Pros Decent sound from stereo source
Simple connection and set-up
Nice looking and nice personality
User friendly controls
Cons Single optical input only
No DTS support
Summary As a happy owner of 2 Play:3's, SUB and Wireless Bridge, I was excited to hear Sonos was adding a TV sound bar to their connected audio system lineup. I have always enjoyed the fine sound quality, workmanship and app support that are Sonos hallmarks and wanted to have that same experience on my TV.
The PLAYBAR is like any other Sonos component, extremely well crafted with a high quality fit and finish. It comes well protected in a large shipping box. The quick setup guide is packaged at the very top once you open the box lid, but in reality, if you have had any prior experience connecting Sonos components wirelessly, the PLAYBAR connects exactly the same way... in seconds.
The PLAYBAR gives you 2 different placement options, wall or table mounted. In my configuration, I chose the table placement. It is ingenious that the Sonos engineers designed the PLAYBAR to automatically adjust the acoustics depending on its orientation. I may wall mount it someday, and it's good to know there is a mounting accessory available to simply and securely place it on the wall below my TV when the time comes.
Aside from connecting the PLAYBAR to the Sonos network, the only other connection is attaching the optical cable from the TV. I'm sure every TV is unique, but in my case, the optical connection was already live (did not need to activate it in the TV menu), so I had sound coming out of the PLAYBAR immediately. The last part of the configuration is done within the Sonos App. It is as simple as following a few step by step configuration questions (including remote control learning) to customize it for the room you are in.
Speaking of sound, the audio quality coming from the PLAYBAR was crisp, clear and full, exponentially better than the sound coming from the built in TV speakers. I had no idea what I was missing in my TV and Movie watching experience. The PLAYBAR may have 9 speakers and be the most powerful Sonos system yet, but to me, it simply works. I am sure it would more than satisfy 99% of the customers in the market for a sound bar solution.
However, I couldn't stop there. I wanted to see what the PLAYBAR would sound like in true 5.1 Dolby Digital sound and I had the required components already in my house. I moved the SUB and PLAY: 3's into the room and configured them to work with my PLAYBAR. This was again a very simple setup within the Sonos App. It asked questions such as bass volume preference, distance and location to the rear speakers, etc. After less than 30 seconds of configuration, my setup was locked in. I had a Sonos 5.1 system! The sound experience with this setup was breathtaking, no matter how much I increased the volume, the clarity and crispness of the sound never diminished.
Anyone familiar with the Sonos product line knows what to expect and this product does not disappoint! It integrates the best Sonos has to offer in terms of quality, sound and music integration into a new whole new realm, your TV experience. I highly recommend this product to anyone in the sound bar market and/or anyone who is already a satisfied Sonos customer.
PS: best offer for the "SONOS PLAYBAR" at: tv-soundbars.blogspot.com/p/sonos-playbar.html
Enjoy the sound!
Pros SONOS app is easy and works well.
I think it sounds good. If the sound is "highly processed" it still sounds very pleasant.
Design and size work well in my situation.
Cons Single input. Please see my summary.
Play 5 has slightly better deep bass.
Summary I already owned a Bridge and a Play 5. I have a Panasonic 42" plasma TV in my living room sitting a Salamander stand that has a perfect space for a soundbar. My girlfriend and I use the Play 5 all the time and I thought the Playbar would be a perfect addition. When I received my Playbar, I immediately encounter two problems. First, like most TVs my six year old Panasonic plasma TV does not pass Dolby Digital audio from the HDMI inputs to the Toslink digital output. It passes PCM two channel audio. A quick A-B comparison pointed out right away (and other reviews have mentioned) that the Playbar sounds notably better when it is being fed Dolby Digital audio. The other problem I encountered is probably more specific to my TV. It does not pass any sound at all from the HDMI inputs to the Toslink audio output unless the TV is switched to the internal tuner first. I started thinking about a way to solve both of these problems and it dawned on me that I needed to have the audio from my cable box and Blu-ray player bypass the TV entirely but that would require a outboard Toslink switch. I needed a three input, one output, remote controlled Toslink switch. I settled on an affordable switch from a company I had never heard of called Nyrius. It certainly helped that Harmony already had Nyrius codes in their database so I updated my Harmony 650 (the best cheap remote on Earth) and it controlled the Nyrius switch easily. By adding the Nyrius switch I solved three problems:
1. The Playbar is now receiving Dolby Digital audio from my TV's internal tuner, cable box and Blu-ray player. It sounds notably better.
2. By bypassing the TV, I no longer have any turn on switching problems. I don't have to toggle inputs anymore. The Nyrius switch and the Playbar are working fine together.
3. Because the audio is no longer on HDMI and is bypassing the TV entirely, the minor lip sync issues I noticed before are gone.
Prior to installing the Nyrius switch, I was happy with the Playbar but I wasn't stark raving wild about it. Since the installation of the switch the Playbar now exceeds my expectations and I am extremely pleased with it. I would agree with the reviews that say it is expensive unless you are already a SONOS owner. I think of it as a $300-$400 soundbar with a $399 Play 5 built in (the Play 5 has slightly better deep bass than the Playbar). At $699 the Playbar is pretty pricy as a stand alone soundbar. I heard a Speakercraft CS3 at a trade show and I walked away thinking it sounded a bit better than the Playbar. Regardless I am very pleased with the Playbar and I can highly recommend it so existing SONOS owners.
Pros Awesome sound and quick and easy set up paring with wifi and iPad. Sound is awesome with no clutter of wires or receivers.
Cons A bit large and without the sub woofer not as good on bass, but good enough for a stand alone bar
Summary 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!
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