Sonos has built an enviable reputation in the home audio market, and has now expanded its range with the Sonos Playbase. Could this be the best solution yet for beefing up the sound from your TV?
Priced at £700, the Playbase is aimed at the premium end of the market, competing with large sound bars such as the Bose Soundtouch 300 and LG HS9, as well as Sonos’ very own Sonos Playbar, which caused quite a stir in our test labs when it was released a few years ago.
The Playbase name alludes to the fact that it’s technically a soundbase (a large, flat speaker that doubles as a base for your TV), rather than a sound bar. To be more accurate, Sonos calls the Playbase a ‘wireless soundstage’, which is marketing speak for the fact that it projects sound at a wide range of angles. Some of this sound will reach you after having bounced off the walls to your left and right, giving the illusion that it’s coming from all around you.
Go straight to our first look Sonos Playbase review to find out how it fares.
The best soundbase money can buy?
Sonos has big shoes to fill with the Playbase and, on paper, certainly seems well placed to do so. It is designed to offer an impressive combination of power and simplicity, with a two-cable set-up and a two-in-one design that offers full-cinema sound, and works as a music streamer.
There are 10 amplified internal drivers to cover the entire audio spectrum and generate powerful audio from crisp high-tones to deep bass, and some interesting customisation tricks to help make sure you get the best possible sound.
Everything’s run through the Sonos app, which not only helps you set up the speaker, but offers straightforward audio control, and plugs you in to a range of streaming music services so you get direct access to all your favourite songs, playlists and radio stations.
Best Buy sound bars – improve your TV sound with rich bass and crystal clear speech.
Wireless surround sound
In an ideal world, Sonos would have you decking out your entire home with its kit. The Playbase is designed to be used as part of a family of wireless Sonos speakers, and this might go some way towards explaining its high price. There’s a ready-made audience of people who’ve already spent a lot of money on Sonos speakers, and who might be willing to pay a premium on a soundbase that will integrate perfectly. The Playbase will comfortably work alongside multiple additional Sonos speakers – either acting as wireless rear speakers behind you, in other rooms of the home, or to beef up the audio with a separate subwoofer.
For this price though, we’d expect the Playbase to stand on its own. In the past our panel of expert listeners have been unimpressed with sound bars that have tried too hard to create a ‘room-filling’ sound, at the expense of actual sound quality.
We’re carrying out in-depth audio tests in our lab to see how it fares, but you can check out our first look Sonos Playbase review in our sound bar reviews page.