteler, 2016-01-20 07:39

Mein Samsung UE55H6290 aus dem letzten Jahr liefert einwandfreien 5.1 Sound unabhängig von der Quelle, auch vom Amazon Fire TV Stick und vom Samsung Bluray Player. Letzteres überraschte mich. Ich habe kurz über die TOS-Link-Switch-Bastel-Lösung nachgedacht und mich dann entschieden, einfach ein weiteres optisches Kabel bis hinter die Playbar zu legen. Für die seltener werdenden Fälle des DVD-/Bluray-Schauens kann man dann einfach umstecken, weil die Playbar ja gut zugänglich unterm TV liegt. Da liegt das Kabel nun einsam und arbeitslos. Denn der 5.1 Sound, der über die HDMI Verbindung und den Samsung TV kommt, ist voll okay. Kann keine Beeinträchtigungen erkennen. Ob da DD, DTS oder sonst was als Quelle dahinter steckt und de- und rekodiert wird ... interessiert mich nicht. Es klingt verdammt gut und läuft einfach nur. So soll das sein. Danke für die Überzeugungsarbeit, die vowe hier leistet. Da Setup insgesamt war kein Schnäppchen - Playbar, Sub und 2x Play:1 - aber ich habe das gute Gefühl, nichts anderes mehr zu brauchen.

Tobias Vogel, 2016-01-20 09:29

Dominik, my TV has been posted here, and it leads you down the wrong path. It does not (have to) route DD. It is the source. In one of those lengthy discussions somebody said they bought a SONY TV precisely because it was able to send DD out of the TOSlink port, when the stream came in on an HDMI connection. I asked Sonos about that and they told me about a number of current TVs that can do this:

LG 55LX9500, 47LM6700, 55LM6700, 60LM7200, 55LV5500, 47LV5500
Philips 55PFL8007
Samsung PN43D490, UN55C6500VF
Sony KDL32EX400, KDL46EX400, KDL55EX500, KDLxxNX800, KDL-xxNX810

This is in no way a complete list. These are just some of the TVs that do it.

But frankly, I don't care. I watch my movies from whatever source has them. And I could not care less about the technical details. PLAYBAR creates an immersive sound experience even from DD 2.0 sources. It's one of those fundamental principles of SONOS to isolate you from all those technical details. Frustrating to the tinkerer, wonderful for people like myself.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-20 09:33

I agree with Dominik: if the playbar had several hdmi-inputs (and one output for the tv) as my amp has, i would change my setup right now without loosing the comfort of airplay over apple tv, ps3/4 or other other hdmi sources. also with hdmi-cec that would add a lot of comfort (less remotes in the house). some sources also don't need the tv to be on, outputting just sound, so the sonos component with the right input would be great!

Samuel Orsenne, 2016-01-20 09:51

Moving into a bigger flat in March, thinking already of the idea of getting rid of my surround system and all the cable stuff.
This chart is not helpful at all!!!! ;-)
It will just cost me money.

Patrick Bohr, 2016-01-20 10:57

Samuel, you like cables. Here is your tool:

I don't like cables. My PLAYBAR has power and a single very thin cable to my TV. Just like I want it. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2016-01-20 11:02

OK. Yeah sometimes the tinkerer in me a wide margin :)

Dominik Mähl, 2016-01-20 11:54


the following TVs can added to the list of proper processing of HDMI inputs and routing DD to the optical output. I have one of them myself.

LG 55EG9609, 65EG9609, 55EF9509, 65EF9509

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2016-01-20 12:49

The new PLAY:5 has one annoying design flaw:

Its touch enabled buttons get accidentally activated when you try to dust it of. This was not a problem with previous versions.

Christian Heindel, 2016-01-20 13:07

How does touch control work? You touch it.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-20 15:12

5.1 wird IMHO völlig überbewertet. Ob da nun DTS, DD oder auch nur ein "hochskaliertes" 2.0 -> 5.1 Signal aus den Boxen tönt - im Zweifel macht der digitale Soundbrei den Film auch nicht besser ...
Freilich mosere ich auf hohem Niveau: ich betreibe seit ca. 2004 eine 5.1 Anlage mit JBL Sub und KEF Satelliten an einem Pioneer Receiver. Ich würde aber nicht auf die Idee kommen, diese Komponenten durch Sonos (in meinem Fall wohl 4* Play:3, Sub und Playbar) zu ersetzen, insbesondere auch weil ich keinen Fernseher sondern einen Beamer habe und den AV Receiver schon allein für die HDMI Schalterei benötige. So viele Netzsteckdosen in allen Ecken des Zimmers zu haben ist auch nicht ohne, da ist es schon wurscht ob ich ein Lautsprecherkabel oder ein Netzkabel verlege.
Nichtsdestotrotz, für die anderen Zimmer sind meine beiden PLAY:5 und Connect:AMP die (fast) ideale Lösung. Eine drahtlose Anbindung von Smartphone/Tablet (WLAN oder Bluetooth) fehlt mir gelegentlich, wenn ich z.B. das Deezer Hörbuch aus dem Auto im Haus an derselben Stelle weiterhören will.

