Sonos is aiming to revolutionise home theatre audio by taking all the high-quality sound you need and want, and cramming it all into one big ol’ soundbar you can drop at the bottom of your TV. Sure, it will work with other Sonos units you have hanging around, the Sonos Playbar is also a starter piece that can stand alone. And for a soundbar, this sucker sounds good.
Everything about the Sonos Playbar speaks to simplicity, at least for you, the end user. Yeah, it’s got nine drivers inside, including three tweeters and six mid-range, all coordinated through software to make the sound seem much wider than the three-ish feet the bar actually stretches, and that part is complex. But setup? Plug directly into your TV with a digital optical cable and your good to go. It’s versatility too. Need to put it above the TV or mount it to a wall? The Playbar’s smart enough to know and adjust accordingly. And integration with other Sonos systems is a breeze if you’ve got the Sonos wireless bridge.
And how does it sound? Impressive and full for something with such a modest form factor. The simulated surround-sound is good enough to make you double-take at the notion that it’s all actually coming from that bar directly in front of you. And when that sort of lateral range isn’t needed, the Playbar can also issue out front-and-center sound just fine. It sounds damn nice with movies and damn nice with music. The low-range is good… for a soundbar. But it doesn’t really shine until it’s paired with one of the existing Sonos subs, which brings the sound up to serious home theatre quality, but also nearly doubles the price of the setup.
The Playbar is available for sale starting March 5 for a cool $US700, and while it’s a formidable all in one, it’s definitely on the higher end of the soundbar price spectrum. And if you’re thinking about adding the sub, that’s another $US700 plus $US50 for the wireless bridge and it’s easy to see how that price starts getting out of hand. The Playbar still puts on a damn good show on its own though, if you can stomach the price.