Sonos Playbar Soundbar: This Sonos soundbar complements HD television screens with highly detailed, richly textured sound. A low profile lets you inconspicuously hang the Sonos Playbar on the wall or place it in front of the TV.
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Solution for getting 5.1 Dolby to your Soundbar
Posted by: AndrewSc from: Atlanta on
I bought the Sonos Soundbar, the Sonos Subwoofer, and two Play:3 speakers as surround sound speakers from Best Buy. As others posting reviews here and elsewhere have pointed out, Sonos wants you to use your TV as a hub, with all the inputs from your devices (Apple TV, Cable, etc.) going to the TV and then the optical audio out from the TV to the Playbar. However, most TV's won't pass Dolby Digital (DD) 5.1 surround from HDMI to the digital/optical audio (i.e., the Playbar), so what you get in most cases is stereo with muted simulated surround sound that is NOT surround sound from your surround speakers. After reading numerous reviews and comment boards on many websites, I tried (and was successful) with the following solution:
I purchased a Shin Kin 4x2 Remote Control Digital Optical TOSlink Audio Fiber Optic Selector Switch Switcher Splitter (currently sold on Amazon for approximately $69.95).
I connected each of my devices (I have Apple TV and DirectTV) to the "Optical Input" switches (called Input 1 and Input 2) on the Splitter via a Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable (i.e., same type of cable that came with your Sonos). This will take care of sound (and you will leave your HDMI cables connected to the TV for purposes of transmitting the video signal from your devices).
I connected the Sonos Soundbar to the output (called the "Output 1") on the Splitter.
Important - Make sure the sound settings on apple TV/your cable box/other devices are set to Dolby Digital (I had to make this change before I was able to get 5.1)
You can confirm that you have properly set things up in Sonos - go to "About My Sonos System" in the "Settings" menu, and if you look at the Playbar detail, it should read "Dolby Digital 5.1" - if it does not (i.e., if it shows "Stereo"), either the show you are watching is not Dolby Digital or you have not connected things properly.
Now that I have the system set up, it sounds great and the 5.1 sounds awesome for movies/shows/etc. that are in Dolby 5.1.
But for having to spend many hours finding this solution and paying additional $ for the switch, I would have given the Playbar a 5 star review - it sounds that good. Good luck and enjoy!
56 out of 60 found this review helpful.
Posted by: MiamiAV1 from: Miami, FL on
This is my first piece of Sonos equipment - the easiest piece of equipment I've ever set up.
Sound is really good - don't miss the sub as much as I thought I would. Adding it in the future.
46 out of 50 found this review helpful.
Please read if considering purchase!!
Posted by: Wes85 from: on
I'm going to keep this short and sweet as best as I can. I bought the soundbar, sub, boost, wall-mount bracket, and a 4 year protection plan for both the sound bar and sub (peace of mind). I spent just under $2000, and left Best Buy feeling nauseous because I hate spending that much money in one shot. Initially, after setting it up, I was ecstatic, this is my first sound bar, and in my opinion, the sound was amazing. After watching movies, netflix, and fios tv, I kept hearing this static/popping sound, while it was barely noticeable, it was quite distracting because I would focus on hearing that to see if it was a consistent issue rather than focusing on what I was watching. Then the next thing that happened was the sound completely cut out, twice, while watching The Godfather. I searched the sonos forums which has conversations with customers with similar problems, speaking with sonos support, and tried everything possible to troubleshoot the issue. It didn't work, so I packed up my sound bar and brought it back to best buy to exchange it for another of the same.
Rushed home with the new/replacement sound bar , set it up, fired it up, and I immediately noticed that it didn't sound as loud as the previous one, but I just thought to myself, I'm paranoid. At 11 pm that same night, I decided to call it quits, I shut the tv off, and when the sound bar was "off" (technically it's always on) there was this high pitched squeal constantly emitting from the left side of the sound bar... best way I can describe it is almost like interference that sounds like a dog whistle (you can barely hear it, but it's super annoying). I was pretty aggravated to say the least. First thing in the morning the next day, I brought the sound bar back to Best Buy and felt like an idiot walking in there for the second time in 2 days to return their "top of the line, best sound bar." The staff was very nice and understanding, and I joked with them that hopefully the third time is the charm.