Axel Koerv, 2016-01-20 16:02

Also ... das Deezer-Hörbuch weiterzuhören ist eine bekannte Anforderung. Man muss nicht unbedingt diese Lösung haben, aber die Anforderung steht auf dem Zettel.

PLAYBAR ersetzt Center, FL und FR. Das ist schon mal 3.0. Mit dem SUB ist es 3.1 Für BL und BR kann man irgendwas nehmen. Mehr als PLAY:1 macht nur Sinn, wenn man viel Musik hört und da vollen Einsatz erwartet. Netzkabel (im Sinne von Ethernet) braucht es gar nicht. Stromkabel sehr wohl.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-20 16:23

Danke, Volker, für das Update.

Wenn ich mein Setup anschaue (2 P1, 1P3, 1P5(alt), 1PB), muss ich jetzt wohl vor allem endlich einen Sub anschaffen. Wird vermutlich schwer sein, das durchzusetzen, denn die schwarze Kiste muss ja irgendwo stehen. Gefühlt sind fehlende Bässe bisher auch nicht das Problem. Aber deine Tabelle ist ja unbestechlich ;-)

Jonas Rathert, 2016-01-20 20:25

@vowe: natürlich meinte ich Stromkabel, die mit den 230V ;-). Und die Play:1 wären im Vergleich zu den KEF Satelliten dann doch ein Rückschritt. Also dann halt Playbar, Sub und zwei mal Play:3.

Axel Koerv, 2016-01-20 21:57

Jonas, ich habe bei Sonos massiv gesagt, dass sie einen weißen SUB bauen müssen. Ich habe keine Gegenwehr bekommen. Man kann den übrigens sehr gut verstecken. Darf auf dem Boden unter dem Sofa liegen oder direkt daneben. Er muss nur zu einer Seite atmen können.

Volker Weber, 2016-01-20 22:02

Und wenn der Sub erstmal an einer passenden Stelle steht, sieht er richtig gut aus! Ich hab ihn hinterm Sofa wieder vorgeholt und finde, es gibt kaum elektronische Komponenten, die vergleichbar gut aussehen wie SONOS Produkte. Sub eingeschlossen. Wenn das Stromkabel geschickt versteckt ist, wirkt er wie eine Skulptur. Besucher fragen auch gerne mal, was das denn sei ...

Tobias Vogel, 2016-01-21 07:52

Thomas Lang macht aus dem Sub einen sehr schönen weißen Sub. Sieht sehr, sehr gut aus. Ein großes Rätsel, dass Sonos das nicht selbst macht...

Jens Nullmeyer, 2016-01-21 08:52

I replaced my old Play:5 stereo pair with the new Play:5 and it is good, but not mind blowing good. However, I put the old pair in the home office and ran a wire from the computer to the aux in and now my computer is hooked up to the Sonos universe, and that is something I have been missing.

I also have the full 5.1 surround in the TV room, and it is great, but a bit annoying and confusing not knowing what standard it can handle and when. I normally play mkv files over Wifi to my Samsung TV, and have no idea if I getting the best sound possible? Sonos rarely reports it as true 5.1.

Villi Helgason, 2016-01-21 18:19

"When you break out the back speakers they remember what they were before and you just put them back.“

How does that work? Maybe it’s too simple to get it, but I always need to reconfigure the 5.1 setup in the app whenever I break out a Play:1 out of the surround pair.

Robert Glaser, 2016-01-22 11:16

Yes, you have to do that. If you have two PLAY:1 as "Kitchen" and "Bathroom", you can add them to "TV" as rear speakers. When you remove them from "TV", they remember their "Kitchen" and "Bathroom" settings. But yes, you have to add and remove them from TV. If that happens too often, buy more SONOS speakers. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2016-01-22 15:05

Um das nochmal hervorzuholen: Sieht so aus, als wäre das von TV zu TV sehr unterschiedlich. Mein Panasonic gibt von HDMI (PS3 und Fire Stick) und sogar seiner eigenen Maxdome App offenbar nur Stereo (!) raus. Stereo, nicht Dolby 2.0. 5.1 krieg ich vom Fernsehen oder von den MP4 auf dem NAS.
Leider ist das vor dem Kauf nur sehr schwer rauszukriegen.

Aber wurscht. Playbar und Sub machen so oder so völlig ausreichend wumms ;-)

Oliver Regelmann, 2016-01-23 21:53

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