These steps include advising you to set the TV's speaker settings to use external speakers (rather than the shite built-ins), as well as enabling the remote control for your TV to manage the Playbar's volume. This latter configuration step is done for two reasons; one, who wants an additional remote just to control the Playbar?, and two, given the height of the Playbar and how it sits in front of the TV, it could potentially block the infrared signal the TV remote control emits from ever reaching the IR receiver on the TV. Cleverly, SONOS have overcome this potential issue by mounting an infrared receiver on the bottom of the Playbar along with a transmitter on the top so it repeats any infrared signal it receives. Nifty. And thoughtful.
The setup wizard is SONOS-super-simple and takes less than a minute. It takes a little longer if you're setting up the 5.1 surround configuration (you'll need the SONOS Sub and two extra Play:3s, if you're keen). No more than 3 minutes out of the box and it's playing music.
What does the SONOS Playbar sound like? Well, it sounds very good.
Sure, I'm going to use it as the main speaker for the TV, but I primarily bought it as a streaming speaker for downstairs in the lounge room, as I wanted something a little larger than the Play:5 to better fill the room (although in fairness the Play:5 would've probably been fine in that dept, just wouldn't have worked as well with the TV), and so I was naturally apprehensive about how it would actually sound. I'd heard one in the store and reviews online are unanimously positive, but when you hook up your $1000 TV speaker, your expectations are high.
It didn't disappoint. The Playbar has 9 speaker driver's built in - 6 mid-range drivers and three tweeters (two of which are angled outward to give a wider sound field). Bass responsive is good given everything (especially the size of the speakers and the volume of the enclosure itself) , but then Playbar apparently really comes into its own when you hook up the $1099(!) (ouch!) SONOS Sub. I'm happy with the bass for now - as is my wallet.
Going the whole hog - SONOS Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
Based on RRP prices, or even if you secure the deal of the century, a SONOS surround system is a costly investment. Here are the numbers:
- SONOS Playbar - $1099
- SONOS Sub - $1099
- SONOS Play:3s - 2 @ $479 each - $958
That's $3156 all up. Based on my experience you might be able to get it all bundled for maybe $2,600 with some haggling, but that's a big chunk of change. The advantage I guess is that you can start slowly(-ish) and expand as the bank balance allows, but there are hundreds of more economical options for surround sound - you just don't get the wireless streaming side of the house that SONOS excels at. You decide what's most important.
Final (first) thoughts