Brought the 3rd sound bar home, set it up, fired it up, and it sounded amazing, easily the best of the 3, no static popping, and it was LOUD! I let it play for an hour, then shut it off and closed my eyes hoping there wouldn't be a high pitched squeal... and there wasn't! The rest of the day, I was so happy that I gave it a 3rd shot because I loved the convenience and sound of this system. I watched Netflix and a Blu-Ray that night, and had zero issues. Well here I am tonight watching some Mixed Martial Arts fights on Spike TV, and you know what's happening NOW?! The sound cuts out in between every single commercial. Now I understand that, to some, this may not sound like the biggest deal, but it drives me insane.
I'll be back at Best Buy tomorrow with all of the Sonos products I purchased, and looking for a full refund. All in all, if this system worked the way it should, it would be hands down, a 5 star rating all day. But to think that I spent almost $2000, went through 3 sound bars and all of them had issues, is just completely unacceptable. I hope that anyone that is on the fence about dropping $700 on this sound bar, reads this review, and can make an informed decision based on it. Maybe I just had terrible luck, but I tried so hard to make this system work.
71 out of 82 found this review helpful.
Excellent sound. Will not play Dolby Digital Plus
Posted by: slingload from: on
I have had the Sonos PlayBar for close to a year now in a 5.1 surround sound setup with the Sonos Sub and two Play:1's. I love the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio without the need to run speaker cable.
One thing to be aware of though is that you will not be able to play Dolby Digital Plus content, which is the surround sound format used by Netflix and several other video streaming services now. There is no audio at all unless you switch the audio stream to stereo, and in my opinion that is not a viable solution. Some devices, such as the Xbox One and Apple TV, will convert the Dolby Digital Plus audio to standard Dolby Digital, so you can listen to 5.1 content from those services. However some devices do not, such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, so you will not hear any audio at all unless you lower the audio output to stereo.
Sonos has stated that this is because optical audio cables cannot handle the bandwidth required for DD+ audio. So you are really limited on which streaming devices you can use with the Sonos PlayBar 5.1 setup if you want to stream content that has DD+ audio.
For this reason, if you are wanting a 5.1 setup, I recommend waiting until Sonos addresses this issue by possibly adding HDMI passthrough to their next PlayBar. But if you don't care about a 5.1 setup then this is an outstanding choice!
31 out of 33 found this review helpful.
Posted by: Ashley from: on
Purchased this unit after having to replace an old Bose sound system. Had huge expectations and have been indefinitely let down.
After purchasing in April 2014- 5 months later in September 2014 we started hearing a crackling sound coming from the sound bar. After several attempts to reboot, reset, and re-install the sound bar to our TV with the help of a sonos rep, the crackling did not stop. Sono's offered to replace the unit and I thought "great"! And that's where the greatness stopped. After sending out the entire unit and cords via fedex- sono's guaranteed a 2-day delivery once they received it back. That was one of two options. The first option was to give them my credit card number and they would put a $700 hold on my card, 2-day the new equipment, and once they received my return they would reimburse the money. THANK GOD I chose the other route. After receiving a confirmation from fedex AND sonos that our faulty unit had been received in their warehouse, 2 days.. a week... 2 weeks went by with no replacement unit in sight. After several attempts to contact the customer support people and sort out the matter- I was told they got a new computer software and were having communication issues with their warehouse.... Really. Then I was told they did not realize they were out of stock... Really?! How can people be so disorganized and guarantee a product they do not have. I was told I'd receive an email and a call from another customer support rep once they confirmed whether or not they could locate a sound bar. Days go by again and I recieve no information so I called sonos AGAIN. Finally they say they located a new sound bar and would ship it immediately. This was on Monday 10/13. Did not recieve the equipment until Thursday only to find out none of the cords and connector wires were included- MIND YOU WE RETURNED ALL OF OUR ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT. What a nightmare. So now we're going on a month and a half without a being able to use this $700 piece of sound equipment.
