Replace: Want a last-minute Valentine’s Day reward on your favourite audiophile? Do not miss out on the Sonos Playbase – an amazing audio answer for folk trying to step up their audio sport. It not solely affords a cool pedestal on your display and a big enhance to your TV’s lackluster audio output, nevertheless it additionally hooks as much as every other Sonos you might have – or have but to purchase.  

Three years after the corporate launched its first ever soundbar, the Playbar, Sonos has created the Playbase, a singular kind issue sound system that mixes a secure pedestal on your TV with an audio cupboard. 

Why did Sonos create a second house leisure gadget? The workforce did in depth analysis into how folks used their Playbar at house and located that most individuals didn’t wall-mount their televisions or Playbars. To that finish, the Playbase was created to permit folks to set their televisions proper on prime of the speaker, permitting for a compact house theater answer. 

Coming in at $699 (£699, AU$999), the Playbase is not low cost, however in return on your monetary funding you’ll get a compact and versatile audio answer that integrates seamlessly with different Sonos audio system in your house. 

So, how do they stack up? Let’s have a hear and see how they examine. 

Design

The PlayBase is without doubt one of the nicer wanting items of kit that Sonos has produced. From the clear matte end to the refined contact controls on its entrance, the entire speaker has an understated design that helps it mix into a house theater. This created a conundrum for Sonos as they needed to create a soundbase that was fairly but didn’t seize an excessive amount of consideration.

With a view to preserve the seems to be as refined as potential, Sonos labored to design simply the correct quantity of speaker holes (over 43,000) that optimized efficiency but in addition obscured its 10 inside drivers from being a visible distraction. 

The Playbase is available in a flat white or black and whereas each mix into most house theater setups we want the black end due to the way it matches most televisions, and the white PlayBase we had for assessment additionally began to assemble mud and filth surprisingly shortly. The Playbase measures in at 2.28 x 28.35 x 14.96 in. (58 x 720 x 380 mm), making it fairly skinny for a playbase, serving to the speaker mix in completely on our Ikea bookshelf-turned-TV-stand. 

The highest of the speaker homes three buttons for play and pause, music playback management and quantity. The play/pause button incorporates a small gentle that flashes totally different colours to point speaker standing. Buttons to the left and proper of the play/pause button management quantity and customers can swipe left and proper throughout the buttons to skip or rewind tracks. The one different button is the sync button used in the course of the setup course of.

Round again, the port choices are very simple: one Ethernet, one optical and one energy. That’s it. Sonos’ philosophy is to create merchandise which can be simple to make use of and it is arduous to argue with simplifying port choice … that’s till you notice the Sonos Playbase has a horrifyingly giant Achilles Heel (extra on that within the Efficiency part). 

Curious in case your TV will match on prime of the Sonos Playbase? Sonos claims the speaker can face up to 75 lbs (about 34 kg) so that you’ll wish to test the specs in your TV to see if it falls below that weight. Additionally, if you wish to slide the Playbase beneath your TV as a substitute of putting a TV on prime, you’ll additionally wish to measure your TV’s toes to see if the Playbase can comfortably match beneath it, too. 

Worst-case situation, if it does not match, there’s all the time the Sonos Playbar as a substitute. 

Sonos desires all of its merchandise to be easy and straightforward to make use of and, for essentially the most half, it succeeds with the Playbase. The included fast begin information provides customers a visible illustration of how one can hook up the speaker. Merely take the included optical cable and join the Playbase to the optical output in your TV. Then take the facility cable and plug it into the wall. In case you have a router close to your property theater, you’ll be able to decide to wire in with the included Ethernet cable.

The ultimate step is to obtain the Sonos app for Android or iOS to finish the set up. The Sonos app guides you thru the remainder of the setup so the Playbase can hop in your community. 

Now, it is best to word that the Playbase solely helps the two.4GHz band so don’t be frightened should you can’t discover your 5GHz community. Sonos did this intentionally for a extra dependable reference to higher vary. 

It’s additionally value mentioning that though optical audio out ports are frequent on extra trendy TVs, one in all our reviewers discovered that their TV wasn’t geared up with one, which made hooking up the PlayBase extra sophisticated than it wanted to be. There are methods round this (like operating the soundbase via your cable field or receiver) however setup could be difficult.

After your Playbase is related to your property community, you can begin enjoying music by including the 80+ music providers to the app. The Sonos app picked up our Google Play Music, Plex and Soundcloud accounts with out challenge, giving us entry to common search throughout music platforms from the Sonos app. 

It’s additionally value mentioning that, because of a current replace, all of Sonos’s lineup is now Spotify Join enabled. Choose the Playbase from the Spotify app, and you’ll management each monitor playback and quantity from inside the similar piece of software program. It’s simple and intuitive, and we discovered ourselves counting on it excess of Sonos’s personal software program. 

