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Despite all of the advancements in picture performance through the years, the caliber of TV sound has actually not made much progress. Actually, as TVs have gotten thinner, so gets the sound. Without a large amount of cabinet depth and space for the speakers to resonate, most TVs – even expensive TVs – can sound anemic and weak. In light of the, we have been witnesses (may i get an “Amen?”) to the rise of the sound bar.
A sound bar gets control the sound duties from a TV, providing fuller richer sound from sources such as for example live TV and streaming apps. Soundbars make good solutions for a few. If you have a location on the wall you can mount it, or if it ties in front of your TV without blocking the main screen, you’re all set. If a TV is sitting on a stand or credenza, a sound bar might just not fit. In such cases, something called a sound base, or a speaker base, could be an improved fit. A sound base is comparable to a sound bar, but rather than near it, a sound base sits directly beneath it.
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Sonos, makers of whole home music systems, recently introduced their version of the sound base, the PlayBase. Furthermore to providing better sound for Television shows, movies and sports, the PlayBase also contains the energy of the Sonos wireless music platform. It could access practically each of the popular digital streaming platforms along with local digital music files inside your home network. It is also expandable. You can include a Sonos sub for deep rich base and increase a set of smaller Sonos speakers just like the Play:1s for 5.1 channel surround sound.
The SONOS PlayBase offers a minimal profile and discrete solution to bettering TV sound.
The Set Up
Establishing a PlayBase is pretty simple. So far as wired audio tracks video connections, it has only 1: a fiberoptic digital port. It includes a 6-foot fiberoptic cable, but in the event that’s shortly enough, any fiberoptic cable can do. Just hook up it from the trunk of your TV in to the PlayBase, and you’re done, at least so far as cables go. If your TV doesn’t have a fiberoptic output (though most do), you should search for a different solution to your TV sound woes. There are numerous soundbars offering HDMI inputs and support the HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) protocol. Of course, those speakers don’t are the Sonos platform, so that’s another thing to consider.
As it happens that getting TV sound in to the PlayBase is very only half the story. Like any Sonos speaker, the PlayBase is a portion of the Sonos wireless music platform. With Sonos, you can play music from Spotify, Amazon, I Heart Radio, Pandora, Deezer – currently over 70 different music services – from your phone or computer to a speaker in virtually any room at home. How come this matter? It generally does not. If you don’t like music. In which particular case it does. It certainly does.
One Button, Infinite Musical Possibilities
With Sonos, you can put speakers anywhere at home and play your music on any or many of these speakers simply by clicking around in the Sonos app. To create the PlayBase with Sonos you install the Sonos iphone app on your computer, Mac, Android or Apple device, go through the “Put in a new speaker” link in the iphone app and press a button on the speaker. On the PlayBase, that button is on the left side of the speaker. Whether it’s your first Sonos speaker, it’s a bit more complicated that that – and you’ll have to plug your PlayBase straight into your router temporarily – but it’s really pretty straightforward.
The next thing you will want to accomplish is add your music services, like Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, etc. to the Sonos app. Once you have got all of the accounts create you can mix and match music among various sources. An individual playlist may take some songs from Spotify, some from Amazon Music plus some from your personal assortment of digital music files (e.g., music ripped from CDs). It’s pretty simple to use and works from practically any modern Apple or Android phone, PC or Mac.
From the Sonos iphone app you can play music on all the speakers at home, or simply a couple of. Also, your children can pay attention to something within their room without interfering together with your listening in the living room. I’ve found that my music listening increases substantially when I’ve Sonos products set for review, and that’s an excellent thing. Sonos say that persons who pay attention to music out loud are usually happier and have even more sex, but I’ve no touch upon that.
You want simple? The Sonos PlayBase does not have any screen and only an individual button, that you only ever need to push once.
Through the set-up of the PlayBase, Sonos may also ask you some questions in what TV or cable box remote you’re using. This allows the PlayBase volume to be adjusted from your own current TV or cable box remote. That is type of important as the PlayBase will not come with its remote control. It generally does not actually need one as its volume could be manipulated in the Sonos iphone app or by your TV remote. But in the event that you skipped that part, you will discover out how exactly to do it here. For our testing, we handled the volume by using a Harmony remote, but we also tested it with an Epson projector remote: both worked fine for volume control.
Surround Yourself with Goodness
A very important factor you sometimes quit when going for the simplicity of a sound bar or sound base is surround sound. But with Sonos, you don’t need to. Just like the Sonos PlayBar and their hottest bar the Sonos Beam, the Sonos PlayBase could be expanded from a normal speaker to a genuine multi-channel surround audio system. You can add a set of Sonos Play:1s or Sonos Ones or use a Sonos Amp to power a set of in-wall speakers in the trunk of your room. You may also put in a Sonos sub if you wish deeper better base – a thing that really enhances the complete home theater experience. The majority of our listening was finished with the entire 5.1 channel system, with Sonos Sub and some Play:1s added for rear channel duties, but we did do some testing with just the PlayBase alone.
DID IT Really Be So Simple?
