The answer is not the Playbar, which has serious sound issues as I’ve outlined in a recent post. The Play:1 has a far more natural sound, as long as you don’t use Trueplay, Sonos’ automatic room equalization system. My proposal is a kluge set-up, I’ll warn you. As with some other articles I’ve written, my goal is to show the path to the best sound, to show that the technology is there. Perhaps this will have a small influence on future product decisions. Here’s part 3 of my series on the Playbar…
Ironically, Trueplay tends to make the Play:1s sound more like the Playbar, which stands on its own without Trueplay capability. I would conclude from this that Sonos has a target in mind (Trueplay is aimed at achieving that target), and that target doesn’t match my own. In my years in the audio business I’ve worked with some great speaker designers – I am sure they would understand what I mean.
So my experiment starts with a Connect:Amp because I need an audio input to the Sonos ecosystem. The Connect:Amp has a stereo analog input, as does the Play:5 (original and current generation). Connect the analog audio output of your TV to the Connect:Amp audio input, and in the Sonos set-up configure this “line-in” source to be available to your Sonos system. Place a stereo pair of Play:1s on either side of your TV, and set them to the line-in source. You now have a pair of Play:1s playing your TV sound.
To my ear, this is a far better option that a Playbar. The Play:1s sound like hifi rather than a loud television set. it proves to me that better sound CAN come out of a box marked Sonos.
Is it flawed?
Yes, beyond just costing you a Connect:Amp to be your analog-to-digital convertor. First, this setup has the longer latency (delay time through the network) that Sonos avoids by giving the Playbar its own TV-optimized input. You probably will notice this on some video sources, if they were correctly lip-synced in the first place. Second, the Play:1s won’t be responding to your TV remote control the way a Playbar would. But it sounds pretty darn good!
Hope you enjoyed the experiment!
© 2016 Stephen Shenefield