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Sonos Playbar - Excellent And Expensive Home Theater Addition (Part 1)

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Sonos has found neutral point in audio world. Wireless technology and capability of transmitting music almost from any sources – even cloud or local storage – have brought reasonable trust from information technologist on it, but its simple installment is also draw popular appeal. Obviously, it’s not significant at all if its system does not sound well; luckily, Play:3, Play:5 and Sub of Sonos all are impressed with their sound quality. $699 Playbar is the latest member of family, and with this product Sonos is aiming right to home theater market. Is it suit to living room? Let’s find out!

Sonos has found neutral point in audio world.

Sonos has found neutral point in audio world.

Hardware and setup

Playbar is a beautiful piece of equipment even though it is mitigated. For size of 3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 inch (85 x 900 x 140mm), you will not be in any trouble when installing it under flat-screen TV. Indeed, we used it with 42-inch and 47-inch television and realized that the dimensions would match in both cases. Its exterior is covered by black speaker cloth going with pewter-colored bars along two edges of speakers. Two brands inset accurately surrounding mesh grills on each end – the resonance of design language of Sub – together with Sonos standard-volumn switch, mute button, and LED power light on the right. Long metal edges which are made of protruding aluminum, and wider sides of two create room for installing series of IR receiver and IR strip, along with V-shape cut on the underside for power port, 2 Ethernet jacks and Toslink port. Excellent construction quality – slots are quite uniform and we cannot find any exterior shortcomings on our testing model.

For size of 3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 inch (85 x 900 x 140mm), you will not be in any trouble when installing it under flat-screen TV.

For size of 3.35 x 35.43 x 5.51 inch (85 x 900 x 140mm), you will not be in any trouble when installing it under flat-screen TV.

Besides supplying a bit beautiful contrast and space for small Sonos logo, the bigger aluminum edge plays role of cooling for nine drivers that create sound. There are six 8-centimeter aluminum cone mins (3.15 inches) powered by neodymium magnets, and three 2.5-centimeter titanium dome tweeters (1 inch), each speaker has a private digital amplifier. The speakers are installed in a super rigid, sealed plastic casing at 45-degree angle, and neutral point itself is the key for making good sound imaging, even Playbar is mounted on the wall or lies flatly on TV cabinet. Of course, accelerometer and PowerPC CPU 800MHz inside also work together in order to identify the direction of Playbar and change EQ suitably to be sure that imaging is perfect.

There are six 8-centimeter aluminum cone mins (3.15 inches) powered by neodymium magnets, and three 2.5-centimeter titanium dome tweeters (1 inch), each speaker has a private digital amplifier.

There are six 8-centimeter aluminum cone mins (3.15 inches) powered by neodymium magnets, and three 2.5-centimeter titanium dome tweeters (1 inch), each speaker has a private digital amplifier.

It is not an outstanding industry design, but it is more ostentatious than your normal soundbar. Let’s look at it following that way: it will be fit perfectly in most of the decoration but distinctive enough that astute visitors recognize and ask for it – or at least that is our experience during testing it.

Sonos is proud of that company’s systems, in fact, are easy to install, and Playbar is not exception. To check ease of installation, we have asked one girl who is not good at technology to connect Playbar and Sonos Bridge, and she could match them in less than 5 minutes. Just plugs Toslink cable into Playbar, then connect the other end of cable with TC or other audio sources, it’s finished.

After that, Playbar remind you to push volume-up button on TV remote that allows it to find out appropriate IR code. From that, your remote could control the volume on Playbar. In case that Playbar could not identify remote right away, Sonos software can lead you through typing volume switch and mute buttons in order that it is able to read correctly code and add into list on sever of Sonos. By that way, the future customers will not have to do these additional steps. That is just another designing genuine from Sonos’ staff. Such simply acting is usually difficult to carry out but researchers at Sonos have made connection of an IR remote really easy.

Playbar is a beautiful piece of equipment even though it is mitigated.

Playbar is a beautiful piece of equipment even though it is mitigated.

We had a little trouble trying to combine Playbar and Bridge regardless of clear and easy-to-follow instructions of Sonos Controller software. However, moving Bridge more far from router and quickly resetting that router has dealt with this problem. Then you only push ‘join’ button on Bridge, ‘mute’ and ‘volume up’ buttons on Playbar so we have done in short time. Whenever connected, it took about 10 minutes to index 40GB music folder that we had on external hard ware linked through USB; during that time we entered login information for streaming service. As a result, from opening box to listening Blind Melon, we spent less than half an hour.

A quick note about our setup. We were forced to connect Playbar directly with decoder box because optical output of flat-screen TV didn’t open when set up to HDMI port. There was no capability of pulling audio from any things playing on TV, so we had to swap connections between PS3 and satellite-TV box if we would like simulated surround sound of Sonos on it. That was obviously inconvenient, and the thing against easy-to-use feature of Sonos. Of course, it is not a problem for those users who own such TVs without any restrictions, but it is worth considering before spending 700USD on a Playbar.

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