You might ask the way the PlayBase could work with streaming music sources, streaming video apps, cable boxes, etc. if it only includes a single input. And that is an excellent question. The answer is “intelligent engineering.” In conditions of switching the sound between your TV and streaming music, that’s actually automatic. When the PlayBase detects a sign from a video source such as a TV or cable box coming over the optical cable, it automatically turns itself on and switches compared to that source. If you go in to the Sonos application and opt to play music on the PlayBase, then it automatically switches compared to that source. And when you have multiple video sources just like a Blu-ray Player, Roku streaming box and a cable box, simply plug these straight into your TV and allow TV handle the music switching for you.
But How Does It Sound?
We have been using (and reviewing) Sonos speakers for a long time, yet we continue being impressed with how full and rich the sound quality is that comes out of the fairly small boxes. Sonos runs on the clever folded port design inside PlayBase to effectively improve the internal cabinet volume. This enables the PlayBase to replicate lower base frequencies than you might expect from a box of the size. They also attempted different sized perforation holes in the speaker’s front screen to create the very best sound quality without exposing the inner drivers to the discerning viewer (apparently speaker drivers ain’t sexy for some folks).
I installed the PlayBase inside our basement home entertainment, paired with an Epson 4Ke projector on a 100-inch screen. This wasn’t accurately a match manufactured in heaven – from a set-up standpoint – as the projector does not have the fiberoptic audio tracks connection required by the PlayBase. THEREFORE I had to add within an HDMI switch using its own fiberoptic audio tracks output, plug my sources into that and pass the fiberoptic output from the swtich to the PlayBase. It worked needlessly to say, but things are simpler by using the PlayBase with a normal TV.
It might seem this little speaker could have trouble maintaining the action on such an enormous projection screen, but you would be wrong. I’ve had esoteric multi-thousand dollar discrete 5.1.4 channel surround sound systems in this same room and the easier, significantly less expensive PlayBase system held its. I did so take advantange of the surround sound functions by adding some Play:1 speaker in the trunk in addition to a Sonos Sub to augment the bass performance, but however, the full total system price was still under $1700. Because all Sonos speakers include built-in amplification, you don’t need to worry about the excess expense of an A/V receiver to operate a vehicle it all, or the excess hassle of running wires around your room.
The opening sequence of “Gravity” on Blu-ray Disc is a torture test for audio. The complex and dynamic soundtrack of the film really puts a audio system through its paces. From the start, the sound slowly builds to a deafening level ending abruptly in stone cold silence. And from that silence, tiny sounds get started to emerge as we hear astronauts on an area walk communicating with one another, with the area Shuttle Crew and with Mission Control. The Sonos system doesn’t support the height-enhanced Dolby Atmos soundtrack which is on the Blu-ray Disc, nonetheless it does a good job with the companion Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack to make a fairly immersive surround music.
As the shuttle and astronauts enter into closer proximity, individual voices are put in discrete points in the area so you can find out the conversation easily since it builds toward the foreground. As astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) pipes country music through his comms, the tunes follow his precise position in space as he jets around in his prototype propulsion pack. Later in the film, when (spoiler alert) the International Space Station is shredded by high-speed orbiting shrapnel, the sonic cacaphony that results might help you to assume the panic that might be felt by astronauts trying to survive the onslaught. It’s madness and mayhem on screen, and the sound helps draw you in.
Another fun movie for audio tracks testing is “The Fifth Element.” In the Diva scene (Chapter 13 on the Blu-ray Disc), the PlayBase system provides excellent vocal articulation and an excellent sense of impact and dynamics as the singer exercises her alien vocal apparatus. While Leeloo kicks the crap from the Mangalorian soldiers, the Diva’s dulcet tones evolve right into a throbbing, bass-heavy, multi-octave-spanning techno overture. This segment really can give your speakers a good work out, and the PlayBase system does an excellent job here.
Moving to music, I noticed hook sibilance on vocals in the Eagles “Hotel California” track on the DVD-Audio album of the same name, nonetheless it had not been excessive. Bass is solid and instruments sound natural and detailed. A live show of “Imagine Dragons” on Blu-ray also sounds enjoyable on the Sonos system with nice vocal precision and a broad and deep soundfield. Crowd sounds surround the viewer providing you a real “you is there” feeling while you’re watching and listening.
The Sonos PlayBase could be harmonized with a Sonos sub and a set of Play:1 bookshelf speakers for true 5.1-channel surround sound.
Moving onto pure music listening in the Sonos software proved equally enjoyable. I listenened mostly to tunes on Amazon Music, Pandora, TuneIn Radio and local digital files. Modern alternative tracks with female vocals like Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” and “Lights” sounded fantastic with solid, palpable vocals and nice make use of the trunk channels for ambience. Lorde’s “Royals” was similarly enjoyable with the subwoofer providing deep solid extension without having to be too boomy. But sound quality did vary a bit. Tracks like Rush “Red Barchetta” and “Limelight” from the 2011 remaster album lacked some depth and width and sounded just slightly thin overall. It had been still enjoyable, particularly for a “sound bar,” nonetheless it did sometimes make me miss more traditional (and generally more costly) discrete surround sound systems.