Save yourself the energy.
48 out of 56 found this review helpful.
Posted by: LordHardy from: Las Vegas, NV on
This sound bar is aesthetically pleasing and sounds great for movies and music. I set this up in a medium sized room and it filled the room with sound. I did not want wires running all over the place, and this eliminates the need for that. I have to say I am a fan
Although no sub comes with it, I plan on picking up the Sonos sub as well to get even lower low end frequency's.
44 out of 52 found this review helpful.
Great clear sound but needs the sub
Posted by: Sonosforlife from: temecula,ca on
Returned the Bose SR1 for this and I do not regret it. Great clear sound out of the Sonos Playbar can't wait for my sub to arrive.
45 out of 53 found this review helpful.
Sounds great but...
Posted by: MPJS from: on
I have had my play bar for just over a year and now out of warranty. The small black part that holds the optical cord in place securely has broken off after only unplugging the optical cord twice. I noticed it seemed flimsy when first purchased, but assumed that it was just part of the design. Called Sonos to ask about a repair and they are charging $179 for a replacement bar. After spending well over $3000 on Sonos products the past 3 years, I'm extremely disappointed as this is quite clearly a manufacture defect. Therefore, as great as the system sounds, I can't recommend buying it due to the poor customer service. I'll be looking at other products in the future.
42 out of 50 found this review helpful.
Sonos fan Disappointed with Playbar
Posted by: RMiller from: on
I'm a huge Sonos fan and have 3 Play 1s and a Play 3 scattered around the house. We absolutely love them. It made sense then to buy the Playbar to integrate with our current system. However, after buying it and trying it out I had to return it for several reasons.
1. The main problem with the playbar is that Sonos wants you to plug it into the back of the TV but unfortunately most TVs (mine included) do not pass Dolby 5.1 audio so you really are not getting true surround sound. This may not seem like much of an issue but once you hear 5.1 surround sound, you can tell there's a huge difference. When you're spending this much money for a great set of speakers you want it to work correctly and unfortunately the way that Sonos is set up it just won't work that way. It is possible to hook up the Playbar directly to the source (blu-Ray player, Apple tv, etc) and get 5.1 sound, however, this requires multiple wires and a switch since the Playbar only has one input. With Sonos you are paying for ease of use and simplicity and so if you have to "rig up" a system to combat its shortcomings, then it's just not worth it. I did connect the play 1s as surrounds and it sounds great when connected directly to the source, however, this leads me to my next issue:
2. Lack of DTS support. If you want to get 5.1 surround sound you have to connect the sound bar directly to the source. However Sonos doesn't support DTS which is the audio on pretty much every Blu-Ray. Meaning you cannot get 5.1 surround sound from your Blu-ray player. Also even if it did support DTS my Blu-ray player does not have an optical out output and so it wouldn't work for that reason as well.
In summary, if you're paying this much money for a great set of speakers and 5.1 surround sound, then it better darn well output 5.1 surround sound. My guess is that people just don't know the difference and don't know what they are missing out on. I absolutely love Sonos for multiple room audio and have always raved about it to friends but I have to say I am really disappointed in the Playbar.
22 out of 23 found this review helpful.
Awesome sound a quick set up, huge improvement !
Posted by: recruiter89 from: Boston, MA on
I had a Sony 3D sound bar to pair with my 55" Sony Bravia and I was looking for something a bit better. I visited Best Buy and the Magnolia guys demonstrated this for me and I was blown away! It is technologically advanced and innovative allowing you to connect to your router to sync up with your Ipad or Iphone to not only control but play music wirelessly. Plus the sound connected to your TV is awesome. Forget the cluttered look of a home theater system with a receiver and wires coming from every direction, this is one single bar connected to the TV with one wire. The set up could not have been simpler. Plus it syncs with any universal remote and paired up with my Harmony 900 nicely. The total set up to less than 10 minutes and I was up and running. I eventually would buy the other speakers to pair with this playbar but for now this does a great job on its own. My only concern is that it is pretty large and takes up the front of the TV but who cares. It does a great job and cranking it up, it blows away any 5.1 system!