If you’re like many who own a full high definition TV, you’re likely now in the market for a 4K, Ultra High-Definition upgrade. With that comes an amazing picture, better aesthetics and even more smart TV features. What is doesn’t come with is stunning sound. The fact is that as our TVs get thinner, the ability for them to produce great sound reduces.
What we’ve also learned is that 70% of the TVs being purchased are not being wall mounted, so even as thin as they are, people are still plonking them on an entertainment unit.
Sonos have entered a new product into the market that fits right between that entertainment unit and your new TV. Called the PLAYBASE, this speaker could be the only one you need in your lounge room to provide all the sound you need to match that sexy picture on the TV.
We’ve been testing the new Sonos PLAYBASE and have a few thoughts to share. We began by unplugging and packing away the Sonos PLAYBAR, this speaker doesn’t sit well on an entertainment unit, is better off wall mounted and hence a perfect use case to bring in the PLAYBASE. Unboxing the product is a bit of a joy. When we met with the Sonos VP of Design, Tad Toulis, he called this process a “reveal” and that unboxing a Sonos product was a moment they really focus attention on. It’s important too, the PLAYBASE comes in at a sumly investment so like buying a new car, should have a bow on it. From the boxing to the shrink wrap, the PLAYBASE is well packaged and very Apple-esque. Within moments we have the PLAYBASE sitting underneath our TV, connected via Optical and to power.
The setup process like all Sonos products is very simple. Coordinated via the iPhone app, we have the PLAYBASE ready for action in minutes. One strong recommendation from us is not to skip the TruePlay tuning option when installing any Sonos speaker. This feature uses audio to map your room and tune the speaker to work at it’s best. There are real differences and again, you must not skip it.
Playing movies and TV shows through the Sonos PLAYBASE is a real joy. The vocals is something that delivered over and above what the PLAYBAR did and we appreciated the solid levels of bass from this platform style speaker. The PLAYBASE has a built-in woofer with piping to channel the airflow, with the PLAYBASE alone you will be wondering whether the SUB is even required, whereas with the PLAYBAR we highly recommend the SUB combo.
The PLAYBASE can be controlled via the app, remote or with touch controls on the top. For music play outside of the TV use-case you’ll be impressed at how much room filling sound is available. The ten speaker drivers in the PLAYBASE will work hard to deliver audio to all corners of the room and with great clarity. There was seemingly no vibration in the unit either, which is important when a TV worth thousands sits on top of it. We later paired it with the Sonos SUB and found a lovely addition of extra bass but this was mostly noticed during music playback rather than movies or television shows. The PLAYBASE can also be expanded to work with two Sonos PLAY: 1 speakers adding rear left and rear right audio. If your room is rather large then this could be a great option.
The PLAYBASE we tested was black to match the TV and entertainment unit. The alternative was white which would have added a nice contrast to the setup but we chose for a discreet look. Overall the system looks much neater than when the PLAYBAR was in use and we dread the idea of going back, from a visual perspective. The Sonos PLAYBASE is priced the same as the PLAYBAR and this leaves us with a slight concern for the future sales of the PLAYBAR. Dollar for dollar the PLAYBASE is the winner on sound (without SUB) and even if the TV was wall mounted we would use the PLAYBASE on the entertainment unit anyway. What Sonos have achieved with the PLAYBASE is a really fantastic option for those who like choice. The PLAYBASE is doing more than just meeting the needs of a statistical consumer group but delivering a product which sounds bigger than it’s physical size and will continue to evolve as Sonos persist their development of great audio technology.