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Sonos Playbase Review: A whole new way to enjoy your living room

by Roy Choi | April 3, 2017April 3, 2017 9:01 pm PDT

Sonos, known for its clean, simple designs, easy set up and superb sounding speakers is out with a new product, the Sonos Playbase.  The Playbase allows those that want a flatter speaker, opposed to the Playbar, that fits under a TV set. Depending on your current TV setup, it could sit seamlessly under a TV’s base. That’s what Sonos means when “the design essentially disappears in a room.

The Sonos Playbar is one of my favorite speakers on the market. It works well, it fills an entire room and it has additional control elements that allow me to account for late evening TV viewing or to augment voice audio. The Soundbase has all those same features and more.

Design

The Playbase is just a little more than 2 and ¼-inches tall at the highest portion of the speaker.  It managed to fit snugly under one of our Vizio TVs in the office. At home, my LG set’s base sat right on top of the speaker just fine. Just know the Playbase is meant to sit on an entertainment console. If you want to mount your TV, you could choose to have the Playbase below on a stand or you could opt for the mountable Playbar. Your choice.

The Playbase is available in either a black or white to match your décor. While, at least in my opinion, it looks smaller than the Playbar, it has added on some heft. Likely due to one additional amplifier and one woofer (the Playbar does not have a woofer).

Build on your Sonos

Set Up

One of the most satisfying elements of any Sonos device is just how easily it sets up. I had an existing set up, so pairing the Playbase was a matter of pressing one button after plugging in the two wires: power, and optical audio. If it is your first time setting up a Sonos device, you have to connect the device either with an Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, which I promise you won’t take more than a couple of minutes.

One additional perk is that most IR TV remotes will work to control the audio on the Playbase. Some TV sets use Bluetooth or other wireless technology exclusively, those may not work. For the record, Apple TV remotes work just fine controlling the audio.

Quality

The most important factor is just how great these speakers sound.  They do not disappoint, the inclusion of the woofer really gives you the bass that you may have missed in the Playbar.  If you’re looking for that extra oompf, you can always pair a SUB to your Sonos set up.  The Playbase’s sound fills the room, and you’ll be impressed just at how much sound can be thrown out of such a flat, compact form.

The dialogue enhancement feature is great to help adjust audio to bring up the voices during a sports broadcast or when you’re watching a movie or show. Night mode is also great to regulate volume peaks, so you don’t disturb others in your home or your neighbors.

As much as I’ve talked about the TV viewing aspect, the Sonos does much more. It plays music, but not only will it play your own library but it has the ability to play across 80+ music/radio services. I press you to find a better digital music system that plays music/audio at a higher quality.  This is because Sonos uses its drivers and compression tools to make the music sound great.  Also Sonos’ Trueplay speaker tuning system analyzes your room size, layout, even that those picture frames sitting on your coffee table taken into account. It then adjusts how your speaker(s), woofer products sounds. Magic.

 

Buy

I highly recommend Sonos products to my friends and family, partly because most of them are impressed with the Playbar at our home.  The Playbase though is calling my name.  It seems to provide just a tad more in regards to the form factor (at least for our home) and the addition of the Woofer.  The Playbase is available now for $699. Go check it out.


Roy Choi

Roy Choi is a Southern California native. He has been infatuated with technology reviews ever since he bought his first crummy laptop in the summer...

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