For iOS customers trying to squeeze each final drop of efficiency out of the  Playbase, there’s the Trueplay calibration situated within the settings of the app.This calibration detects objects in your room to assist bounce pontificate of to create a extra immersive digital encompass system. The entire course of takes a few minute however we bumped into a problem the place Trueplay calibration would fail. After talking with Sonos help, we had been instructed to take away any circumstances from our iPad, after which Trueplay labored like a attraction.

Sadly for Android customers, Trueplay is simply obtainable for iOS customers and it doesn’t seem to be Sonos goes to convey the function to Android gadgets any time quickly. Sonos says there are simply too many kinds of microphones on Android telephones to make Trueplay calibration work throughout so many gadgets. Bummer.

Efficiency

None this could matter if the Playbase didn’t sound good however we’re comfortable to report that it does the truth is sound fairly good. Even with out Trueplay calibration, the Playbase provided punchy bass, crisp vocals and sense of soundstage depth and top. 

Watching Revenge of the Sith’s opening area battle, for instance, created a unbelievable sense of explosions and detritus flying to our left and our proper, together with the satisfyingly low rumble of Star Destroyers within the distance. For many customers, we really feel the bass high quality and amount is sweet sufficient from the Playbase itself. Watching On line casino Royale, explosions and foot steps sounded rather more practical and visceral than enjoying off the TV’s audio system. 

The bass was sufficient to rattle the complete room, which is one thing that may’t be mentioned of most soundbars that don’t have an exterior subwoofer. Should you dwell in a flat or love to do your film watching late at night time then it’s a must to watch out with the PlayBase’s quantity ranges. Do you have to resolve you need much more bass, although, Sonos affords a subwoofer add-on for an extra $699 (£699, AU$999), which provides much more visceral impression and will certainly upset the neighbors. 

Music sounded glorious from the Playbase at any quantity. The Playbase will get shockingly loud and shouldn’t have any issues filling any room. Likewise, motion pictures good however don’t count on a encompass sound expertise from the Playbase. Even with Trueplay calibration enabled, the Playbase sounded confined in comparison with true encompass sound programs.

Nevertheless, there’s good stereo separation which could be heard throughout scenes with automobiles transferring throughout the display, however the Playbase is unable to seize the behind-the-head sound true encompass sound is able to. In consequence, the sound processing to get fake encompass is a bit synthetic with sounds being projected wider however not essentially round your head.

Nevertheless, the Playbase has the flexibility to sync with extra Sonos audio system (just like the Play:1 and Play:3) to create a real encompass sound setup. 

It’s a neat function however it might get fairly dear as Sonos’ most cost-effective audio system, the Play:1, price $199 (£169, AU$299) every. A Playbase and two Play:1 audio system will run you $1100 (£1,037, AU$1597) earlier than you even take into consideration including the $699 Sonos Sub (£699, AU$999). 

Extra problematic than the encompass is the truth that the Playbase options an optical-only connection. This implies the Playbase solely helps Dolby Digital 5.1 and stereo PCM. We had hassle getting Netflix and Amazon to play its 5.1 audio tracks utilizing our . It wasn’t till we converted to utilizing an that we had been capable of get the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio monitor to play. The Xbox One was capable of transcode Dolby Digital Plus and DTS to Dolby Digital on the fly not like the Nvidia Protect TV. You’ll additionally need to test in case your TV is able to bypassing a Dolby Digital sign to the Playbase, which not all TVs do.

For a system that was designed to be simple to make use of, it positive took numerous considering, tinkering and visiting the Sonos help boards to get a Dolby Digital 5.1 sign. 

Ultimate verdict

The Sonos Playbase is a good-sounding speaker for individuals who don’t wish to fumble with a real encompass sound system or just don’t have the room for one. There’s no want for a receiver, making it actually plug-and-play. Sonos’ philosophy of constructing music enjoyment as frictionless as potential continues with the Playbase – the Sonos app is straightforward to make use of and the built-in common search throughout music providers is one thing we wished each speaker had. 

However in the case of watching motion pictures, the Playbase leaves one thing to be desired. Its optical-only connection limits you to Dolby Digital 5.1 and good luck attempting to get your varied sources to output that format. You’ll be able to theoretically hook up the Playbase to a receiver to transcode Dolby Digital to the speaker however that’s not what the Playbase is designed for. 

General we loved our time with the Sonos Playbar and ended up liking it lots. It made enjoying music so easy that we wished to have music enjoying at house on a regular basis. It may not sound nearly as good because the soundbar and sub, however the Playbase is half the worth. 

The underside line? Should you don’t thoughts the truth that most of your listening might be in stereo, the Playbase is a superb choice to enhance your music listening and film watching expertise. 

Jon Porter contributed to this assessment.